Marketing Ideas

KGTKD

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AoG sent me the following message, and with his permission I am copying it to a new thread to get other ideas as well.
"Hello.
I saw your posting where you mentioned that in 7 months, you have hit 70 students.
How did you do that? We would love to hear hints and tips on succesfull enrollment promotions.
I would love for you to reply to me or to post your ideas at the board.
I personally run a school and would like to hear new ideas.

AoG"

We started in August 2008. The first month we had a special of 48.95 including a uniform for one month of classes. This includes classes twice a week with an optional sparring class on Fridays. A week before their promotion month was over, we showed them our different plans - 12 month contract, 6 month contract, month to month (no contract) and Lifetime membership.

We made over 800 copies of our flyer and dropped them off at houses (predominately high socioeconomic areas). We left them stuck in the doors so people had to look at them to open their door.

We also advertised in the newspaper (no one responded to that form $600 down drain lol).

We believe in Families working out together, so our family membership is as follows: pay 2 full memberships and everyone in your immediate family comes for free. So if you have 6 brothers, your family is in luck! Our presumption was correct that people don't value free memberships and although we had some families of four that would all sign up, only 2 ended up staying (better for us) and the other two (usually the parents) would just come and watch.

Although we broke even by December, we had lost 2 students to financial reasons, and so we decided to keep our promotion until we were full. First month 48.95 (not including the uniform) and then decide if TKD if for you. They do have to pay for uniforms though (at $30).

If you refer a friend and they sign up past the promotional month, you get $50 credit towards tuition. We accept all major credit cards, cash, and checks.

In February, we were able to get a nice deal with the NBC affiliate tv station for a commercial spot right after the morning and evening news the first three weeks of each month for 600 a month. We made sure our phone book ad was a bit bigger than every other one in the page.

We do host birthday parties which kids love and we reach about 25 families at one time. The kids get a mini TKD class, and the birthday boy/girl gets to break a board in front of their friends and demonstrate their form. Last birthday party, the parents showed off their form as well!

In November we changed our sign from a multi colored banner to a HUGE black and white canvas banner that is visible from about 2 blocks. It has our logo, our name, phone number, and website. Thats it. It has paid itself over and over again.

We vacuum and clean twice a day, and are pretty obsessive about cleanliness. Our dojang number is our cell phone, so we can be reached at all times. When we receive a phone call we will call back within 2 days at the most. We charge very little for belt tests, and have pretty high standards.
AoG, I hope this helps. :) I just checked my roster, and we are at 75 paid members, we have two after school programs (with 30 kids total), and have started two self defense classes at the local community college. We offered demos at the private schools, and received bids for after school programs. We are also involved in Red Ribbon Week, and give our stickers to volunteers.

We once read that it takes someone to have contact with your school name 27 times before they decide to come in. That means they have to see your banner, hear the name, see the banner again, and so on. After 27 times, they will come in. Thats taken from Guerilla Marketing (great book!!!!)
 

Marginal

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Better ideas than just stuffing business cards in every MA book at the local Borders and Barnes & Noble. (Some BJJ guy has spammed every single MA book I've paged through in three cities.)
 

ACJ

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A lot of what you have said is what some people use as markers for a McDojang, or a bad quality school. Do you think your school is McDojangish? If not why?

This could be a good chance to disassociate some business practices from equating a bad school, or show it doesn't always mean that at least.
 

granfire

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Y'all make it look like making money of your school is a bad thing. it's a business.

We usually do demos at schools, pick up a couple new student's here or there, but we are in a tough market, very 'conservative' if not to say narrow minded and ill informed (you know, all these places brain wash you and make you do weird Asian rituals, takes away from church you know - don't get me started)

We had previously participated in a home and garden show type deal in town and thrown some free classes into the door price pot, but I think the winner never showed. Or a free week the kids passed the coupons out to their academic class mates in school around valentine's.

then again, around here everything takes a backseat to Little League....
 
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KGTKD

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A lot of what you have said is what some people use as markers for a McDojang, or a bad quality school. Do you think your school is McDojangish? If not why?

This could be a good chance to disassociate some business practices from equating a bad school, or show it doesn't always mean that at least.

Yep, we have started a bad quality school.j/k LOL What markers are you talking about?
 

ACJ

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Birthday parties, heaps of kids, family packages, better to be teaching less people (while getting the same amount of money), and seemingly most interest in it as a business venture.

