Student Reactivation: Getting Students Back on the Mat

As you run a martial arts school for a long period of time, you start to see patterns in students’ membership tendencies. For example, you may find that a third of your students will dip in motivation in their late teens, as they want to go out on Friday nights rather than attending classes at that time. How do you keep them as active students? What needs to be done to increase their attendance? 


So how do you deal with these natural progressions of engagement with your students? This is the key to martial arts student retention. Knowing how to keep your students happy is incredibly important as is keeping your relationship with former students positive. Here are a few ways to do just that. 


Preventing Cancellations 

It’s a lot easier to prevent a member from leaving than it is to get them back. One exercise we recommend is to meet with your senior instructors and students and come up with a list of things that are important to keep students happy and motivated. Make sure your seniors and your instructors are creating a culture that is in line with your martial arts student retention strategy.  


There are many ways to increase student retention. For instance, tracking class attendance can improve martial arts student retention, by proactively catching students before they drop out. Making retention a key part of staff training goes a long way in helping to foster that culture we mentioned earlier. For more information, check out some of our previous webinars on 10 must-haves for student retention success and how to save membership cancellations using 3 straightforward strategies. 


Accept Cancellations Graciously 

When the unfortunate time comes and a student cancels their membership, you must treat the student with respect and integrity. For some, this point can prove to be challenging in certain scenarios, especially if they leave to go to a competitor’s school. That being said, the only way the student may come back is if you part on good terms.  


While practicing your martial art instruction may not be in the cards for that student for the time being, they might find time for it down the road. Plus, having former students referring potential students to your school builds on the community you’ve worked so hard to build and helps you replace students who have moved on. Building positive relationships throughout your school will help teachers, students and even ex-students maintain a healthy image of your school. 


Communication Lines 

We’ve spoken before about the power of automated emails. These act as a personalized communication tool you can use to retain students, as well as helping to create killer birthday parties, convert leads into students, and execute merchandise sales strategies. While many students may unsubscribe eventually, some will like seeing the goings-on of your school after they leave. These are the students you may see return at a different point of their lives. Don’t forget to invite them to your school’s public events! 


As much as we love all of our students equally, some may become closer with us than others. It’s a no-brainer to keep in contact with these students and to follow and support their growth in life. We’re not saying you have to be their best friend; just send a congratulatory note or phone call during life milestones. The personal happiness that these connections bring you will greatly outweigh the effort one puts in to maintain the relationships. 


What are your best martial arts student retention strategies that have worked for you in the past? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+ to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.