5 Ways to Incorporate Bullying Awareness, Education, & Prevention Into Martial Arts Schools

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Bullying. It’s an all-too-common word we have become accustomed to in our vocabulary. The emotional and physical damages of bullying can leave unimaginable tolls on any and every individual that has been a victim of this grievous act.

All too often, we see news articles and hear countless stories of students who have been affected by bullying. Recent bullying and hazing practices at Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey are just an example of what our children and students face on a constant basis.

As Martial Artists and business professionals, we have a “social responsibility” to help guide, nurture and prepare our students for this inevitable danger.

Here are five ways to make bullying awareness, education and prevention part of your Martial Arts curriculum:

1. Hold Mat Chats that Address Bullying

As we all know, October is National Bullying Prevention Month. One thing that we like to do in our school is to make our members aware of bullying through “mat chats”.

A mat chat can be a general talk with all the students in the beginning of every class, a few-second conversation with a handful of children or a one-on-one talk with one particular child. These discussions help us get the word out, so that people can understand and become more aware of the dangers of bullying.

Through these mat chat discussions, we can help prevent someone from being or becoming a bully, and can also give hope to those who are being bullied themselves.

Mat chats often give children the courage to speak up, which in turn gives us the opportunity to help them even more.

2. Wear Orange on Unity Day

Another event that we have at our school to create awareness for anti-bullying is taking part in Unity Day. This year, Unity Day will be on Wed., October 22, 2014.

We are asking all of our staff and students to show their support for anti-bullying by wearing something orange to class on that day.

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center sponsors Unity Day. Visit their Unity Day page for more ways to get involved.

3. Run Martial Arts Seminars with School Districts

One of the greatest benefits of Martial Arts is character development. Society has begun to notice that Martial Arts teachers and instructors are not just teaching Martial Arts, but are educating our children in a way that will help them become better members of our society by instilling the value and benefits of the Martial Arts.

Because of this, more and more school districts are hosting and allowing Martial Arts seminars. Facilitating these seminars can create bullying awareness and educate children about the harmful nature of bullying.

4. Add Open Mat Talk Time to Your Martial Arts Program

As with most bullying cases, they must be reported in order for them to be addressed. Most individuals that are bullied are afraid to speak up, and unfortunately face many years of hardship.

Providing an opportunity for students to come and talk about their challenges can help increase confidence levels in our children, which will in turn increase the amount of people standing up to their bullies.

We like to call this Open Mat Talk Time where any of our students can come in and talk to one of our instructors one-on-one with the hopes of helping them overcome this challenge.

By getting in touch with local school districts, and asking them to put flyers up, we can make this program available to the public as well.

5. Make It Your Social Responsibility to Teach Students about Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility … each and every one of us is responsible for the actions within our society.

As educators, it is our job and sole purpose to prepare our children for the hardships they will face in life.

By educating our students of the importance of respecting and supporting their peers no matter their gender, race, ethnicity or creed, teaching them that they are responsible for the improvement and well-being of our society, and teaching them that it is up to them to stand up to bullying … these are the only ways we can truly put an end to bullying.

About the author: Master Peter Trikilas is the Owner and Chief Instructor at Master Peter’s Academy of Martial Arts (MPAMA) in Dayton, New Jersey. He has been training in the Martial Arts since 1985 and opened his school, MPAMA, in 2011 — which has over 500 students to date.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

What are you doing to take a stand against bullying? Check out these articles for ideas:

How to Run a Successful Anti-Bullying Event in Your Martial Arts School

10 Ways to Get Involved & Make a Difference During National Bullying Prevention Month


11 Ways Your Martial Arts School Can Benefit from Kung Fu Panda 3 (or Any Popular Movie)

At the time of the release of Kung Fu Panda 2, I had just returned from a speaking engagement in England and throughout the U.K. Everyone had such high hopes for this movie. Yes, Kung Fu Panda 2 helped some schools grow. Other schools were a bit disappointed. I’m not saying that one school did it right or the other wrong. What I’m saying is that it’s important to take a few things into account when riding the waves of promotional events wrapped around this type of movie release.

Since the Sequel

Since the release of Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2011, the movie industry has changed quite dramatically. Many movies nowadays have some form of martial arts fighting in it. However, there have only been a handful of martial arts-specific movies made in the last 10 years.

Back in the 80s and 90s, we had many martial art films that were wrapped around the idea of learning martial arts. Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme all kicked and punched their way into the hearts of millions of kids and adults alike.

