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Top 3 Expert Tips for Promoting Your Martial Arts Camp Online

Whether you are a leader in the martial arts market or new to the business, there are always some improvements that can help you to attract more students. Through my experience of working at the biggest martial arts travel website, I’ve learned that many martial arts camps experience similar issues when it comes to promoting their services. Today, I would like to share with you some useful tips that have been proven to bring results for gyms and camps we worked with. Find out which of these tips you already know and which you might want to start using!

1. Harness the Power of Reviews
Tips article1

Why Is It Important? Your prospects understand that texts you publish on your website are self-promotional, so they may be skeptic about the information you share. Nonetheless, they are more open to consider opinions of other people who visited your training camp. Mdgadvertising.com reported that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
How to Apply It: Include reviews from your customers across all your online marketing channels: website, blog, social media, online ads, and email newsletter. On your website, along with traditional ‘Testimonials’ page, you can also include reviews to the sidebar of the most popular pages. Don’t make customers search for the reviews; since it’s your best weapon, make it easy to find them!
Interesting and personal stories of your students are also a good material for engaging social media and blog posts. If you have loyal students with good writing skills, invite them to contribute to your blog. It’s a good way to refresh your content with new voices because even if you have good content writers, your audience might get ‘tired’ of their writing style and will be glad to read some fresh insights or training experiences. Don’t forget to include some of the most popular martial arts hashtags to your posts to increase your visibility on social media.

Dos and Don’ts. Like any other promotional message, reviews must differentiate you from other camps out there. Your customers often do not know what you expect them to write in reviews, so they will share generic comments like “family-like atmosphere” or “excellent service”. It’s unlikely that such reviews will benefit people who’d like to learn more about your camp because they do not provide any specific information. Thus, they don’t show why your camp is better than competitors. As an example, let’s compare these two reviews:

“The Super Pro Fighting Camp is a super cool place. Great atmosphere, polite staff, delicious food! It’s awesome that they can accommodate any dietary request: from vegan food to Paleo diet. It’s possible to review your whole meal plan prior to arriving to camp—very convenient! It’s so easy and comfortable to train there!” “When I firstly went to Super Pro Fighting Camp, I was worried very much that I will not be able to keep up with my kidney diet. I have chronic kidney disease, and all products that are typical for local cuisine are strictly forbidden for me, especially meat and spicy foods. It turned out to be no problem at all. The cook, Lee, even asked me to bring a list of my favorite recipes and cooked my favorite meat-free lasagna. My food still was quite spicy, but much better than other foods I could choose from. Thank you Lee for being attentive to my needs!”

While the first review is positive and the customer appears enthusiastic, it’s so generic that each one of your competitors could copy it to their website and nobody would notice that it doesn’t belong to them. Since it gives no specific information, your customers may forget it right after leaving your website. This is why a good review should tell a personal story; it should be concrete and straight-to-the-point. While there is nothing special about a camp with ‘excellent service’, it’s hard to forget the one where a client can order everything for her camp meal, even her favorite lasagna. Stories like this appeal to your customers on an emotional level, which will help you to stand out from your competitors.

The problem with good reviews is that they are very hard to get. Your students may not have time for writing reviews; they may be confused with what and how you want them to write.
When you ask a student to write a review, send them a short list of questions; this way you will gently guide them towards the kind of information you’d like to get from them. Here is a list of sample questions you could ask:

1. What goal did you have before coming to the camp?
2. Were you able to achieve the goal(s) you set?
3. What challenges or issues did you encounter during your training?
4. What did you like and dislike about the school and/or training program?
5. To whom would you recommend this camp?

2. Use Your Own Photos

Why Is It Important? Posts and articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than posts without images (source: Mdgadvertising.com). An image will be the first thing on your page that the client will notice, so it must be appealing and catchy.

When your prospects are looking for a training camp online, it’s important for them to understand how it looks like and what to expect. Relevant and real pictures help prospects to visualize your camp and to picture themselves in it. This way, even before visiting your camp, they become emotionally attached to it.

How to Apply: Use photos of real people. Studies show that real and relevant pictures improve conversions, while stock photos are generally ignored by visitors. Generic stock images don’t generate any emotions; thus, they are not engaging your visitors with your camp’s brand. There is also a risk that your competitor(s) may use the same image, and in this case, customers may even confuse you with them. This way, stock images wash out your camp’s brand identity. As an example, think which of these pictures appeals more to you:
Tips article3
Image source: Middle Kingdom Kung Fu School

Dos and Don’ts. Image is a more convincing form of communication than text. Instead of writing ‘our camp is located next to the amazing beach with crystal clear water and beautiful palm trees, so you can have the best experience ever’, try sharing several pictures of the place and let your readers make this conclusion themselves.

