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  • The 5 best martial arts marketing solutions to promote your school.

    November 16, 2018 14 min read

    The 5 best martial arts marketing solutions to promote your school. - Dojo Muscle

    This is our Anniversary post!

    8 years this month we started Dojo Muscle in hopes to bring modern focused highly professional martial arts marketing solutions to the martial arts industry and it took off like gangbusters.

    I've been building marketing for schools for a decade, and have been marketing for businesses for almost 16 years.

    I can tell you in my experience marketing as in life is cyclical. Things come in and go out of style. And then they come back into style in different forms. 

    Lead generations were raffles back in the day. Then they were lead boxes. Now they are on iPads. Ads were first paid ads in newspapers, then they morphed into flyers, then into catalogs in the 60's then into TV commercials, now into FB ads and eventually into something else. 

    Membership sites or programs were first clubs, then they were stuff like Columbia house (Remember - get 10 cassettes for 1 cent) now they are monthly memberships like Dollar Shave Club or BarkBox. These are all forms of direct response marketing. 

    There are 100's of years of marketing offline that has been proven and tested. Sometimes we get too focused on the shiny new stuff and forget the basics. Online is new and it's great but there is so much more and well-tested mediums at our disposal that they get overlooked because maybe they aren't as cutting edge or sexy. However they work, time and time again, year after year. For instance Print and Digital go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Offline and Online work best for any business. 

    So I wanted to put together the definitive list of things that are working in 2018, 2019, 2020 and beyond.

    I do not see these things stopping in the near future. They may ebb and flow but they will continue in my opinion to hold it's valued over the next 3 years and beyond.  

    These are the most beneficial martial arts marketing solutions you can use at your fingertips and the best part all of this is it's free or close to it. 

    So let's get right into it. These will definitely help you marketing your martial art school, give you the solutions to promote better, easier and faster with better results for less money. I know everyone wants that. 

    1. Video 

    Video is the MAINSTAY of all marketing from now on. 

    It has the wonderful ability to connect to people on a human level. You will notice as you read this blog post there is a common thread that runs through it. Connect with people first, sell next. 

    Without it, you will be fighting an uphill battle and it will be that much harder to connect with people. NOW not all video is created equal it's important you know exactly what kinds of video to use and when making your own following certain guidelines. But no worries we got your back. :) 

    Some Stats you need to know: 

    • By 2020, 90% of all content on social media will be video
    • More than 50% of viewers are watching on mobile
    • A finite amount of social media space for all markets on FB
    • Only engaging content gets shown
    • We scroll the length of the Statue Of Liberty every day
    • The optimized watch time for a video is 3 seconds

    Emotions and pain points are the most important aspects of video creation and one of the most important Martial Arts marketing solutions you can use to get real attention, connection, and engagement for pennies on the dollar! When building videos a study from OK Dork said these are the 3 top emotions that most viewers gravitate towards: 

    • Awe (Top one) 
    • Laughter 
    • Amusement

    Studies also show that the videos that can do the things listed below will have a lasting effect and be a real solution to get new students and prospects. 

    In your videos you want to: 

    We love entertainment as humans. We are removed from our current reality for a short while. We laugh better, cry more, and feel more. We have been entertaining each other around campfires for thousands of years. 

    Teaching is always a great thing. But teaching people things you teach them in your classes is not. Instead, teach them about the pains or about the struggles people go through and the transformations they had in your program. 

    The world can seem dark at times. People are looking for leaders others to lead them through the darkness. Inspire people to be better, inspire people to think,  inspire people to act with your videos. 

    Tell Stories
    Stories are THE most powerful aspect of all videos and all marketing in general. It is how we have learned and communicated for thousands of years. We learned as children through story, Disney, Aesop's fables, stories around campfires. A story is such a powerful tool it can rivet people to their seat. It allows us to learn a lesson and feel what the person has gone through without going through the hardships they suffered.

    Story is THE most powerful thing you can use. Look to use it.

    The good part is every day 3-5 stories are all around you at all times. Online in a supermarket, saw something on tv, sitting in traffic all are catalysts to great stories. Use a notepad and jot them down when you see them for later use. 

