It doesn’t matter what kind of martial arts studio or fitness business you run. The goal is the same: to grow in both size and reputation Networking within your community is a great way to attract new members and build your business. Community involvement is key in creating a positive image.
One of the easiest ways to reach out to your community is to find out where your members are involved within the community. Maybe they are a member of a Parent Teacher Association or part of a local business networking organization. Having the right contacts makes it a lot easier to get your foot in the door.
Participating in events also is extremely effective in getting the word out about your business.
Here are four events that I recommend.
School SeminarsMembership businesses that provide programs and services for children can greatly benefit from hosting seminars at local schools. Primarily done through a Parent Teacher Organization/Parent Teacher Association (PTO/PTA) or school administrations, the seminars you provide could cover a range of topics from bullying prevention to nutrition.
As a starting point, you could contact the PTO/PTA to offer your services with teaching an in-school seminar or an afterschool program for four to eight weeks once a week. our martial arts academy did this. We connected with our local PTO and ran a six-week martial arts afterschool program.
The PTO collected $60 per student for those who enrolled in the afterschool program. We had over 30 students attend, many of whom became members of our school. The PTO promoted the program by handing out our information to each and every one of their 400+ students.
By hosting seminars like this, you show your community your commitment and involvement and open the door for prospective new members. It’s also a great way to advertise your business with little to no cost.
National Night OutMany towns have events planned throughout the year that bring the community together and allows businesses to sponsor, co-host or become involved. Search your town’s website calendar, email city council members, or acquire your town or neighboring town’s newsletter.
Becoming a sponsor and a vendor at these events is great for publicity—and it gives you the opportunity to get involved with the event itself, perhaps by running a booth and a demonstration.
During this event, you can give out prizes, t-shirts, or water bottles that have a sticker with your information and logo on them. This is a great way for individuals to remember your days after the event. During the event, you also can have an email sign-up list where you can raffle off free weeks or months of membership allowing you to have direct contact with individuals who are interested in your programs and services.
Charity DrivesCharity drives are one of the best ways to show your commitment and support of your community. These can consist of toy drives, food drives, and relief drives. Most towns have an event coordinator. Sometimes the easiest way is calling the township and asking for them to provide that information.
With the charity drives, we encourage our students to donate and participate, but more importantly, we make our school a local drop-off zone for the community to drop off the supplies. Once approved by the town, the town itself will help promote your location as a drop-off zone which in turn can help bring prospective new members to the door while helping the community at the same time.
PicnicsAnother way to get involved with the community is to host a picnic. This event brings everyone closer and enables you to connect with community members. Have it at a local park and keep it open to the public. Invite local police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and other community support groups and their families.
During this picnic, you can raffle off different prizes such as college scholarships, monthly memberships, or T-shirts. These picnics show your community your commitment and support. They give you the opportunity to introduce your business to people that were otherwise not aware of your programs and services.
Taking part in events that drive community involvement along with effective networking is a great way to create a positive representation of your business—and it can lead to new member enrollments and more member referrals.
I hope you can use some of these ideas as a way to connect with your community.
About the author: Peter Trikilas is the Owner and Chief Instructor at Master Peter’s Academy of Martial Arts in Dayton, New Jersey. Peter began martial arts training at the age of four and has dedicated his life to the betterment of his students and the martial arts.