What I am about to say here may hurt some feelings and ruffle some feathers but such is needed for change. Change we must as an industry.
Systems have been put in place by many of the pioneers of the industry, whom many are now are in their 40’s and 50’s. This is great and it has paved the way for your school to be here and to prosper. However change is a constant. Change is inevitable, and if you don’t change with the times you become extinct or at minimum less effective. Dramatic? Maybe. Reality? 100%.
For a long time schools had the notion that design and branding your business wasn’t THAT important.That putting your best foot forward and creating a professional presentation of your school was kind of important left in the distance as an afterthought. It was OK to get by on just tag-lines alone with some marketing created by a student and not a professional. Because you were a local business it didn’t matter that much. Tag lines and copy are the basic foundation of your business, all great marketing that works starts with headlines and good solid copy. However it is much more than just putting key points on your print marketing and expecting results.
If Superman is good sales copy, design is his cape and costume. Ignoring the synergy of all parts is his kryptonite.
Slapping together anything and calling it martial arts marketing worked great for a while before Facebook, before Myspace and before the onslaught of attention seeking advertisements in every form both physical and digital. Now however it is probably MORE important for a local business to focus on the whole more than ever before. Simply because of the amount of competition for attention there is. Before you were just dealing with the 2 schools in your area, now you are fighting against the pizza place, Kohls, Walmart, and the thousand other companies in your area and surrounding areas for consumers attention. Attention span is getting smaller, as advertising encroaches on our attention constantly.
We are becoming immune to certain forms of marketing because we are being propositioned daily, even up to the second with offers. From TV, to billboards, from web to print, even your GPS has ads that pop up as you drive by places. It is crazy! It’s no wonder why old ways of doing things aren’t having the same effects, because simply it’s a NEW era. Anyone who has ever grown up in a city or moved out of it knows this. When you try to sleep in the country side, you hear crickets all night. They drive you mad, but after a week you don’t even hear them anymore and snooze soundly. Same concept here. The more you are exposed to something, the less it has an effect on you.
Let me state whole heartedly that copy, headlines, and writing is the foundation of good advertising. That will never change. Though just like the UFC you have to be a well rounded fighter to be in the top echelon of competition. You must know Striking, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, and bring it all together for it to work. You need ALL fronts to prosper today. We can go on whole blog posts about both areas in design and in copy, today however we will talk about the few that are the biggest offenders.
Maybe your business is hurting now, maybe you have a good amount of students but want or need more to see a better profit. Maybe you have a successful program but another that is lacking.
Most people do not understand how to use the web, or guerrilla marketing in conjunction with each other to cast a long net across your locale and get effective responses. When we don’t understand it we brush it off as non important. But what you don’t know WILL hurt you.
Below are the 3 major mistakes most martial art schools make and from there we can figure out how to alleviate these blunders and cut a clearer path to your success.
First impressions are everything. If you showed up to a job interview in dirty sweats and sneakers, how do you think that would work out for you? Why do some think it is ok to treat your school this way? Don’t you think this has a negative effect on the way people perceive who and what you stand for?
You need to spend all your time in making sure that people perceive your business in the BEST possible light. This is a culmination of everything. From your phone call message, to your sign, from your forms to your website. It ALL matters. To think it doesn’t is living in yesterdays world, confronted with today’s obstacles. It is probably having a huge negative impact on your success RIGHT NOW! If you wouldn’t do it in your own life, and in your own personal dealings it has no place in your business. If you take pride in how you dress, you should take care 2 times the amount for the presentation of your business. Marketing is more important to tell your story than all the awesome systems you have in place. Without a proper presentation prospects may never get a chance to go through your in house systems. Your brand, or marketing is the first and possibly the last contact a prospect will have with your business, if it doesn’t set the tone immediately you are hurting your school.
Solution: Pay attention to the details. Details are everything, every sign, every ad, every site, and call. Ask yourself does this coincide with the story I am trying to present to the public about our staff and our school. If the answer is maybe or no, get rid of it immediately and replace it with stuff that does. This may cost more at first, but it will save you time and money over the long haul, after all it is the long haul where the race is run not the starting line. If you need help sign up to Dojo Muscle’s email list. They will help you greatly.
Fact- No one loves the guy / girl who talks about themselves at the party all night… This one should possibly be number 1, this is the biggest culprit of customer disrespect. Imagine going to a party and someone walks in bragging about who they are what they have done, the awards they won, the awesome car they drive, the super girlfriend they have… How repulsed are you just by reading this? Well. Why do we think it is ok to do the same for your websites and marketing? Check this card out. Notice how it is talking to the needs and desires of a prospect to your school. It doesn’t say we have the best program, it tells parents the benefits they will gain from using your service. After all that is what service is about. Making others lives better.
If you are reading this and this rings true to you, then fret not help is here.
First and foremost what you are selling is NOT what customers are buying. Read that again.
Students are buying a better life experience, to become stronger, thinner, healthier, more confident and sexier.
They are not buying tradition, your facility size, your equipment, your trophies, belts, rank or how wonderful you think your program is. Why are you talking to them like they are? No one really cares how many trophies you won or how many boards you broke, they care about themselves and how your programs relate to changing their lives. THAT IS IT! Your marketing, website and social media platforms are not a place to brag about what you did or what you have, it is there to simply engage your consumer for what they NEED and DESIRE. To ignite that desire and show them how you have the answer to their problem. Not your needs and desires. This is crucial to understand and it is so super evident that most martial arts marketers do not get it.
Solution: Use the 2:1 ratio rule. Check your copy. For every one We, we will, your name, or your companies name, balance it out with two words like you, you will, you will gain, you will learn etc. This is huge! Talk to them like you are speaking to a friend in a conversation, because you ARE! This one tip has helped our own business grow immensely.
Fact – Headlines means nothing if your design isn’t well organized, and tell the story of what you are saying before the headline is able to be read. If it is not organized well and visually enticing chances of it being read is very low.
You have 5 seconds before your eyes focus to make an impression that your ad is worthy of a consumers time to read. That is done visually. It is in our very nature to judge on looks as our eyes are the first entry into our world. BEFORE the signal goes from our eyes to our brains where reading comprehension happens, we have already judged it. We are primitive. People spend an awful lot of time on their car, their watches, their clothing and hair cut and then throw their hands up when their program isn’t successful because all they did in their marketing was focus on a headline or not even do that. Thats like focusing on just your shoes and going outside in your undies.
Here are some really good marketing pieces that brings it all together.
This is one of the most fundamental ideals in marketing, it’s been around since we have used pen and paper, yet so often easily pushed aside in favor of tried experience over new ground.
User experience is here. Wether one likes it or not, your iPhone and iPad proves that, sites are being built on experience NOT just content, but the way the content is delivered. It is no longer about what you have to say it is the way you have to say it and the way it is served up to the public which together creates equal parts of success.
Solution: Focus on EVERYTHING about your ad. Headlines and copy are super important but they only tell part of the story. The whole story is told with the 5 senses. Make sure your visual representation gets along with the story your copy and headline speaks. Spend as much time as you do crafting your copy with your designer working out the small details of organization and hierarchy so that your ad gets read, has the best chance of action and does better than your competition.
In closing, it is a new time, what worked before doesn’t work anymore and what works today may not work tomorrow it is important to stay on your toes in this fight. We will help you. Sign up here for our email list to get strategy and ideas for the now and the future. Sign up below or share on social networks!
If you are a martial art school owner who wants to attract the attention of prospects that don't know you online you have a major problem.
The deck is stacked against you.