If you want to build a successful martial arts school, there are five keys to your success.
These keys reflect the fact that you need a steady stream of new students paying you the right fees and staying with you longer. The five keys make up what I call the MMA Blueprint Formula which is:
T + TC + C + TC + Consistency = $
T = Traffic: Traffic is people out there who are interested in what you offer. They might be passing your door; they might be living in your area or they might be searching the internet. These are your prospective students and you need to attract the interest of as many of them as possible. To grow your school, you always need to be working on getting more traffic.
TC = Tender Care: People that call your school are interested. You need a systematic process that takes them to the next step – getting them to come in for an appointment and then making them quickly feel your school is right for them. Of course, it doesn’t end there, you need to make sure the first few classes they attend help them to feel quickly at ease and provide an environment that makes them want to stay.
C = Conversion: This is about making sure that, when you generate traffic – i.e. prospective students – that you turn as many of them as possible into paying students. Your job is to make sure they either call your school right now or give you their contact details so that you can communicate with them
Consistency: This means that everything must be based on processes that are followed through properly in the same way. Processes can mean following scripts or having a set series of messages going out for people in different situations.
$ = Cash: This is the money your school makes after you convert traffic into prospects and then into students and is based on factors such as how much you charge for the basic program; the value of the higher level programs you offer and the value of referrals you get from students.
So the overall process for achieving maximum success is as follows:
+ Treat the Traffic with Tender Care
+ Treat Your Students with Tender Care
+ Flawlessly-processed Consistency
I cover all these in more detail in my book .
In this post, I’ll go into more detail on Traffic and Lead Generation so that you can attract the maximum number of prospects to be interested in your school. In the next post in this series, I’ll look at what you need to do to convert those leads into students.
One of the factors that helped me turn my martial arts school around from struggling to successful was that I realized that we are not in the martial arts business. we are in the marketing business. we have to be constantly working to satisfy the needs of our students and prospective students.
Being successful in marketing requires a different approach from the one that most people follow. Here are some of the important points:
- The Marketing Triangle: Every business on earth requires these three things to prosper.
- Message: What you say and how.
- Market: Who you say it to.
- Media: What outlet you use to convey your message e.g. newspaper, radio, internet, postcards.
You need to have the right message going to the right market using the right media. You have to get all three elements right. If you get it wrong in any way, it will not work. Too many people will say Facebook doesn’t work but the reason was they had the wrong message or it was targeted at the wrong people.
- Two Step Marketing: There are far more people who want to try MMA at some point in their life than are ready to try it right now. Many people who hear about your school may be interested at some stage but probably won’t be ready to come in now.That’s why you need to collect the contact details of everybody who comes into contact with you – in person, through advertising or via your website – so that you can stay in touch with them until they are ready. We’ll discuss that in more detail in a moment.
- Direct Marketing Principles: Advertising that is simply designed to build your image or increase your personal name recognition is a waste of your money.The single most important task of all your advertising and marketing activity is that you want to get people to take a specific action – to call your school or give you their contact details.
- Tracking and Testing: You should not be doing advertising and marketing that does not allow you to track the results. If you spend $100 on any kind of advertising and marketing, you want to know quickly what kind of return it has given you.You should also test different options such as different headlines and offers before making a big commitment to a campaign and so that you can continually improve.
- Build a Funnel: When we talk about two-step marketing, the reality is that the decision to join your school may involve more than two steps. People will probably want to try you out before making a very long-term commitment.What you really need is a process that brings in new people, helps them to get to know you, makes it easy for them to build a connection with your school and then gradually expand the range of services they buy into. The three key steps within the funnel process are acquiring new prospects, converting as many of those leads as possible into buyers and getting those buyers to buy more and stay longer
The idea is that the offers you make to people when they come into your funnel are much easier for them to say ‘yes’ to than the later ones. The key to success is having the right funnel in place and then driving as much traffic as possible into it.
When we talk about traffic and lead generation, one of the most important elements of that is your website.
Of course, it’s vital to reach out to people using offline channels but these days the website is often the place that people go first to find out more about you.
Having the right kind of website is like having a highly effective sales person working for your school 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s where you send traffic to get people to find out more about you. And it’s where you begin the process of converting those visitors into students.
There are several keys to having the right kind of website and here are some of the most important:
- Offer an Attractive WidgetA “widget” is anything you offer people in exchange for their contact information – such as a free report, email mini-course, audio CD or DVD. The better the widget you have, the higher your conversion. So you should be testing different options.You should always offer a widget. If you do not offer a widget, you are not doing anything to increase your conversion and make more money.Sending something physical to someone’s house is 10 times more powerful than just sending an email. Doing this appears to cost more at the beginning but, once you know your numbers, that doesn’t matter.You need to offer a widget that appeals to your target market so you might offer a range of widgets on different sites or different pages such as a BJJ widget or a Summer Camp widget.
