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Martial Arts Marketing: The Core Foundations (Updated For 2021!)

Read this guide if you’re starting from ZERO.

 

Martial Arts Marketing: The #1 Comprehensive Free Step-By-Step Guide

 

Sensei, teacher, professor: you already know from your years of training that true success takes time, discipline, determination, and a hell of a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Many marketing ‘gurus’ out there try to sell you on how easy marketing is. It’s not. 

 

It takes a lot of work to get all the pieces right and fit everything together, but I have designed this comprehensive, step-by-step guide, with both free and paid methods, to take you by the hand and show you everything you need to know to entirely automate your marketing, so you can focus on what you do best: training and teaching. Let’s get into it.

 

Martial Arts Marketing: The Core Foundation

 

Let’s start by laying out the core foundations here. Digital marketing is a big and nebulous term, and many martial arts teachers don’t fully comprehend all the pieces. We’re going to start with an overview of the macro big picture, so you see how all the pieces fit together, and then we’ll zoom into the micro to give you a step-by-step action plan. 

 

Here are all of the digital marketing weapons in your arsenal, arranged in order of importance:

 

  1. Facebook Ads
  2. Customer List
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Your Website
  5. Google Ads
  6. Google Display Ads
  7. YouTube Ads
  8. SEO
  9. Social Media
  10. Google My Business
  11. Business Directories And Professional Listings
  12. Customer List
  13. Email Marketing
  14. Funnel
  15. Automations + Zapier
  16. Professional Quality Photos
  17. Professional Quality Video
  18. Professional Quality Audio
  19. Making The Offer
  20. Alternative Revenue Models – Google Adsense
  21. Alternative Advertising Networks
  22. The Perpetual Ad Machine

 

Martial Arts Marketing: The Strategy

 

Alright, before your eyes glaze over with all those technical terms, let’s keep this real simple. The goal here is to get an automated stream of new clients walking into your gym. That’s it. 

 

There are many bells and whistles that we can add onto your marketing strategy, but I’m a big believer in the K.I.S.S. Method (keep it simple stupid). 

 

The strategy here is: run ads, collect names, collect emails, give an offer, and have clients walk into your gym, ready to buy. Sound good? Let’s get into the details. 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Facebook Ads

 

See here for my complete guide of Facebook Ads for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

There’s a reason I put Facebook Ads at the top of this list. I believe that if you did nothing else and only implemented this Facebook Ad strategy, you’d be off to the races. You don’t even need a website. Why overcomplicate things?

 

Facebook offers a tool called “lead ads” which allow you to capture a leads name, email, and even phone number, allowing you to follow up and complete the transaction. And the best part? Because the lead ads are built natively withing Facebook, they auto populate with the user’s information AND you don’t even need a website. 

 

We recommend this as the best option when you’re just getting start and maybe haven’t built out your website or your funnel yet (more on that to come). 

 

Facebook ads are also relatively inexpensive (everything is relative). We typically see leads being generated in the $3-8/lead range. Meaning, if you invested $300 in ads, you could realistically expect to receive about 40 to 100 leads. Not bad right?

 

This video by Social Media Examiner gives a step-by-step breakdown of setting up Facebook Lead Ads:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Customer List

 

See here for my complete guide building a Customer List for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Now that you’ve got your Facebook Lead Ads up and running, it’s time to take it to the next level. As you will quickly find, not all of your leads respond. The reality is many will ghost and disappear. But not to fear, there’s still hope: the customer list.

 

Running your Facebook Lead Ads will generate names, emails and phone numbers for you. It’s now time to plug those phone numbers into an email database (like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Aweber). 

 

With a fresh audience, I recommend setting up on automated intro email sequence (more on that below in Email Marketing), and regularly sending out newsletters and updates (aim for one update every 1-2 weeks). You’d be surprised how many ‘ghosts’ turn up months of years later. 

 

Afterall, you already paid to get their information, you may as well squeeze as much out of it as you can (without being spammy of course!).

 

This video by Think Media highlights exactly step-by-step how to start building out your email list:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Email Marketing

 

See here for my complete guide of Email Marketing for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Now that you’ve got your customer list built (and there is no minimum, you can legit start if you only have 5 emails), it’s time to start your email marketing campaign. 

 

The purpose of email marketing, to use some marketing jargon, is to ‘nurture’ your relationships. Just like a student doesn’t walk into your dojo and become a blackbelt on the first day, same too with your clients. 

