What is the Marketing Budget of different Martial Arts Schools?

Gerry Seymour

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I will just say, again, that if your idea of growing your business is just filling your student roster, you're just looking for a handful of students, just do some flyers, etc...
But that is a very limited view of your profit potential... Why would you not want to monetize your website? Even if it is only through affiliate links or ppc banners? Why not have a cool looking brand and sell workout clothing? Supplements with your logo on them? Video courses? And on & on & on... All you need is the structure, something to sell, the traffic and the leads.
That is all stuff I think every business owner should be doing in one way or another.
You do what you think is right for you and yours. Some just want a small gym, some want to grow beyond that. That's why you look at marketing.
My idea of growing a business is just different than your idea of growing a business.
But this is the digital age... confining your potential to a brick and mortar is going to a limiting factor on how much you can earn in your chosen field.
I think you're looking at something that is far bigger than most MA instructors/school owners have in mind. They sell to their students - you're talking about trying to market to the general public. That's not a MA business - it's a clothing business, a supplement business, etc. Not a bad business, but not in the same niche, at all. And not what most folks are in this to do.

It's like asking an ice cream place why they don't have a whole clothing brand. They may have some t-shirts for regulars and/or tourists, but having a whole clothing line is just an entirely different business.

EDIT: I'll also add that trying to start a clothing brand based on a MA school sounds like a low-percentage play, unless the school is really well known, because of some celebrity (MMA fighter, etc.).
 

dvcochran

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I think you're looking at something that is far bigger than most MA instructors/school owners have in mind. They sell to their students - you're talking about trying to market to the general public. That's not a MA business - it's a clothing business, a supplement business, etc. Not a bad business, but not in the same niche, at all. And not what most folks are in this to do.

It's like asking an ice cream place why they don't have a whole clothing brand. They may have some t-shirts for regulars and/or tourists, but having a whole clothing line is just an entirely different business.

EDIT: I'll also add that trying to start a clothing brand based on a MA school sounds like a low-percentage play, unless the school is really well known, because of some celebrity (MMA fighter, etc.).
I have tried to explain to @bushido that the optics are all wrong, but he/she does not seem to want to understand this. Or doesnt know how.

Just for fun though (because I liked you example so much) I will try to do one better and say a diamond cutter should also actively test dynamite; at the same location.
Makes about as much sense.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I have tried to explain to @bushido that the optics are all wrong, but he/she does not seem to want to understand this. Or doesnt know how.

Just for fun though (because I liked you example so much) I will try to do one better and say a diamond cutter should also actively test dynamite; at the same location.
Makes about as much sense.
The more I think about it, the more it feels like their numbers would apply to a gym run by a recognizable name, like an MMA fighter. In that kind of situation, both the numbers and the branded add-ons to the business seem appropriate.
 

Dirty Dog

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I will just say, again, that if your idea of growing your business is just filling your student roster, you're just looking for a handful of students, just do some flyers, etc...
But that is a very limited view of your profit potential... Why would you not want to monetize your website? Even if it is only through affiliate links or ppc banners? Why not have a cool looking brand and sell workout clothing?
Because, believe it or not, money is not the sole (or even primary) motivator for plenty of people.
Over the years, I have made EXACTLY the amount I want from teaching. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch.
 

dvcochran

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The more I think about it, the more it feels like their numbers would apply to a gym run by a recognizable name, like an MMA fighter. In that kind of situation, both the numbers and the branded add-ons to the business seem appropriate.
We have always had products for resale but it is more as a convenience than major profit line item. I get enough of a discount that I can sell most stuff cheaper than you can buy it online and have it delivered.
We have always had a logo and 'brand recognition' I suppose, but pushing product is just not what I want to focus on. Kind of feels in violation.
There is a sweet spot for the number of students that balances with the size of our schools (workout areas) so as long as we stay there without any additional investment, I do not see purpose.
A major difference (at least for us) is that the buildings are not open all day, 7 days/week as a MA's school, like most gyms are. So, the dynamics are just not apples to apples, and I am good with that.