The Karate Kid portrayed a bullied child—once weak and uncoordinated—who turned into a strong, confident person. The movie did the talking for us, basically saying, “Join martial arts and this will happen. You will learn these traits to become all you are destined to be.”

This is not happening anymore with exception of a few recent films such as Underdog Kids and The Martial Arts Kid.

Even still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t attempt to leverage movies with a natural tie-in to martial arts to peak interest and to generate new business. In fact, it really doesn’t matter what the film content is. If you promote it correctly, you can parlay it into a great promotion for your schools.

Remember the one golden rule: within any mass group of people, there are going to be those that are interested in what you are selling. Here are 11 tips to take any movie release and turn it into a lead generator (and retention builder) for your school.

1) Run a themed movie night at your school.

Rent the first Kung Fu Panda movie and the sequel. Ask your students to bring their buddies to help generate new leads for your school. This can be an excellent income generator and powerful event within your school. Maybe even tie it into something else so you have a cross promotion, such as Kung Fu Panda night and Nerf Wars.

2) Take your entire school to the movies.

This one is great for retention, because it builds excitement, energy, and community with your students. Remember the more you do as a team, the better it is for your entire culture.

Consider asking the theater ahead of time if they’ll provide a group discount. Promote the movie night on social media, in your school, and mention during class to get the word out and increase participation.

Encourage your students to wear your school shirts when they attend the movie. Take a group selfie and post it on social media.

3) Host a Kung Fu Panda star search.

This one is great to share on social media to create buzz around your school. Ask your parents to film their kids doing a scene from the movie with their friends and share it on Facebook. The winner receives a free trial membership. Most importantly, post the results on Facebook and have the Facebook audience vote. This is a great way to get people to share your post and flood Facebook with comments, likes, and shares around your special Star Search event.

4) Run a coloring contest.

Advertise the contest at local businesses and in your school. Ask students and non-students to send the colored page to your school to win a free month or a grand prize of your choice. Of course, reward all non-students that are non-winners with some prize, such as a free membership of some type.

Ask local businesses to participate in posting your coloring contest or handing out the forms at their business. Remember, businesses that work together create a synergy for not only your business but theirs and the others as well.

5) Set up a booth at the local movie theater for any popular movie.

Remember, cool movies happen all the time. Don’t look at Kung Fu Panda 3 as your only opportunity but rather as an additional cog in the wheel. Even if the movie is not martial arts-related, get a booth to set up at the local movie theater to advertise there and sell for any popular movie that comes out. You’re bound to get leads. Many people at one point or another are interested in martial arts or know others who are. You just need to be in the right place at the right time to shake enough hands.

6) Rent the movie at your local theater

Rent Kung Fu Panda 3—or any popular movie—at your local theatre for a private showing. Give away all the tickets to non-training members of your school at no charge.

Have a booth and ask your students to help pass out flyers and postcards for your school to the movie-goers. The goal is to get your name out there to generate leads.

Consider putting on a demo and giving out free passes to your school or do a mass enrollment at the end of the movie when viewers are at the peak of their excitement.

7) Put your postcards or flyers on every car at every theatre showing the Kung Fu Panda 3 movie or any other popular movie.

Be careful not to get yourself in any trouble. It’s better to ask permission first. If that doesn’t work out, weigh your options.

8) Get involved in your community.

We are unaware of so much that goes on around us. Read your local papers, search the internet, and check any community events sections for what’s happening. Maybe a local roller skating rink is hosting a Kung Fu Panda roller skate night, or your local school is hosting an event around another movie. Call them to offer your services. Everyone loves free donations and free demos. Be a part of it all.

9) Develop a business partnership with local theaters.

You want to be the go-to school for any type of promotion in the marketplace. Developing a partnership with your local theaters is essential.

Get on the phone today to offer your services. Give raffle tickets to all Kung Fu Panda 3 movie-goers (or movie-goers at any other popular movie). Award the winning raffle holder a free membership.

Don’t forget to collect the contact information for each raffle participant so you can follow-up with them afterwards.

This means all non-winners are winners too. Your end goal is to get everyone who filled out the form to come in to your school for some sort of special. Your goal is to gain thousands of leads, not a few winners.

10) Develop relationships with local businesses in your town.

Develop what I call local business partnerships. The more you develop these relationships, the better it is for your business. Your goal is to become the most famous martial arts school in your town. Also, the tighter the relationship you have with that business, the better it is for you to block out the competition from doing the same thing in your area.

Ask the local businesses to help promote your school—and any special events you’re hosting—and commit to do the same for them. You may want to offer flyers for the business to pass out on your behalf.