3. Remember about the Importance of Good Formatting
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Why Is It Important? Web users don’t read online content fully, they tend to scan and skim through text. According to the study of the main usability expert, Jakob Nielsen, an average visitor reads less than 20% of the text on the page. However, if the text is presented in a concise and scannable manner, chances are that your future students might be willing to spend more time on reading your content.

How to Apply: Give your text some structure, It’s easier for our brain to grasp information if it is organized in a logical way. Use subheadings, numbered or bulleted lists, captions to help your visitors to navigate through your text; it will definitely help you to improve readability of your website.

Divide your text into short paragraphs with no more than 3-4 lines per paragraph. Long pieces of text don’t give readers a chance to stop and take a break, while text divided into short paragraphs is easier on our eyes.

I hope that these tips will help you to attract many new students, so more people experience the wonderful effects of martial arts!

P.S. Did you find our tips useful? Feel free to share your feedback in the comments section!

AUTHOR: Maryna Lus
Maryna Lus Maryna is a writer and consultant at BookMartialArts.com, the biggest martial arts travel website. She helps martial arts camps of various styles and locations to establish their online presence, so more and more people can discover the amazing world of martial arts.

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The effective Taekwon-Do after-school program



SPONSORED BY 1TKD

Creating ITF Instructors, Schools and Organizations that operate professionally and profitably while maintaining the integrity of Taekwon-Do. For more information about 1TKD, click here

After-School Program Brings In 15-20 New Students In Just One Month!

There are many ways to do an after-school Taekwon-Do program. I’m not here to tell you which one is the best one, but I am going to share with you how I do an after-school Taekwon-Do program that is only one month long and reliably brings in 15-20 new students every time I do it.

I only call it an after-school program when talking to you because that’s what you know it as. But, I call it something different, and that’s the reason why I can get my program into the public schools in my area.

I don’t know how much experience you have dealing with the public school system, but it can be a real pain in the ass… and I don’t blame them, it should be! In Phoenix, unless you are a non-profit or an “approved vendor” you can’t get access to the kids. It’s a pain in the ass for me as a business owner who sees a school full of hundreds of future Taekwon-Do students, but the rules are in place to protect the kids from being blasted by advertising all day in school. Could you imagine what school would look like if businesses could advertise there? You’d have desks “Built by the Home Depot”, recess sponsored by the local health club, lunch sponsored by Taco Bell and homework sponsored by Pepsi.

The rules are there for good reason, but it often makes it difficult to get your foot in the door. And often times, when you do get in, they want you to do a program that meets once a week for 9 weeks, you can only charge $30-$60 for it and you are just listed on a flyer along with 10 other after-school activities. You can’t control the marketing, you are only getting 10  to 20 kids (if you’re lucky), a few of them are the because the parents need someone to watch their kids for an extra hour after school and whatever excitement they had about Taekwon-Do usually dies in the 6th or 7th week. If you’re lucky you’ll get one or two to join your school.

You wind up making $500 or so for two months and a week of work, but you also paid for the uniforms or t-shirts you give them, gas driving to and from the school and it takes up prime class time when you could be teaching students at your school. Then there’s the really adventurous instructors out there who think you can make more money doing more programs and drive more students into your school. You try doing the same thing at five different schools and quickly discover that this isn’t worth the time and energy for the little bit of reward.

I know because I did this. I had even given up on trying to get into the public schools for a while because of how little return on investment there was.

Then I discovered a new way to execute the program that was short, exciting, produced amazing results and was loved by the teachers, parents and school administration. After doing this, the schools can’t wait to have me back.

How is this possible?

They love me because I make them money. If you’ve ever spent any time in a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) or PTA (Association) then you’ve heard them talk at length about the fundraisers they are always doing. Since the beginning of this school year at my son’s school they’ve had a fundraiser at McDonalds and Culvers, sold cookie dough, sold crap you can buy with kids artwork on it, did their fall festival and wont stop talking about the damn box tops that are worth 10 cents each – and that’s just since September!

They celebrate when something brings in a few hundred dollars like they’ve hit the jackpot. Now I know they need all the money they can get, but I was blown away at how little they were able to generate. For example, their Fall Festival (that dozens of parents and teachers worked on for months) only generated about $2000. That’s not chump change by any means, but for all the hours of work that went into it by all those people, it’s still frustrating.

So when I said, I’ll do a fundraiser for the school that will make at least $750 and usually makes around $1500, they were all ears.

Here’s how I did it.

First you need to get an “in” at the school and use your “in” to get to whoever is in charge of fundraising for the school. Most often this is someone in the PTO and not the principal or some administrator. I’ve learned that when the right parents speak, the administration listens.

Then you need to give them a break down of your program which is a fundraiser that teaches character development. You lead with what’s in it for them ($$$ and well behaved kids) and follow with how the program works.