There are exceptions of course but when a person's name is used as branding there is usually an expiration date on the efficacy.
 

Flying Crane

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Water Gal:

I don't know of any company that is going to generate a couple of thousand niche specific leads a month for you for $200... if you can, hell, do it. And 60 mixed ( 1,200 - 2,500 ) original niche specific articles each and every month is going to cost you waaay more time (read money) than what we charge. A good ad copy writer alone is how much? And, do you have the ability to do targeted cold-call out reach? How much does it cost to develop a 10,000 list.. a clean list, not a scraped facebook garbage list? And after you have that list, can you keep them out of the spam folder? I can... And you have nothing in your saas platforms that is going to help you build out IP & complimentary products to expand your business. And, seeing as you are on the subject, do you have any idea what the price of Geo Marketing is? Your little $200 platform has nothing that will help you with this.
I know what we do for our clients... I am well worth the money. But, I also recognize that the vast majority of business owners just want to be a ma & pa shop. Nothing wrong with that. Mundane is good for the majority. Then you just need a few fliers, put on a demo every now and then, post to your facebook when ever you think about it... you know, all the things that the 200k saas platform subscribers are doing ;)
You cold-call to sell martial arts classes?
 

Flying Crane

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Cold calling - for martial arts students? Ive been training martial arts for 40 years and Ive never gotten or heard of someone getting a cold call promoting a martial arts school. If I did get one, it wouldnt particularly motivate me to visit that school.

Offhand, given the percentage of people who express interest in martial arts that actually show up for training and stick around, Im skeptical that cold calling would produce enough students to make it financially worthwhile. But maybe Im wrong. I remember reading about a chain of karate schools (in Australia, I think) that operates on a sort of MLM/door-to-door sales model and is apparently making money. (If not producing competent martial artists.)
You beat me to it.
 

Flying Crane

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I will just say, again, that if your idea of growing your business is just filling your student roster, you're just looking for a handful of students, just do some flyers, etc...
But that is a very limited view of your profit potential... Why would you not want to monetize your website? Even if it is only through affiliate links or ppc banners? Why not have a cool looking brand and sell workout clothing? Supplements with your logo on them? Video courses? And on & on & on... All you need is the structure, something to sell, the traffic and the leads.
That is all stuff I think every business owner should be doing in one way or another.
You do what you think is right for you and yours. Some just want a small gym, some want to grow beyond that. That's why you look at marketing.
My idea of growing a business is just different than your idea of growing a business.
But this is the digital age... confining your potential to a brick and mortar is going to a limiting factor on how much you can earn in your chosen field.
Workout clothing? To sell to the public in places like Target? Like Tapout? I dunno. Ive got two students, we meet in the city park. Who is gonna buy workout clothing with my logo on it? Maybe my two students MIGHT buy a tee shirt if I had one made up, out of their sense of goodwill to support what I do. But beyond that? Nobody. I think you arent really looking at this on a level of what people are actually trying to do, or what makes sense. Some of us are really just trying to teach quality martial arts, and looking for revenue tie-ins like a line of workout clothing, just isnt part of what is important. Maybe thats why there is a lot of low quality martial arts instruction: because people are too distracted with looking for revenue streams, and dont focus on quality training.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I will just say, again, that if your idea of growing your business is just filling your student roster, you're just looking for a handful of students, just do some flyers, etc...
But that is a very limited view of your profit potential... Why would you not want to monetize your website? Even if it is only through affiliate links or ppc banners? Why not have a cool looking brand and sell workout clothing? Supplements with your logo on them? Video courses? And on & on & on... All you need is the structure, something to sell, the traffic and the leads.
That is all stuff I think every business owner should be doing in one way or another.
You do what you think is right for you and yours. Some just want a small gym, some want to grow beyond that. That's why you look at marketing.
My idea of growing a business is just different than your idea of growing a business.
But this is the digital age... confining your potential to a brick and mortar is going to a limiting factor on how much you can earn in your chosen field.
I agree with you, if this is your livelihood. Plenty of people do have that desire for a gym being their main source of income, and to expand on that as much as possible.

