One of the biggest problems for most martial arts schools is finding and retaining students. Regardless of which style you teach, where you are located, or how reasonably priced you are, sifus and sensei’s all want to know how to bring in more students while holding onto the ones they already have. Here are two free ways to be found by new students and keep them coming back week after week.
Being found online by potential students doesn’t require as much technical knowledge or work as you might think. Just like the yellow pages was the way most students found a martial arts school 10 years ago, online directories are a very popular way for people to find local businesses of all kinds. Traditional search engines are great for finding information or an online store, but services like Google Places and Yelp are how many people find great businesses in their area.
We’ve worked with several businesses that get nearly more business than they can handle from these two services alone. Make sure your school has a listing, that the information is complete and accurate and upload a few photos. You may find that there is already a listing for your school and that it already has some reviews, in which case you’ll be able to click a link that says something to the effect of “claim this listing” and start adding your photos, etc.
Once your directory pages are set up, start encouraging your students to leave reviews of their experience at your school. As more and more people leave reviews, your school will look better and better in these directories. When you receive a bad review, and it will happen eventually, make sure you respond quickly and politely, offering to do what you can make the situation right. Showing people that you are committed to providing everyone with a positive experience goes a long way to establishing your school as the place to go.
So now you’ve got new students coming in who found your Yelp listing and like what people are saying about your school. How do you keep them coming back once they’ve signed up? The easiest way to keep people involved in the school is by helping them feel like they’re really part of something, and Facebook makes that easy. Make sure your school has a Facebook page and create one if you don’t- it’s pretty easy to get started and you can be up and running in under an hour. Once your Facebook page is up, encourage your students to like your page. Liking your page will cause the things you post there to show up in their Facebook news feed without actually visiting your page again. Start posting class schedules, photos from events and classes, special events, belt tests, advice, etc. and encourage your students to post as well.
The more you get everyone involved, the more they’ll feel like they belong to something even when they’re outside of class. Taking the feeling of belonging outside the classroom and into their homes and on their phones is going to help make sure that students are coming back week after week, year after year.
Finding and retaining students can be a challenge for any martial arts school. By taking action with these two methods, you’ll be able to acquire new students and hold onto them longer, without spending a dime. To take your small business marketing to the next level, visit ThriveHive and request a free consultation.
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