 

Remember that business is built on relationships, and trust and relationships take time to build and foster. How do you do it? Through and email ‘drip’ campaign. The intention is to send out email newsletters to your audience preferably at least once a week. 

 

What should you write about? Ideally you want to talk about offers, promotions, or some notable events that have happened at the dojo. 

 

Have a free month for new students? Talk about that. Have 30% off holiday special? Talk about that. Your students won gold medals at a tournament last weekend? Talk about that. Share photos, share video, but most importantly, share! 

 

Let people know what’s going on with the club, and let people feel like they’re part of the action. Overtime the relationship will grow and flourish, and if you keep growing the size of your list, you’d be surprised how many people might start crawling out of the woodwork a few months down the line. Just remind yourself that it takes time. 

 

This video by Wes McDowell drills down into the specific techniques and ‘how to’ of email marketing

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Your Website

 

See here for my complete guide of Website Building for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Alrighty – now that you’ve got your Facebook Lead Ads up and running, you’ve got your customer list and you’ve started nurturing your contacts, you should already be seeing some action. By now you should have clients reaching out to, looking to book sessions and start training. 

 

Honestly, if you’re bootstrapping, you could stop here, but if you’re looking to grow out your professionalism, your next step is to make sure you’ve got a well built, fast, responsive (and inexpensive!) website. 

 

People overcomplicate websites. They don’t need to be fancy, and they don’t need to be anything special (that you hire ‘experts’ and spend thousands of dollars). They just need to fast, mobile, responsive, and get your message across. 

 

This video by Miles Beckler takes you through exactly how to setup your website, get hosting, get SSL secured, and get a fast & mobile responsive theme!

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Google Ads

 

See here for my complete guide of Google Ads for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Now we’re starting to get some heat in the engine. It’s time to turn it up another level. But I can hear you asking “but Arthur, I already have Facebook Ads, why do I need Google Ads?”. Great question. 

 

Facebook ads are great because you can inexpensively reach a very large audience (you can easily advertise to your entire city, even if you live in a large city). But the downside of Facebook Ads, is Facebook doesn’t know who exactly is looking for a martial arts gym right this second

 

That’s where the power of Google’s search intent comes in. See, when someone goes to Google and searches “Martial Arts Studio Near Me”, there’s a preeeeetty high chance that they’re looking to join a martial arts club. See what I mean?

 

Advertising on Google allows you to be at the top of Google’s search results, right at that moment the client is searching. Pretty cool right? Martial arts teachers spend A LOT of time blogging and writing SEO content (or hiring someone and paying a lot of money – and more on SEO down below) to reach that coveted top position on Google. 

 

And while I’m absolutely an advocate for blogging and ranking highly on Google, the reality is that it takes time, and Google Ads is your shortcut to land at the top of the page. 

 

Now, a word of warning, Google Ads can seem quite expensive (initially) as compared to Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads are in fact dirt cheap in terms of the shear number of people you can reach. By contrast, Google Ads will feel expensive, BUT keep in mind, that these users are actively searching for you services. Making them immediately more appealing as clients

 

This video by Miles Beckler takes you step-by-step by the hand and guides you through exactly how to setup your Google Ad campaigns for maximum results:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Google Display Ads

 

See here for my complete guide of Google Display Ads for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

First of all, what even is a Google Display Ad? You know when you’re scrolling through the BBC or CNN or HuffingtonPost, and you see those little square ads and banner ads? Sometimes they’re images, sometimes they’re videos, and sometimes they follow you around? That is the Google Display Network (GDN). 

 

The Google Display Network is huge. It’s everywhere. In fact, pretty much every major news site, every major blog, and every major website at all, runs Google Display Ads through the Google Adsense Network (more on that later). 

 

The advantage of using Google Display Ads is the shear size of the network, and to be honest the relatively low cost per click (CPC – and this is doubly true on mobile). 

 

There are effectively two was to run ads on the Display Network – to a cold audience, and remarketing to your existing site visitors. Remarketing will give you the most effective results, however it requires that people have actually visited your site in the first place. 

 

So initially you’ll be advertising to a cold audience. Now there’s a few ways you could slice this. The first would be to target all the major martial arts related websites and forums, and narrow down specifically to users in your 5-10km geographic area, or alternatively you can target everyone locally who searched google for your important keywords (Karate, UFC, MMC, Muay Thai, BJJ etc). 