There are also a lot of martial artists though that don't have that. When I taught in the past, the main sensei had to argue with me to pay me. I felt like free lessons from him was more than enough. Similarly, he gave free lessons to people that needed it, and I've no idea how their dojo remains open. A lot of us just want to share our knowledge and grow people we can train with, money isn't the goal. For those people, marketing in general isn't exactly needed.

It is a limitation though that I think most of us haven't considered-if we can earn more money with minimal effort, and not have a negative impact on students, why are we not doing that?
 

WaterGal

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The more I think about it, the more it feels like their numbers would apply to a gym run by a recognizable name, like an MMA fighter. In that kind of situation, both the numbers and the branded add-ons to the business seem appropriate.

I'm thinking a large franchise operation. If you're, I don't know, Gracie Barra or Premiere, you can probably sell a lot of wholesale t-shirts and so forth to your franchise locations for them to sell to their students. And you might end up collecting a large numbers of leads that you pass on to the local franchisees to follow up on.
 

Fungus

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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.
At least where I am, our martial arts schools is declared as non-profit organisations. Whatever small revenue, is used for economical buffers and reinvesting. Noone gets paid for anything. Everyone in the club even from beginner ranks, are expecte to help out. In a big club typically you have always someone that is good at IT/webdesign/social media, someone that is an electrician, physician, someone that is a carpenter etc, someone that owns already required software etc.

Money comes from member fees, and also a bit of public contributions (similar to what ANY sportsclub may get due to publich health benefit of keeping people physically active)

Our website, and social media ads, photoshoots are all done by selected members (for free) that happen to have the skills. The running costs of a website, social media and SEO is very small these days. You only pay for your own ignorance as you hire someone todo it and not knowing what it takes.

When we moved our dojo, everyone in the club was called in to help. It took say 4 hours time of everone. It would have cost a fortune to pay someone for demounting the dojor, pack it, move it and reconstruct it in another location. This work also creates bonds and community spirit.

None gets paid for their "work" in the club.
What we get back is a good community spirit, and keeping the member fees at a minimum.
 

Gerry Seymour

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At least where I am, our martial arts schools is declared as non-profit organisations. Whatever small revenue, is used for economical buffers and reinvesting. Noone gets paid for anything. Everyone in the club even from beginner ranks, are expecte to help out. In a big club typically you have always someone that is good at IT/webdesign/social media, someone that is an electrician, physician, someone that is a carpenter etc, someone that owns already required software etc.

Money comes from member fees, and also a bit of public contributions (similar to what ANY sportsclub may get due to publich health benefit of keeping people physically active)

Our website, and social media ads, photoshoots are all done by selected members (for free) that happen to have the skills. The running costs of a website, social media and SEO is very small these days. You only pay for your own ignorance as you hire someone todo it and not knowing what it takes.

When we moved our dojo, everyone in the club was called in to help. It took say 4 hours time of everone. It would have cost a fortune to pay someone for demounting the dojor, pack it, move it and reconstruct it in another location. This work also creates bonds and community spirit.

None gets paid for their "work" in the club.
What we get back is a good community spirit, and keeping the member fees at a minimum.
I love the idea of this, and I've seen some Aikido schools that are set up as not-for-profit organizations. The schools I've been involved in all had a high sense of community, which kept costs down, but having everything done by members depends upon having enough members with enough time available, and the requisite skill (or the time available to develop it). It's probably easier now to find someone among the students who can do websites and SEO than it was 20 years ago, but might be harder to find someone with real skill at things like carpentry. Sometimes it's worth paying for something to get it done more quickly or reliably, but if you can do it within your organization instead, that's the way to go.
 

