Friday, March 30, 2007

Strictly Business (For Martial Arts School Owners/Managers)

My goal is 60 phone calls or walk-ins a month in my school, which should translate into 30 enrollments. To get 60 calls a month, I’m going to spend at least $50 per call, which means I’m investing $3000 in advertising at least 90-days before I expect the calls to come in.

Let’s review what I just wrote:

I want 60 inquiries; I expect 30 enrollments from my 60 inquiries; I’m going to spend –at least --$50 to get each inquiry; what I spend today will work for me 90 days from now.

Is this set in stone? No, of course not, however, from my experience it’s not a bad idea to use this as a general guideline. Anything is possible, so who am I to say what works for everyone –in every market! Nevertheless, if you use these general guidelines as a base, you can measure whether you are doing better –or worse –than me.

If you don’t have $3000 to spend on advertising, then you’re going to have to invest your labor (sweat-equity). Instead of paying someone to design, place, and distribute your advertising, you’re going to have to do it yourself. How? Yes, well…that’s the $3000 question, isn’t it. Honestly, it’s not always easy, but it’s do-able, so here are some ideas:

Distribute flyers; like hundreds a week; like thousands a week…and not just flyers (passes, door-hangers, etc…), but beautiful flyers featuring a great offer.

Reach the media –and I mean all of it; tv, newspapers, radio, the internet –and here we separate those who can from those who cannot. How? Learn how to turn everything into media-food –or DO things that are newsworthy. A good spot in your local newspaper is worth, depending on your town, from $500 to $5000 dollars worth of advertising. A radio spot might be worth from $250 to $500, a good TV spot could be valued from $250 to $2500 or more.

Inspire your students to spread the word –and bring in their friends. This, of course, has to be done tactfully and intelligently, but it’s one powerful form of marketing. The catch? You have to reach your students so deeply, so powerfully, that they WANT to bring in their friends. Do that and the idea works wonderfully.

Go on a speaking tour. You can speak at all sorts of places –but you have to have something important to speak about –something relevant to your work and important to your community. You have to have a powerful and touching presentation (the subjects are virtually unlimited), and you have to give your presentation in an intelligent and compelling fashion. If you can craft this, your community will open its doors to you: schools, businesses, service clubs, etc…

What should/could you talk about? Self-defense –and anything that relates to it (mental, physical, spiritual, social, financial, etc…).

Partner with a local business (or businesses) to join forces as ad partners –pool your money and design ad campaigns that work for both of you. Warning: You have to be pretty smart to do this.

What do I think, after these five suggestions?

I think you have to spend at least two-hours a day, five days a week working all aspects of your ad and promo campaign.

I think you have to network with other schools to see what’s working for them. How often? At least once a month.

I think you have to adjust your efforts based on the results you get at the end of each week. Not enough results, change/increase your efforts.

I think you have to realize that your efforts --now --may not pay off for 90-days --or longer.

I think you don’t have the privilege of getting tired or discouraged, as your survival depends on your ability to generate business. The smartest and/or strongest will survive.

I think you’re probably not doing half as much as you should (promotion).

I think the UBBT and The 100 are ALL ABOUT finding something to promote that makes people take notice (and guess what, it’s a strategy that’s good for you too! Bonus!).

I think you have to do your promotion, day-in and day-out, like you were training for the promotional Olympics. When everyone else fades out, you are just getting started.

I think you need to ask for “the sale” dozens of times –in dozen’s of creative and tactful ways –and that you make it your habit of never taking “no” for an answer.

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