Best way to get students online?

EvolveMartialArts

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Hello All,
I'm opening up my own school online and wanted to ask for some help on the best ways to get people to sign up. Like how to reach out or get possibly interested people to join and become my student.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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By online do you mean just that you're starting online advertising, or that your school is purely online/video-based, so trying to reach people from all around the globe?

I ask not to get into a debate about which ones better, but because the strategies I'd recommend are different for each.

Also relevant in either case: do you have a base of students that you know would be starting once you open, or are you starting 100% from scratch/with 0 student-base?
 
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EvolveMartialArts

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By online do you mean just that you're starting online advertising, or that your school is purely online/video-based, so trying to reach people from all around the globe?

I ask not to get into a debate about which ones better, but because the strategies I'd recommend are different for each.

Also relevant in either case: do you have a base of students that you know would be starting once you open, or are you starting 100% from scratch/with 0 student-base?
It is purely online, I will be using zoom to teach. I also have 0 student-base. sorry for not being more specific in my original post.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Then I'd recommend a couple things. They're numbered, but that's just for organization-these aren't in any particular order of importance, or what to do first-last.

1. Create a website. Have people review that website, both martial artists and non. Hire an SEO analyst/specialist to help you out there as well.
2. Research prices of other online schools, and figure out how you want to do it.
3. Reach out to people you've trained with in the past, see if they'd be interested in learning from you. Possibly offer them discounts; class culture is important even online, so they'd be helping set that. It'll also help you retain new students (someone coming in as the only student vs. even 5/6 students can have a very different impression).
4. Join fb groups focused on the styles that you practice. With those groups, don't just start spamming your group-get involved with them, get people to accept you know what you're talking about, otherwise they won't want to check it out. Once they have, then mention your lessons, but even then, don't go overboard.
5. Create a blog with a newsletter, sending people info about your art, advice on certain things, etc. Have a (e)mailing list people can sign up for. I'm not sure if that actually works, but enough people with successful online "schools" have done it I assume it must.
6. Create a youtube channel. This goes along with the online presence thing from the other ones. People will want to get their money's worth.
7. (This one I'd do if you find yourself struggling) Put a beginner's course on udemy for cheap. People might sign up for that, then be interested
8. Create a discord and/or slack for your school. It'll be a way to give students a sense of community they otherwise might not have online.
9. Network. Take advantage of your friends in different areas, reach out to them. See if they'll advertise to their friends, and see if any are willing to join. But don't do it in a way that's spamming them-that might work if you're trying to sell essential oils or tupperware or something, but it won't get you a consistent student-base.

The below actually are more important than the above (to me), but more conceptual so I'm separating them to a different group. Again, numbering is just for organizational purposes.
1. Be patient. With no students, and no "base" to call your own, this is going to take you a while. Good news is you won't have too much overhead (pretty much just zoom membership, your camera/microphone equipment, the cost of a website, and an SEO analyst if you choose to go that root), bad news is, it's a lot tougher to advertise and get students when it's not something they can just wander into.
2. Know why you're doing it. Is this something that's money for you, or passion? Why do you want to open a school instead of just learn, or teach at someone elses? And why are you doing it online rather than in-person?
3. Know what you have to offer. There are plenty of online schools out there, for different arts, if you were talking to me in person, what would you say to convince me to choose yours? What's your elevator pitch, essentially?
4. Know your format. Are you doing nightly zoom calls? Are you sending out dvd's and having students send back dvd's to evaluate? Are you doing belt testing, and if so, how are you evaluating ranks? Will you be offering any sort of in-person seminars to go with it?
5. I included this in 2, but feel it should be it's own point. Know why you're doing it online, specifically. Know the drawbacks of it, and the arguments you will hear against it. If you search through this site something like "online learning" you'll find plenty of arguments about its merits.

I'm avoiding stating anything myself of online vs. in-person, and those questions in the second group are primarily rhetorical: You can answer them here if you want, I'm sure you'll get feedback on those answers which might help. But they're for you to think about as you create your school. And your answers can change as you progress.

Let me know if any of that needs clarification.
 

