I have a question for you, but don’t answer right away.
That question is, “Do you really have a marketing system for your martial art school?”
Now, before you answer, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a written marketing plan?
- Do you have a marketing calendar?
- If so, do you actually follow them?
- Can you predict your lead flow, month after month?
- Do you have multiple lead sources? Or, do you rely on just one or two tried and true marketing methods?
- Do you track your leads, by source?
- Can you tell me, with pinpoint accuracy, how many leads you got by week and by month over the last 12 months?
- Do you have a plan to increase your leads, if it so happens that your lead flow slows down at any given time?
- Do you know what your USP is?
- Do you know what your highest converting offers are?
If you answered “no” to five or more of the above questions, chances are good that you don’t have a real marketing plan for your martial art school. And that’s a shame.
Marketing Isn’t That Important – Right?
Over the last fifteen years, I’ve coached a heck of a lot of people on how to successfully start and run a martial art school. Some took what I told them to heart, did exactly what I told them to do, and they are currently running successful schools.
However, others failed to take my advice, and the majority of those people are no longer in business. But here’s the kicker – out of all the stuff I teach, the one sticking point for most school owners is in setting up a marketing system. And for the life of me, I still can’t understand why.
My best guess is that it has to do with the conditioning people receive about marketing and sales being somehow dishonorable. They get the idea in their head that they’re somehow manipulating people when they market their school. It’s silly.
Any Marketing Is Better Than Nothing, But It’s Best If You Have A Plan
On the other hand, I think that some people are just lazy. Marketing takes work. Marketing is hard. And, most people who start businesses fail a few times at implementing their marketing plans. So, they give up, or they say it doesn’t work for them, or whatever.
That’s silly too. Any marketing method (within reason) will work, if you know how to work it. Personally, I prefer internet marketing, direct response marketing, and referral programs, but that’s because I mastered those methods and they’re what I’m most comfortable with.
Even so, I’ve seen school owners build successful businesses using every type of marketing under the sun. Heck, I’ve even seen guys ignore the internet and still have strong schools (I don’t recommend this, however – it takes a lot of hustle to market your school without automation).
The bottom line is, you need to have a marketing system in place in order to grow your school, and to keep the doors open year after year.
And, the chief goal of that marketing system should be for you to have a predictable lead flow year round. No leads, no new students. No new students, no business.
So, Here’s Your Challenge…
Now, if you doubt me, or if you think you don’t need to market to survive, I have an assignment for you.
And, even if you DO agree with me, I still want you to do this:
- Find out which local businesses in other industries are the most successful; preferably, choose businesses that are not national franchises and that service the same population that you draw your customers from.
- Get to know the owner(s), and take them out to lunch so you can pick their brain about how they get their customers. Be up front about why you’re taking them to lunch – most small business owners who have “made it” are more than happy to share what they’ve learned with budding or struggling entrepreneurs (who are not their competitors).
- Try to do this with at least five local business owners. Write down what they tell you, and find the common thread among all their marketing systems (I can almost guarantee that they have a repeatable marketing system that delivers a steady flow of leads and customers, year round).
Now, what you learn from these folks may not apply directly to your own business. However, you’re still going to get some really valuable nuggets of information from these lunch discussions. (Oh, and be sure to send them a thank you card the day after your meeting.)
I guarantee you this will revolutionize the way you look at marketing your martial art school. Plus, there’s a backend benefit to all this, one that I’ll discuss in the next blog post. So, get cracking on setting those lunch appointments, and I’ll see you back here next week.