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If you run a martial arts school, or dojo, that is targeted towards children, you know how very challenging this type of martial arts marketing can be. You want to attract the children, but the parents are the ones who pay, so you must attract them as well. What works to attract the kids might not work for the parents. Marketing is imperative to the success of your school and deserves careful thought and planning.
The key is to garner the enthusiasm of the kids and the dollars of the parents. To attract the enthusiasm of the kids, they will need to see your art in action. This means demonstrations or participation in a class. For the parents, they need to see information about martial arts in general, your dojo in particular, and the reasons why learning a martial art will benefit their child.
Six Ways to Market Your Martial Arts School to Children
Printed Flyers: Many schools, both public and private, will distribute flyers to all students at no charge beyond your cost of printing. This is probably the best way to blanket all the children in an area with information about your school. Many schools also allow ads to be placed in their school newsletter as a way to cover costs. This should be explored if they do not allow flyers to be sent out.
Free Demonstrations: There are so many opportunities to provide free martial arts demonstrations – along with information about your school. Some examples include school functions, community events, and private club functions (such as the YMCA). Seeing martial arts in action, especially if children are participating in the demonstration, will surely attract more kids. Make sure you have a special offer such as a free introductory course ready for everyone in the audience.
Gift Certificates: You can donate a gift certificate to a school fundraising event, such as an auction or raffle. This gets the name of your school in front of all the parents and will give one child (and parent) a chance to try out your school with a free month or free private lesson.
Buddy Day: Having current students invite a friend for one free session is a great way to sign-up new students. The parents like the “free” part and the kids will want to participate in an activity with their friends. This works best by having a contest or a prize for every student who brings a friend.
Printed T-shirts or Sweatshirts: Having current students wear the emblem of your dojo to their school is like having free walking billboards. Also, the kids like the idea of advertising their involvement in something special.
Special Events: Offering self-defense classes or birthday parties can attract the parents, who in turn will sign up their kids for your school. Moms will come to a self-defense for women class and will take you up on your suggestion that teaching defense to their children is a great idea. Again, have a special promotion for all the participants to try your martial arts classes at a special reduced rate or for free for a month.
Martial arts marketing is all about identifying the customer and catering to that niche group. In this case, the children and their parents are your target. The parents will want to know that their child is in the best hands to learn not only the martial arts but most parents are looking for character building aspects as well. Your mastery of your art is imperative to the quality of your instruction. Your mastery of martial arts marketing is imperative to the success of your school.
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