As Dojo Muscle grows, we talk to more and more Martial Arts school and alliance owners around the globe. It seems we are on the cusp of a major change in martial arts marketing. Speaking to many of these owners, I am excited what the future holds. It seems the old, antiquated marketing techniques of just a decade ago have grown stale. To stand out today, you can no longer rely on quick gimmicks, embellished tag lines, or the latest discipline trends.
Instead, it is about what it should be about: quality branding, and a solid program.
It was refreshing to hear many school owners share the same perspective. After all, we are all Martial Artists. We too were training when the Ninja Turtles craze sent many schools scrambling to offer weapons programs, even if their discipline did not include it. You see the same trends today, with some schools offering MMA programs they know little about because of the popularity of the UFC.
After all, in the big scheme, the idea of any business is to grow it larger and make more money. But to us, it's not about the end goal. It's all about how you get there. Today, it seems all the schools that try to make the quick buck no longer last. Consumers are more educated, and are able to recognize quality when they see it.
The UFC legitimized Mixed Martial Arts as a sport, and in the process, solidified the effectiveness of Martial Arts disciplines across the globe, even versus other art forms such as wrestling and boxing.
What we all learned in the process is that there is no superior discipline. Each has its own place in the world. The only way to become a true Martial Arts master is to master many disciplines to form your own style, custom built for your body and personality.
This new love for MMA, and the education it provided, sparked a wave of interest in jiu jitsu, judo, wrestling, muay thai, karate, and many other disciplines. People want to train like fighters, have fun, and get in great shape. It's just a matter of finding the right program.
Accessibility to your brand helps these potential clients find you, and quality branding gets them in the door.
To grow a school into a vibrant business, it all starts with a sound program, which is much more then just knowing your discipline. A Martial Arts school owner today must be knowledgeable in physiology, kinesiology, as well as the proper techniques for stretching, breathing, warming up, strength building, and conditioning. Students are no longer just interested in how to defend themselves. They want to get in great shape as well.
Once you create a solid program, the keys to getting it out there are branding and accessibility. Good branding is being consistent in everything you do. From your logo, to your website & print materials, to even your email signature. Everything must be consistent in the message it sends, both in the real world and on the internet.
Good, consistent branding attracts attention. The next step is capitalizing on it, and that is where accessibility comes in.
In today's world, a local business should be leveraging social media to become a part of their client's lives. This means having a website & business Fan Page, as well as being active on it. It means taking pics & videos, and sharing them consistently. It means opening up your program to the world so that potential newcomers can use technology to get a peek inside before they commit.
This accessibility offers a potential client the ability to become comfortable with your brand before they ever speak with you. This way, when you finally do take the time to engage a potential client, you already know they are comfortable with who you are and what you do. They are not going to waste your time inquiring, and you don't have to waste theirs telling them what they already know. After all, the brand speaks for itself.
This combo also offers current students engagement even when they are not at the dojo, and helps increase retention by becoming more then just a martial arts program. You become a part of their everyday lives.
It is not easy to do, but if done right, high quality branding and increased accessibility will build your business to such incredible heights, the brand will basically market itself. Your search engine rankings will skyrocket. Your best clients will feel empowered and become brand evangelists. And you will be proud to be successful doing what you love, and being who you are.