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- Have special promotions like: bring a friend day, free week long trial membership
- Get the word out: advertise in a local newspaper, post or hand out flyers
- Sponsor an open house event in which students can perform, etc.
How about having your existing members blog about your place in martial art interest online forums or discussion groups? Or maybe you can approach stores that may sell martial art equipment and supplies and see if you can post information about your gym or leave a stack of flyers in their store? This way you're marketing a targeted audience vs. everyone. Good luck!
I belong to my local and county chamber of commerce. They regularly solicit help for the schools in the area. Perhaps you can have them help you start a Self Defense for the children and their parents within one of the schools. While advertising your business there, you are also showing off what you can do and what they can learn from starting to take your formal classes.
Incentives!! In a survey done by USA Today, 93% of people surveyed said that Travel is the number one incentive that motivates people to buy even over cash back or discounts. Cash is gone in a flash but vacation memories leave a lasing impression of you and your business! I help businesses increase their bottom line by giving away unlimited travel to their customers. For more information, go to http://www.bulkvacations.com To your success, Wayne.
Because you are in the self defense field, you probably handle a lot of personal safety questions. We offer free digital ID kits that allow you to put your logo, coupons links, documents and safety tips right on the CD ID itself. So, basically when your customer puts the CD in their computer to complete it, they will see a webpage with links, contact info, safety tips, etc....
This has been a very succesful tool for police departments, nonprofits and other karate schools. They are very affordable and you will be providing a great community service to boot!
Feel free to contact me with any questions, we can customize the kits to fit any program.
Word of Mouth will be the biggest target market strategy in my opinion. Focus on the current martial arts fitness center's members traits. Then execute internal quality control to keep and build more memberships.
I don't know if you have already thought of this but it is a very simple idea. I have large colorful magnet signs on each side of my car and I also wear my personally designed T-shirts EVERYWHERE! These forms of advertisment I found have been very effective because people can't help but look at my business name whether at a stop light, in a parking lot, in line at the bank/starbucks/post office. If you are wearing the shirt with the business name of driving the car with the sign, people feel free to ask questions about your business and this personalized commercial is one people are unlikely to forget.
http://www.toolow.com is a social networking and marketplace site. Post your company description and everyone will notice it.
It is also a buy-sell site so feel free to post items so other members can benefit.
You think about getting a website built for your company and do some online advertising. If you need any help with this feel free to reply back. Me and my business partner just started a web design and online marketing company.
Using a nice postcard size flyer with information and specials as a networking tool is great. You have something the potential customer can read or pass on to others for some type of incentive. I would make sure my website matches the information on the postcard.
1. You need to define exactly who you most likely target customer is, so you don't waste hard earned bucks promoting to people who are unlikely to become customers.
2. Create an offer that is as generous as you can make it. (remember you are buying the life time value of a customer)
3. Create a way a potential customer can test your service before they have to commit. (you are looking for ways to breakdown the initiall decision making process)
4. Distribute Flyers with your offer to businesses in your area that are already serving your target market.
Now this is important!!! The flyer should be what is known as a "Host Beneficiary Offer"
This means it should be a personal note from the owner of the other business to his/her customer,
thanking the customer for shopping at their business and offering them (the customer)
a special deal at your business.
(WHEW!!) thats a lot of stuff I know.
But, its a very low cost powerful method of growing any business.
I have got bucket loads of fully illustrated low cost ideas like this on my sites at:
Where you are most welcome... Kindest regards Lindsay Polson
Your business is local. You need to advertise that way. A Web presence is a good thing, but its longer term. You won't get the memberships you need NOW as you grow your business. Especially in the fitness industry where keywords and placements are likely sky high.
Flyers, posters, word of mouth. Go to the city, get a list of local events. Offer to do a martial arts demo for free, have flyers passed out during the event, bring a sign up table. Have your current students doing the work. They are your best form of advertising. Do you have awards, belts, trophys? Show it to the world. Give them a reason to go to your dojo. People want to know that what they are paying for is worth it.
Oh, while you're at it, get yourself listed in the locals on the Web. People are less likely to drive to the next town if they can find the same type of place IN town. Unless of course, its YOUR place and you are the the place to be. :)
Hope that helps some. Good luck.
You definitely want to promote your center locally, however many of the search engines like Google have local listings. These local listings are becoming more and more popular these days. Just do a search for "martial arts+your city" and you'll see who your competition is in your area.