 

Your ads will send people to your landing page (so you will need to have a website setup and running). Collect names, collect emails and start getting new clients into your gym. 

 

This video by the Surfside PPC breaks down in step-by-step detail exactly how to setup and run your own Google Display ads for maximum effectiveness:

 

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: YouTube Ads

 

See here for my complete guide of YouTube Ads for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Why YouTube Ads? When I think of a well-built, well-executed marketing campaign, the word omnipresence comes to mind. I want you to be everywhere your clients are. Now I appreciate that in the beginning while you’re just getting started that money will likely be tight, and that’s why I recommend just doing Facebook Lead Ads until you’ve gotten momentum. 

 

But once you’ve established some momentum, you’re seeing the clients and the money come in, then it’s time to expand and effectively, take over the internet, at least locally in your town. 

 

YouTube Ads are my next recommendation to add to your roster. Why? First of all, because YouTube is huge, it’s now the 2nd largest search engine in the world (2nd to Google of course, which Google conveniently owns YouTube, a match made in heaven, and secondly because you can become hyper-granular with where your ads show. 

 

In fact, YouTube is so granular that you can pick exactly the video you want to advertise on. For example – here’s an introductory white belt class video that has over 1.5 Million views. YouTube ads allows to target everyone watching this video, in a 5km radius of your gym, who are between the ages of 18-55 who are actively searching to buy a gym membership. Insane right?

 

“So how much does it cost?” is probably your next question right – and it’s a good one. One of the great things I love about YouTube and Google advertising is technically you can start advertising for a penny a day. Yes you read that right, a penny a day. Try purchasing a billboard or a magazine ad for a penny a day…

 

Now realistically, you’ll need to invest more than that, I’d generally recommend in the $10-$30/day range, depending on the size of your local area and your budget. And generally speaking, YouTube Ads cost between 5 to 20 cents to run, so with a $30 daily budget, you could expect to see between 150 and 600 views per day. Not bad right? 

 

This video by the Surfside PPC, takes you through an in-depth tutorial of setting up your own YouTube Ads campaign.

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: SEO

 

See here for my complete SEO for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is either the love of your life, or the bain of your existence. Seriously, people either swear by it religiously, or think it’s complete snake-oil salesman complete waste of time kinda stuff. Obviously a mixed crowd.

 

First of all, a quick intro – what is SEO anyway? SEO is essentially a system for ranking higher on Google (optimizing for search engines, making sense now?). The benefit of ranking high on Google and why this is considered the ‘crown jewel’ is the opportunity to reap the benefits of of massive free, organic traffic. 

 

Once you rank at the top of Google for a term like “best karate studio Dallas”, or “MMA gym London” or “ BJJ Melbourne”, then you’ve made it – you’re at the pinnacle, and whenever someone searches those terms, you’ll now be the top result coming up. From an authoritative point of view – how good does that look coming up number 1? Exactly. 

 

So that’s why people love it, so why do they hate it? Well, I’ll be honest with you, without sounding like a negative nancy here, it can be frustrating as hell. Firstly, in order to rank well on Google, you first need to produce a lot of content (ie: blogging). 

 

To get serious, you need to be looking at producing 2 blog posts per week minimum (3-4 would be ideal), that are at least 1500 words each. And for many, the prospect of spending all of their time writing, can be tough to swallow. 

 

Now you can hire out SEO work of course, there are many great content providers on sites like fiverr and upwork, however, you lose that personal touch when you hire out your writing. Remember, this is your gym and your personality needs to shine through. 

 

The other reason that people get frustrated with SEO, is it can be a long and slow process before you start to see results. Likely, 6-12 month before search engines really pick you up and start to take you seriously. Think of SEO as the long term game, and your short term game is Google Ads and Facebook Ads (Google Ads basically let you pay to get top of search results, you can be at the top of Google in less than an hour if you’re willing to pay).

 

This video by Sam Oh from Ahrefs (pronounced: “h-refs”) provides an in depth introduction to the basics of SEO to get you started. 

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Social Media

See here for my complete guide to Social Media for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Social Media Marketing is an enigma. I’m exactly sure how best to explain it. It’s one of those things that I believe is important for the success of your business, but at the same time I also believe that people (marketing agencies) WAY over-hype how important it is as a way of selling you more (social media) marketing services. So be wary. 

