What is the Marketing Budget of different Martial Arts Schools?

Sharon Bennett

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I'm a social media marketer and videographer/photographer, and I just recently opened a business in my city. (I had a business in another state that was getting off the ground, but I had to move for personal reasons).

I am thinking about selecting martial arts schools as my target market, since I am very passionate about martial arts and I know it's really changed my life in a positive way. I'd love to help advertise schools because I feel like martial arts can be life changing.

My only concern is that I know a lot of martial arts schools struggle. I know that it's not uncommon for martial arts school/dojo owners to not make a living off of it. Those that do, often don't make much...

So I am wondering, what is the marketing budget and the revenue of an average martial arts school? Also what is the marketing budget and revenue of a martial arts school that is doing really well?

Any help with this would be appreciated.
 

Gweilo

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Was that a bit of tumbleweed just blew across my screen?
 

Tez3

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We're a martial arts club, we don't have a 'marketing' budget, in fact we don't have a budget for anything :D
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Marketing is a huge reason why a ton of schools struggle, which is good news for you.

Part of the reason marketing is a problem is because a lot of instructors don't care or understand the importance of marketing, which is bad for you.

Just reach out to a bunch of schools near you, tell them what you're offering and see if they're interested/you can build a client base. If you can, great! If you can't, nothing lost, and you can focus on other markets.
 

dvcochran

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We have a very elaborate marketing budget utilizing television, radio, print, and internet advertising. Our marketing staff covers one floor of our 100 story skyscraper. Our Dojang, on the penthouse, has advertising and signage around the perimeter that can be seen for miles. We use only A-listers for our commercials and spokes persons. We have our own sweat shop creating shirts and caps. We blitz advertising every month worldwide. Our budget is over a ba-gillion dollars each annually.;):p;)
 
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Sharon Bennett

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We have a very elaborate marketing budget utilizing television, radio, print, and internet advertising. Our marketing staff covers one floor of our 100 story skyscraper. Our Dojang, on the penthouse, has advertising and signage around the perimeter that can be seen for miles. We use only A-listers for our commercials and spokes persons. We have our own sweat shop creating shirts and caps. We blitz advertising every month worldwide. Our budget is over a ba-gillion dollars each annually.;):p;)

haha yeah, this is part of my concern. I think many martial arts schools may not have a marketing budget. Though Im working with a business coach that thinks its a doable target market.... so I thought Id get some info.
 

Tez3

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haha yeah, this is part of my concern. I think many martial arts schools may not have a marketing budget. Though Im working with a business coach that thinks its a doable target market.... so I thought Id get some info.


Most don't have a marketing budget because they aren't actually businesses, they make enough money for running costs and are happy with that.
The ones that are businesses tend to belong to organisations that will do the marketing as a whole. I did a quick Google, there's quick a few martial arts marketing companies, not to mention plenty of self help marketing type blogs/articles/videos etc.
 

Gweilo

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haha yeah, this is part of my concern. I think many martial arts schools may not have a marketing budget. Though Im working with a business coach that thinks its a doable target market.... so I thought Id get some info.

Sharron you will have to excuse the sinarcism, but the main reason ma schools do not use marketing companies is they cannot afford to, most do not have a name like Gracie for example selling a marketers dream of a franchise opportunity, so funds are limited, here in the uk, there is rent, business rates, insurance, public liability insurance, the outlay for stock for students to purchase with very little mark up, then the local authority wants to charge 瞿350 + tax for a flood risk assesment when the gym is miles from water and on the 3rd floor, changing all the lighting to LED to bring the utility prices down, most have very little, if any budget left, let alone 瞿250 a month on a 12 month contract for marketing, so for many, its a case of the only comodity they have left which is time, facebook, twitter, youtube, a website (which is confusing as a domain name is 瞿2 for 2 years then jumps to 瞿50 for one year), joining all the free ads, yellow pages etc, and when we have a boom, we spend what we can afford on advertising, in a media that has dwindling readership, or pay per click on the net, so unless you are offering a miracle for a $1, I would concertrate on Mcdojo's. Most here do it for the love of an art or the benefits others get from training, there are some of us that teach for free, to those who cannot afford or are less fortunate than others. Of course advertising works, but so does stocks and shares, if you can afford it.
 

isshinryuronin

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Here's my semi-professional opinion on target mkt'g:
1. Those who want martial arts and are looking for it.
2. Those who aren't looking for it, but need to be.

Rather than me detailing the difference in approaches, I'll leave it open to my fellow contributors. Sort of a sub-thread.
 

Tez3

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Sharron you will have to excuse the sinarcism, but the main reason ma schools do not use marketing companies is they cannot afford to, most do not have a name like Gracie for example selling a marketers dream of a franchise opportunity, so funds are limited, here in the uk, there is rent, business rates, insurance, public liability insurance, the outlay for stock for students to purchase with very little mark up, then the local authority wants to charge 瞿350 + tax for a flood risk assesment when the gym is miles from water and on the 3rd floor, changing all the lighting to LED to bring the utility prices down, most have very little, if any budget left, let alone 瞿250 a month on a 12 month contract for marketing, so for many, its a case of the only comodity they have left which is time, facebook, twitter, youtube, a website (which is confusing as a domain name is 瞿2 for 2 years then jumps to 瞿50 for one year), joining all the free ads, yellow pages etc, and when we have a boom, we spend what we can afford on advertising, in a media that has dwindling readership, or pay per click on the net, so unless you are offering a miracle for a $1, I would concertrate on Mcdojo's. Most here do it for the love of an art or the benefits others get from training, there are some of us that teach for free, to those who cannot afford or are less fortunate than others. Of course advertising works, but so does stocks and shares, if you can afford it.