11) Take registrations for events online.

Last but certainly not least, make signing up for your events simple. There’s nothing easier, or faster, than promoting your events and taking registrations and payments for them online.

I use Member Solutions’ online registration software, Event Manager. The software comes with lots of simple marketing tools like social media sharing buttons and the ability to send mass emails to get the word out easily. I strongly recommend using it for your Kung Fu Panda events and any events you hold at your school.

Remember, you should be promoting and branding yourself all the time through eventslike tournaments, birthday parties, community fairs, and belt testings. Don’t rely on one movie to keep your business going.

For more marketing tips, visit TakingItToTheNextLevel.com’s Ninja Marketing Tactics Page for 200+ tips and techniques on finding new students. Become a member today and receive my DVD or book free. I also encourage you to bookmark SchoolOwnerTalk.com. This site is filled with killer conversations (in the form of podcasts) with successful school owner, Duane Brumitt. Each week we talk about new marketing ideas, sales strategies and more to help you run a low-stress, high-profit school.

About the author: Shihan Allie Alberigo has over 44 years of Martial Arts experience, and over 35 years as a professional full-time instructor and owner of L. I. Ninjutsu Centers, in Long Island, New York. Allie is also a member of the Member Solutions Business Advisory Team and heads the Martial Arts industry’s first step-by-step approach to consulting, www.TakingItToTheNextLevel.com. Allie can be reached at shihan@lininja.com.


How to Quickly Reel in New Martial Arts Students with Online Classifieds, Part 1

Maybe you’ve used online classifieds sites like Craigslist for buying and selling. These sites are extremely popular for purchasing transactions, but you may have not known that they’re a powerful source of new students, too.

In fact, in the early days of the martial arts fitness franchise I started (iLoveKickboxing.com), online classifieds were the biggest source of new students for our locations. It wasn’t rare for locations to get one to two new enrollments a day from them. In this article, I’m going to share with you the secrets we use to create student-grabbing ads. Then, in Part 2, I’ll share tricks and secrets for getting the most out of your ads.

Step 1: Posting Title

The first thing potential clients see is your posting title. It’s a short headline that convinces them to click on your ad. Most schools (and businesses in general) come up with some pretty lame posting titles. You’ll typically see things like “Martial Arts Academy” and “Martial Arts Training.”

While these headlines describe who you are or what you do, they fail to give people a good reason to click. Rule #1 in advertising is to describe the benefits people get from what you do. Instead, put a posting title such as, “Learn Self-Defense & Get in Great Shape (Martial Arts)” or “Learn Powerful Self-Defense. Click for an Amazing Offer!”

These headlines talk about some of the biggest benefits people look for in Martial Arts, and the second one combines that with the promise of a great offer.

Step 2: Creating Your Ad

You don’t need a complicated ad to thrive on online classifieds. You just need a few things: Headline, testimonials, and a great offer. Your headline should be in big, bold text. It should do a few things: tell people benefits of your program, say what your program is, and say where your program is.

For example, “Discover Ancient Self-Defense Secrets in Our New York Kung Fu Classes” or “Keep Your Family Safe & Sound With Our Atlanta Martial Arts Classes.”

Now you want to add two to three testimonials. Make sure they’re not too long (just a few sentences each) and make sure they go over the benefits that people really want from your classes (e.g. fitness, self-defense, community, support, etc.). To go the extra mile, pick a great sentence from each testimonial, bold it, and put it in quotes above the rest of the testimonial.

For example:

“Amazing, Supportive Instructors.”

The Atlanta Martial Arts Academy has such amazing, supportive instructors. They really take the time to guide you through every move while keeping class exciting and fun. Can’t recommend this place enough!” – Jim Stevens

Finally, conclude your ad with an offer and call to action. You want your offer to be in big, bold text too. For example, “Try Out 3 Classes & Get a FREE Uniform for just $19.99! Call 111.222.3344 now.”

Ideally, you want to link your ad to your website. Then your call to action can read like this: “Try 6 Weeks of Kids Martial Arts for Just $69 & Get a FREE Uniform (a $35 value!). Call 111.222.3344 now or visit www.Website.com.”

Make it simple. No complicated directions.

Step 3: Don’t Make These Ad-Killing Mistakes

There are some common mistakes that too many martial arts school owners make when posting ads online. The first is to talk all about your school: when it was founded, its history, your history, the history of your master, etc. When people first look into your school, they really don’t care about any of that. They want to know if you have what they’re looking for, if you’re close by, and if you have a good offer. That’s it. Focus on benefits and a great offer. Leave out all the rest.

