Student Recruitment


Brown Belt
May 21, 2002
Reaction score
United Kingdom, Europe
I'm planning to launch a recruitment drive to bring in new students.

Does anyone have any promotional ideas to share?

I have a few ideas, but all suggestions are welcome.

1. you need a website. (shameless self-promotion, but its true)

2. halloween is coming...print up a bunch of businesscard sized coupons for a free week of martial arts, and have all your friends and students hand them out with the kids trick or treat candy.

3. get some nice brochures printed up. (again, shameless self promotion, but it works). leave them in places that people have to sit, like doctors offices, barber shops and nail salons, and places like that.

4. call all the apartment complexes in your area. ask if you can put a flyer in their new tenant packages.

5. get post-it flyers printed. a print shop can do this for you. the flyers should be about the size of an extra large post it, and have the line of stickum on the back. go around and slap them on every door.

6. call your local churches. tell them that you'll give any of their parishoners a free week of self defense classes if they'll put it in their bulletins.

7. make sure you have a visible sign. if you're in a center that has low visibility, contact your city offices to get permission to put a free standing sandwich board style sign out on the sidewalk.

8. post flyers in the common areas of apartment buildings. there are usually bulletin boards or something near mailboxes and in laundry areas.

9. do a demo at a local school. work with school officials to figure out what they will and won't allow (no weapons on school campuses)

10. teach an after school class through parks and rec. after the 6 week course, at least half the kids will probably sign up as regular students.

11. have "bring a friend" nite for the kids. send them home with a release form for their friends parents to sign.

12. give your current students a free month for each student they bring in who signs up for at least a month. (you don't lose money this way).

If you need help with flyers, brochures, or web stuff, let me know. that's what I do, and I give big price breaks to martial artists, because I think EVERYONE needs to train, and I know how hard it can be to keep a school going.

best of luck


Best places to put posters are places where people queue Les, people will read anything while they queue!

I would think that take-aways are your best bet, then maybe the post office, or somewhere like that.

Also, bring-a-friend night? I'm sure you've thought of that one already...!

You can try local radio station like the local church channels or other local community radio stations?

My goodness! Thanks for the post.

One of the sucessful guys here in Austin swears by Direct Mail. I think he uses contracts and I think he has told me (I used to sell Yellow Page ads and he really didn't like the book I was with) that if he got 1 student to sign on a 1 year contract from a Direct Mail campaign, he made a profit and it was worth it.

Those were some excellent ideas. I also know a guy (on this board... :D ) who started with a 6week course in a Gym and after a few repetitions of that he was ready to open his own studio so I would think those mini-courses or maybe for you a "themed seminar" like "self-defense keychain" or "stranger awareness for kids" might be a draw as well.

I don't have my own studio but I have looked into it at various times in the past and these 2 examples have been proven. I know you may have thought of them previously as you stated in your opening. Good luck.
No, really.... WOW!!!
Thanks nightingale8472 for all the great ideas.

Now a challenge to everyone else:
Come up with more than these, or better.

I'll try too.
Your Brother
lol. you're welcome.

I do web design, and a big part of it seems to be marketing...there's no point in having a school site if nobody knows you exist. Also...put your web address on your answering machine message...that way, if you're not there to answer questions, maybe they can find out from your site.

I also do brochures and fliers. most people who make these on their own put way too much information, and people get overwhelmed. please keep in mind, if you're not going to pay the money to have someone do it for you, you're wasting your time and money if you don't do it right. confine flier info to: who you are, what you do, where you are, when you're open, and what you're offering. don't write in complete sentences. just phrases.

For example:

Grand Opening!
New Karate School!
Mr. John Doe, 3rd Degree Black Belt
1313 Memory Ln
Nowhere, MT, 13131
Open from 4-9 pm weekdays!
Free week of karate and a private lesson with this flier!
come visit us at
a few cool graphics that copy well in black and white.

That's it. NO MORE. If they want more, they call or check the website. the whole purpose of a flier is to get someone to walk in the door or pick up the phone. that is the time to tell them everything you offer. its too much info for one page, and gets confusing.

With tri-fold brochures, you can put a little more, but KEEP IT SIMPLE!

with a website, you can put everything you want. but it has to be organized, easy to find, and not have too much info on one page. people want to click through to what they want, not scroll through miles of text to find a single line. multiple pages are a good thing. if you pick a dark background, pick a light text color, and vice versa.

and of course, if you don't want to make your own...

<shameless self-advertising>
you email me and we work something out .:D
</shameless self-advertising>


Beware the shameless plug!! You've been warned.

One great way to promote your school and website, and at the same time make your vehicle look unique is throught the use of window decals (which of course I make). You can also sell them to your students as a kind of fundraiser for the school and accomplish another bonus (extra income) and more vehicles with your web site on them.

You can go to my site for some examples of what I'm talking about. My site isn't very well done, but it could be a starting point to get some ideas flowing.

Obviousy I do this kind of stuff for a living, but you can just as easily call your local sign shop and they can probably do something for you too. Most people don't think "sign shop" when they want decals, but they might be your best bet unless you are talking big quantities. For big quantities, look up your local screen printer for good pricing. Let me know if you have any questions and I can probably find an answer for you or point you in the right direction.

Ive seen screen advertisements at the local movie theater to be very effective.
Hi Les

Giving demos is good for recruitment.

Self defence classes or talks at local schools, colleges or large businesses.

Of course flyers, word of mouth.
Newspaper articles, open days,tornaments, charity events etc.

Trial lessons, various pricing plans, bring a friend etc.

In Japan a lot of the expat community are interested in learning a martial art. But they have only heard of Brazillian JuJitsu and kick boxing. Having a short catchy sales pitch is worth having.

Good luck.

PS. Having known Mr Rose as a brown belt, you must have a few stories! Email me if you like.
another suggestion:

most towns have a local newspaper that is an insert in the regular paper one day a week... in my hometown, it was the "Yorba Linda Star" that was inserted in the Orange County Register and the LA Times in Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills.

If your town has such a paper, most of the time they rely on people calling them with story ideas. If one of your students wins a tournament, or you're doing a demo or something, call the paper and invite a reporter to the demo, or to your school. Its free publicity, and martial arts always makes a good story.