HighKick

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At least where I am, our martial arts schools is declared as non-profit organisations. Whatever small revenue, is used for economical buffers and reinvesting. Noone gets paid for anything. Everyone in the club even from beginner ranks, are expecte to help out. In a big club typically you have always someone that is good at IT/webdesign/social media, someone that is an electrician, physician, someone that is a carpenter etc, someone that owns already required software etc.

Money comes from member fees, and also a bit of public contributions (similar to what ANY sportsclub may get due to publich health benefit of keeping people physically active)

Our website, and social media ads, photoshoots are all done by selected members (for free) that happen to have the skills. The running costs of a website, social media and SEO is very small these days. You only pay for your own ignorance as you hire someone todo it and not knowing what it takes.

When we moved our dojo, everyone in the club was called in to help. It took say 4 hours time of everone. It would have cost a fortune to pay someone for demounting the dojor, pack it, move it and reconstruct it in another location. This work also creates bonds and community spirit.

None gets paid for their "work" in the club.
What we get back is a good community spirit, and keeping the member fees at a minimum.
Is your club a 501c3? How/who handles monies used for the school?
 

Fungus

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Is your club a 501c3? How/who handles monies used for the school?
Yes sort of, though 501c3 is a categorisation used in the USA I think, I'm in Europe, but the equivalent is an organsation that does not have a purpose to make money. This for example measn that we do not have to pay tax on member fees etc.

The purpose is to run non-profit activity for the benefit of it's memebers. The organisation is ruled by democratic decisions of all members. We vote for the organsation board, people responsible for money etc, all these are chosen for trust assignment by the members. Everyone in the club can come and participate and vote at say annul meeting. From this perspective, we are all equal, it does not matter if you have a black belt or a white belt - you have one vote. The hiearchy of ranks applies only in the DOJO, not for running the organisation per see.
 

isshinryuronin

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When I taught in the past, the main sensei had to argue with me to pay me. I felt like free lessons from him was more than enough. Similarly, he gave free lessons to people that needed it, and I've no idea how their dojo remains open. A lot of us just want to share our knowledge and grow people we can train with, money isn't the goal.
My first sensei was like this as well. I trained for free and got paid for teaching too. We had to keep the dojo doors open, but other than that Sensei had very modest needs and wants. Most of the pre-WWII karate teachers came from well to do families and had jobs such as policemen, teachers, or other officials, or at least had another income stream so money was traditionally not a concern. This is the ideal condition for teaching as it allows hand-picking your students and not having to compromise standards. While generally not realistic today, I had the good fortune to come across such instructors who were happy to share with serious students.
 

gyoja

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My first sensei was like this as well. I trained for free and got paid for teaching too. We had to keep the dojo doors open, but other than that Sensei had very modest needs and wants. Most of the pre-WWII karate teachers came from well to do families and had jobs such as policemen, teachers, or other officials, or at least had another income stream so money was traditionally not a concern. This is the ideal condition for teaching as it allows hand-picking your students and not having to compromise standards. While generally not realistic today, I had the good fortune to come across such instructors who were happy to share with serious students.
I agree. It is nice when you dont have to charge students. One less thing to worry about.
 

Buka

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I never made money running my dojo, which big and crowded.

But running it led to almost every real job I ever had. So that was pretty cool.
 

isshinryuronin

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I never made money running my dojo, which big and crowded.

But running it led to almost every real job I ever had. So that was pretty cool.
The "law of unintended consequences." Who could have foreseen where my MA journey would take me? A life-changing experience. Whether it was the mastery of skills, the spiritual metamorphosis, being around dynamic powerful people and the 1960's/early 70's karate culture, being exposed to unique challenges and exciting experiences (a number of which shall remain untold), or all of these, I had a Disneyland ride that enriched my life far beyond what a sheltered14-year-old could have dreamed of when walking into the dojo the first time. I agree, "pretty cool."

I know this has nothing to do with the thread, so I apologize' for my digression, but Buka's post triggered me. :)
 
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