Getting Results: Traditional Marketing for Martial Arts Schools

While digital marketing is ferociously expanding, that doesn’t mean traditional marketing can be ignored. For most martial arts schools – especially ones located in suburban or rural areas – you will find a mix of methods to be most successful, in terms of what your students and prospective students spend respond to.


In the past, newspapers, print, television and radio were the biggest forms of marketing. However, social media networks, search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads and other forms of digital marketing are quickly replacing more traditional options. That being said, there are still many people who respond to traditional forms of marketing and they can still work. If you have a target demographic that you anticipate would see traditional martial arts ads more than on digital formats, they may still be worthwhile.


Let your Marketing Plan Guide the Way

In your business and marketing plan, you should have determined who your target demographics are. For most martial arts schools, this will include a wide range, as all age groups can benefit from practicing martial arts. Because of this, varying your marketing tendencies can help bring in a lot of different age and interest groups. Your digital marketing plan can be focused on bringing in millennials, while your traditional formats will attract older students.

However, some schools may be a bit more focused. We’ve seen some martial arts schools that only cater to adult students and some that focus primarily on kids programs. Whatever your goals are, your martial arts marketing strategy needs to reflect them.


Focus on your Target

Once you’ve zeroed in on your target demographics, you’ll want to figure out which forms of marketing will prove most effective for each of your audiences. There are many different types of traditional marketing, including radio, billboard and other outdoor signage, television, newspaper, and other forms of print. It’s not about choosing which will you get the most attention; you’ll want to choose your best return on investment. For example, a television ad may have the largest overall reach but it may be too expensive to be worthwhile and may be viewed mostly be people outside of your desired audience.

If another option would give you half of the reach at 5% of the price, the other option may be more favorable, especially if the viewership is within your key target audience. Ask around your school, to see which forms of traditional marketing people have access to. See what their tendencies on social media are, to give you valuable information on your digital marketing strategy, at the same time.


Testing Results

Testing is a lot harder with traditional forms of marketing – as opposed to digital marketing – because traditional forms tend to be more expensive and don’t usually come with complimentary analytics. Regularly asking people how they heard about your martial arts school and recording it into a log can help you more effectively navigate local traditional marketing, because you can track which forms of marketing are working and which have room for improvement. This is where you will calculate your return on investment. Keep prospective students and ongoing members separate, so you can also calculate your conversion rates.


For information on how to improve your digital martial arts marketing, check out this great webinar hosted by social media strategist and principal of Social Victory marketing, David Walmsley, on how to make the most of Facebook for your martial arts business.


What are your most effective forms of martial arts marketing, for attracting prospective students to your school? Let us know on our Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.