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Marketing a School on a Tight Budget

Author Topic: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget  (Read 7320 times)

Offline kajudru

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Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« on: October 28, 2007, 10:07:07 PM »
All,

I am trying to get the word out about my school and particularly my Kajukenbo instructor. The school is a co-op of 3 instructors and I think they've only been together about a year. One instructor teaches Kajukenbo and Aikdio, one instructor teaches FMA, and one Tang Soo Do. I take classes with the Kajukenbo instructor (obviously) and sometimes from the FMA instructor. The 3 instructors probably only have 10 students total between all 3 of them.

My instructor didn't ask, but I've been helping them get the word out about our school (I wouldn't consider marketing their strong point) and so far he seems to appreciate what I've done.  Here's what I have done so far:

1. Made a Kajukenbo flyer and posted it at my gym and had my wife post it at her work (she works at a large hospital).

2. Posted an ad on Craigslist and on our local paper's forum website.

3. Sent my instructor a link to free business cards (here is the link if anyone else is interested: http://www.vistaprint.com) because today during class we our big door up and some people walked by and asked him for a business card, but he didn't have any. Luckly he had one of the flyers I made up and he was able to give him one of the tear offs.

Since there are so few students, they really don't have much money. We don't even have an entry in the phonebook, which is how I believe most people find out about martial art schools. Plus, none of the instructors teach children, which I believe is a big part of most school's income.

I saw on another post someone recommending a demo team, but I can't see us doing that. My instructor did do an Aikido seminar at the local university a few weeks ago, which is probably a good way to get the word out.

Anyway, I was looking for some ideas that can be done on the cheap to get the word out about my school. I just want to see my school and instructors be successful because I would hate if it was to close down due to a lack of funds.

Sihing Jason Drury
KSDI Student under Sifu Bill Ross (Tony Lasit Branch)
Elite Combat Academy
http://www.shreveportmartialarts.com/
Shreveport, LA

"More Sweat In Training, Less Blood In Battle"

Offline badsifu

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2007, 10:27:37 PM »
Hmmm... okay. 

1.  To start, the flier idea is nice, make sure that you make it the kind with the phone # at the bottom with the "pull tab" style.  That way, people don't have to write down the # (they won't) and they can just pull the tab, put it in ther pocket and call you later. 

2.  Second, if they have a business line at their school, they should have a free listing in the yellow pages.  It isn't the big blow up ad size.  It is just a little name and phone #.  Basic business lines here in CA you can get for as cheap as $15/mo.  Most people go through the yellow pages and call everyone anyways.

3.  If they have the business line, be sure to have a call forwarding feature on it.  This goes for everyone.  You can have your business line send the call to your cell # after a certain # of rings.  It costs about $5 here in CA.  I won't leave a message and I usually just hang up.  Then call the next guy down the list until I get someone live who will answer the phone.

4.  Only 10 students?  No, you have 10 soldiers.  Those 10 soldiers have spouses/girlfriends/family/friends etc.  So now those 10 soliders turned into 10 Field Commanders with several soldiers under their command.  Get it?  Turn your little #s into big #s.  Give out quarter page fliers to each of the 10 students.  They are to give out those fliers to their friends/family/etc to give to their co-workers etc.

5.  Demos are fine and dandy.  However, you are working for whatever club/organization that sponsored the demo.  Instead, throw a big party and invite everyone in the neighborhood.  Make it pot luck (10 Field Commanders) and then be sure to have a good greeter at the door, several people who know what information to give, and at least 2 sales people to enroll people right there on the spot.  At the party, there should be demos done by the instructors.  There should also be an special offer for those people that want to enroll that day.  Not a hard sell, but just a deal - $20 for uniform and 2 classes.  Something like that.

6.  If your coaches don't want to teach kids, see if you can start a class with one or two of the Field Commanders.  Once you get a few people interested, enlist the parents to help coach the classes.  Make the classes fun for the kids as well as the coaches and most importantly the teachers.  Then do a few "Bring a Friend Day" functions so the kids will be encouraged to have their friends come and participate in a free class.

