View Full Version : School Promotion

11th December 2003, 20:16

What types of advertising have you found to be most beneficial? From all I have been able to determine the top 3 (and the only ones that really work with any reliability) are:

1) Word of mouth/referrals. I know of some schools that rely soley on this and do very well. I do however feel you need to reach a certain point before this becomes reliable.

2) Yellow pages.

3) Web site.

Number 2 and 3 could very well be switched around as more and more people use the web as opposed to the yellow pages.

From my experience most other print advertising (flyers, etc) are primarily wastes of resources and time.

So...what methods do you use currently? What methods did you use during your initial building phase to get where you are now?

Thanks in advance!

11th December 2003, 20:23
Dear Mike;

On other areas of the dojo posts I said that there really is no one source that is the greatest. Many areas work well.

I think the key to good marketing is a host of different ones together. Then you have all areas covered.

I don't advertise in the Yellow pages. To me it is very expensive and the return is not that great. I can get 10 times the amount of coverage with immediate response in local papers for half the price.

In spirit;
Allie Alberigo

11th December 2003, 20:34
Originally posted by Allie

I don't advertise in the Yellow pages. To me it is very expensive and the return is not that great. I can get 10 times the amount of coverage with immediate response in local papers for half the price.

In spirit;
Allie Alberigo

Thanks for the response. I will really have to watch our yellow pages results for this year as it is definitely expensive (and I don't even have a very large Ad). So far though a majority of our students have found us through this media.

11th December 2003, 20:45
You cant beat the yellow pages for promotion. Thats the first place most people look when they want to start taking martial arts.

12th December 2003, 05:08
okay here's the question. How many calls have you received from the yellow pages. How many from the other sources of advertising. Can you give me an idea. Just curious.

In spirit;
Allie Alberigo

John Lindsey
12th December 2003, 05:36

If a school owner only thinks of finding only students who are looking for a school, you will never have a lot of students. A lot of times, a door hanger or flyer will trigger a response to attend the classes even if they were not looking for it before.

12th December 2003, 05:51
Originally posted by Allie
okay here's the question. How many calls have you received from the yellow pages. How many from the other sources of advertising. Can you give me an idea. Just curious.

In spirit;
Allie Alberigo


Unfortunately I do not have a good answer for you. Our primary source of advertising currently is yellow and web pages. We have done a small amount of flyering (door to door variety, student placement at their work/schools, and selected local businesses) but so far have only had a handful of those come back.

We are still a new school and do not yet have an advertising budget much beyond paying the cutthroats at the phone company ;)

12th December 2003, 13:42
Dear Mike;

The first step is to start keeping stats on who is coming from where. Do you know how many students joined your school last year, how many quit and how many remain from year to year. This is important it could tell you a great deal about your school and what is going on with the students.

There is a saying to plug the holes in the bucket. The more people that come in the front door the more that go out the back door. Plug the holes first.

In spirit;

8th July 2004, 05:06
Just one tip I hope you will find helpful here.

I'm not sure if this is easy to do with the US phone system, but in Norway you pay something like 1 USD per extra phone number on the same line.

So, if you're looking to determine how effective a particular kind of advertising is, you can give different phone numbers with the different pieces of advertising. That way, you can tell where they got the number from. Pretty cheap, too.

8th July 2004, 22:15
The easiest way to track where they come from is to ask people where they got your number.

As Allie pointed out, finding where they are coming from and where they are going are the biggest factors. If you sign up 2 a week but loose 3 not a good thing.

Since you get a majority of your students from the areas surrounding your schools it would make sense that local papers and flyers (more locally based promotions) would give you the best "bang for your buck" as someone is more apt to go somewhere local as opposed to a metropolitan phone book which may cover a much larger area.

Also for the "word of mouth" don't forget school promotions such as "bring a friend to class" or "host a birthday party" or "free trial coupons" that encourage people to stop by to check you out or will bring into your school (like the birthday party).

9th July 2004, 14:56
When I served as president of our dojo, we examined the statistics related to the yellow pages advertisements (how they found out about our school was a question asked on the intake form). This stat. has been followed for about six years now.

The advertisement easily paid for itself for most of those years. A major trend has developed over the last three years. The dojo website became a more important advertisement tool. In the last year, it has become the number one tool, which resulted in us dropping our advertisement (we still have free straight listing). We are also in the process of re-designing our website so as to become a more effective tool with advertising our dojo.