- Persuasive Opt-In Box in Multiple LocationsNo matter how good your widget, you need to take steps to make sure people sign up for it. So you need a powerful opt-in box. This is the place where people can enter their name and email address to opt-in to your list.People guard their contact details very tightly so they will only share them if you have something they want. You therefore need to sell your widget hard by highlighting the benefits of what you are offering and doing it in an appealing way. For example, that may use a strong headline and an image of what you are offering.Your website must have multiple opt-in locations – top, middle and bottom of the page – and you can use devices such as popups to improve results. Special pages such as landing pages focused on one topic or squeeze pages are also useful.The better your widget, the more chance there is that you will get the opt-in because you are fishing with better bait!
- Develop a Powerful Offer
If you want to attract as many prospects as possible and then convert the maximum number into students, you need to create the most irresistible offer you can think of.You should have the most crazy, wild and exciting offer possible so that you stand out from the competition.When you create your irresistible offer, the person has to say: “I would be a goddam fool not to take advantage of this offer.”That’s why I pioneered the 30-Day Free Trial in the MMA community. And now, everybody has tried to copy it.But, for your offer to work, everything has to be congruent – the message, the media and the market.When you create an offer, you have to become that offer – you need to live that offer.I’ll talk more about offers in the post on converting prospects into students.
- Strong Sales LetterThe legendary copywriter Gary Halbert said that the answer to all problems is a sales letter. So the solution to the problem of getting more students is to create a powerful sales letter for your school.Anybody who has seen the websites for my martial arts school and for my internet marketing businesses will have seen all the long-form sales letters.I’ve been getting bashed for years for these letters and people keep asking why I use them. It’s quite simple. I keep using long sales letters because they work.If you want people to respect you and take the action you want, your sales letter needs to get their attention, arouse their interest, ask for action and make it easy for people to do something now.Being able to do that involves a wide range of factors such as:
- Strong Headline
- Addressing a Problem
- Offering a Solution
- Providing Social Proof & Building Credibility
- Building Value
- Providing a Guarantee
- Offering Bonuses
- Providing a Warning/Deadline
I go into these in much more detail in my book .
I highly recommend that you use long-form copy in your website because its job is to sell.
You can do it yourself or you can pay someone else to do it. I’ve given you the blueprint so that you can do it yourself. If you are on the fence about doing this, try both.
I’m confident you’ll double or triple or quadruple whatever results your site is currently doing.
Finally, I want to share some of my favorite strategies for lead generation. Here are 12 of those that have worked best for me.
- Search Engine Optimization: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the steps you need to take to make sure that, when someone in your area goes online to look for information about MMA, BJJ or whatever you are offering, they find your website.To do this, you need to identify the “keywords” that people are using in their search and make sure these are used throughout your website and in all your marketing.
- Local Internet Search: The way people find businesses through search engines is changing dramatically. The key is that dominating local search is not just about traditional SEO tactics. One of the first steps to making sure you are coming up in your local maps in Google is ensuring that Google has accurate information about your school. Simple things like having online listings with slight variations in your address or with two different phone numbers can spoil your chances.
- Video Marketing: Online video has become one of the most powerful ways to promote your school and generate traffic. Video allows people to feel they know you and your school before they meet you in person. Video allows people to see others in your school and it acts in place of a sales pitch to help them learn your story.Many schools hesitate to use video out of fear or embarrassment but the benefits of using video in your school are huge and there is no excuse for not using it. When you take the right steps to produce a great video and then follow a good strategy to promote it, video can take your school to a new level.
- Direct Mail: Direct mail is a great way to reach your exact target audience. You can mail a list of your own prospects that you have built through your own campaigns or one that you have purchased from a list broker.You can get lists for virtually anything. For example, for your women’s fitness program, you can get a list of women over a certain weight. Then, when you send them a postcard saying, “Do You Want to Lose 20 to 100 pounds?” you know 100% of the people receiving the postcard are in your target market. As direct mail is relatively low cost, it also works particularly well for keeping in touch with people over an extended period of time.
- Classified Ads: Classified advertising is among the best, easiest, cheapest and most effective forms of advertising. So, if you don’t have much money you should be using classified ads. If you have lots of money to spend on advertising, you should be in every classified ad in your area.Classified ads also allow you an effective way to find places where people in your target market hang out but where your competitors aren’t looking for them. Even if it seems hard to believe, classified ads work. And they work best when used as a way to move people from offline to online so that they all go into your funnel.
