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The success of your martial arts school is reflected by the number of students who enroll. Although you may offer training at the highest level and the most modern equipment, your efforts to run a martial arts school won't matter if no one signs up for lessons. There are several ways to market your martial arts school, such as providing free introductory classes or creating a school website.
Conduct Free Demos and Classes
To draw the local community into your school, hold an open house in which you and your students demonstrate the martial arts or conduct a free self-defense class. Envision a demo event as putting on a show. Choreograph and rehearse martial arts skills that can dazzle an audience. Provide refreshments and door prizes to create a festive atmosphere. You could also present a free demo class to students at local schools. During these events, hand out your school’s brochures or post cards with logo and contact information. For new students, offer the first few classes for free or at a discount.
Create Tie-Ins and Giveaways
Contact local businesses, such as video rental outlets, bowling alleys, restaurants or arcades, and ask to share promotional materials or what’s known as a tie-in. For example, offer to promote martial arts video rentals to your students for the local video store if they agree to carry coupons for free martial arts lessons at your school. Begin the search for potential tie-ins by approaching students or parents who run their own businesses. For people who walk into your school in search of information on martial arts training, provide a free giveaway. A small inexpensive gift, such as a patch, post card, sticker or key chain, can make a good impression on newcomers and children.
Display and Sell Gear
Selling gear with your customized logo, such as uniforms, tee-shirts, sweatshirts and training pants -- can help to boost awareness of your martial arts school. Create a display of your martial arts supplies in your reception area. This display can be a simple bulletin board exhibiting patches and headbands or a glass-encased shelf of martial arts equipment such as gloves, wraps, shoes and weapons.
Publicize Articles and News
Newspaper articles covering your martial arts school are free publicity and effective marketing tools. To generate press, contact your local papers about writing an article about your school, your training philosophy, history and accomplishments or students who have won competitions. You can also write an article on martial arts to submit for publication in local newspapers or magazines. Make copies of these articles, have students pass them out to friends and hang them on your school's walls. Give these articles to walk-ins seeking more information about your martial arts school.
Use Digital Tools
As a virtual storefront for your martial arts school, a website can display the types of classes you offer, instructor biographies, training schedule, school location and fees. To give people a strong feel for the quality of your training and equipment, add photos and videos of your school. Because students and martial arts enthusiasts can be your school's most ardent promoters, use social media outlets to enable them to share school photos as well as comment on topics of interest. For example, create a Facebook group for your school and invite students to contribute to the group. If you produce training videos detailing the how-to of martial arts moves, post them on YouTube at no charge. To expand your marketing reach, you can even create a YouTube channel for your school and regularly post training videos.
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Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.