Even after two decades of teaching Korean martial arts, I still remember what it was like to be hurting for good taekwondo marketing ideas. If you’re a new instructor reading this article, I suspect you found it searching Google for ideas because you’re in the same boat. And because I know what it’s like to be a new school owner with little or no idea of how to get new students, I’m sympathetic to your plight and happy to share a few tips with you.
For starters, you should understand that your market as a Korean martial arts instructor is going to be different from say, a mixed martial arts school. Even so, there is also going to be some definite overlap between your target market and the target market of the MMA school down the street. The reason? Your target market is families and kids, and savvy MMA school owners are quickly figuring out that’s where the stable income is to be found.
Your Marketing Advantage as a Taekwondo Instructor
However, don’t let this intimidate you, because you have a major advantage over many MMA gyms. That advantage is your image. Think about it – MMA has a very negative image and culture, whereas taekwondo and karate have a very positive image and culture in comparison. If you were a parent, where would you rather have your child training?
- At a taekwondo school where the adults and instructors were all clean cut and respectful, where no cursing or undisciplined behavior was allowed, and where the value system is based on such values as honor, discipline, courtesy, and respect –
- Or at an MMA gym, where many of the adults and instructors are tattooed and rough-looking, where the language can sometimes be loose, and where the environment is undisciplined and the value system is based on “only the strong survive –
It’s not even a question in most parents’ minds; that is, if they know the difference between traditional martial arts and mixed martial arts. So, my first bit of advice to you is that you emphasize that difference in all your advertisement and marketing. And, the best place to emphasize and contrast your programs with other schools is on your website, which brings me to my next tip…
Make Sure Your Martial Arts Website Is Professional and Designed to Get Leads
Although the type of marketing that we do as martial arts schools owners is direct marketing, most of our sales follow a two-step or even a three-step sales process. That is to say, we use offline or online marketing to get a lead (someone who calls or who leaves their contact information via our website so we can call them), at which point we follow-up with that lead to set an appointment for some sort of introductory lesson. Then, our goal is to enroll that student during or after the initial lesson.
Leads are the lifeblood of your taekwondo school. And, your website is the linchpin of your taekwondo marketing strategy. So, you must make sure that your website is –
- Professional-looking (so it makes the best impression possible)
- Well-written (so you convert a high percentage of your site visitors to leads)
- And well-designed from a direct marketing perspective (again, so your conversion rates are high)
In addition, to collect leads your website must include a lead capture form of some sort. This form is usually some sort of contact form or a newsletter subscription widget. It’s recommended that you have such a form somewhere near the top and also at the bottom of each sales page on your site, as well as on your “contact us” page.
Most small business owners lack the technical and creative skills to create such a website. For that reason, it’s advisable that you hire a professional to design your website and write your sales copy. But, even the best website won’t do you a bit of good without traffic, which brings me to my next taekwondo school marketing tip.
All Your Other Marketing Should Drive Traffic to Your Website
Finally, all your other marketing should be for the purpose of driving traffic to your site so you can capture the lead. Remember, your goal is to capture the lead so you can follow-up with them. It does you no good if someone sees your ad, says, “That’s nice, I think I’ll call later,” then they forget to call. When this happens, you just lost that customer.
Your website is the best medium currently available for capturing leads for your taekwondo school. So, all your other marketing should be designed to funnel potential students to your website, where they can register for a free introductory course or lesson. That’s the best way to fill your school with new students.