The second mistake is to write your ad as one giant paragraph. No one is going to read a thick paragraph on a site like Craigslist. Have no more than two to three sentences in a paragraph. Keep the sentences short. (However, if you follow the formula above, you don’t need to worry about paragraphs at all.)

Make one ad per program. If you have a kids and adult martial arts program, make an ad for each. Parents looking for martial arts for their kids have no desire to read about your adult programs. The same goes for adults looking for a program for themselves.

Next time I’ll go over some tricks and secrets for even more success. Stay tuned for Part 2.

About the author: Michael Parrella is the founder and CEO of Full Contact Online Marketing, a Martial Arts Website Design and Development company, the iLoveKickboxing.com Fitness Franchise, MAPRONewsletter.com, and several top-grossing kickboxing facilities in New York. He is also a published author and an MASUCCESS Monthly Columnist.

Michael has several Coaching and Mastermind programs that he runs for Martial Arts school owners of all levels and styles. You can reach him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/michael.parrella1 , email him at Michael@FCOnlineMarkeitng.com or contact him at 516-543-0041.


7 Ways You’re Costing Yourself New Martial Arts Students Online Without Even Realizing It

From working with literally hundreds of schools of all shapes and sizes around the globe—big cities to towns that still have dirt roads—I have a certain perspective on marketing that’s hard to come by. One of the biggest things I’ve observed is that schools tend to be “behind the curve” on what’s hot now and bringing in new students.

This article focuses on just one marketing channel that I’ve observed to be extremely under-utilized: online review sites. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Hey, I’m on Yelp! I’ve got this down pat!” Your opinion may change after you go through the checklist below of how to really get the most out of these sites.

1. Get listed, and get reviews on no less than a dozen review sites.

Depending on your area, there are as many as 50 review sites that rank well in Google. That means the more you’re listed on, the more potential you have to be discovered on search engines when someone searches “Your Town Martial Arts”.

For my own schools, I’m listed in and actively manage around 46 sites. I can’t tell you how many people come in and tell me, “I read all the good reviews and just had to come give it a try!” Many tell me they read a review on some obscure website I didn’t even realize I was listed on (my staff manages these sites for me).

It works.

2. Keep good reviews on file.

When most schools get bad reviews, they fume, they fuss, and they do nothing. If the bad review is clearly a fake, you can often get it removed by talking directly with the review site company.

But they won’t always remove it. So what do you do?

You bury it in good reviews. Have your students send you positive reviews that they don’t submit to the site. Keep these on file. When you get a bad review, insert these good reviews yourself into the site that got a negative review.

You’ll push the negative review down with reviews that are 100% legitimate.

3. Respond maturely to negative reviews.

If you have 10 positive reviews, and 1 negative one, that negative one could still be costing you new students. But if you reply in a very reasonable, positive way, you could flip the tables.

Most of the time, people leave negative reviews because they feel they were treated poorly. The best thing you can do is sincerely apologize in the review, and offer a way to make it up to them. Tell them that experiences like this are extremely rare, but you’re sorry it happened, and you want to do everything in your power to make them happy.

Will the person ever come around? Probably not. However, you’re not writing that response for the negative reviewer. You’re writing it for the hundreds of people who will read that review down the line. When they see that the owner of the establishment is a very compassionate, understanding person, they’ll be much more likely to ignore the negative review and come in. On the other hand, if you get negative reviews on the regular, it might be time to take a look at the way you do things.

4. Keep the reviews coming.

Ask for reviews.

Send emails to your students with clear instructions on how to leave reviews. Make it another system in your business. Make it easy, clear, and simple for your students to leave reviews.

You could even send them home with a flyer for their parents that tells them why you’d appreciate it so much, and exactly how to leave a review. You have to actively grow this marketing channel like any other.

Make it your goal to get to more than 100 reviews in a single month. Get creative. Think of ways to generate reviews. You know your students. You know what will get them motivated to help you out.

5. Beat Yelp’s filter.

Yelp suppresses a percentage of reviews to filter out fake reviews. But there is a way to submit reviews that rarely get filtered: have students who already have a Yelp account actively leave reviews on a regular basis.

For students who create an account just for you, ask them to spend a week reviewing other businesses they love. A) It’ll help those businesses. B) Their profile will gain “Yelp credibility.”

After a week of being active, the review they leave for you should stick. The reviews that tend to get filtered out are one-timers who have no “track record” of reviews. Yelp considers them untrustworthy.