Anarax

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Hello All,
I'm opening up my own school online and wanted to ask for some help on the best ways to get people to sign up. Like how to reach out or get possibly interested people to join and become my student.
Build a website, research SEO and implement it on your website. There are plenty of free videos online on how to build a website from scratch, or you can hire a web developer.
 

Damien

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Then I'd recommend a couple things. They're numbered, but that's just for organization-these aren't in any particular order of importance, or what to do first-last.

1. Create a website. Have people review that website, both martial artists and non. Hire an SEO analyst/specialist to help you out there as well.
2. Research prices of other online schools, and figure out how you want to do it.
3. Reach out to people you've trained with in the past, see if they'd be interested in learning from you. Possibly offer them discounts; class culture is important even online, so they'd be helping set that. It'll also help you retain new students (someone coming in as the only student vs. even 5/6 students can have a very different impression).
4. Join fb groups focused on the styles that you practice. With those groups, don't just start spamming your group-get involved with them, get people to accept you know what you're talking about, otherwise they won't want to check it out. Once they have, then mention your lessons, but even then, don't go overboard.
5. Create a blog with a newsletter, sending people info about your art, advice on certain things, etc. Have a (e)mailing list people can sign up for. I'm not sure if that actually works, but enough people with successful online "schools" have done it I assume it must.
6. Create a youtube channel. This goes along with the online presence thing from the other ones. People will want to get their money's worth.
7. (This one I'd do if you find yourself struggling) Put a beginner's course on udemy for cheap. People might sign up for that, then be interested
8. Create a discord and/or slack for your school. It'll be a way to give students a sense of community they otherwise might not have online.
9. Network. Take advantage of your friends in different areas, reach out to them. See if they'll advertise to their friends, and see if any are willing to join. But don't do it in a way that's spamming them-that might work if you're trying to sell essential oils or tupperware or something, but it won't get you a consistent student-base.

The below actually are more important than the above (to me), but more conceptual so I'm separating them to a different group. Again, numbering is just for organizational purposes.
1. Be patient. With no students, and no "base" to call your own, this is going to take you a while. Good news is you won't have too much overhead (pretty much just zoom membership, your camera/microphone equipment, the cost of a website, and an SEO analyst if you choose to go that root), bad news is, it's a lot tougher to advertise and get students when it's not something they can just wander into.
2. Know why you're doing it. Is this something that's money for you, or passion? Why do you want to open a school instead of just learn, or teach at someone elses? And why are you doing it online rather than in-person?
3. Know what you have to offer. There are plenty of online schools out there, for different arts, if you were talking to me in person, what would you say to convince me to choose yours? What's your elevator pitch, essentially?
4. Know your format. Are you doing nightly zoom calls? Are you sending out dvd's and having students send back dvd's to evaluate? Are you doing belt testing, and if so, how are you evaluating ranks? Will you be offering any sort of in-person seminars to go with it?
5. I included this in 2, but feel it should be it's own point. Know why you're doing it online, specifically. Know the drawbacks of it, and the arguments you will hear against it. If you search through this site something like "online learning" you'll find plenty of arguments about its merits.

I'm avoiding stating anything myself of online vs. in-person, and those questions in the second group are primarily rhetorical: You can answer them here if you want, I'm sure you'll get feedback on those answers which might help. But they're for you to think about as you create your school. And your answers can change as you progress.

Let me know if any of that needs clarification.
This.

I would put a lot of the second list before you get into the first. You need to know why you are doing something, how you are going to do it, and then work out what it is.

One of your first big steps is to work out what business model you want to follow, just like general online fitness training, you can go down the big corp approach and try to sell cheap to thousands (probably not likely in martial arts unless you're Les Mills and are doing boxercise), sell to a smaller number of people in a group environment (say 10's to a few hundred), or selling to a handful of individuals. Each target market has a different approach, different levels of service and different pricing models.

I'm involved in two online teaching businesses, one with group classes and hosted courses and the other doing one to one private coaching. The approach to pricing and the service offered for each is very different, but still essentially using the same tools (videos, emails, web conferencing etc.).

