In most martial arts schools, there are predictable events that you can time your review requests with.
When a new student joins.
When a student advances in rank.
When a student or family member praises the school.
When a student wins a tournament.
When a student or family member describes defending him or herself.
During or after a special event.
It’s a good idea to train your staff to “whip out their phones” when a student or family members praise the school.
A student or parent says, “That was a great class.”
The staff member politely asks, would you mind telling our Facebook followers about it? It’ll just take a second.”
Staff member pulls out the phone and shoots a waist up clip. If the student flubs it, just say, “No problem. Ready for take 2?” Keep it light and fun.
It’s also okay to ask the student questions to answer. For instance, “What were you looking for in a martial arts school?” If you don’t like the answer, just ask for a “take 2” and coach on what you’d like to hear.
Here are some examples from our COBRA-Defense Conference in Miami in June.
While the event was happening, I was pulling instructors aside, placing them next to the COBRA banner and doing short interviews that I edited into bite-sized testimonials.
Audio is CRITICAL
Even the best testimonial is useless if you can’t hear what the person issaying. I attached a lavalier collar microphoneso that their voice would be captured above the event background noise.
Rather than stop there, I asked him, “What is the difference in value that parentssee in a COBRA-Defense class versus a martial arts class?” His answer was spot on. This is how you can lead a student down the path of saying what you want them to say in their own words. Stay curious.
Martin Lopez is another good example. He made his first statement and I followed up with questions to pull more out of him and he delivered.
Keep in mind, both Sidney and Martin are good speakers. It’s much harder to get through a bunch of “ums, ahs, and um…” zzzzzzzzz
Most people will not get it right on the first try. Here is one example of many different people that simply needed a “take 2.” Ask them to hold up 2 fingers, so it’s easier for you to find the edit spot later. Sometimes, you go on to 3 fingers, but if you get that far, it may be time for a different question or excuse them from the process.
When people get stuck, ask this, “What would you tell your friends if they were considering joining our school?”
You may want to edit out some words or change the order of the comments using one of a ton of video editors. Kapwing.com is a treasure chest of great tools and information that covers all of your post-production tasks such as:
Caption the video. Most social media video is watched in mute, so make sure your message gets delivered by captioning the video.
Transcribe the video. Take the captions and turn them into a couple of paragraphs under the video. Lot’s of people, like me, will not take the time to watch a captioned video and would prefer to read it. However, because the speaker is on the video saying nice things about your school, it still has more impact than if it was just a written review.
Title the video with the student’s name and topic. Here I used a lower thirds from iMovie.
NOTE: If you’d like a free review of your website, just respond to this email asking for one. Be sure to include your website address and the best email to send the review to.
Last week, I talked about the three groups of prospects that are visiting your website. That really resonated with people because interest in our websites spiked.
In SEO language, these are micro-moments. Essentially, a micro-moment boils down to the reason a visitor is on your site.
He or she is: 1. Just starting to look for a school and doing research. 2. Ready to join a school but undecided which one. 3. Ready to join your school.
Your site should speak to each of these visitors in a language they are looking for.
One of the elements of ourEmpowerKickboxing.com website that visitors liked was the tone of the site. It’s easy to understand and fun.
The line that got the most response was, Everyone from Bruce Lee to Mr. Miyagi said the secret to success is to “Focus on what works and discard the rest.” Who are we to argue with those guys?
That line communicates that we are fun and don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re not intimidating.
Also, our PROPRIETARY slogan, “Martial Arts You Can Master Faster!™” tells visitors exactly what they want to see because most websites convey a message that is, “Martial Arts You Can’t Master for Decades.”
Even the old adage that, Martial Arts is a Way of Life can be a turn off to many people. Maybe I’m happy with my life and just want to learn martial arts. Maybe I’m a Christian and want my kids to be raised with that as their foundation, not obscure mystical Asian traditions.
Indoctrination into a “new life” is a huge red flag that seems more cultish than recreational.