6. Coach your students on how to leave a review.

You can email them a list of questions to think about, or direct them to a couple of good sample reviews that really hit the nail on the head.

You want the reviews to talk about how hygienic your facility is, how kind and supportive your instructors are, how they’ve gotten in great shape, and how their children’s lives are changing with every class.

Get them to write about the “meaty” stuff.

If all of what someone’s review says is, “I love Lion Martial Arts Academy. They are the best!” It’s not really going to help you. You want people to open up about why they love you so much. That’s what sells.

7. Just do it.

Online reviews can make or break your business reputation. Don’t just think about implementing this six-step process. Complete it. The better your online reputation, the better your enrollment and retention numbers.

If you’re concerned of the time it would take to manage all these review sites, outsource it. Maintaining your online reputation is that important.

Who do I recommend? MA Power Listings is a service provided by FC Online Marketing (self plug alert) that creates, manages and maintains listings for you in the top 40+ online review sites. Do it yourself, ask us (FCOM), or find another party to do it for you. Either way, get it done.

About the author: Michael Parrella is Owner and CEO of FC Online Marketing and the Creator of the iLoveKickboxing.com Fitness Franchise. FC Online Marketing has recently launched MA Power Listings, a new program to manage all of your listings from a single dashboard — and update them all in one clean sweep. For more information on MA Power Listings, visit http://MAPowerListings.com.


Grow Your Martial Arts School During Back-to-School

Tools to Grow Your Martial Arts School

How you prepare for the back-to-school season can dictate the success of your martial arts business for the entire year. Take a look at our top picks for back-to-school tips and tools.

1) Email Marketing & Text Messaging

Launch an email campaign to target members who were inactive or dropped out over the Summer. Consider pairing your emails with text messages that include special offers for returning students.

  • Member Manager Software – Martial arts software that includes email marketing, lead tracking, and follow-up
  • iContact – Email marketing platform (integrates with Member Manager)
  • Mobiry – Text message-based coupons and promotional codes (integrates with Member Manager)

2) Back-to-School Events

Plan buddy days, community events, anti-bullying talks, and PTO seminars to engage with active students and to attract new prospects.

3) Websites & Web Advertising

Before the fall, invest in optimizing your site to increase your traffic and leads. During back-to-school season, temporarily increase your Google Ads bids to drive even more people to your site.

  • 97 Display – Internet marketing agency that creates martial arts and fitness websites that grow member counts
  • FC Online Marketing – Custom-designed martial arts websites that increase enrollment
  • Google Ads – Advertising platform for Google Search, YouTube, Maps, and more

4) Social Media

Before the back-to-school season, put together your social media strategy. Train your staff on how you want them to use social media. Get everyone in the habit of posting regularly. Make use of social media advertising.

5) Operations

If you keep your school running smoothly, you’re far less likely to receive complaints from your members. Not to mention, you’ll simplify your job as a school owner and be a better teacher and leader because of it.

  • Member Manager Software – All-in-one business management software for lead generation, scheduling, point of sale, billing, and more
  • Member Solutions Billing – Martial arts billing, payment processing, and membership contract management (integrates with Member Manager)
  • Intuit Quickbooks – Accounting software (integrates with Member Manager)
  • Sage 50 – Accounting software (integrates with Member Manager)
  • MAIA Edge – The leading educational resource in the martial arts industry. Get the latest information on recruiting, retention, and revenue to continue growing your school.

Incorporate these tools into your back-to-school strategy to grow your school’s memberships and maximize your earnings this fall.


Cage Fitness™ vs. Other Fitness Programs

Cage Fitness™ was developed in conjunction with The Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) and nine-time welterweight MMA Champion Matt Hughes. Matt is a huge advocate of health and fitness in general and is very excited about Cage Fitness™ and the success of the program thus far.

The most obvious benefit of Cage Fitness™ is its ability to bring in new members. You will attract new members by having the right to use Matt Hughes’s name and image. It is a huge draw to have a celebrity fighter promoting your school.

Cage Fitness™ also offers a great workout in just 30 minutes. The program achieves this by what is known as interval training. Interval training is basically performing exercises at maximum effort, then slowing down or stopping to rest, then jumping right back into max performance mode, and then rest. With Cage Fitness™, participants repeat these intervals five times through five sets of 5-minute rounds with one minute breaks in between. That’s the interval.