Now you could spend hundreds of dollars for a professional website with a high level of SEO (search engine optimization) imbedded so you can compete, but there's an easier way.
If you go to places like http://rticlz.com and sign up for a free blog, title the blog something like "Martial Arts Center" and start writing teaching articles, you'll be surprised how quickly you'll start rising in the search engine rankings. In the sidebar you can list your place of business and location. Tag your articles with the main key phrase plus your city,state and phone number.
Once you have three or four articles written, submit each story to some social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Propeller.
This way you'll be able to test market your center on the web and it won't cost you a cent.
Now on the concept of writing articles . . .
People come to the Internet to find information and appreciate it immensely when they can find good quality info on the subject they search for. If you present yourself as an expert in the field of martial arts (or any field for that matter), people will begin to take notice.
Being considered an expert could very well bring in business that you might not normally bring in promoting locally. I'm sure your field, like many others, have phoney centers that have very little to offer their clients. But if you can "prep" them ahead of time with your knowledge on the subject, then they will trust you and be willing to travel just to be taught by you.
So yes, promote locally, but also use the web to bring in clients from other parts.
WhiteBrow, Just checking in. How's the new martial arts fitness center doing?? How many new members??
How is the business doing?? Did any of the great suggestions help??
Any thing else we can help you with??, LUCKIEST
My suggestions are to get business cards made and always carry them with you. Distribute them whenever you talk anyone about your business. On the back of the card offer a discount on their first session / class or whatever.
Talk to your local newspaper for them to cover or you submit a story concerning your grand opening.
All the other ideas about demonstrating and talking to civic groups are great.
If you have any members signed up now, find out how they came to know you and sign up. Then follow that path to focus your energy as it is one that is working for you.
The other big ideas can come later once you are up and running.
I really like puzzleman suggestion of Business Cards. Great Marketing tool.
Hope the following helps, LUCKIESTh3. 6 Steps to Small Business Success
1. Start Smart
2. Plan Ahead
3. Set up Systems
4. Seek out Sales
5. Aim for Growth
6. Leverage Opportunities
1. Start Smart.
Identify a niche. Don't compete to be the lowest cost provider. Look
for what makes your product or service unique and adds a special value
for the client and charge for that value. Every business has many
facets. Start with what you know and like; start a business that has
meaning to you. Keep in mind that we don't know what the future holds,
many of the jobs and businesses of tomorrow don't exist today. You can
create your own success.
Now is the time to dream. To start smart, you should like the idea of
the business. The way to earn a good income and build wealth is by
serving clients well, making their life better in some way-it's more
than filling a need in the marketplace. To succeed you want to test the
idea to make sure your potential clients like the idea too. Test your
2. Plan Ahead.
People often ask me why bother with a business plan? Look at the
lottery as an example. You may get lucky and get the winning ticket,
but the odds are against you when you rely on random chance. I'm a risk
taker...but not that much, minimize the risk of going into business and
maximize your potential for success. Take the time to write a plan of
how you get from point A to point B. A plan gives you a clear future
focus and increases your chances of success.
The first rule of a start-up is put some of your own money in the
business. As the owner you must be willing to capitalize the business.
The second rule is put as little of your own money as possible in the
business. Prepare your plan and look for funding for your business from
multiple sources, which can include a business loan or business line of
Don't go it alone. Plan ahead now to build your team. Your team may
include a CPA and an attorney that you work with as needed. Add a
mentor from your industry and get a SCORE mentor to help you plan for
success. No one has all the answers. You get more ideas and information
by building a success, support team that can help you plan ahead.
3. Set up Systems.
The most basic system every business should have is a good financial
system. Ask yourself how am I going to generate enough income to
support myself and my family. Begin here. Put together a personal
budget, so you know what it costs you to live. Now, you can move on to
the business budget and sales planning, so you can see how many sales
you need to break even and make a profit. The start-up expense plan,
operating budget and your accounting software are vital to your
The daunting question is how do you go about seeking out your first
sale. Recognize that since you don't have a big ad budget to be seen by
everyone, you need to target a niche and get connected in your market
community, be it local, regional or national. You need other people
selling for you-not employees-goodwill referrals. Get out and talk to
as many people as you can. Join organizations that would have clients
for your product or service. Become a visible part of your market, and
then ask for the sale. You begin the sales process with people that you
know. Yes, it's okay to start with friends and family as your first
customers, and then broaden from there.
