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  • The Hybrid Approach to Marketing Your Martial Arts School, Gym or Small Business.

    April 17, 2018 6 min read

    The Hybrid Approach to Marketing Your Martial Arts School, Gym or Small Business. - Dojo Muscle

    New times. New times indeed.

    What was hot 5 years ago isn’t anymore. What was hot 10 years ago is a dream. Myspace collapsed.

    So let’s cut right down to it and talk about now.

    I am not like others in this industry, as I am a bit on the edge of it in a bigger overlapping niche – the fitness and athletic performance marketing industry.

    So my perspective is very unique. Couple that with the fact that I have run two very successful business over the past 10 years, AND worked on Wall street for 8 prior I have a very unique experience and education. Enough about me.

    Let’s talk about you.

    Your goals are to prosper in a very complex, hyper technical, over skeptical, immensely dense, crowded world of consumerism. That’s a mouth full.

    Here is what we know to work. From my own experience and from the experiences of others we work with directly. Again as said in a past post, this is not theory this is reality.

    I have never owned a martial arts school.

    I have however helped many business market successfully both large and small.

    So we have a war it seems, on one end you have direct marketers. The other brand builders.

    They are always at odds. One says you need copy, that’s the most important thing and for some reason this gives them leave to neglect design and branding. Their mindset is to find where people are in their sales funnel and sell them or rather convert them. This is a great practice AT times. I will get to that more later.

    Branding people are the opposite they feel you need to make every attempt to build on your brand, to build with branded materials trust in the consumers mind, be it if they are going to buy now or buy later. To these guys trust is a huge proponent of what they do.

    To give you an example of these competing mindsets lets put this ideal into an an analogy.

    BMW is building an ad for it’s new 4 series coupe.

    Direct marketers say sell directly to the target market, of 35-55 year old men, making over 75k a year and speak to no one else.

    Brand builders say wait hold up a second, sure thats the target market, but what about the 25 year olds that can’t afford the 4 series now but WILL in a few years. Isn’t it a great time to start galvanizing the trust in their mind along with whom is purchasing now. So when the time comes and they do have the money the groundwork of trust is already laid out?

    And here is the fight that goes on. Almost daily by small business, martial arts school and gym owners and there is a constant struggle to prove which one is right and which one is wrong.

    Let’s keep in mind before we go any further the differences and greatness of each path. Let’s also keep in mind that 80% of advertising dollars and ideas on the web are direct response based. So the bias on the web is that is king. However contrary to that fact 80% of ad dollar spent in the physical world are brand awareness dollars. So it’s easy when you are on the web to get caught up in the ideal that direct response is king. It has it’s place but it is no more king than any other strategy or tactic out there.

    I am here to drop the bomb.

    They are both wrong and both right.

    Now that we got that out of the way. Here is what DOES work today for small business.

    I have seen this work with my own business, with my mentor and instructors business, with a ton of successful people and it can work for yours as well.

    1) Work Hard to Build Trust

    So how do we build trust? Right now by writing this post I am building trust with you. Me giving you free highly qualified valuable information helps build my trust with you. This is huge. Never has their been a time before where people are able to build trust with a bunch of words typed from their laptop onto a blog. Blogs are huge and still the back bone to most SEO, and most trust building.

    If you aren’t a writer, then record a video, or record some audio. Video is super powerful and I have a whole new post about the prowess of video on the way so stay tuned for that.

    Write a PDF or build some free course people can digest and get to know your expertise along with getting to know you.

    SPEND most of your money on making you look the absolute best you can. I am the owner of Dojo Muscle. We create top quality materials for the martial arts industry. We work with the top 1% of the industry they trust us with their brand for a reason. If any sound advice can be offered it is whatever money you are going to spend on building your brand make sure you get the BEST quality company you can afford to do the branding for you.

    Branding is your suit and tie when showing up to your job interview. In business your job interview is your communication with a prospective customer. If you don’t look the part how do you expect others to take you serious? If you want to charge higher prices or grow your school to a power house you can’t cut corners here. It is the first and often last connection a prospect may have with you. If you don’t do it right you risk ruining that life line quickly. Do NOT subscribe to the cheaply done, bottom of the barrel, just get something done because that will be good enough mentality . Good is the enemy of great. Good is mediocre and mediocrity is for losers. If you want to be a winner spend as much as you can afford on looking the part. Both outside with your brand and inside your school. Point in case you can’t have a great looking ad and when they show up you have dirty ripped mats, and a person at the door looking disheveled. Do spend as much as you can looking the part. Looking great is not cheap. Chances are if you are opting for the cheap route that looks just OK you are saying to the world, I am just OK, I expect you to believe of me higher but I will not invest in my business enough to prove that point. Spend that money on a great logo, on nice paint for the school, on your website, on your videos and all of the things that speak who and what you are. Spend one time, spend right, don’t spend again.

    2) Use Direct response when needed as you are building trust.

    NOW that we have some trust built now lets go forward and convert those sales. So here is where direct response comes into play. When you give you open yourself up to receive. My good friend and colleague at One Martial Arts Professor Beliso, embodies this notion and his schools thrive greatly. It’s a great time when giving content to ask for a sale. Direct response looks to hone on the a specific action at that moment. Offers work well, and sales work well. Direct response like ad cards, or rack cards, built in a way that touches on a consumer problem, and then shows how your business solves that problem, while asking directly for the sale. It’s important in your direct response to cover pains, fears that consumers may have, and at the same time showing how you remove those fears and fix those pains. Calls to action make up a good portion along with copy of a direct response marketing product. So for everything to work great today you need both ends of the spectrum. It’s important to build, and sell at the same time. It is important to find the sweet spot between the both that best works for you and build from there. A good rule of thumb should be to watch big companies and how they handle certain things.
    Take Kohl’s for example. They brand build by releasing commercials on tv that shows why and who shops at Kohl’s. Then they direct response by sending out sales flyers of the latest promos. Take Dunkin Donuts they do something similar, commercials and radio spots to tell the world that the whole world runs on Dunkin, and then create hand outs that get included in your mailbox for their weekly promotion of pumpkin donuts. Who doesn’t love pumpkin donuts!?
    We believe for today you need to take a full encompassing approach with your marketing. What we do at Dojo Muscle is to combine both great design and branding with awesome copy and direct response strategies. Stay tuned for our next post that covers the design and best practices of both branding AND direct response layouts. If you liked this blog, show some love, leave a comment or share it below.
    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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