Participants start with a warm-up to increase their heart rate and to get blood flowing to the muscles. They then transition into an upper body round, where they push their upper body muscles and end the round with a ground and pound. This is repeated through a lower body round, cage combo round, and core/cool down round. This interval system gives the participants the maximum calorie-burning potential and helps increase their metabolisms.

All of the interval training is based around a 40-pound patent-pending Cage Fitness™ dummy that adds the element of resistance to the workout. The resistance training is beneficial because not only are participants burning calories, but they also are building lean muscle that will aid in burning calories while at rest and will give them the lean, toned look that is so sought after.

Check out the recorded webinar, How Cage Fitness Can Boost Revenue In Your School. You’ll find out how to implement the program with ease, reach untapped markets, generate revenue, and more.

For more information on Cage Fitness™, please visit our website at www.CageFitness.com


How to Start Using Facebook Ads for Martial Arts Marketing

Facebook login screen on mobile device with social media in tiled letters on wooden desk

Confused about Facebook ads? You’re not the only one.

Back in 2010, I began using Facebook ads to get likes on one of my Facebook business pages.

I went in determined to get results, but as a direct marketing student and practitioner, I also knew I wouldn’t keep doing it if it didn’t work. I read through numerous Facebook help sections and did my due diligence, but I was still a little arrogant and impatient. I thought: I’ve been marketing my martial arts schools and other businesses since 1998. I’ve been using internet marketing and selling online for almost five years. Running a Facebook d will be a piece of cake.

I quickly learned that running a Facebook ad is not like search marketing. Being big on the call-to-action or CTA (words that prompt your readers to take immediate action), I thought my same CTAs would work with Facebook Ads. However, I was wrong.

Facebook ads are more strategic. They require more patience. The Facebook user is not looking for you as in search when someone types martial arts program in Chicago into Google. You have to get their attention, but you have to get their attention in a way that doesn’t make Facebook mad at you. Before I truly understand Facebook ads, at least one out three of my ads were rejected.

Then, I turned the corner and got serious. I dove in to learn everything I could (and I’m still learning). Most importantly, I quickly implemented what I learned. As test results came in, I made adjustments to my ads.

The truth is the adjustments will never, and should never, stop. That’s the real fun of Facebook advertising: you always can make adjustments to the text, to images, and to the web pages to which you drive prospects in efforts to improve ad performance.

After two years of testing, tweaking, and writing my own book on Facebook advertising, I”m still learning. While none of this Facebook ads marketing is “cookie-cutter”, the initial approach when first launching Facebook ads is relatively the same.

Let’s explore the first step a martial arts business needs to take when marketing with Facebook ads.

Get Your Students & Your Non-Students to “Like” You on Facebook

After your network of friends, colleagues, and students “like” your page, you will likely end up stuck at a certain number of likes. I call this the “Like Barrier.” Fortunately, there are a couple ways to beat it.

The fact is your Facebook page really must be used for more than just telling your students that you are closed due to the weather. Your school’s Facebook page must be a mix of students – those who will cheer you on while being your core audience in addition to non-students who will become students.

If your current students don’t already follow you on Facebook, make sure you frequently encourage it. One way is to communicate that you have a Facebook page. Add a notice to your student eNewsletter, mention it before and after class, and hand out flyers to students.

Facebook Ads to Reach Prospects

To reach prospects, you first need to determine if your goal is to increase your likes or if it is to generate leads for your services and programs. You could run a Facebook ad to promote your introductory programs or seasonal offers, such as a Back-to-School promotion or a New Years’ Get in Shape special.

Alternatively, you can run Facebook ads to increase your likes. What’s the benefit of increasing likes? The more likes you have, the more interaction you will have on your Facebook page. The more interaction you have, the more social proof you build for prospective students who are considering joining your school.

Be warned: Increasing page likes – whether with current students or with prospective students – comes with the added duty of consistently updating your Facebook business page. A Facebook ad strategy must have a content strategy behind it.

Once you’ve determined your goal (to promote your business offerings or to increase likes), identify who you want to target with your ad. Do you want parents? Good. Determine your geographic radius and age group. Think about the interests of your best target market and act.

Remember your ad text must have a simple message. Avoid “salesy” phrasing.

Every ad must lead to a landing page (also called a lead capture page). It’s a web page that includes persuasive sales copy and an embedded form to “capture” the lead’s contact information.

To review:

  1. Get the word out to your current students to increase your likes.
  2. Build an ad to reach prospective students. If you need some help, give me a shout.