7.  Print up a letter and send it to all the local elementary, junior high, and high schools.  Let them know that you are available for demonstrations and special classes for those rainy days that are soon coming.  Follow that up with a phone call to the school administrator and make sure that YOU are the person they call for something fun for the kids as opposed to a competitor.  Try not to pressure too much, but see if you can't schedule a time you can go in and meet with the administrator and provide a little sales pitch.  Get on their calendar.  Face time baby.

8.  Got a local newspaper?  Do something news worthy.  Do a break-a-thon for a local charity.  Have a few local businesses support by buying the cost of the boards.  Then call the radio and newspaper and tell them that you are gonna do it "live."  Get everyone and all their chopping hands warmed up and chop chop chop away.

9.  Get some other coaches in there.  Anytime your school isn't being used it is being wasted.  Call yoga, dance, aerobics instructors and see who needs a place.  Instead of recruiting students online on craigslist, recruit teachers.  Their students, their student's kids, and their spouses will want to join your classes.

10.  Finally, join an organization that gives you fresh ideas.  Try to get into one that works for your style of teaching.  There are plenty of McDojo orgs if that is what you are into.  I am running a small consulting program for Kaju people and the goal is to help people who have schools like yours - few students with no budget.  You don't need a big wallet to make a great program.  You just need to never stop pushing forward.

Ciao.

Dan Tyrrell

Offline NYKaju

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2007, 09:06:40 AM »
Dru, if you want send me a copy of the flyer you made. I'll see if I can spruce that up a bit.

I would recommend on top of Dan's awesome ideas, to have a special promotion. On the flyer, offer a limited time deal for a month or so, where they can sign up and take free/discounted classes for a while. Or get a free uniform. Or better yet, set up a referral program, where current students get something (discounts, or PATCHES! YAY PATCHES!) if their friends try a class or sign up. Whatever they feel comfortable doing to get bodies on the mat. I'd say stick with the discounts though. This way there is no expense out of pocket. Regardless, once they get them in the door, the hard part's over.

Whatever you and they decide to do. Good luck. It sounds like you have a nice mix of instructors there. Just gotta get more feet through the door.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2007, 09:08:18 AM by NYKaju »
Sensei/Coach James Mayors
Ronin Martial Arts
Kajukenbo under Dan Tyrrell
BJJ under Matt Serra
Judo under Mark Staniszewski
"You don't rise to the level of your expectations, you fall to the level of your training"

Offline kajudru

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2007, 05:04:39 PM »
Thanks Dan for the great ideas.

James,

I will take you up on your offer regarding the flyer. I'll shoot you a PM or email shortly.
Sihing Jason Drury
KSDI Student under Sifu Bill Ross (Tony Lasit Branch)
Elite Combat Academy
http://www.shreveportmartialarts.com/
Shreveport, LA

"More Sweat In Training, Less Blood In Battle"

Offline grand master hemenes

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2008, 02:08:45 AM »
hi im prof. hemenes i ran my school for almost 30 years and the only thing that worked for me and i did this for years i put out lead boxes out abought 50 of them offering one free week, so they filled out the slip and put it in the box. and this is how it works one thime a week you go out and pick up all the leads
and put new pad on the box. with 50 boxes you should get abought 150 or more leads for the week. then you or one of your staff or wife call and make the appt. for them to come and try your class out of 150 leads you should get 10 to 15 leads to come in for the week and out of the 15 you should sign up 7 of them on a year contract, you do that 4 time a month that is 28 new students a month. and if you charge 65.00 a month thats 1,820.00 extra a month just for those new students. i had over 400 students
just by doing these lead boxes. you have to rember haveing a karate school you have to have a strong office, then in class you can be a good strong teacher then you will have a good kajukenbo school. you have to have both becouse having only one or the other your school will not work. if you need more info. just email me at mrhemenes@aol.com


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Offline Greg Hoyt

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2008, 12:06:55 PM »
Aloha, 

What great suggestions and advice. 

