In the famous baseball movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner was convinced to “build it and they will come”. If you’ve never seen the movie he turns his farm into a baseball diamond to which the Chicago Black Sox come.
And while this Hollywood flick has a warm and fuzzy feel to it, what they didn’t tell you in that movie is that there is a HECK of a lot more to making something successful that will draw loads of people.
Building your dream is part of it, but if nobody knows you’re there, why will they come?
Smart martial arts school owners realize there are 3 parts to getting exposure.
I’ve heard so many stories of great teachers opening their own full time school and then failing within a short time because they forgot to do 3 of the most important things.
You can have the best dojo in your area, but unless people know you’re there; and unless you’re constantly getting a flood of new traffic through your doors and onto the floor, you’re expenses are going to outweigh your profits. And when that happens even the best teachers are only prepared to subsidise their club for so long before they have to close their doors.
Each week I look to do something to increase the exposure of my karate school. This might be as simple as inviting someone new to try class (like a neighbor, or someone I meet during the day, etc), to doing a full scale joint venture promotion with another business in my area.
The point is to be proactive and not just to sit by the phone and wait for it to ring. Do something right now to increase the exposure of your martial arts school.
Stuck for ideas?
Here’s 3 for you…
1. Swap flyers with local businesses in your area. Preferably ones who have the types of customers you want for students. For example, a good business would be a gym or a dance studio, as these have active people who exercise. A bad business to trade flyers with would be an antique shop.
2. Network with friends of friends. Next time your at a bbq, birthday party, etc, be sure to hand out business cards and actively promote your business.
3. Set up your web site and be sure to put your web address on all of your marketing materials. This means your windows, flyers, cards, etc. Also sign up with Google Adwords. You can pay just a few cents per click to have highly targeted and local traffic sent to your site.
Of course you can always take a full page ad with the Yellow Pages that will cost you $1000’s but I can’t tell you how well that works, because I’ve never used them. I’ve always looked for low cost marketing alternatives which has grown my school from nothing to approx. 140 students in 5 years. Many of the ideas I use I got from Marco Mazzanti’s Early Learning System, which I absolutely swear by.
Funakoshi said, “Karate is like boiling water – you must continually add heat”.
It’s the same for your karate business.