Martial arts school websites seem to fall into three categories. 1. The wix.com type DIY site that looks like a wix.com DIY site. 2. The pre-designed site that looks more like a template than an organic representation of the people in the school. Prospects can see stock shots a mile away and it’s a turn-off. It reeks of commercialism/higher tuition. 3. The site that is a tributary history lesson on the style and the instructor. Boring.
The website that you want is one that visitors think, “Wow! This makes total sense! They’re talking to me!”
Where are you in the spectrum of your online presence?
Do you have your Google My Business claimed and optimized?
Do you have your YouTube channel optimized?
Is your school in the all-important Google 3-pack on searches?
Is your site due for an upgrade?
Remember, if you’d like a free review of your website, just respond to this email asking for one. Be sure to include your website address and the best email to send the review to.
GoogleMyBusiness (GMB) is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. That includes adding your school name, location, and hours; monitoring and replying to customer reviews; adding photos; learning where and how people are searching for you, and more.
Your Google My Business and Facebook listings are the two most powerful influencers for search. We suggest that you focus just on these two platforms.
It’s important the information about your school that shows up when people search Google is as accurate, complete, and optimized as possible.
Create a Google My Business Listing
Step 1: Log into the Google Account you want to be associated with your school (or create a Google Account if you don’t already have one).
Step 2: Go to google.com/business and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner.
Step 3: Enter your school name and all the information fields.
Choose the method you want to verify.
Optimizing Your Account
Once you have been verified, you can focus on optimization.
Add as much information and media as you can, including a business profile photo, the area you serve, your hours, the day and year you opened, and a public phone number and website URL.
Keep in mind that anyone can “suggest an edit” to your listing, so it’s important to A) get everything right the first time (so you don’t encourage random people to make their own changes) and B) periodically log into your GMB dashboard and make sure all the details look right.
Photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high and JPG or PNG files.
Your Google My Business cover photo is one of the most important, as it shows up front and center on your listing.
You can also add videos. Videos must be:
30 seconds or shorter
100 MB or smaller
720p resolution or higher
Videos can add some variety to your profile and make you stand out among other businesses in your category; however, don’t worry if you don’t have any — unlike photos, they’re not a “must have.”
Google My Business Reviews
One of the best ways to encourage future customers to leave positive reviews is to respond to current ones. Not only does leaving an appreciative response show the original reviewer you’re thankful for their support. It also makes that positive review stand out on your listing and influences people to leave their own reviews.
People might be less inclined to leave a negative review since they see that you are highly responsive to them.
According to Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising Report, 88% of respondents said they trusted online reviews as much as they’d trust a personal recommendation.
For the martial arts school owner, two things are clear. 1. You must have a review solicitation program in place. 2. It helps to have a way of sharing these reviews that goes beyond hoping someone will see them on Google or Facebook.
Here is a review video that gives regular text reviews an emotional connection.
Here is a powerful tool to put your reviews on steroids.
Create a short video featuring some of your best testimonials and reviews, and post it to YouTube.
Both the title and description need to contain your company name, the word “reviews”, and even the city where your school is located.
When it’s all done, you should have something that looks like this. Review Video
How to Create a Review Video 1. Research your testimonials and reviews. 2. Copy 4 – 6 of the best testimonial texts to file 2. Create a 16:9 or 4:3 video slate with an attractive design, colors, and setting. 3. Create a video lower thirds for the slate. 4. Copy and format the testimonials onto the slate. 5. Save the slate files into a “Review Video” folder. 6. Open a video editor like iMovie or Camtasia. 7. Import the slates into the editing software. 8. Create special effects like zoom and pans. 9. Insert transitions between each slate. 10. Find copyright-free music. 11. Add copyright-free music underneath video. 12. Edit copyright-free music to fit the video. 13. Upload to your YouTube channel. 14. Send embed code to us and we’ll insert it in your Reviews page.