Marc Abrams
Shin Budo Kai Aikido, New York City

12th July 2004, 06:57
I am teaching at a well known "Community Center" which is about as well run as any voulinteer org ie, badly !
Our budjet is miniscule, what are some good ways to get our name out in the community at little cost to us ?
Any tips would be treasured !

Gregory (Gavriel) Poretz

13th July 2004, 23:08
Just my few cents....

I definitely agree with Marc that the Yellow Pages are a good way to advertise your school. I have been a student of the martial arts for about 12 years now. I have moved around several times and each time I relocate the first thing I do is look at the Yellow Pages to see what martial arts are available. For me it is a quick reference of the martial arts scene for a particular area. A second route for me is word-of-mouth referrals although if you are new in an area you don't always have this luxury. I have also found word-of-mouth referrals very unreliable as I feel that many students are not aware that they belong to a mcdojo. I have also helped other sensei's by posting flyers at University campuses which was a complete waste of time and energy.

Matt Reeves

9th August 2004, 03:23
Just an idea, but what about Advertising on the radio?

29th August 2004, 02:39
I've also moved around a lot and the yellowpages was always my first resource. I'd then go to the place, rather then call. I don't think anyone ever asked me where I heard about them, so they don't know how effective the yellow page ad was. Websites have been pretty useless for finding local schools for me.

One guy told me that the best advertising he had was on the back cover of the recycler (a local popular publication for classified ads for buying and selling things - not personal ads, although in a mag of that type might work great).

7th September 2004, 10:15
In our country only
Yellow pages
Web site


Simon Fraser
7th September 2004, 10:27
I recently had to advertise a beginners course for my dojo, and I put posters up in the local corner shops, in the community centre where we train, in dojo members' workplaces, on the website, and an ad in the local paper. By far the most expensive was the ad in the local newspaper, and I didn't get a single person through it. The most common way people found out about it was the mention on the club website - two people had found that within an hour of me putting the poster up there. Mind you, if you search for our martial art and the name of our town, we're the top link, so that probably helped. I had half a dozen responses just from word of mouth, two or three from posters in the local stores, and one or two from posters up at work in big companies.

22nd September 2004, 19:47
I have found that advertizing in the Yellow Pages is more of a status than actual source of obtaining new students.

A few new students do come that way, but I have found over the course of my teaching career that the best thing for myself and my students is to be highly visible. We participate in every community affair, parties, celebrations at national holidays, out in the park, and we also frequently train outdoors. Regardless of the weather we hold out door classes. It is a good training method to work students at their maximum potential as they may relax a bit in the dojo. Students get rid of their shyness to perform in front of crowds, their self esteem improves, skill improves and the school is visibly active in the community.

If instructors do have other source of earning an income and do not depend on the dojo for their sole survival, then, producing quality students is the focal point as opposed to how many will enter through the door to register. A school's success is not categorized by the number of students but by the quality of students. Huge numbers are easily defeated by few well trained, well focused clear thinking individuals.

But, I do understand that the rent must be paid, and all the other bills must be met also. I solved this problem 19 years ago by becoming a non profit organization. We support the community by offerring a variety of classes in which karate and kobudo are included. In this way the rent is paid, and the teaching method is not compremised.

But then, I also have a full time job.

5th October 2004, 10:14
I've made a website in which I promote the dojo I train in. I've found it to be a good way to advertise. I think newspaper adds are OK too and banners placed at certain ocasions (tourneys). The best advertisement could come from "word of mouth". A happy costumer bring some more people. A serious instructor who knows how to attract people and keep them inside by teaching them and respecting them would survive in this world full of MA offers.
And I think a dojo team should get involved in many social things. They should be everywhere :) Not to annoy but to attract attention.

5th October 2004, 18:16
I do agree that the dojo needs to be involved in many social events. Is is one positive way to keep the youth within the dojo and to focus their energy into constructive things. Their sense of pride is boosted by friends and family members who cheer them on at these performances.

In Japan, a lot of thought goes into selecting a dojo because the individual will be there for the long haul. Most dojo have a few select members, and only few dojo have large numbers. Most Japanese work and have work obligations, have a family and family obligations, and to add balance in their lives also train and/or learn something. It is unthinkable to think about being promoted or be noticed in the dojo. One has to earn such a place in the dojo. Once part of the group very rarely they leave. It is perceived as each person's responsibility to do his duty for the success of the dojo. Success, however, does not translate into huge numbers of students. It translates into quality of students.