Here’s how it works:

I take over the P.E. classes for three to four days. Long enough for me to see every kid in every class in the school. In the P.E. class we talk about the rules of Taekwon-Do and I interact with them as if they were at class in the school. They learn attention, bow, Yes Sir, and we talk about courtesy. Then I do a few moves with them. I only do blocking drills because otherwise you’ll have kids throwing kicks and punches in class for the rest of the day. Then they use the blocking skills they just learned and we do some pad drills and they have a blast.

I ask them if they want to do more, they all scream, “YES SIR!” and I hand out the flyers. The kids are all talking about it, the teachers love me because I told the kids they had to say YES SIR and YES MA’AM for the rest of the week and the school is buzzing about you being there. Kid’s see you walking around campus in your do bok and are super excited. Then they go home and won’t leave their parents alone about this program. Oh, and the teachers are all incentivised to fill the program as well because it benefits the whole school.

The flyers explain the program and the cost. I make a big deal about how all the money collected goes directly back to the school. They even make their checks out to the school, not me. Not only are they signing up for a great program, they contributing to their school as well.

They have the rest of the week to register and the program starts the following week. It meets twice a week for 3 weeks. There’s character development homework that they must do. Part of that is the parent signing the homework sheet and sharing what happened (which provides you stacks of testimonials). When they turn in their homework they get a stripe on their belt or a sticker and there’s a competition for who gets the most. There’s ways to earn extra credit stripes and they become rabid trying to get them.

We only work on one or two techniques each class and if they are a good group, I might teach them 4 directional punch. We finish talking about a tenet and I send them home.

In between the third and fourth class I hold a special class at the Taekwon-Do school for the kids to come “do it for REAL” during the program and they love it. After the sixth class, that following Friday we have a graduation for students at the Taekwon-Do school. Now I’ve got all the parents who are already impressed with the homework these kids are doing and the kids are impressing the parents with what they’ve learned during the class. After the graduation I give them the opportunity to enroll.

It’s common to get 10%-15% of the total students you taught in the P.E. classes to do the after-school fundraiser. Then you should be able to enroll 20%-30% of those kids into your Taekwon-Do program.

The best program I did was a few years ago and had 69 kids in the after-school fundraiser and we enrolled 27 of them at the end of that month. What would you do with 27 new students? How about just 10?

I know in this article I focused on public schools, but this works just the same with private and charter schools. Actually, it’s easier to get in with those schools because they have much more flexibility with what they can do with and for their students.

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Successfully getting qualified new members to come check out your school has a lot more to do with understanding the real secrets of direct-response marketing… and a lot less to do with chasing after prospects.

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What To Avoid, At All Costs

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Why Your Taekwon-Do School Should Be A Referral Based School

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Back To School Taekwon-Do Marketing

What does it take to get kids marching right off of the school bus and right into school? I’m going to share a few key strategies in Taekwon-Do marketing we use to make this happen.

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Who’s the Real Competition for Your Taekwon-Do School?

Your Taekwon-Do School Competition

When most school owners talk about their competition, they speak of other ITF schools, the Karate school down the street, the ATA school a few miles away or the Kung-Fu school across town.  If you find yourself agreeing with this perception of your competition, then it’s time for an eye opener.

When your students quit, the majority of them don’t go to another martial arts school.  They quickly fill that new free time playing other sports, they play video games, they watch television, they find other ways to exercise.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tips For Keeping More Students

For most people, they know next to nothing about martial arts when they begin training with you.  Taekwon-Do is lumped in with all other martial arts and as far as they are concerned, if they’re done with Taekwon-Do then they’re done with martial arts.

[Tweet “Other schools, no matter what style they teach, are not your competition.”]

Your competition is ANYTHING that your potential students could be doing instead of going to class.  Everything including video games, television, little league, pop-warner football, music lessons, and on and on.  Anything that could distract them from training.

As a Taekwon-Do school owner, you must find a way to separate yourself from the crowd and become noticed in the flurry of images, advertisements and offers that people deal with everyday.

An article on CBS News stated:

“Well, it’s a non-stop blitz of advertising messages,” President of the Marketing Firm Yankelovich, Jay Walker-Smith said. “Everywhere we turn we’re saturated with advertising messages trying to get our attention.”

Walker-Smith says we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970′s to as many as 5,000 a day today.

How do you stand out when you have to compete with the 5,000 other ads people are exposed to everyday?

You do it by sticking to your guns.  You do it by owning who you are and what you provide for people everyday.  Then you get THAT message out and develop relationships based on that.

The worst thing you could do is try to compete with major corporations spending millions on advertising (and all the other schmucks trying to keep pace with them, who can’t afford it!).

You can actually separate yourself from the clutter fairly easily and inexpensively.

One of the best things we ever did was to start using lead generator ads, a free gift and an auto-responder to keep up with our leads without any work on our part.  After they interacted with all that, we just have to call the prospect and schedule an appointment.