    Do more than just stand there and talk. Look unless you are an actor or a rock star this will be highly frustrating for you. It takes practice. The people who are great communicators on screen and off have practiced greatly to get there. 

    Some Tactical Things to know.

    1. Short videos work best. Keep them as short as you can and as long as you have to. 
    2. Square videos are mobile first, make your videos square you will have a boost in engagement.
    3. If you can’t make them square then put them into a square box and put titles on top and bottom
    4. Keep ads under 1 minute to run on IG 
    5. Repurpose your content to vertical, square and regular 16:9 
    6. Don’t be afraid to re-share old content. Most people have not seen your stuff. 
    7. When making videos make sure you bring the main point of the video into the mix in the first 5 seconds. 
    8. Use branding within 3 seconds (BUT NOT to start the video with) 
    9. Use flashy or jarring action footage to start your video so it snaps people out of zombie FB feed scrolling

    Use these tips above to make great videos. Check out this resource as well to walk you through how to create videos for your martial art school.

    2. Facebook

    It's no surprise that Facebook is one of the best ways to connect with your audience, prospects, current students and future students online. The cost to run ads is low, and the ability to connect with practically any amount of data set you can think of it is a marketers dream. Along with that comes a lot of confusion because it is so in depth and it also changes so fast. Here are a few ways to leverage facebooks power. 

    Facebook Page

    Your page is the hub of your business on Facebook, its where you will put out content and where you are able to run ads, and set up Facebook pixels to track peoples behavior and movement. For a while pages had degradation in terms of organic traffic but we have seen that traffic is still alive just not as big. It's important to try to use your page to connect with people, as well as promote your own stuff. There should be a 70/30 focus on entertaining and informing overselling. Sell, just make the focus of your page Fun, Exciting, Inspiring and Educational for the people you are looking to attract. Then sell. 


    Organic content has been a great way for many years to build a following and an audience on Facebook. We did it and built a 15k page for Dojo Muscle. But organic traffic, unfortunately, isn't the same as it was back then. It's becoming a pay to play situation. But still good content that engages people and that stokes conversation will always do good. For our page videos work great, shared videos from other pages or groups work insanely well. Especially funny ones. You could stuff that is pure entertainment, videos that are cinematic or thought-provoking. A good system to follow is to create your own content and share others. It's important to not only use it to promote your stuff, use it to create conversation and engage with others.

    Also don't only use your page to promote your stuff, use it as a party. Goto the party hang out talk and join in conversations or start them with relevant topics, join in the talks. That's it. People go overboard with the idea that they have to DO stuff. Just be YOU.

    FB Lives

    Video is at the top of the heap on social but more importantly is FB lives. Done right they have a 24-48 hour revolve time in the newsfeed. But often these lives are overused. They are a great way to get a special message out or talk to people about something specific. A few things you shouldn't do is start it and wait for people to come on. Go right into it. Get going quickly because you have a short window of drop off. 

    FB Pixel 

    The pixel is one of the most important part of marketing on Facebook. Installing it will allow you to measure, adjust and track your campaigns. Along with the movement of traffic that comes to your website. This allows you to create audiences, and it also allows you to retarget people who have landed on your site or page. 

    Videos Ads

    Video ads are the most powerful ad you can run on FB. You can use videos with just about any objective. You can run brand awareness videos, or conversion videos that will track how many purchases and the cost of each purchase. You can essentially use Video ads as a way to create a mini email list on FB and IG (also known as a custom audience) 

    Retargeting Ads 

    Retarget marketing is supremely powerful. It allows you to basically stalk your customer. Now that sounds scary and I guess in some ways it could be but for selling your service, it's great. When you go to a site FB has a small bit of code called the FB pixel and when that is loaded onto a page it can track when you get back to FB to show you specific ads that coincide with your recent or recent past behavior. That's huge! That means you can talk to specific people who you KNOW are already interested in your product because they have already been into your world. It lowers costs, makes your marketing more effective, and it allows you to set up sequences of videos and testimonials to speak to people in that way. 

    3. Email lists 

    Why a list? 