Not saying that any are bad atm, I'm just saying it's a good opportunity for discussions on McDojangs.
 

granfire

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Birthday parties, heaps of kids, family packages, better to be teaching less people (while getting the same amount of money), and seemingly most interest in it as a business venture.

Not saying that any are bad atm, I'm just saying it's a good opportunity for discussions on McDojangs.


BS. There are tons of discussions about the McDojo, and all I gather from it that a large number of folks are jealous that somebody is making a living from the school.

You can have selected few students you train in your drive way and never test them for rank and still suck, or you can have a huge school with many students who all test in 8 week intervals and still be good.

It has not ever been bad making money with what you are doing and heaven forbid actually use it to pay bills. The school I train at used to have kiddy sleep overs. HOLY COW a night full of fun...but they also had Black Belt camps with workouts till you puked...the point is, you can balance the activities, work hard and have some fun on the side.
 
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KGTKD

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Birthday parties, heaps of kids, family packages, better to be teaching less people (while getting the same amount of money), and seemingly most interest in it as a business venture.

Not saying that any are bad atm, I'm just saying it's a good opportunity for discussions on McDojangs.

Well since you brought it up, we have class size limits
2 - 5 year olds - 6 kiddos
7-13 year olds - 14 kiddos
Family class - 7 children
Adult class - 16 students.

We have two "lock-ins" a year (well we've done 2 and plan to keep it that way until November), and it has been tremendous in building relationships with the kids as well as trust with the parents. Truth is, we are making a living out of the school, we start at 8 am and don't finish til 9:30pm.
We opened up a school in order to change kids lives. You can't do that without parent support. So you involve as many of the family as possible. This way we can correct kids who don't say "Yes sir" to Dad and make Dad responsible for making his kids say "Yes sir" to him and to the Instructors. The money pays the rent, yes, it is what allows us to keep running and maybe offer some scholarships to those less fortunate. But the goal here is to make better people. If that is what a McDojang is (which I doubt), then there should be more out there.
Testing-wise - we have 4 annual tests. Once you make it to a Sr. Belt (Green and above) you have to wait a minimum of 6 months to test. Kids under 7 get Cubs class belts, the tests are half price, and they have something to work for.

Tuition - We are not the cheapest in town (by far), and I don't know if we are the most expensive. (hence the class size limits)

A very wise person (and very successful martial artist) said, "If you want to open up a school, thats great, but be willing to make it your only job in order to make it the best. So you have to have a spouse whose salary you can rely on in order to get a good school going. Its not about going in an hour before class begins and leaving an hour before the last one ends, its about going in at 8 and leaving at 9." He is a 7th Dan Kukkiwon who runs a respectable and successful school. It is a business. Just as a private school is a business. You treat it as a business so it can stay open, you run a good program so you can keep it filled with students.
 

ACJ

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What are lock-ins?
Also how big is your place of training, and what facilities, etc? If you don't mind me asking.

PS I never ever said anything about it being bad, OR a McDojang, I was just starting some discussion. Don't flip out dudes. =P
 

terryl965

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May I ask who is the 7th Dam Kukkiwon? By theway you can run a successful school and be there less than 12 hours a day, not saying anything bad. Also what is your typical retention right now and how many BB are on the floor with you? I am running alot of programs now and I am in no way a McDojo or atleast alot of people will tell you that.
 
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KGTKD

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What are lock-ins?
Also how big is your place of training, and what facilities, etc? If you don't mind me asking.

PS I never ever said anything about it being bad, OR a McDojang, I was just starting some discussion. Don't flip out dudes. =P

Lock ins are Parent night outs where parents drop off their kids with sleeping bags at 9:30 at night and pick them up at 8 the next morning. We feed them pizza and lemonade and play all night long, till they fall asleep.

Our place is pretty small about 1300 sq. ft. We are located in a small shopping center above a nice Sushi place and next to a Ballet school (it opened shortly after we did) and a Tutoring Center. Only one Master Instructor and one Instructor; both Kukkiwon certified. Husband/wife team. He takes care of all class until I get out of work at 5 and then I assist with classes/PR/tuition until 9:30 at night.

We have a couple of black belts that came from different schools (Mostly Karate schools) and we have a equivalency program in which they have to learn all of our Forms and pretty much pass each of our tests (at $5 per test) in order to test and gain their Black Belt with our name on it. That is unless they have a Kukkiwon, of course. We didn't feel it was right to demand they wear white belts, but we did want to distinguish the difference between the two.
 
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