My instructor's day job is High School Educator, so is his wife.  Thus, he has numerous contacts within the teaching community.  Before we opened the Upcounty classes he circulated a flyer/handout to all the teachers in all the public schools in that area.  The interested parents called to sign-up, and we had a big meeting to introduce ourselves and explain our goals/methods.  There were about 100 people at the meeting.  Out of that 100 about 80 signed up.  Today, almost one year later, there are 25-30 solid kids, and 4-7 solid adults/teens.  We hold the Upcountry class at an Elementary School Cafeteria, which gives us constant exposure to potential students while keeping the cost down.  The down side is we have to haul all our stuff, mats, shields, gloves, etc. to each class (not so bad). 

About twice a year Sifu Trent offers a self defense class.  One price, one hour classes five days a week, for two weeks.  Kids, teens, and adults.  At the end of the course we give them a certificate and a pot luck.  Last year we had 12 enrolled, and 4 stayed to become solid students.  Funny thing is, the self defense course was our regular Kajukenbo curriculum, we didn't change much. 

Business Cards are a must.  We hand them out to anyone who shows an interest.  We keep flyers available at every class for walk-ins. 

Respectfully,
Sibak Greg
Sifu Greg Hoyt
Hoyt's Kajukenbo, Peoria, Arizona
Under Sigung Trent Sera, Professor Kailani Koa
Train Hard - Fight Dirty

Offline Patrick Campbell

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2008, 02:57:15 PM »
 :) Great marketing technique, Professor.Thanks for sharing this information.

Pat




hi im prof. hemenes i ran my school for almost 30 years and the only thing that worked for me and i did this for years i put out lead boxes out abought 50 of them offering one free week, so they filled out the slip and put it in the box. and this is how it works one thime a week you go out and pick up all the leads
and put new pad on the box. with 50 boxes you should get abought 150 or more leads for the week. then you or one of your staff or wife call and make the appt. for them to come and try your class out of 150 leads you should get 10 to 15 leads to come in for the week and out of the 15 you should sign up 7 of them on a year contract, you do that 4 time a month that is 28 new students a month. and if you charge 65.00 a month thats 1,820.00 extra a month just for those new students. i had over 400 students
just by doing these lead boxes. you have to rember haveing a karate school you have to have a strong office, then in class you can be a good strong teacher then you will have a good kajukenbo school. you have to have both becouse having only one or the other your school will not work. if you need more info. just email me at mrhemenes@aol.com


                                               prof. hemenes

                                              kajukenbo 4 ever
Patrick "Kaponookalani" Campbell, Ph.D.
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Offline Rob Poelking

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 09:27:05 AM »
hi im prof. hemenes i ran my school for almost 30 years and the only thing that worked for me and i did this for years i put out lead boxes out abought 50 of them offering one free week, so they filled out the slip and put it in the box. and this is how it works one thime a week you go out and pick up all the leads
and put new pad on the box. with 50 boxes you should get abought 150 or more leads for the week. then you or one of your staff or wife call and make the appt. for them to come and try your class out of 150 leads you should get 10 to 15 leads to come in for the week and out of the 15 you should sign up 7 of them on a year contract, you do that 4 time a month that is 28 new students a month. and if you charge 65.00 a month thats 1,820.00 extra a month just for those new students. i had over 400 students
just by doing these lead boxes. you have to rember haveing a karate school you have to have a strong office, then in class you can be a good strong teacher then you will have a good kajukenbo school. you have to have both becouse having only one or the other your school will not work. if you need more info. just email me at mrhemenes@aol.com


                                               prof. hemenes

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Lead boxes are a LOT of work but I have to concur as I've heard this in the past; IT'S VERY EFFECTIVE!
Rob Poelking, Black Belt, Original Method
Black belt under Sigung Ray Anderson
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Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: Marketing a School on a Tight Budget
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 10:35:27 AM »
Anyone have a vendor they recommend for the lead boxes.  I have more time than money, so it seems a pretty good choice for me.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
5th Degree, Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung Fu
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Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com