Martial arts marketing – and marketing in general – changes at the speed of technology these days. That’s why savvy martial art school owners know that it pays to stay on top of trends in online marketing and technology.
So, for this year’s first few posts I’m going to clue you in on coming trends in technology and online marketing that you need to be aware of for 2014.
If you’re smart about marketing your martial art school, you’ll pay attention to these trends and adjust your marketing accordingly.
Algorithm Changes at Facebook
In case you haven’t heard, Facebook has changed the algorithm it uses to select which stories appear in each user’s news feed. Now, “free” posts are only reaching a small percentage of a page’s followers, and in order to guarantee that your content reaches your fans, you must pay to promote your posts.
What this means is that, if you’ve built a large following for your Facebook business page, only a fraction of your followers are seeing your posts now (somewhere between 3% and 8%, from what I’m hearing). For those of you who use your Facebook page for marketing your studio, this spells trouble.
So, what’s a school owner who markets a lot on Facebook to do?
Simple – stop focusing on using Facebook for free marketing, and start using it for running paid ads (more on this below). You can whine and gripe about how evil Facebook is for wanting to (finally) turn a profit all you want, but that won’t help you market your studio. Instead of wasting time and energy griping, read the next section and start learning how to use their paid ad platform (not promoted posts, but ads), ASAP.
Also, start getting familiar with other social media platforms such as Twitter (all the cool kids are already there), Vine (it’s where all the cool kids are going), Pinterest (where all the girls hang out), YouTube (yes, it’s social), and Google+, which is looking more and more appealing as a social media marketing platform all the time.
The Emergence of Facebook Paid Ads
Along with the algorithm changes at Facebook, they’ve also made their ad platform more robust, and slightly more user-friendly. And, although the interface could still use some help, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of Google’s Adwords interface with regards to ease of use.
But the best thing about Facebook Ads versus Google Adwords is that with Facebook Ads you have the ability to focus your ads like never before. You can choose to display ads to a specific geographic region (by zip code), to people with specific interests, to users of a specific gender, age, relationship status, educational level… I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Bottom line: Facebook Ads allow you to target your audience and show them ads that are highly specific to their interests. For savvy marketers, this means higher click-through rates and less ad spend for a higher ROI.
So, if you don’t know anything about making Facebook ads, I strongly suggest you sign up for my newsletter and get the Facebook ad writing report off the free download page after you join my newsletter list.
Vine and Instagram video have both proven to be highly popular among younger audiences, growing by leaps and bounds in 2013. Vine videos are 6 seconds long, and Instagram videos are a max of 15 seconds, and the short length seems to be perfect for capturing the attention of attention-strapped teens and twenty-somethings.
So how do you use such a short clip to market your school?
The format lends itself well to funny or radically unique content, so that’s what you’ll need to focus on if you want to gain traction among the younger audience using these services. I’d say that it’s more about brand-building than it is about traditional marketing, so be aware that these platforms lend themselves more to sharing short, viral messages (like killer trickz or knockout videos – just sayin’).
That wraps up the first of this three-part series on martial arts marketing trends to watch for in 2014. Keep an eye on your email inbox (you are subscribed to my newsletter, aren’t you?) because next week I have a ton of additional recommendations and tips for tweaking your martial art school marketing in 2014.