    One of the best things I have done for my business, and you can too is building an email list. Sure social media is amazing, but social media and the web change a lot. And sometimes small changes can have a big impact on businesses. Good and bad. Something Google does could literally wipe out certain peoples business overnight. If you don't have people on an email list you don't own the right to connect with them. You only do so via a third party like Facebook and Youtube and if they decided tomorrow your account is closed, there isn't much you could do about it. This is why email lists are powerful. You actually own the right to keep that email - until or if they decide to unsubscribe. 


    The next part of why email lists are important is they have a 300% more chance that someone buys from you on your list than from cold thin air or just on social media. When someone gives you their email they are already investing in their information there is a level of trust to it. If you further nurture that trust with email marketing touching them through email. Writing daily or 3-4 times a week with your audience through email works really well. It converts way better than just someone coming from an ad to your site. 

    Email Marketing

    Email marketing is one of the biggest ways we do business. It's been that way since the start. Early on I saw the power of copywriting and emailing your audience often. It helps make you a real person. If you read my emails or my blogs you may get a sense of who I am.

    This process is outstanding and a way to really connect with people who want a service like yours. I like to include a good amount of story into everything we do. It helps to humanize people and connect with like-minded individuals. It makes people trust you more. Again look to inspire, tell stories, entertain and education just like on your pages and on social media. 

    4. Building a culture or cult following 

    As you may or may not know our parent company Pixel Mobb has been working with some of the Wu-Tang Clan members. Ghostface has over 1.5 million followers worldwide.

    We have been manning his email account and we have been building it to go directly to the consumer. Let me tell you when you build a CULT following, you can do things that defy logic.

    In normal situations, most people have an 18-23% open interaction rate. Ghost has a 48% interaction rate!!! Ghost gets more replies to his emails than ANY other person I have ever worked with in my entire life.

    It's MIND BOGGLING. This is what happens when people LOVE you and the work you provide. So many people focus on the superficial. They want people to love THEM. Music artists want people to love their work. And great artists make music to connect to people's heart and soul.

    I think in the online marketing world we get too tied up with trying to sell, hitting keywords, hot spot bonding words, and silly scripts. That may or may not work. Personally, I don't want to sit through a 20-minute video of someone talking.

    What gets me and what I know gets a lot of people is emotion. Make people think and feel is all you need to do to sell your products.

    You have a culture in your school let the world know that culture. When you have raving fans speaking about you, they promote for you.

    These are called brand ambassadors.

    They are one of the most important aspects of all business. Social proof is powerful. Look to get testimonials from your students. Getting testimonials on video and editing them together will help you humanize your business and give you the ability to attract more customers. 

    5. Print Marketing 

    Print. Ink. Paper. The smell of it. Everyone loves to hold and touch something. One of the things living in this new technological era life has an odd way of coming full circle. I think people are longing for simplicity in an overly complex world. We strive for interaction, REAL interaction, face to face, skin to skin, handshake to handshake, and eye to eye interaction.
    Does anyone remember from the late 80’s cars that had the automatic seat belt, the Camaro that talked “your door is ajar” “welcome” as we get more and more tech-savvy these once “HIGH” tech ideas get pushed away, for a simpler, easier, interactive and transparent experience.
    Books magazines and paper print will never go away. For a while, people touted print was dead. But it has never been MORE alive than ever before. Matter of fact statistics show that print marketing STILL has the highest conversion rate than ANY other type of marketing out there. Specifically in comparison to marketing like email marketing or Facebook marketing the conversion rate is LIGHT years ahead of both.
    We run spam filters, we have rules set and toss emails in the trash without opening them. But almost EVERY single piece of mail or hand out gets at least a tired eye and hand over them before the decision to act or scrap them is made. 
    Every single time. Think about that.
    Even to toss a piece in the garbage you have to actually touch it!
    Email you can click trash, without opening it. 
    In today's day, print marketing drives MOST of the offline traffic online. Print marketing statistics are as such taken from the DMA from July 2012, Comparing rates over time, the report indicates that the response rate for direct mail to an existing customer averages 3.4%, compared to 0.12% for email.
    Let’s look at this for a moment. 
    Some of the amazing things you can do right now if you own a martial arts school or gym to bolster your marketing INSTANTLY. 