A lead generator is an ad that is nothing like you’d expect to see in a magazine or television commercial.  You’ve seen them before, but you may not have noticed that is was just a lead generator ad.  These ads are fairly simple looking, mostly text and have a specific message that speaks to a specific target market.

SEE ALSO: The Taekwondo Sales Funnel

One I’m using now is, “Are you tired of fighting with your kids to clean their room, do their homework or to get off the video games?”

That one question tells me a great deal about anyone who answers that ad.  Just because they answered that ad I now know that they are a parent, have at least one child who is probably in school and that the parents have difficulty dealing with the kids at times.

Notice that I didn’t mention Taekwon-Do in there anywhere.  My intention is to get the attention of frustrated parents who are looking for a helping hand when it comes to instilling courtesy, respect and self-discipline in their children.  Isn’t that what we do everyday?

Then it’s followed up with, “Face it.  We both know that parenting is no easy task.”

That simple sentence tells the parent that I understand their struggles and that it’s okay to be struggling with being a parent from time to time.

Finally I say, “You don’t have to do it alone.  A solution exists, and it’s easier than you think!”

Now they know I’m on their side and I’ve mentioned that there is a solution.  This peaks their curiosity and they want to learn more.

At the bottom there’s a link to a website where they enter their contact information and our relationship has begun.  Also, at this point I have separated myself from all the other clutter that is out there fighting for their attention.

Lead generation ads only work if they are part of a larger marketing system and I’ll be going deeper into lead generation ads and email auto-responders in upcoming issues.

What I want you to take away from this article is who your real competition is and that your key to separating yourself from the crowd is going to be your ability to create and maintain relationships with your prospects.  Many aspects of this can be automated and you’ll be amazed at how many people come to your school who feel like they already know you!

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You Think The World Is Interested In what You Are!

Misconception #5 has been the downfall of many, many martial arts schools.

It may seem obvious that not everyone is interested in what you are, but for school owners they rarely, if ever, take that into consideration when making decisions about their marketing.

Ever heard of beer goggles?

Well… too many instructors suffer from what I call Black Belt goggles. Just as beer goggles impair your vision and judgement leading to bad decisions (which I’m sure has never happened to you), Black Belt goggles do the same when it comes to your marketing.

Your marketing is how you introduce yourself to the world through ads, pamphlets, flyers, pictures, business cards, social media and even the way you design your school.

What happens is you use pictures, say things and do things in and around your school that are a reflection of the things that YOU like, that YOU think are cool, and that YOU think look good.

“What’s wrong with that?” you ask. Well, nothing if your school is just a place for you and your friends to hang out and is an extension of the man cave you don’t have at home.

But if you have any interest in running a successful, professional and profitable school, then there’s everything wrong with that.

When you are marketing your business, you need to develop what I call White Belt goggles. You need to be able to see the world through the eyes of a prospective student walking into your school or seeing your website for the first time.

SEE ALSO: How To Create A Martial Arts Website That Say “”Ka-Ching!”

Your actions need to be driven by the needs, wants and interests of those people who are looking for your services, your target market.

For example, I found the picture above as the main photo on a martial arts school’s facebook page. Now imagine you are an adult with no martial arts experience looking for a school to train at. What message does that picture send? You’re thinking either you’re the guy who is going to be getting kicked in the head or that you’ll never be able to do what the guy in the air is doing.

If you’re a parent looking for a school for your child, you might think the picture looks cool and maybe in 10-15 years your kid could do that.

How about this head break?

board breaking

board breaking

It may be an older photo, but I found it currently on the home page of a martial arts school’s website!

What message does that send? (I’ll let you make one up for that one)

When you are marketing your business, you need to develop what I call White Belt goggles. You need to be able to see the world through the eyes of a prospective student walking into your school or seeing your website for the first time.

Your actions need to be driven by the needs, wants and interests of those people who are looking for your services, your target market. What pictures matter to them? What results matter to them? What do they want to get out of training?

Bottom line is that your marketing needs to appeal to your target market and the benefits that Taekwon-Do offers for that specific group. If you have mostly kids, then focus on the confidence, respect, motor skill development, discipline and fun. If you mainly train adults then highlight flexibility, weight loss, endurance and focus.

It’s time to take off your beer gog… I mean your Black Belt goggles and put on a pair of White Belt goggles. Then, take a fresh look at your website, at the waiting room and workout room in your school, at your logo and at all your marketing materials and ask yourself if what you see is appealing to the kind of students you are trying to attract to your school?

[Tweet “Anywhere you find something inconsistent, change it!”]

Now don’t freak out and think that you have to change everything about your school and that there’s something wrong with the fact that you appreciate seeing a good kick to the head or a good break.

Even though your new students may not appreciate it yet, in time they will!

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