Hopefully your martial arts business saw an increase in 2010. I know for many martial arts schools it was a year of opportunity with the release of the remake of the Karate Kid and signs that the economy was getting better. However, I also saw at least three schools shut down in my city so I know things weren’t smooth sailing for everyone.
To help give you some ideas for your martial arts school to start things out right in 2011, here are ten things to consider investigating in the New Year:
- Make it easy to do business with you. Accept credit cards at your school, add a paypal button to your site, set up EFT, add the ability to schedule appointments on your website, add a shipping cart to your site, etc. I talk to martial arts school owners all the time who it a virtual gauntlet to do business with them. If that describes your business, this is the year to make some big changes. I’ll be talking more about how to set these all up soon.
- Build a community. Invest in your students and show them you care. Get to know them and take the best possible care you can of them. Hold special events for your students, consider making at least one free. I do this on my anniversary and hold a free student appreciation seminar. They love it and helps reinforce I care.
- Make your website a lead generation machine. I’ve said this in years past, but have you done this yet? This is a HUGE business transformation tool and not one you want to postpone or ignore.
- Develop a killer upgrade program. One of the most direct ways to increase the revenue of your martial arts school and create greater financial freedom is to get more from those who are already there. Most school owners focus on chasing new money instead of getting more from those who already know, like and trust them.
- Build a promotional calendar. When you schedule promotions, it helps you build your marketing calendar for years to come. Keep what works. Try something else if it doesn’t. Having your promotions determined in advance allows you to properly plan for them so they aren’t last minute hack jobs. To maximize any promotion, you need to have a plan, execute the plan and follow up to determine it’s effectiveness.
- Get your deal on. Groupon.com, CityDeals.com, LivingSocial.com and more all came to the forefront in 2010 and I’ve seen a ton of offers from martial arts schools. Have you considered offering a deal on these kinds of sites yet? See a deal in action here.
- Add exciting new special events. A great way to lift your bottom this year is to do special events like seminars, workshops or clinics. You can set these up monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or do a series for 8 saturday’s in a row.
- Enhance your proshop. Time for some schwag! Have T-Shirts made for your school, put logos on your sparring gear, uniforms, and more. Some martial arts instructors make certain equipment required at different levels and add special packages. This will help you develop a whole new revenue stream if you aren’t currently doing this.
- Develop a referral system worth having. Again, this is key to any business who wants to be in business long term. If your current students are happy, they will naturally refer you. However, it never hurts to give them a little incentive.
- Master local search. 2010 marked the year of local search being fully integrated into the search results. If you don’t have a site yet or want to supplement how many references you have in the search results, it’s time to investigate. Chances are, you already have several local pages to claim that the search engines and directory sites have created for you.
What would you add to this list?