About the author: Mike Dolpies has been helping martial arts school owners with Marketing and Internet Marketing since 2006. He started his first school in 1998 when he was 18 years-old. He’s the author of 5 books and operates Martial Arts Business System. His latest book, Don’t Suck @Facebook Ads! is available on Amazon.com. For complimentary ad training, visit http://www.cyberspacetoyourplace.com/fb/


Low-Cost Marketing for Martial Arts Schools

Low Cost Marketing - Martial Arts Class

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:

1. Booths

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.

2. Seminars

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
  • Goal-setting
  • 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.

Low Cost Marketing - Halloween Event Kids Carving Pumpkins

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.

15 Email Templates to Boost Fitness Sales

15 Fitness Email Templates photo

Email marketing can make or break your fitness membership sales process. Great emails increase membership sales while bad emails will send your hard-earned leads into the hands of a competitor. Getting it right means responding quickly, writing intriguing subject lines, and personalizing messages to your leads’ wants and needs.

These 15 email templates respond to the most common reasons people are interested in joining a gym. Use them along with the recommendations below to improve your email response rate and to drive more trials and sales to your fitness business.

6 Fitness Email Best Practices

1. Automate your emails: Leads are 900 percent times more likely to contact you again if you respond to their first inquiry within five minutes. That percentage drops if you wait ten minutes. Why does such a quick turnaround matter? Because 78 percent of customers buy from the first business that responds.

Of course, you and your staff can’t monitor new leads around the clock—so speeding up your response time means you’ll need to automate your responses. Fitness center software like Member Manager can send emails immediately after a new lead expresses interest. The dramatic drop in response time will decrease the likelihood of leads considering or bouncing to a competitor.

Member Solutions Member Manger Software- Email Marketing Template

2. Get their attention: Email inboxes are selective, competitive spaces. Subject lines are the first text that recipients see when choosing which emails they open. What you’ll see in our email templates is casual, emotive language that speaks directly to the goas that leads want to achieve.

Are they looking to lose weight? Achieve peak physical condition? Improve their health? It’s more likely that a person interested in your gym will open an email with a subject line that connects with him or her than generic phrases like “Following Up” or “Checking In”.

3. Personalize your emails: You’ll notice that these emails don’t focus on your gym. Rather, they focus on the reader. Don’t waste prospects’ time by telling them about your state-of-the-art equipment or your modern facility. Save that for when they come in for a trial membership or a first-time appointment. When they filled out your lead form, they had a specific goal in mind. In these emails, you’ll tell them how you can help them lose weight, build muscle, gain confidence, or meet new people.

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Imagine what they want to hear. Remind them why they contacted you in the first place. Express empathy for their current position, and acknowledge how difficult it is to make a change. Explain how your services are different than what they’ve experienced at other fitness centers. Use positive and negative emotions to motivate leads to follow through on their original request.

4. Show proof: 78% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and need to read at least 10 reviews before trusting a business. Share a testimonial in your emails to leave a positive first impression and to satisfy the need for social proof. Edit your email templates to add quotes, photos, videos, or links to Yelp and Facebook.

5. Tell them what to do next: Emails to prospective gym members need a clear call-to-action that tells them what to do next. Should they call to start a free trial? Check out your online schedule to try a group class? Explain the next steps, and provide a convenient contact method. To create urgency, try including a limited time offer or bonus training session if they contact you quickly.

6. Don’t give up: 80 percent of sales require five follow-ups to close a deal. Sending this many emails manually is a tedious task. You can use your fitness center software to create an email flow to automatically communicate with new leads every few days.

Email Template on Laptop

How to Use Your Fitness Email Templates

These email templates are built in five-part flows to include testimonials, video links, personalization, and time-sensitive calls-to-action. Personally, I set up my software to send one email per day for five days. Afterward, I add unresponsive leads to my newsletter list so I can continue marketing to them. Once a lead has expressed a genuine interest in my services, I don’t give up until I hear from them or they unsubscribe.

Once you’ve downloaded your new email templates, tailor each message to your business by changing the contact information, testimonials, and website links. If you’re a Member Solutions client, you can upload these emails to your Member Manager software to create automated lead flows.

Want help with email templates or automation? Contact the Member Solutions team today.

About the author: Erik Charles Russell has been in the martial arts and fitness industry for more than 25 years. He owns Premier Martial Arts and Fitness in Watertown, NY. In 2015, he published a book based on his successes called The Art of Selling Memberships. The book became an international bestseller—hitting number one in three categories in the U.S., Australia, and Germany on Amazon.com


Download 15 Email Templates to Drive Trials and Sales.

