A marketing plan is an essential part of any successful business. Different from a business plan, a martial arts marketing plan is one that will make clear who your prospective students are, how you will get them to join, and how to keep them coming back. You don’t make a marketing plan just to get a loan or to kick-off your initial marketing efforts: it’s something that you should be referring to every month or so, to make sure you’re on track, as well as adjusting as needed.
Many small businesses, especially ones with a single owner who runs the company, think it’s something they can skip. We assure you, it will save you countless headaches, out of pocket expenses and more. Here are 8 things to remember, in order to improve your martial arts marketing plan.
Remember the Purpose
When you’re writing out your martial arts marketing plan (or modifying it), make sure you keep in mind the purpose. The key to a good marketing plan is to identify who your prospective students are, how you can reach them, and how you will retain those students. Your marketing plan should serve as a roadmap to continually increase the number of students you have. If you’re just opening your first school, get to know a few industry leaders and their approaches to marketing. See these Tips from the Pros, to get you started.
While you may have the urge to complete your martial arts marketing plan quickly, take the time to be really specific with your plans. Go through each section and carefully analyze and research what you need to build out a comprehensive plan. The more thought you put into your plan, the more you’ll understand the different variables in play. Don’t forget to include items like staff training cost, seasonal fluctuations in media buy cost, and the time commitment necessary for some public events.
Focus on the Short-Term
Looking out far ahead can be a tricky game to play. Make sure you put most of your efforts into the next year’s planning, in your martial arts marketing plan. Things can change quite dramatically and it’s the best way to view your company’s marketing efforts and plans. If you don’t have the support of students coming in the door, it’s going to be difficult to keep those doors open. Here are a few more unconventional ways you get start marketing your school today.
Don’t Forget about the Long-term
Although the next year is where you should focus, the medium-term is also important. At the end of the day, an inaccurate plan is still better than no plan at all. You’ll want to make sure that you have a vision (which should be laid out well in your business plan), and that your marketing plan is doing everything it can to get you there. This is where you should also be storing information about past campaigns: their successes, their weaknesses, their unexpected costs, whether or not to do them again and how to improve.
Agility Is Key
With the speed of innovation in technology, your ability to adapt quickly to evolving situations is imperative. Keep an eye and ear out for new developments in social media networks, different technologies coming out, memes, popular videos, and other potential assets related to the industry and your target audience. This doesn’t always have to be you doing this research. Ask your younger students what social networks they’re on mostly and which kinds of ways they communicate to their friends with. This should give you some guidance towards where to focus.
Really put a strong effort into your marketing efforts. You’re not going to see results overnight; it’s something that will grow with time. With that in mind, make sure you persevere through the valleys, so you’re there for the peaks. Keep pushing and keep working; however, do it intelligently. Some ideas may not always pan out the way you thought. Martial arts values themselves follow a path of consistency. See how your school can keep the arts in martial arts, in order to help maintain that consistency.
Share your Plan
Many people hesitate to share their marketing plans with others. If it’s because your plan isn’t impressive, either put more work into it or get help from a senior you trust. If it’s because your plan is so in depth that you’re worried about people knowing it, realize that including your most senior staff members in making decisions and promoting your school empowers them. Get them excited and get them to help execute your plan. It’s very important to include these team members in your planning, whether it’s from the lesson, logistics or marketing side.. See one of our earlier blog posts, if you need a kickstart in creating a successful martial arts business plan.
Develop, Develop, Develop
A lot of your marketing efforts will be trial and error. No matter how many books you read, there are so many variables in what works. With your market, there are certain things that work and don’t and you’ll need to learn these. This is why a martial arts marketing plan is so important: it allows you to track what works and what doesn’t, so you can keep developing your marketing strategy. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a thorough marketing plan template by Forbes, to get you on your way. If you want to streamline some of your school’s business and marketing processes, learn more about how ChampionsWay and Mr. Marketer can help grow your school.
What were the biggest differences between what you planned for, and what really happened with your marketing efforts? Let us know on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.