When it comes to advertising for the group classes I think a build it and they will come kind of approach works a bit better, though you still need to convince people you are a good teacher and they can legitimately learn online. For one-to-one, I think it is a harder sell, you need to really prove the value you offer.

The big thing in online sales especially is "know, like and trust". You need to have many touch points with potential customers so that they get to know you, like you and trust you. This is a pre-requisite for a personal service based business these days. I think YouTube and Instagram are great ways to do this, but it does seem to be harder in the martial arts scene these days. A lot of channels seem to be getting a lot fewer views than they used to. Perhaps people are bored of the whole martial arts on the internet thing, I don't know. But you can still grow and get exposure, even if it is not huge. But this too can be a slow progress, like gaining new students. But hey, maybe you're super likable funny and an amazing editor, you might be the next Mr Beast.
 

Damien

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Just had a look at your website. I would say add pictures, add videos, so people can see what is involved in your MA and your classes. If there are particular styles that you practice, people that know a bit about MA probably want to know.

And add a lot more info about yourself. It doesn't need to be an autobiography, but some info on why you got into MA, your experience, why you do what you do etc.

By no means am I claiming it to be a perfect example, but here's my about page for an idea of what I mean- About Kung Fit Kung Fit: Kung Fu and Fitness to stay Fit for Life
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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@EvolveMartialArts hadn't realized you had your webpage on your profile until Damien points it out. I would definitely recommend changes to it. Looking at that website, nothing about it would encourage me to sign up. I'll list the main issues in numbered order again, but again that's just for organizational purposes (if you can't tell I like lists lol).
1. Unless I missed it, you don't say what style you do. Not even grappling vs. striking.
2. I know nothing about you from it. What are your qualifications?
3. I know nothing about class size.
4. $80/month seems like a lot for 3 hours a week, knowing you've got no overhead.
5. There's no videos for me to get a feel of what the training is like.
 
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EvolveMartialArts

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Thank you for taking the time to look at my website, I know it's barebones at the moment because I'm making it myself with practically no knowledge of web design and I appreciate all inputs about it.
Just had a look at your website. I would say add pictures, add videos, so people can see what is involved in your MA and your classes. If there are particular styles that you practice, people that know a bit about MA probably want to know.

And add a lot more info about yourself. It doesn't need to be an autobiography, but some info on why you got into MA, your experience, why you do what you do etc.

By no means am I claiming it to be a perfect example, but here's my about page for an idea of what I mean- About Kung Fit Kung Fit: Kung Fu and Fitness to stay Fit for Life
 
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EvolveMartialArts

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@EvolveMartialArts hadn't realized you had your webpage on your profile until Damien points it out. I would definitely recommend changes to it. Looking at that website, nothing about it would encourage me to sign up. I'll list the main issues in numbered order again, but again that's just for organizational purposes (if you can't tell I like lists lol).
1. Unless I missed it, you don't say what style you do. Not even grappling vs. striking.
2. I know nothing about you from it. What are your qualifications?
3. I know nothing about class size.
4. $80/month seems like a lot for 3 hours a week, knowing you've got no overhead.
5. There's no videos for me to get a feel of what the training is like.
I definitely will list my style on the website, and my qualifications. Honestly, since I was going with zoom I thought that I could just get as many people as I could into my sessions but that was probably naive of me to think. How much would you charge or pay for 3 hours a week or how much time would you say I should give to my students to justify the $80/month fee? Yeah I'm planning on adding videos and pics onto my site soon.
 
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EvolveMartialArts

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Thank you for the in-depth analysis of how to go about my business, I really need to sit down for a bit and take in all the things you posted here and make them into tangible things for the future of my school and students. Definitely, a lot to think over.
Then I'd recommend a couple things. They're numbered, but that's just for organization-these aren't in any particular order of importance, or what to do first-last.

