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Building & Growing Your Martial Arts School Part IX: Internet Marketing For Martial Arts

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This entry is part 10 of 13 in the seriesStarting Martial Arts School

Without a doubt Internet advertising and social media marketing has been the hottest topic among businesses and marketing consultants in the last couple of years. There have been a lot of myths and misconceptions disseminated about online marketing. When it comes to martial arts and MMA however, it is absolutely true that Internet advertising offers an extremely effective way to reach masses of prospective students and offers the biggest return on investment for your marketing budget.

Get On The List!

A big part of the power of the Internet is not just how cost-effective it is, but how quickly you can reach out to the most number of people and perhaps more importantly–the right kind of people. On the Internet you can reach hundreds and thousands in milliseconds. How long would it take you to knock on that many doors in person?

Before you go rushing in however, it is important to make sure that you have realistic expectations and know how to do it right. Good Internet marketing can produce amazing results, but poor online advertising can equally do incredible damage to your business.
Most martial arts schools have at least a website these days, though unfortunately most are horribly put together and actually devalue your school–potentially turning off prospective students. Even if you do have a good looking website you are still just scratching the surface of the giant Internet iceberg that holds limitless potential for your business.

Martial arts marketing online should at least include the following:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • Article Marketing
  • Ebooks

Testing & Marketing Metrics

In order to maximize your marketing ROI and before dedicating significant funds to any specific initiatives, it is essential to do your homework before launching your Internet advertising campaigns. There are many forms of marketing that work, though to stay competitive you must hone in on those that work the best. This will not only give you more marketing money but bigger profits as well.

This applies equally to your website design and content as it does to free online advertising activities and paid advertising campaigns. Even apply it to how you interact with prospective students once they contact you.

There are two main ways to test and measure your marketing metrics. The first is to use split testing. This simply involves using A vs. B testing to determine what produces the best results. For example, if you are running pay-per-click campaigns to generate traffic on your website it is important to run two or three different ads simultaneously in order to see which produces the maximum results. You may even want to try out a couple of website designs to see which draws and holds the most visitors.

The second way is by tracking the metrics of these campaigns. Why? It is great to drive a lot of traffic to your websites but unless you really know where it is coming from and why, how are you going to maintain it? Using your website and advertising campaign analytics and statistics you can easily determine these factors. It may be that 80% of your website visitors are coming from your blog and you had no idea. If that is the case you will want to tweak your blog even more. In this case you would dig deeper and see which blog posts are the most popular and create more of those. Rinse and repeat.

Then you have to look at how many of these visitors are becoming your customers and how you can improve these numbers. While it may feel nice to be getting thousands of website visitors and dozens of emails and calls from prospective students, if they are not signing up or spending money with you, you are just wasting your time…time that could have been spent with more viable prospects or even just relaxing. For example, would you rather talk to 1,000 potential students and get 1 to sign up, or talk to 100 and get 50 to sign up? If it is not you on the phone personally with these leads, large numbers of calls can burn out your staff and tie up your phone lines, preventing those who are really serious from getting through.

Start by analyzing your website flow. Is there a certain point where people are losing interest? Maybe your website content needs to be spiced up or shortened. Is your pricing turning them off, or is it something else? Then look at the number of phone calls you get. If you are using toll free numbers you can also easily track how many phone calls you have received and how long the phone calls last. Is there a certain point in your script that is turning people off? Make changes, test again and keep on testing all aspects of your marketing and sales process. Even once you think you have nailed everything you must continue to monitor your marketing metrics. This will keep you aware of any dips in performance in an instant and alert you to changes in trends ahead of your competition.

Martial Arts Websites

Unfortunately, martial arts websites are generally among the ugliest and most dysfunctional websites on the Internet. Pretty surprising when you consider that the philosophies and ideology behind most martial arts are founded upon the belief in being the best you can be and the lifelong pursuit of perfection.

If you already have one, what does your website say about you and your business? Does it say that you are the best school around, where students will find the best training and the best instructors, as well as an up-to-date facility? Or does is say that you are lazy, out of date and don’t really care? Without any words your website can say all that in just 1 second.

You may not be a Webmaster or even care how technology works. That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that you can allow prospects to see that attitude. When it comes to the Internet the saying ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ just isn’t true. If your website isn’t up to scratch, block out time to get on it first thing tomorrow!

The most important thing to remember when it comes to your website is it’s real purpose. Websites can be used to add value to your school, build your brand and more. The one most important purpose for having a website and Internet presence is to get new potential students to contact you!

Ebooks

This means it should be attractive and interesting to those who match your ideal customer profile and make it easy for them to contact you right away. Ebooks and auto-responders are also great ways to capture prospects information and make further marketing easy.

If you do not have a website yet or you need a new one, who should build it, what should it look like, and how much should it cost?

Hosting For Your Website

The best performing websites are those that are visually appealing and easy to navigate. If you are on a tight budget and feel like you have a flair for it then you can design your own website. There are now many easy-to-use website builders online that require no knowledge of programming and can be put together with simple drag & drop tools. This doesn’t mean it still won’t take you hours, but it means it can also be fun. Though you must weigh out if this is really the best use of your time.

Among the best website builders is GoDaddy.com’s ‘Website Tonight’. Word Press however offers the ability to put together a very good-looking site in just a couple of minutes. This can be a good option for those just getting started and can be replaced by a better, professionally designed website later once you have brought in the revenues to pay for it.

You may also wish to incorporate your blog and a forum in your website to attract and keep more visitors. Videos are great and can give potential students a much better feeling for your school. When it comes to your website content you need to decide between scratching out something yourself or outsourcing it to someone else. For the minimal cost of having someone else do it, it is often wise to have a professional draft your content to ensure the maximum effectiveness of your site.

Having a professional website designed by someone else is a lot less expensive these days than it used to be. A good martial arts website should be able to be done for between $500 and $2,000. Even cheaper if you take advantage of the outsourcing option we will show you later on. The most important thing to remember if you are going to pay someone else to build your site is control. You must have full access and ownership, and must be able to update the site yourself effortlessly at any time.


About Tim Houghten

Tim Houghten has written 11 post in this blog.

Series Navigation<< How To Start Your Martial Arts School Part X: Social Media For Martial Art SchoolsHow To Start A Martial Arts School Part XIII: Outsourcing & Hiring Employees >>
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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Tony Says:

    Although it is getting tougher and tougher to get to the top of the search engines. Martial art schools and MMA gyms only need to focus on local search which is very open and should only take a month or two unless you live in a huge city like New York or L.A.
    Thanks for the comment

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