The Stairway to New Students
When you are marketing your martial arts school, it’s important to understand that each person who visits your website or watches your videos will have a different level of awareness relating to your school.
The best way to understand these different levels of awareness is to think of them as a stairway to new students.
At the bottom, you have people who are unaware of you or the benefits of your school.
They realize that they need the benefits of your school, but they have taken no action.
They understand their need/desire and are aware there are several ways for them to satisfy that need.
Your Solution Aware
They have seen or heard about your school and how it compares to your competitors.
Ready to Join
These people are aware of your school and ready to join if you have a good new student system.
When you think about marketing as this staircase, it helps you calibrate your marketing to what stage of the staircase the prospect is on. The goal of your marketing is to move people up the staircase and increase their level of awareness of your school.
Take them on a journey from being unaware or your school to recognizing their need/desire of a martial arts school, to realizing that there are many schools available. Then realizing that your school is the best choice and finally joining your school.
At each level of the stairway, match your messaging to speak to the people at that level and help them transition up to the next level.
One of the best ways to deliver your message at every level of this stairway to new students is to use video.
The media is blitzed all day long with people seeking exposure on their platform. One method that will jump you to the top, or at least near it, is to get out in your community and help with a local fundraising effort.
Whether it’s a need of a member’s family or a local charity, your school can contribute funds or hands-on help.
Take photos, write a paragraph or two about the event and fundraising efforts and send it in to your local media list (You do have a list right?).
Send media releases via email to your list prior to the event. Follow up with a phone call. You may even offer to take video and images to send if the reporter can’t make it.
Most of the time, the media will publish the event information, photo, school name, and charity as a part of a local news snippet. These are often used as a way for the media to share a ‘feel-good’ story or fill a slow news day.
The New Rules for Pitching the Media
How to Become the Martial Arts Star in Your Town
How To Get Media Coverage
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 our EmpowerKickboxing.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.
If you’d like to get a better feel for how to move prospects down the path of discovering and joining your school, read this short post.
At the bottom, I have a link to a new prototype website for Empower Kickboxing™ that illustrates that you can’t assume that a visitor knows anything about martial arts.
The site is not complete yet, but you can see that it is speaking to someone in the early stages of their journey.
What percentage of your website or Facebook page visitors do you think are:
- Just starting to look for a school?
- Ready to join a school but undecided?
- Ready to join your school?
Before you design any marketing for new students, decide which group you are targeting.
People just starting to look for a school are faced with a number of choices.
How are you helping them to understand and navigate the complex world of martial arts where many styles are hard to pronounce, much less get excited about in 2019?
A two-week trial doesn’t make your school attractive. Everyone has something similar. How can stand out by helping people understand how to choose a school without talking down to them.
Most school websites and FB ads lead with a price offer or an insider headline that only 1 in 1,000 visitors would understand. Example, “We teach Nihon Goshin.”
Virtually every website uses the same stock images and same stock headlines, so how does a visitor make sense of a world that, by design, is foreign to them?
Here are the headlines from the top 8 martial arts schools in a Google search where I live in Tampa Bay. I did a private window search for “martial arts schools near me.”
- Welcome to our dojo where we teach Nihon Goshin Aikido
- Gulf Coast FCS Kali
- Traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, & MMA Training
- About Iron Dragon MMA
- About the Academy
- A Complete Fitness and Martial Arts School
- Confidence Building Martial Arts Classes in Palm Harbor, FL
- Our Mission: To Train Relentlessly. The Learn the Perseverance of a Warrior
What makes your school different from these guys?
When you see the new Empower Kickboxing website prototype, notice that we don’t say, “Watch out for schools that have contracts!” Or, “We’re the only accredited school from the Kukkiwon.” Or, “Master Graden’s lineage goes right to Bruce Lee!”
No one cares. I didn’t find out about the Kukkiwon until I was a 4th-degree black belt in tae kwon do. I didn’t care then and I don’t care now.
What we do say is that martial arts is complex and here is how we’ve made it easier for you to understand and learn.
If you’d like MATA’s help in crafting a more clear message for your prospects, just comment below and reply to this email.
Click here to check out the new Empower Kickboxing™ website.