    1) Trial Offer Cards 
    A great entry card that is low cost, and easy to distribute. Trial cards are great, they are small and they are easy to place in a wallet or pocket. They are also affordable and easy to distribute in bulk.
    Hand them to students, and parents to give to their friends. Hand them out at community events, give them out just about anywhere. They are quick to digest, quick to understand and direct to the point. You can find some awesome designs here

    2) Rack Card Routes 
    Rack cards have been a massive staple to guerrilla marketing for your gym or your school. One of the things that rack cards do well is being impactful with not too much time placed in reading them over. 
    A rack card is a perfect solution if you want to offer information is bigger than what you can fit on a standard business card. 
    Rack cards are affordable and the best way to use them is to use plastic see-through rack card stands. They don’t take up much counter space, they’re easy to hand out and you can fit a fair amount of information on them.
    They are also perfect to promote events and promotions, and they fit easily into a regular standard envelope if you need to mail them out. A great solution to get people interested and acting on your latest promotion. You can find some amazing designs right here

    3) EDDMs
    EDDM stands for - Every Door Direct Mail. In the past if you wanted to send out mailers for your business you had to build or worse buy a list. You should NEVER EVER EVER buy any list ever. It's unethical and it will give you low results and probably get a bunch of people pissed off at you.

    Don’t get me wrong building your OWN custom email list is still the MOST beneficial way to market to prospects. But building your own list takes time, costs money, takes manpower, and has its own set of issues. 
    Enter EDDM. You can learn more about EDDM here at the USPS site. https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm Let me just sum it up for you. EDDM does just this, it drops off a mailer to every single door in an area of your choosing. You can scale it up or scale it down however you see fit. You can sort by zip code and mail route.

    You can use various places around a location or multiple locations. It is really great. And from our own experience, it seems the US post office has started to really see an increase in their conversion rates so they seemed to have placed these mailers on the top of your stacks of mail rather than in the notorious coupon (junk pile) section.

    One thing that EDDM has going for it is your prospects are forced to touch your card, even if it is to throw them out. Sneaky. They MUST touch them to do so. And that betters your chances. Email is easily discarded without even opening it. But try to get that piece out of your mailbox without hands and you are either David Copperfield, David Blane, or still dreaming. :) 

    Here are some killer EDDM designs if you need.
    There you have it three ways that print is very much alive and kicking.
    Remember any time anything in life is used too much it becomes ineffective. Email and Facebook are still a staple to marketing (after you have built trust) But nothing builds trust like real world physical marketing. The more nooks and iPads are sold it still seems that books are not going anywhere.
    We live in an overstimulated over connected world where we long for real connection real-world ideas and using more than just one sense.

    Print marketing gets around some of the challenges digital marketing has. 

    So there you have it the comprehensive attack plan for the new year. Also, these are just the things that work really great and are cost-effective with what I feel is the best bang for your buck. There are 100's of other things you can employ as well. These are the things we use, and I have seen work first hand for many school owners. Try some out let us knows how it goes. If you need help with anything drop us a line. 

    Drop a comment let us know what you think about the post and what way you have seen work really well for you. 

    This is what we have been doing for many years at Dojo Muscle. We have worked with and helped over 1000 schools in the last 8 years and it's been a wonderful journey to help so many school owners grow their business and help spread the greatness that is martial arts. 

    Here are just a few quick screen shots and testimonials from different people using our programs and products - 


    If you want a program that will help you with all of the above check out the Muscle Up program
    Dojo Muscle Up™
    Christopher Perilli
    Christopher Perilli

    Christopher Perilli is the owner and CEO of Pixel Mobb. Pixel Mobb owns Dojo Muscle, Dojo Muscle Up™ and Pixel Mobb Academy. He's work with top of Fitness, Martial arts and World Renowned Music Artists. Featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and Wowmakers. Chris is an artist, writer, designer, producer and martial artist. Currently a Purple belt in Gracie Jiu-jitsu (Dante Rivera Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) - has trained Boxing and Muay Thai. His goal is to help as many school owners spread the greatness of martial arts to as many people as possible, while making your school look the very best it can.

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