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SecretAgentMan
15th July 2002, 23:01
Here's an article I wrote that is on my website to help spur some ideas to help promote your school. Most are basic marketing strategies, but you may find them helpful.

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7 Tips to Promote
Your Martial Arts School
by Kip Brockett

In some circles, running your martial arts school or class like a business is considered "selling out", so-to-speak. Using advertising techniques, sales techniques, and such are considered distasteful to many. But if you don't have anyone in the class to teach, then you certainly don't have a class!

It would benefit every school owner at the very least, to purchase a few sales books, audio lessons, or attend a seminar. A cursory knowledge of sales techniques will help you in many areas of your life, not just your business life.

With that being said, I would like to offer 7 tips to help boost your student base. I hope they at least spark some ideas in you to help bring in more students.

Tip No. 1: Give a Demonstration
There are many places to give demonstrations of your martial art. Local malls, schools, and cultural organizations are a great place to start. You should give plenty of time to schedule one for a school as most schools have their activities scheduled months in advance.

Tip No. 2: Yellow Page Ads
I don't know about you, but the first place I look for local martial arts schools is in the Yellow Pages. I know these are expensive, but they will pay for themselves in business brought in.

Tip No. 3: Press Release
There are many sources out there to show you how to write a Press Release. Make sure it is news worthy! Examples are:
Starting a new business
Student who successfully used martial arts skills in a self-defense situation
Sponsoring an event (See Tip No. 4)
Hosting a Tournament

Tip No. 4: Sponsor an Event
Get involved with local events by sponsoring through your school. Examples could be:
Local Golf Tournament
Sponsor a team in a run or walk-a-thon
Get involved with a local Tele-thon

Tip No. 5: Brochures
Brochures are a great way to advertise your school. You can include information about your school, your programs, your style, or just about anything you think is of interest to prospective students.

Tip No. 6: Write an Article
For Martial Direct!
That's right! Martial Direct is looking for good articles. If you have an article or an idea for an article, e-mail us at webmaster@martialdirect.com with the subject to see if it's of interest to us.

Tip No. 7: Give Something Away!
I'm talking about Specialty Advertising here. Don't just give any old thing away. Give something away with your school name or slogan on it. Specialty Advertising is one of the most cost-effective methods of advertising there is- not to mention successful!

Click Here for more ideas on Specialty Advertising!

I hope that something here at least stimulated the old grey matter for something that could work for you and your school. Until next time....

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Kip Brockett
www.MartialDirect.com (http://www.martialdirect.com)
"martial arts directory,
interviews, articles, and more"

mamboking
16th July 2002, 15:03
In addition to all of your excellent ideas, I would add:

8. Have a website. The second place I go to look for a school after the yellow pages is the internet. Just make sure you include your location on the home page so that you show up in search engines. Also, make the page look professional. If you don't know what professional looks like, then you don't need to look any further that E-Budo. It is very appealing to the eye and it isn't all full of Flash scripts, javascript and java. All of those things significantly slow down page loading times and are not in any way compatible across different browsers/operating systems.

And yes I know almost everybody uses Win98/IE but does the extra "cuteness" factor actually add enough value to make up for potentially losing a customer? (BTW, I use Freebsd/Mozilla)

SecretAgentMan
16th July 2002, 17:47
Excellent points.

I totally agree about the website. Especially with something like the directory I'm building. It's of such a value when someone finds your school there to click on the link to your home page. And with all the free ones available, there's really no excuse not to have one. And it gives you the chance to say what you want to the student, unlike a Yellow Page ad.

There's a lot of temptation to use all the latest flashy stuff for your website, but you have to remember that there are still people out there that have old computers and old browsers. If you design your site with all the glitter, you cut those possible students off. It's better to have a simple site with lots of content than to have the "Look at me!" page that says nothing. For one thing, why would you come back? You've already seen the flashy stuff after one visit! :)

Kip Brockett
www.MartialDirect.com (http://www.martialdirect.com)
"martial arts directory,
interviews, articles, and more"

shinbushi
18th July 2002, 22:16
Originally posted by SecretAgentMan


Tip No. 3: Press Release
There are many sources out there to show you how to write a Press Release. Make sure it is news worthy! Examples are:
Starting a new business
Student who successfully used martial arts skills in a self-defense situation
Sponsoring an event (See Tip No. 4)
Hosting a Tournament



When you write a press release and fax it to the media outlets you you include a coversheet?

SecretAgentMan
18th July 2002, 23:21
shinbushi,

That's a good question. I'm no expert on press releases by any means, but in everything I've ever read on the subject, I can't recall anyone ever mentioning a cover sheet. Most start with "For Immediate Release" and tell you to make sure to put contact information.

I'll see if I can find anything that advises a cover sheet.

Do a search on any good search engine and you'll find quite a few sites with advise on press releases. My favorite is a multi-search engine call Dogpile at www.dogpile.com (http://www.dogpile.com)

Takes the hassle out of looking on multiple engines.

Kip

www.MartialDirect.com (http://www.martialdirect.com)
"martial arts directory,
interviews, articles, and more"

Jdalton51
19th July 2002, 03:55
Typical press release style is the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Information: Jess Dalton (XXX) XXX-XXXX
Joe Nobody (XXX) XXX-XXX

Title
(font size 14 times new roman)

Press Release Garble
-30-

Press Information




Press release garble should be the basics: who what when where why
Press information should include info about photography opportunities, whether or not an appointment is neccesary. The -30- is there to indicate the end of the information that can be printed.

Shitoryu Dude
19th July 2002, 05:58
The press release routine has garnered Chip Wright in Medford, Oregon a huge % of the local MA market. Not that the school is worth a crap (or at least wasn't the last time I bothered to check in the late 80's) since Chip was far more interested in making a buck than he was in teaching. Anyway, any time he or any of his students did anything remotely newsworthy he'd call up the local paper or TV station and summon a reporter. Not only did he have a huge sign facing down on one of the few major downtowns streets, you could always count on seeing some mention of him or his gym on the news. It was the largest dojo I have ever seen to this date (at least 250 active students at any time) and was located in a hick logging town of only 40,000.

:beer:

shinbushi
19th July 2002, 17:45
What do you just call the local paper and say I need a reporter?

Jdalton51
19th July 2002, 21:59
The way it works in Salt Lake is I send my press release to the assignment desk and if they deem it news worthy a crew is sent out to me. For papers, I send it to either the editor in chief (if it is a small town/college paper) or again, the assignment desk. It can either be emailed or faxed.

There's not much you can do to guarentee coverage unless you know a reporter personally. A few times, I have been able to call a reporter up and arrange a story, but that occasion is rare.

Shitoryu Dude
19th July 2002, 22:09
chip had made himself something of a local celebrity in a small town - I think all he had to do was call the paper and say he had a news story.

:beer:

bgb
19th July 2002, 22:37
Don't forget the local weeklies.

My experience (as the amateur press release agent for a church :rolleyes: ) is that they are starved for "news."

An event which generates a one-paragraph mention in the dailies might get a whole article in the weekly. Or, it might not run at all!

Barb Bloom