 

Why do I say it’s over-hyped? Look if I get on the Facebook Ad platform and I spend $50 I can easily reach 2500 highly targeted people in my local area (Facebook Ads cost roughly 2 cents per impression). 

 

By contrast, if I put up an ‘organic’ post on Facebook (ie: social media marketing), my post may only reach 5-10 people, and I have zero control over who they are or more importantly where they are. 

 

I love the paid ad platform because it gives you control and it gives you reach, for relatively low money. But I understand what it’s like to bootstrap, and I understand what it feels like when you need to stretch every penny as far as you can. So there’s nothing wrong with social media marketing, but I put down near the bottom of this list for a reason. 

 

In order to do social media marketing effectively, you’re going to need to put in a lot of time (a LOT of time), produce a lot of content, post a lot of photos and videos, write captions, find hashtags, follow other people, comment on their posts, like their posts, engage in the community and on and on and on. Social Media Marketing could easily become your full time job, you’ve been warned (as they say, ask me how I know…).

 

But with all that aside, why should you do Social Media Marketing in the first place anyway? One word: branding. Let’s face it, in our digital world everyone does an investigation before making a purchase. If someone stumbles across your Facebook Ads or Google Ads, before signing up with you, they’re going to check you out. 

 

This means they’re going to be looking up your Facebook, checking out your LinkedIn, looking you up on Yelp, checking out your reviews. And if you don’t exist on all those platforms, people will just assume that you’re either not a legit business or some kind of scam. 

 

So even if you don’t actively ‘do’ social media marketing, I still recommend setting up basic profiles on all the major platforms, and putting up an update at least once per month. 

 

This video by Neil Patel breaks down the basics of Social Media Marketing to get you started on your journey. 

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Google My Business

 

See here for my complete guide to Google My Business for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Google My Business – aka Local SEO – is all about attracting that local traffic. The best part about Local SEO, is that you’re no longer competing on a national level to get those clicks, but only in your local market. This means the competition goes way down, and your ability to rank highly goes way up. 

 

With the way that Google My Business is setup, by designed you are almost guaranteed to rank #1 in your immediate local area. Now, depending on the strength of your profile, the ‘size’ of your local area will vary. I like to think of this like your ‘territory’. 

 

In the beginning, your territory might only be 50m around your business. But overtime, as you build out more content, setup more directories and get more reviews, your territory could expand to 1km to 3km to 5km and beyond. Depending on the size of your city and the amount of competition, you have the ability to take over large chunks of your local territory. 

 

And the even better news is that Google Maps listings, show up above Google Organic listings, meaning that if even if you’re #3 on the maps, you’re still higher on the page than #1 in organic. Pretty cool right?

 

This in depth video by Ranking Academy takes you through all the basics in a step-by-step way to setup and master your Google My Business Profile:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Business Directories And Professional Listings

 

See here for my complete guide to Business Directories for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

What are business directories? (also known as citations). They’re all the sites on the web that can list your business. Think Yelp, Yellow Pages, HotFrog etc. These are (generally) free sites where you can list your business, you can get new backlinks to your site, and you can boost the strength of your Local SEO Google My Business Profile (expand your territory). 

 

Think of each business directory as a tiny trust signal to Google. For every directory that Google picks up, it’s one more little signal that your site and your business is authoritative and real. And the more authority you pick up in Google’s eyes, the more your site will be prominently featured. 

 

I won’t lie, it is a pain setting up all of these business directory listings, but generally speaking, once you’ve done it once, you’re done. Whitespark has put together a fantastic guide on all the top citation sources by country

 

I’d recommend choosing the top 5-10 locally for you and getting started. You can also outsource this job to VA’s on fiverr and they can setup hundreds for you. 

 

This video by Ranking Academy shows you exactly how to setup your business directories and citations to maximize your Google My Business profile:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Funnel

 

See here for my complete guide to building a Sales Funnel for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Now what is a Sales Funnel? Alright, I admit we’re going to be getting into the weeds a bit here and using some technical marketing jargon, stick with me though. 

 

A sales funnel is effectively a technique (or really more of a metaphor) to visualize and understand the customer journey. 

 

On one end, you’ve got the people who are ready to buy. They’ve been watching BJJ videos on YouTube, and their friend just recommended they come check out your gym – we say that this person is at the ‘bottom of the funnel’, because they already know what they want, and they’re coming to you to buy it. 

