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How to Plan Martial Arts Birthday Parties for Kids

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Birthday parties are a super versatile tool that can directly impact the bottom line and immediate cash flow of your martial arts school. Four major benefits include:

  1. Getting leads and new members
  2. Creating business partnerships
  3. Increasing retention and your school’s sense of community
  4. Improving your recurring income

With a targeted plan, like the one we’ve outlined here, you can start using birthday parties tomorrow as a part of your business strategy. It’s important to know that you, the owner, do not have to be solely responsible for running the parties that you host.

Having a staff member who is good with people is good enough. Creating positive, memorable experiences will do more for your retention and lead generation in this instance that touting your expertise.

Follow these five steps, in addition to everything we talk about in our video above, and you’ll become the community favorite spot for birthday parties.

1) Know your industry

Knowing your industry may seem like obvious advice, but industry heavily influences aspects like activities, themes, marketing, and business partnerships. What will work to make a sports center unique and attractive for parents will most likely not work for a martial arts school. It’s important to understand your target or ideal participants: how to engage them and how your business can create the best experience for the birthday kid, family, and friends.

How you can differentiate your business to start, according to industry, is most easily done through themes and activities. For example, you can use well-known pop culture references (Ninja Turtles is a classic) or anything else relevant to your birthday celebrant’s interests.

2) What to include in your birthday party package

Your party package should focus on

  • providing the space,
  • creating an agenda,
  • leading the entertainment/activities
  • and basic food accommodations (pizza is a good option).

This is where you can create your competitive advantage over other businesses in the area that only provide the space but no activities. Keep in mind that parents may want to have more control over the details, like cake and decorations. When you decide on your party package, it’s best that you avoid the hassle of super personal details and be strategic about what you provide.

Timeline & Expectations

Aim to run your parties between 90 and 120 minutes. We recommend using the first 10 minutes for a tour of your school or gym. If everyone is new, take the opportunity to introduce yourself and lead the tour yourself. If the birthday celebrant is a member of your facility, have he or she lead the group.

After the tour, transition the group to your planned lesson, workout, or activity. Establish behavioral expectations by using titles, like sir, ma’am, Mr., and Ms. Setting expectations and following through with them is important because it’s a selling point for parents in two ways:

  • you’re ensuring that everyone leaves with a great experience (more birthday parties) and
  • you’re showing that you can foster discipline in their kids (meaning they’re more likely to buy from you).

Include giveaways, like a free uniform or trial membership, to reward your small guests for good behavior. Again, your goal in hosting birthdays is to create more interest in your school.

3) Decide your price

Birthday parties at your school fall in the marketing/lead generation category—meaning that your pricing doesn’t have to follow an exact formula. Depending on your goals, you can choose to charge for or give away parties in a strategic way.

Charging for birthday parties

If you want to gauge price, start by researching other businesses in your area that throw birthday parties. What are they charging? You may see that it’s not uncommon to attach a $200 to $300 price tag for a party.

Next, determine how many kids you want to include in your base price (you can choose 12, 20, or another number that works for your space). We recommend that you charge $20 extra for additional headcount. For transparency, list the group limit included in your base price and the extra charge on your party package advertisements.

Important note: We promise that you won’t be stripping parents of their hard-earned cash. Much like creating a price structure for your classes, your party prices are based on the value that you provide in creating a memorable experience.

Giving away parties

Giving away a party to a current member or as a result as a promotion in your community is a valid and smart choice to make if you’re thinking of it in terms of how many kids and parents you’ll contact as a result. Integrating free parties with your paid parties will help your overall marketing strategy.

Upselling

You can include options like board breaking or another activity as an additional option for purchase outside of your standard party package. Upselling items will add to your revenue and gives parents the ability to customize their child’s party further.

Bonus: As you already know, breaking things in style is pretty cool. A child who has an awesome board breaking experience is more likely to want to come back to your school to do more.

4) Connect with local businesses

Creating local partnerships with businesses who can contribute to your parties is a marketing win-win. In exchange for running promotions or giveaways as an exclusive vendor, said vendor can promote your business through flyers and other marketing items onsite.

Examples include:

  • discounted cakes from a local bakery,
  • pizza from a particular restaurant, and
  • discounted party decorations from a party supply store.

5) Manage party bookings & RSVPs digitally

The advantages of having digital invitations and party packages will outweigh not having them at all or using paper. Forms like the ones that you can create in Event Manager will

  • collect party information and process payments
  • help you know who is coming and who is interested in your services

Using Event Manager for invitations

Parents will not have to pay for invitations if you use Event Manager. The bonus is that they can send the link easily and that you can include questions about interest in your services. If families indicate interest before the party, you can call right away to talk with them more about your classes.

Download: 6 Martial Arts Birthday Party Best Practices​

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