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!
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:
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
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 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.