 

Life would be wonderful if every client we talked to was exactly in this position, however, as we all know from experience, most are not. So at the other end of the spectrum, we have people at the ‘top of funnel’. These are the people who aren’t familiar yet with your business, or perhaps don’t even know anything about martial arts. 

 

The goal of the funnel is to guide people step-by-step through a process where they go from not knowing about martials arts, to being aware of martial arts, to being interested in martial arts, and eventually being interested in coming to your gym specifically. 

 

What does this look like in practice? Let’s say you start with a YouTube video. This could be your awareness video – and in it, you explain to people all the benefits of doing Martial Arts – better fitness, self-defense, and self confidence. 

 

If they’re interested, then you might show them a video specifically on why your gym is the best – what you offer, your students results, the competitions you’ve achieved in. And finally, you might show them another video (or an ad) saying that right now you’re offering a 30-day free trial to all new students and they should come check you out.

 

You’ve now taken your clients on a journey from unawareness, to awareness, to interest, to being specifically interested in you. See how this works?

 

Obviously at the top of funnel will be the highest number of people, and as you descend down the people who are not interested will naturally drop off. This is where the connotation of a funnel came from, as it appears the clients are funneling down to the bottom point, which is where they ultimately become a paying client. 

 

Now the concept of the funnel can be taken even further, because even once they become a client, there are still opportunities to sell them better services. Maybe the introductory offer is a 30-day free trial, maybe you offer a discount of gi’s, maybe you offer discounted pricing if they sign up for an entire year in advance, maybe you offer opportunities to attend competitions. 

 

Or maybe, for a higher price you offer more personalized 1-on-1 coaching. There are endless ways to deep the relationship with your clients. 

 

This video by Gillian Perkins breaks down what exactly a sales funnel is and how to implement one. 

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Automations + Zapier

 

See here for my complete guide to Automations + Zapier for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

In a nutshell, what are Marketing Automations? Effectively, they’re tools you can use to delegate and automate parts of your workflow. I know that was a lot of technical jargon, so let me simplify. 

 

Imagine that every time you got a new lead, it triggered the following series of events: 1) the lead gets an automatic notification by email that you’ve received their inquiry, 2) you receive a notification of their interests, complete with their name, email and contact phone #, 3) the lead is added to your email customer list, 4) they get added to an automated 30-day email drip campaign, 5) they get added to your contact list, making them easy to find in your phone, 6) a request is sent for them to schedule their first class, 7) their information gets recorded in a spreadsheet for easy access and review, 8) a new client comes walking into your door, ready to pay you money. 

 

I mean, does that sound pretty good or what? So much of the reason that we can’t grow our businesses is because we get caught up fighting the daily fires, and spending hours of our time doing the mundane, essentially irrelevant tasks. Automate that work so it all happens behind the scenes.

 

I’m a big fan of an automation software tool called Zapier, which has a free basic version, and a more comprehensive pro version starting at about $30/month. You do need to go pro if you want to integrate with Facebook Lead Ads (they label that as a premium ‘zap’) – and for my money, I say it’s worth it compared to the amount of time you save. 

 

If you’re bootstrapping hard, start by doing everything manually, and once some cashflow starts rolling in you can setup automations, and you’ll be shocked to see how much time you save, and how much time it frees up to focus what matters most: teaching at your gym. 

 

This video by Miles Beckler outlines 3 simple Marketing Automations you can implement in your business to streamline your workflows:

 

 

And this video by Jessica Stansberry, gives you a detailed overview of how to implement Zapier in your business to increase your automations, improve workflow, and decrease the time you spend doing menial tasks:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: LinkedIn Advertising

 

See here for my complete guide to LinkedIn Advertising for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Now I will admit, LinkedIn might seem like an oddball here. I mean, aren’t LinkedIn ads super expensive? And I agree, LinkedIn is definitely not going to be your primarily platform for advertising, however, I’m including it here for the sake of completeness. 

 

I designed this guide to give you the full comprehensive marketing picture, so you can understand all the marketing weapons in your arsenal. 

 

So why should you consider LinkedIn Ads anyway? While it’s true that LinkedIn Ads are generally more expensive (although, arguably not as expensive as people play them up to be), I find that CPM’s (cost per thousand impressions), on LinkedIn can be as low as $20-40 CPM, while Facebook tends to be closer to $10-20 CPM. So you pay approximately double for the same number of impressions. 