100 Martial Arts Students in 90 Days: A Marketing Must-Do List

Woman looking at Member Solutions Facebook page on laptop while having coffee

Marketing is one of the important keys to a successful Martial Arts school. Unfortunately, many school owners get overwhelmed and lost in all the options that are out there.

When I planned to open my second location in March 2014, I knew a solid marketing plan would be key to a successful launch. Utilizing the marketing skills I learned, I was able to grow our school to 100 students in the first 90 days. (When I say students, I am referring to on contract students.)

Although I have a long list of marketing techniques, Facebook is my specialty and the one that yields the best results. The other vital part of our marketing plan includes running and attending community events.

Here’s my list of eight marketing must-dos for getting 100 students in 90 days:

1. A Solid Facebook Business Page

Your business page should have lots of details about your school, a great cover photo, hours of operation, lots of pictures and all the details you can offer. Create daily posts that provide value such as safety tips, homework tips and pictures of students in class.

2. Student Groups

As soon as a potential student asks for information, they should be added to the group. In addition to the content and relationship-building strategies in that group, twice a month, ask members to share your Groupon or web special.

3. Other Key Facebook Groups

Business Networking
Most communities now have business networking groups on Facebook. Joining these groups has high value as other small business owners are also looking for low-cost marketing tips. They also want to support others like themselves. Each group has its own rules such as posting once a day to once a week. You may share events, web deals and openings in your schedule. It’s also a great way to build rapport with other owners and see how you can help them. With the relationships I have built, the groups I am part of aggressively help promote events and specials I have.

Most towns now also have their own Facebook group for those who live in the town. Most of them allow local business owners in also. Sharing valuable content inside of this group is perfect. (i.e. bully safety tips, fitness tips, safety tips) Twice a month, depending on the rules, invite community members to try classes or attend an event. Make sure though you “give” good content to those people inside the group weekly.

Yard Sale Groups
People inside of this group are looking to buy something and are also looking for deals. Once a week, post your web special, Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local deal, etc.

Vendor Groups
We are in the relationship business and nothing sells your groups faster than face-to-face time. Fairs and vendor events are one of our BEST ways outside of Facebook to get to know people and introduce them to our programs. Being inside of a group like this simplifies your search for events to set up tables. Also, when you host events like open houses, you can invite people to set up tables with their products at your event for a fee.

4. Vendor Events – Book Five Each Month

You should strive to have five opportunities each month to be out in the community with a table that represents your school and brand.

When participating in events that specialize in kids, I like to have a prize wheel. Kids love the idea of spinning the wheel and winning prizes! Some of the prizes include: a break a board/free pizza party for the child and 10 of their friends, a free Nerf battle party for the child and 10 of their friends, and free classes.

If the event is an adult-based event, we have information for our programs and put our energies into building rapport and getting to know people. This allows them to get to know us and see how much we care about people and their goals.

5. Birthday/VIP/Pizza Party Events – Book Four Each Month

Each month, you should have at least four parties. The goal would be first paid birthday parties. We also host the parties won from the prize wheel at the events prior, because the parties from the prize wheel tend to be “colder” leads.

We set specific times and days for the parties and book up to 10 at a time. This will vary for your school and area. You can also do student of the month or free parties for the community. Last month I had openings at our new facility, so I posted into my business network groups that I had two openings and filled them with qualified non-students.

6. School Talks – Book Three Each Month

Each month, we strive to either be in the schools, boy scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts, after school programs, etc. doing our school talks. Getting three of them booked is the goal.

7. Outside School Events – Book Two Each Month

A women’s self-defense seminar taught at the local college is an example of an outside school event. We have a great partnership with the local “dance ranch”, a popular bar and dance club. Once a quarter, they have us come in and invite all of their patrons to a free self-defense seminar on a night they are usually closed.

8. In-House Event – Book One Each Month

An in-house event could be an open house, a kids buddy day, an adult buddy day, a self-defense seminar, a buddy parents night out or a new member party. This type of event is something that allows current students to invite non-students.

You’re On Your Way!

These eight key areas are things I make sure the teams in my school are doing every month to ensure the success of our schools and that new members are constantly coming in the door.

You can find more ideas and suggestions by checking out my Facebook page, The Martial Arts Buzz, or my website www.themartialartsbuzz.com.

About the author: Alexandria Buzzell has been involved in the Martial Arts since she was a teenager and it’s still her main passion. She opened her first school in 2008. Utilizing her creative marketing techniques and developing social media skills, she grew that location to 350+ members. Alexandria opened her second location in March 2014 and grew the school to 100 students in just 90 days.