The basic tenant of creating a company is that you own the company. You
are not just creating a job for yourself. It's less risk and less
investment to get a job. Building a business is creating a company that
is more than the job itself. Think about the future. How large do you
want the company to be in terms of sales, net profit and employees?
Your answer to each of these questions will influence how you grow.
There are varying costs and profits associated with growth. It's
important to make a deliberate choice early about how you want to grow
6. Leverage Opportunities.
Good luck. Good fortune. Good timing. All play a part in business. As a
business owner, be very clear about your core focus for the business
and how it serves clients. Your core business is what pays the bills.
Then, as an entrepreneur you are about opportunity. When you see a
potential opportunity or stroke of luck measure it against your core
business focus. Good fortune is great, when it matches your vision for
the business. Always consider if a good opportunity is the right fit
for your business. If something looks great, but it's not in sync with
your long-term plan and budget, think carefully before committing your
Depending on how aggressive you want to be and the age groups you want to go after, I will advertise in schools and offer discounts.Some schools have monthly newsletters that go home to parents and you can add a flier. Work with small shops in the area and advertise on the counter and / or window. Offer something to the store owner as an incentive. Work with small business HR departments to promote your service.Most companies have community awareness programs.
You can also go as far as a direct mail program. Use a direct mail company that will offer statistical analysis on how reaching the program you use works. Alot of people shy away from direct mail bit you would be surprised how successful it is. Peolpe keep direct mailings if they have a need now or in the future.
Let me know if I can be of service.
Master Whitebrow -
I am a member of your gym and I never could understand why such an AMAZING space didn't have a website. Even something small and simple to tease people's curiosity.
If you are curious about constructing a site - I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. I haven't come by in a month or so because work has been crazy. I'm the guy that always asks for a timer at lunch. (I only have an hour!) I'll come by. I didn't know you were looking for this!
How about giving out calendar magnets with your schedule on them. You could also add a coupon for a Free class or some other promotion.
Host a children's health & safety awareness day. Invite families to an open house where you can provide safety tips for the children (from stranger danger talks to simple martial arts moves to help them if someone grabs them), child ID kits w/fingerprint & photo, physical fitness tips, kid size equipment, face painting,smoothies, nutrition information, etc. If the kids want to come the parents will come and maybe the family will sign up. Do you have family pricing? I would run with this idea and build on it. Also network with local schools, child care centers and afterschool programs. Good Luck!
One of the most powerful tools in your markting arsenal would be free trial demo classes or seminars. These can be promoted in your local area through other vendors that you partner with. For example, to promote women's self defense: Connect with one or several fitness spas or beauty salons in your area and be sure to provide them with high quality gift certificates that they can give to their paid customers as a reward. Don't just hand them a bunch of flyers. Search the web for custom printed gift certificates on fine paper and choose the kind with gold trimmed edges (you get the idea) and be sure they have their own envelopes with a seal.
You can have the salon or spa add a custom message on the certificate that say's something like, "At
Their spa or salon name goes here, we care about how you look and feel. Take a complimentary Martial Arts or Fitness Kickboxing Class or Seminar At: Your business name and address goes here"
Be sure to modify to reflect the type of class you offer. Also note... not everyone is looking for self defense. Some hate boring redundant exercise and just want to feel good and push themselves to new physical highs and don't forget many (men and women) just want to look good. Martial Arts can fill these needs. Keep this in mind as you seek out vendors in your area to help promote each other's business.
Remember: It's a win-win for you and the other vendor. They get to give away something of value that tells their own customer's, "You're important to us" and it helps you connect with more students and training prospects.
On a side note, please check out the FirstClass Booking System ( www.FirstClassBookingSystem.com ), it allows your web site visitors the opportunity to schedule (book) their own trial classes from your web site and it helps to facilitate follow-up. The system was developed by Client By Design, LLC as one of our Martial Launch! Services ( www.MartialLaunch.com ).
Please visit Martial Launch! for more martial arts marketing tips, training, insight, products, services and ideas.
You can provide free video advertising to your local community with www.wayonda.com
ChampionsWay has a great experienced staff of consultants that can help you with the operational side of your business. Sensei Nick Dougherty recently developed the ChampionsWay Library which is an amazing resource that is updated daily with marketing collateral (editable in publisher), financial structures, daily to-do-lists, marketing campaigns and more ... look it up on the ChampionsWay website!
I also forgot to mention that they have a free online community with lot's of helpful discussion topics and free material. There are over 2500 martial arts school owners on this network and they all love to share their ideas and opinions on topics. If you have any specific questions simply register and post it!