 

However, is it really a fair comparison to only look at the cost per impression? Let’s look big picture here: LinkedIn is a professional network, which means money. People on LinkedIn generally have jobs, and arguably well paying jobs (I mean you can target CEO’s specifically). 

 

So while you may pay more to show your ads, the quality and calibre of the type of person you may attract is much higher. In fact, if your goal was to run a gym that specifically attracts high net-worth individuals, then LinkedIn is absolutely the platform you need to use. 

 

Yes ads will cost more, but you’ll position yourself as providing a more premium service (martial arts for executives has a nice ring to it…), and will be able to charge more premium prices. Remember, let’s stay focused on the long game here. 

 

This video by AJ Wilcox and SEMrush layout advanced techniques for setting up and targeting your ads to get you running on LinkedIn:

 

 

Additionally here is AJ Wilcox with Social Media Examiner laying out the strategies of using LinkedIn Lead Ads to reduce friction on customer acquisition:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Alternative Advertising Platforms

 

See here for my complete guide to Alternative Advertising Platforms for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

The thing about creating a ‘comprehensive guide’ is you have to turn over every rock and pebble. So now we’re going to get into some Alternative Advertising Platforms, which we recommend you use to further supplement your already successful marketing campaigns. 

 

In no particular order we’re going to cover Pinterest Ads, Twitter Ads, SnapChat, TikTok Ads, Reddit Ads, Yelp Ads, Waze Ads and on and on and on (don’t say I didn’t warn you that digital marketing is a rabbit hole…). Let’s get into it:

 

As there are SO many Alternative Advertising Platforms, it’s not in the scope of this guide to go in-depth into each of them (will save that for another more in-depth guide in the future). For now I’ll pull from all the top experts to share their thoughts on how to setup each platform, and ways to maximize their effectiveness in promoting your business. 

 

This video by Kyle Russell breaks down how to set up your Pinterest Ads:

 

 

This video by Viren Baid outlines setting up your Twitter Ads:

 

 

This video by Andrew Ethan Zang takes you step-by-step on setting up your Snap Chat Ads:

 

 

This video by Darius Mora breaks down exactly step-by-step how to get your TikTok Ads up and running:

 

 

Paid Media Pros here gives you the in-depth tutorial of setting up Reddit Ads:

 

 

Ryan @ Web Eminence gives the breakdown on setting up your own local Yelp Ads:

 

 

Paid Media Pros gives the lowdown on using Waze Ads to dominate local search results:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Professional Quality Photos

 

See here for my complete guide to Photography for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Professional Photography. Like it or not every business and every business owner now is a media agency. We’ve moved from a world where only the big boys with the big bucks could afford to hire PR and marketing firms, now, every business owner is their own marketing firm. 

 

Like Uncle Ben from spiderman said, with great power comes great responsibility. There are many business owners who feel frustrated and burdened by the fact that they now need to produce their own photos and run their own show. 

 

However, the truth is liberating. You as a small business owner, now have the power in the palm of your hand (literally, the phone in the palm of your hand) to accomplishing things that only major corporations could accomplishing, even just a few short years ago. 

 

Just like rolling with the punches, I recommend you take every opportunity that comes your way. Part of posting to social media, means regularly taking new and exciting photos. It doesn’t mean that you need to go out and buy some crazy expensive camera, the smart phone in your pocket will be more than good enough (however, having said that, if you have the opportunity to hire a pro, I do recommend that, it’s just not necessary right now). 

 

I do not profess to be a photography expert, however these videos here lay out the step-by-step guides on producing professional quality on a shoestring:

 

This video by the legend Peter McKinnon takes you through the classic beginner mistakes to avoid when taking professional photos:

 

 

And this video by Pixel Village, which has nearly 10 MILLION views – shows you step-by-step 6 mobile friendly photography tips to make the most of your mobile phone photos:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Professional Quality Video

 

See here for my complete guide to Professional Video for Martial Arts Marketing.

Just like with photography, we all need to produce our own video. Luckily the power our smartphones has is insane, and what you can do with a simple phone will blow you away. 

 

I’m a solid believer in bootstrapping. Don’t feel that you need to invest in anything crazy, buy and new gear or spend a lot of money. The goal here is to be effective, not to show off. 

