Marketing your martial arts business is essential to survive and to grow, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a big impact. Some of the best results I’ve received have come from low-cost marketing activities. Here are the activities that I’ve found to be most effective:
Get involved with your local Merchant Association or Chamber of Commerce. Set up a booth at festivals, fairs, and carnivals. Plan in advance and make your booth look attractive. Prize wheels draw people. Conduct a mini-intro where participants can earn their white belts. Make sure you are able to schedule appointments right away. We gained 95 leads at one event and scheduled 41 appointments.
Get connected with local schools and youth organizations. Be known locally as a safety and defense professional. We conduct seminars on:
- Bully defense
- Abduction avoidance strategies
- Safety awareness
- Empowerment and self defense
If you establish a good rapport with your local schools, they’ll refer students to your Martial Arts school. In a year, we had a teacher recommend almost 20 students to our school.
3. Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA)
We have a very successful relationship with our local school’s PTSA. We created a special PTSA fundraiser: a six-week program of two classes a week with a uniform for a cost of $60. $35 goes to the PTSA and $25 to cover the uniform expense. The first time we held the fundraiser, we had about 71 students sign up. Now we average about 38 students that enroll in the six-week program. About 60-70% of those that enroll in the six-week program ultimately enroll in our six-month program.
4. Community Events
Organize events such as an Easter Egg Hunt or a Halloween Haunted House. We market and promote these types of events as community events and focus on getting the community and non-students to come. There is an admission charge from $5 to $7.50 to cover our expense and create value. We have a booth to promote the school and make appointments for potential students to take the introductory program. We gain 30 to 40 leads on average. Our highest lead count was around 70.
5. Membership Referrals
Create a culture of referrals in your school. We offer $50 cash to students who refer another student who enrolls into the six-month program. We promote our referral program heavily within our school. On average, we enroll two to three new students a month through referrals. We run a special campaign once a year to promote our referral program. One of the prizes is an iPad.
6. Special Events
Special events are great activities to bring in more students. Create a themed training week and encourage students to invite their friends to attend. For example, for kids, you could hold a “bring your classmate day” and for adults, a “bring your co-worker day.” Here are some events we’ve organized before:
- Awards Banquet
- Family Fun Day at the Amusement Park
- Ninja Warrior Day
- Empowerment Day
- Sumo Pizza Party
- Laser Saber Action Party
We promote and encourage students to bring guests. Guests are required to sign a waiver form and provide a phone number and email address. To make it easy to collect contact information, we use an online registration software. These events are a great way to generate leads.
Now It’s Your Turn!
What low-cost marketing activities have helped generate leads for your business? Share below.
About the author: Master Kenny Kuek serves as Master Instructor and President of USA Masters Academy in New York. He has achieved an 8th Degree Black Belt and brings 40+ years of experience to the role. Master Kuek provides ideas, advice, and strategies to other school owners in the martial arts industry.