1. Create a website. Have people review that website, both martial artists and non. Hire an SEO analyst/specialist to help you out there as well.
2. Research prices of other online schools, and figure out how you want to do it.
3. Reach out to people you've trained with in the past, see if they'd be interested in learning from you. Possibly offer them discounts; class culture is important even online, so they'd be helping set that. It'll also help you retain new students (someone coming in as the only student vs. even 5/6 students can have a very different impression).
4. Join fb groups focused on the styles that you practice. With those groups, don't just start spamming your group-get involved with them, get people to accept you know what you're talking about, otherwise they won't want to check it out. Once they have, then mention your lessons, but even then, don't go overboard.
5. Create a blog with a newsletter, sending people info about your art, advice on certain things, etc. Have a (e)mailing list people can sign up for. I'm not sure if that actually works, but enough people with successful online "schools" have done it I assume it must.
6. Create a youtube channel. This goes along with the online presence thing from the other ones. People will want to get their money's worth.
7. (This one I'd do if you find yourself struggling) Put a beginner's course on udemy for cheap. People might sign up for that, then be interested
8. Create a discord and/or slack for your school. It'll be a way to give students a sense of community they otherwise might not have online.
9. Network. Take advantage of your friends in different areas, reach out to them. See if they'll advertise to their friends, and see if any are willing to join. But don't do it in a way that's spamming them-that might work if you're trying to sell essential oils or tupperware or something, but it won't get you a consistent student-base.

The below actually are more important than the above (to me), but more conceptual so I'm separating them to a different group. Again, numbering is just for organizational purposes.
1. Be patient. With no students, and no "base" to call your own, this is going to take you a while. Good news is you won't have too much overhead (pretty much just zoom membership, your camera/microphone equipment, the cost of a website, and an SEO analyst if you choose to go that root), bad news is, it's a lot tougher to advertise and get students when it's not something they can just wander into.
2. Know why you're doing it. Is this something that's money for you, or passion? Why do you want to open a school instead of just learn, or teach at someone elses? And why are you doing it online rather than in-person?
3. Know what you have to offer. There are plenty of online schools out there, for different arts, if you were talking to me in person, what would you say to convince me to choose yours? What's your elevator pitch, essentially?
4. Know your format. Are you doing nightly zoom calls? Are you sending out dvd's and having students send back dvd's to evaluate? Are you doing belt testing, and if so, how are you evaluating ranks? Will you be offering any sort of in-person seminars to go with it?
5. I included this in 2, but feel it should be it's own point. Know why you're doing it online, specifically. Know the drawbacks of it, and the arguments you will hear against it. If you search through this site something like "online learning" you'll find plenty of arguments about its merits.

I'm avoiding stating anything myself of online vs. in-person, and those questions in the second group are primarily rhetorical: You can answer them here if you want, I'm sure you'll get feedback on those answers which might help. But they're for you to think about as you create your school. And your answers can change as you progress.

Let me know if any of that needs clarification
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I definitely will list my style on the website, and my qualifications. Honestly, since I was going with zoom I thought that I could just get as many people as I could into my sessions but that was probably naive of me to think. How much would you charge or pay for 3 hours a week or how much time would you say I should give to my students to justify the $80/month fee? Yeah I'm planning on adding videos and pics onto my site soon.
Keep in mind that I haven't tried to teach online, so this is just what I'd be looking for as a consumer. I would want a session I could go to most days. So that would be a session I could go to monday-Saturday. From your end, it might be good to offer later on too-I actually really like that you offer at noon, as when I was working night shifts I always had an issue with finding a place I could train that was open. But if I was starting online training (assuming my normal job didn't conflict), I would probably plan one at noon, and another at 7/8 each day, to get a wider range of customers.

Otherwise, that price range (assuming you address the other issues I mentioned in both posts), I'd probably be willing to sign up for $40ish a month.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Thank you for the in-depth analysis of how to go about my business, I really need to sit down for a bit and take in all the things you posted here and make them into tangible things for the future of my school and students. Definitely, a lot to think over.
I know it was a lot of info. If you need any help with any of it specifically, let me know. I also have some (very basic) web design and SEO knowledge if you need. If you dm me here I should respond-all for free. I'm always happy to help someone trying to pursue their MA goals.
 

Nobufusa

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Hello All,
I'm opening up my own school online and wanted to ask for some help on the best ways to get people to sign up. Like how to reach out or get possibly interested people to join and become my student.
Instagram, Social media.
 
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