 

To start, I recommend recording video of yourself. You can get a student to record you doing demonstrations. Breaking boards, practicing kata’s, whatever it is, just start getting some footage. Competitions would also be a good one to film.

 

As you get more comfortable, you can start asking your students whether they’d be okay being filmed. Most Millennials and Gen Z will be cool with it, as it’s kinda the life they live. You may need to get signed releases, if you plan to use for advertising purposes (which you do). 

 

So then the question is – so what do you do with this footage? Firstly, I recommend doing some editing. Depending on your system there are some simple and basic editing tools available. iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are both free and defaults on Mac and PC. 

 

The goal here is to edit down to 30 second to 3 minute clips. Clips you can post up on Instagram, share on Facebook, or run as part of you YouTube advertising campaign. 

 

Video is great both in terms of social sharing, paid advertising, as well as featuring on your website, it’s extremely versatile. The hardest part really is just starting. If you’re camera shy, at some point you’re just going to have to bite the bullet and start filming. Here are some great resources to get you started: 

 

In this video Peter McKinnon breaks down the 5 ways to instantly make better and more professional video:

 

This made me laugh. Ever feel insecure because your tech just isn’t ‘up to snuff?’. In this video by Parker Walbeck, they give an amateur a $30k pro Red camera, and they give a professional a $600 camera – and see who can produce the best work. Don’t want to spoil it – but who do you think won?

 

 

Lastly, in this video by Peter Lindgren, he breaks down exactly how to make a cinematric grade video with just a smartphone:

 

 

Okay wait, one more, this video by bestdressed, gives you a rundown of how to actually edit your videos to make them look, you know, profesh n stuff:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Professional Quality Audio

 

See here for my complete guide to Professional Quality Audio for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

Now I’m not saying you need to start a podcast, but for the Martial Arts Teacher who wants to take their marketing, their brand and their online presence serious, then the next level is to start investing in your audio equipment. 

 

It’s counterintuitive, but audio quality is more important than video quality. People will more happily sit through a video with grainy video if the audio is crisp, but nobody can sit through a video with static-y, crackly, or distant audio. Good quality audio is essential. Let’s take a look at the best equipment on the marketing:

 

This is more on the serious side, but if you’re looking to start more of a podcast, this guide by B&H Photo Video lays out different microphones available and reviews which is best for you:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Alternative Revenue Models – Google Adsense

 

See here for my complete guide to Adsense for Martial Arts Marketing.

 

So let’s think a little bit outside the box here. When you think of running a martial arts gym, you’re probably thinking that your primary income stream will be coming from your paying students right? And I’d agree with you, that absolutely makes sense to be your primary income source. 

 

But living in this modern and wild 21st technological century, we can start getting creative and playing around with additional revenue models. Let’s just say, hypothetically, that as you start building out your SEO, and you’re running ads and you’re building your social media presence, that you start finding that your website traffic keeps growing and growing. A few months go by and now you’re seeing thousands or tens of thousands of unique visitors to your site each month. 

 

A percentage of them will of course walk into your gym and sign up with you, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that a larger percentage never will. It could be that it’s just not the right fit for them, or the right time, or even, they may be on the other side of the country, or the other side of the world!

 

So what if there was a way to profit from all of those visitors to your site, who never sign up with you..even if that was small? Welcome Google Adsense. Adsense, as mentioned before, is the engine behind the Google Display Network, and it’s the engine that ensures the content creators get paid (Google Ads is for advertisers, Google Adsense is for content creators, which today, the same business owner could wear both hats).

 

By setting up Google Adsense on your site (instructions below), you’re able to start monetizing the traffic that comes to your site. For every view, for every click on an ad, you get a 68% cut of what the advertiser paid (Google pockets the other 32%). Not bad right?

 

In this way you’re able to generate alternative revenue streams, and when students don’t immediately sign up for your classes, you’re not as bummed out, because you still know that you’ll be receiving a small commission from ad revenue. 

 

This tutorial by Darren Wilson, will take you through an in-depth tutorial in setting up Google Adsense on your site:

 

 

Additionally, this video by the Surfside PPC, shows you 8 additional alternatives to Google Adsense you can use for alternative revenue streams:

 

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Making The Offer

See here for my complete guide to Making The Offer for Martial Arts Marketing.

To be honest, this section on Making The Offer probably should have gone closer to the beginning of this document, it’s really that important. 