- Pay per Click Ads: PPC ads are the short ads that appear on search engine result pages at the top and to the right of the page. The best known PPC provider is Google AdWords. Though people are usually looking for the natural search results, a well-presented ad can grab their attention and they may click on it if they feel it will give them an answer to their question. PPC ads also appear in many online locations such as in YouTube, in the content of emails – e.g. with gmail accounts – and on other website locations.The advantages of PPC advertising include you only pay for people who click through on your ads, you can use it to drive traffic to your site right away and your ads are seen by people who already have an interest in what you are promoting so they are already in buying mode.Google now has very significant competition for online advertising dollars from Facebook. While many of the principles of advertising on Facebook are similar to PPC, it also has its own unique features. It provides very effective targeting capability so that you can reach your ideal students very precisely. One of the powerful features now available with online advertising is the ability to have your ad “follow someone around” on future websites they visit after they have taken a specific action like visiting your website.
- Online Banners: Online banners are a very effective way to stand out from the competition and drive tons of traffic to your website. A banner is a marketing device where you pay a fee to display an ad on another site with a link back to your site.Banners can be run anywhere including other websites that reach your target market as well as in YouTube, Google AdWords and Facebook.
- Mobile Marketing: The growth in importance of mobile marketing has been dramatic over the last couple of years and this trend seems set to continue. According to Google, more than half of the population now have access to smartphones and two-thirds of those people use them to access the internet every day.So if you have not started experimenting with and using mobile marketing, you risk getting left behind. Some of the things you need to consider doing to make the most of mobile marketing, include making sure your website is mobile friendly, running advertising campaigns using SMS and banners plus taking advantage of smartphone capabilities.
- Publicity and Press Releases: Attracting publicity for your school is one of the best ways to build your reputation fast and attract lots of new students. In addition to the publicity you get, press releases published online are a great way to get extra traffic to your website and can improve your search engine ranking.One of the keys to getting publicity is being ready to issue a press release whenever there is something interesting you want to say.
- Online Articles: Writing and publishing articles online is a great way to build your credibility and it can help drive traffic to your website. But you need to follow the right process to make sure you get the best possible results. It can help to get you valuable backlinks and generate high-quality, targeted traffic. It is also very good at building your expert authority status.When you publish articles online using the right strategies with the top article directories, they are made available to thousands of other websites which can publish your article. This means that, instead of just reaching your own website visitors, your articles are syndicated globally and can be read by millions of people interested in what you have to say.
- Social Media: Your social media presence through sites like Facebook and Twitter can play a valuable role in attracting prospects to your school and also in building relationships with existing students. There are many different social media options but the most powerful is currently Facebook. A Facebook Page for your school is more than just another way to connect with prospects. It is also a great way to build community. Your fans will see your status updates on their home page and that is an opportunity for you to deliver powerful messages that get noticed.To take advantage of this, you need to be updating regularly with high quality content that makes people want to click through. You want your Facebook Page to be something that people visit regularly and this will only happen if you give them valuable information.
- Webinars: Whenever a prospect comes in to your system, you want to have them follow a process that is geared to moving them all the way to the end goal. That process needs to be systematized so that, the second they sign up, you take them through a decision-making process and system that leads them towards the desired end result. The problem is that you and your MMA consultants don’t have enough time to sit down and explain everything to each student but if you don’t explain things in enough detail, you might lose them.Running your own webinars offers a powerful method of presenting your information in a persuasive, organized and effective way. Webinars and teleseminars have been around for some time but the real game changer in this field is the introduction of automated webinars, where you create the content once and then the recording is saved and you can play it any time you want.
Generating traffic is a never-ending process and one where the technology and the rules are always changing. That’s why it’s vital to be working on it every day and making sure that you stay up to date with what’s working best now.
Here are some steps you can take now to implement these ideas
- Create a widget for your website and start building your email list
- Create an online sales letter promoting your school
- Create campaigns to generate more leads for your school
If you’d like more information on how to implement these ideas, you can get a copy
If you’d like some advice about implementing these ideas, we would LOVE to help you grow your martial arts school. To set up a call so you can see how we can help please visit: www.MMABusinessCoach.com/help
The next post in the series on Mastering the MMA Blueprint covers How to Convert Your Prospects into Students That Stay.
1. There are several key elements in building a profitable martial arts school
2. Effective marketing means a clear message to the right market using the best media
3. You need an attractive widget with a persuasive opt-in box to collect contact details
4. Long sales letters are important to communicate your message
5. You need to take action to ensure you are positioned well in internet search results
6. Direct mail and postcards work well for many aspects of marketing
7. Online banners can be very effective at reaching your target market
8. Social media is growing in importance for marketing