Absolutely what he said, I'm lucky, don't pay rent or any utilities etc just the insurance. We don't need advertising either.

In the UK the idea of martial arts as big business simply isn't realistic for many reasons not least that we don't really see sports as such other than the big football teams. To be honest our McDojos are even run on a shoestring.

As Gweilo says, go for the Mcdojos, they are run for money mostly not love which again as he's said, we don't.
 

dvcochran

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haha yeah, this is part of my concern. I think many martial arts schools may not have a marketing budget. Though Im working with a business coach that thinks its a doable target market.... so I thought Id get some info.
In seriousness, I have owned the real property for two schools since the early 90's. I am still very active in the background for both locations. The only time we 'pay' for advertising is through trading services (dues/tuition)for media services and website update/support.
There just are not many venture people out there starting up dojo/dojangs that need help with advertising. In our part of the world (southeast U.S.) there are many alternatives. Possibly if you can present a very specialized campaign; say for a specific time or time of year.
 

WaterGal

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On your other thread, I wrote up a rough description of the typical revenue and marketing efforts of typical small martial arts schools and clubs, based on my own experience (manage/co-owned a martial arts school for 7 years, taught & traded web design for lessons before that).

Someone else on here mentioned that a lot of schools are part of an association, affiliation, coaching program, CRM software-as-a-service, etc that includes "marketing help" as part of the service. That's true. But my experience has been that the help they offer is often.... somewhat limited. The kind of help we've gotten from these groups is stuff like basic flyer templates, an e-mail template to send out to your lukewarm prospects, and some seasonal martial-arts-themed graphics for your social media account. Helpful for what it is, but not, you know, anything super flashy.

However, there are a number of companies that specifically target small martial arts schools with certain specific marketing services.

For example, there are a few that offer pre-designed but customized flyers, rack cards, etc. They pre-design them with stock photos of people doing martial arts and a little copy about how martial arts is really great for blah blah blah, and they just customize them with your school logo and contact info and print them up for you.

On the same vein, there are a number of web design services that target this market. Like the flyer guys, they basically have some templates that they customize for you. The sites are designed to get attention and capture leads that get pushed into your CRM.

So these are areas where there is established competition for you already, that is very targeted to this market, and actively promote themselves on social media.

What services are you interested in providing?

Done-for-you social media ad campaigns would be an area that might be worth exploring. I'm familiar with a guy who does this already, but I don't think the competition there is quite as established.

I think the key would be to make sure that your offer is priced low enough that a smale-scale business can afford it. For what it's worth, I currently spend about $100-150/month on Facebook ads. I manage it myself, but I'd definitely be willing to pay someone another say, $50-100/month to manage it for me, if it got us even 1 extra new member each month. If you were hired by schools that were in different areas, you could run pretty much exactly the same ad campaigns in each area and nobody would know the difference lol.
 
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Sharon Bennett

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In seriousness, I have owned the real property for two schools since the early 90's. I am still very active in the background for both locations. The only time we 'pay' for advertising is through trading services (dues/tuition)for media services and website update/support.
There just are not many venture people out there starting up dojo/dojangs that need help with advertising. In our part of the world (southeast U.S.) there are many alternatives. Possibly if you can present a very specialized campaign; say for a specific time or time of year.

When you say media services, what do you mean? Photography and videography? That's also part of what I offer.
 
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Sharon Bennett

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Occasionally. There is usually a "photo bug" working out that gladly takes pictures/video just for the hobby of it.

There is a big difference between a hobbyist taking photos and videos, and a professional.
 
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Sharon Bennett

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I agree, and did not mean to offend. As long as it is still shots I have never had a problem. We have hired services for tournaments and such in the past.

You did not offend in the slightest. I just wanted to point out that professionals and hobbyists are quite different. But I'm glad you already know that.
 

bushido

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Average national marketing spend for the MA niche is 11% of income... If you are building out your brand, you will require an initial set-up of approx. $2,400 if you go through an agency, with a monthly spend of your 11% plus 6% dedicated to branding.
If you are doing all the work, initial investment in software will be much higher.
 

dvcochran

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Average national marketing spend for the MA niche is 11% of income... If you are building out your brand, you will require an initial set-up of approx. $2,400 if you go through an agency, with a monthly spend of your 11% plus 6% dedicated to branding.
If you are doing all the work, initial investment in software will be much higher.
You will have to define 'MA niche' and 'of income' and itemize the $2,400 for me to understand these numbers.
Is the 6% for branding on top of the 11%?

Where can I find the stats to back up your average national marketing claim?
 

bushido

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-MA = martial arts
-Of income is Gross income
- 6% is on top of the 11. Branding and brand awareness is a different beast than marketing.
-The $2,400 initial set up can vary greatly from agency to agency... I have not seen any agency last year set up a client for under $2,000 and it can range as high as 10,000, dependent upon ad spend and agency in-house resources (some agencies will outsource some services such as cold call out reach, etc). This covers setup of your client dashboard, which includes SEO analytics so you can monitor progress, Integration platform, setting up your e-mail validation and e-mail & URL warming software, setting up social media accounts and content calendar for auto posting, e-mail accounts for specific promotions, customer relations management account, Initial consultation to determine your specific niche target and your marketing expectations as well as developing a 1 yr road map which lays out & matches our responsibilities to your expectations, Sometimes the two cannot be made to meet, in which case we deny the project and you would be looking for a different agency. Etc.
-Sources: Just like real estate agents buy mlm listing resouces, car sales buy blue bcoks for car values etc, etc, marketing agencies buy data sets.
- If you are doing all this yourself, you will have to buy the software to do all of the above
 
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