Yes it’s important to run Facebook Ads, but the offer really the drives the content of what those Facebook Ads even say in the first place. So what is the offer?

Well as the owner of a Martial Arts School, it’s your job to get paying students in the door. And if you’ve ever tried before, you probably know how difficult, and what a pain in the neck that can be. It feels like pulling teeth or herding cats!

The offer is the lubricant. The offer is what greases the wheels to help make not only the transaction smoother, but actually make your clients excited to sign up with you and pay you money. 

So what kind of offer are we talking about here? As I mentioned earlier, relationships take time and they take commitment. Well, if a student doesn’t spend time in your gym, they have no ability to develop a relationship with you right? 

So your first duty is to actually get people in the door. Once you have people in the door, you can actually continue the conversation and the relationship with them. So how do you get them in the door? Offer a 30-day free trial. 

Now before you call me crazy, think about it for a minute. If you were scrolling through your facebook, and you noticed that the gym down the street was offering 30-days for free to go check them out, you’d probably give it a chance, right? Exactly. The whole point is to get people in the door. 

Once they’re in the door, now they’re in your world, now you can impress them with your classes and your teaching. They can meet other students, they can start making friends, they can start building relationships. And suddenly, there will be some social pressure to keep going. They may even start getting competitive with some of the other students, and now they have to keep going, or risk looking bad in front of their new friends. 

It’s the same reason that restaurants give out free samples, and why softwares let you try for free. If you never try it, you don’t have the chance to fall in love. Once they’re in the door, then they’re yours. 

Obviously there is more in your arsonal than just a free 30-days, you could offer a discount on your gi’s, you could have a book that you sell. You could offer some massive price savings if they sign up for a full year all up front. You could have offers around competitions. Or even offers in terms of referring a friend. It just has to make sense. As long as it fits within the context of your gym and your organization, then you’re good. 

Here Russell Brunson lays out the keys to giving an irresistible offer, that your prospects just can’t say so no to:

 

Martial Arts Marketing: Conclusion

 

Alllllllrighty – this has been quite the journey – as a quick recap we’ve covered all of the following: 

 

  1. Facebook Ads
  2. Customer List
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Your Website
  5. Google Ads
  6. Google Display Ads
  7. YouTube Ads
  8. SEO
  9. Social Media
  10. Google My Business
  11. Business Directories And Professional Listings
  12. Customer List
  13. Email Marketing
  14. Funnel
  15. Automations + Zapier
  16. Professional Quality Photos
  17. Professional Quality Video
  18. Professional Quality Audio
  19. Making The Offer
  20. Alternative Revenue Models – Google Adsense

 

All and all we covered nearly 20 different avenues and methods for advertising, promoting, and growing your gym, while growing your class attendance, as well as growing your income, both through student signup and alternative revenue sources. 

 

I know this has been a mouthful, and will take some time to digest. We didn’t intend this guide to be implemented all at once, but to be a process that may unfold over a few months. Similar to learning martial arts and earning your blackbelt, this marketing plan takes time. 

 

Be patient, and allow the moment to grow the strategy on it’s own. We recommend starting with just one tactic (ideally the Facebook Lead Ads) as a way of generating new interest in your gym. 

 

As you continue to see success, and you continue to get new students, allow the marketing plan to grow naturally. You do not need superhuman abilities to execute this plan, it is all stuff that the average person who’s willing to dedicate some time and a little sweat equity can get the hang of. 

 

Despite this being a ‘comprehensive’ guide to Martial Arts Marketing, it is impossible for any one guide to be entirely comprehensive. We will be developing further articles that go more in depth to each of the above topics. These will take some time to roll out. 

 

We will strive to keep this information as up to date as possible. It goes without saying that technology moves fast, and it’s likely in 6 months we’ll look back on this list and laugh at how much things have changed. As of this writing right now, it is April 2021, and our plan is to review and revise this article regularly for updates. 

 

If you’ve had any thoughts or suggestions, or things we’ve missed, please let us know, we always love hearing feedback. And similarly, if there was anything that was unclear, please ask questions in the comments below and we’ll address as best we can. This article is intended to serve you on your Martial Arts Marketing journey. 

 

Keep at it, keep learning, stay patient, and the results will come. Luckily, you already know about hard work and discipline, so there’s nothing on that front I can teach you. 

 

To your success.

Os,

-Arthur

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