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A Quick Marketing Checkup:

Are You Spending Your Martial Arts Ad Dollars Wisely?

By Christopher Caile

There is an old story that goes that most businesses waste 50 percent of their ad dollars on advertising that isn't effective but that they can't do anything about it because they don't know which half. Well, here is a quick check method you can actually use to see if the dollars your martial arts school spends to recruit new students is actually bringing you an effective return. It might even tell you that you should change the very way you recruit. Of course, this assumes your school is actually successful enough to have a budget of some sort.

First, you want to add up the yearly cost of all the telephone book yellow page advertising, newspaper advertsing, Value Pack coupons, printing of flyers, counter displays --everything you use. Second, count up all the new students who have joined your school for the same time period. Now divide the second into the first to get the average cost of recruitment per student. For example, if during a one year period you recruited 50 new students and spent $1000 on advertising (here we are using totally abstract numbers) your average cost of recruitment per new student would be $20.00. This isn't bad.

Your ideal cost per student, of course, should be a low as possible, but realistically it should run between $10.00 and $20.00 and sometimes as high as $35.00 in larger urban markets. But, if you are spending $8000 dollars a year on advertising and you are only getting 150 new students, your cost per new student is over $53.00 and that's too high. This should tell you that you are spending too much money to recruit the average student. And unless you have a phenomenal retention rate, it might also signal that your budget is out of whack and that you might be in trouble. This impacts the viability of your school. It also directly takes money out of your pocket because every dollar wasted is a dollar that could potentially be pid to you or used for your school.

Thus if you are paying too much you should carefully examine how and where you are advertising. Also examine where and how your students are recruited. These factors can provide some essential clues on how to adjust your spending to reduce wasted advertising and recruitment dollars.


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About The Author

Christopher Caile has been a student of the martial arts for over 40 years, and a teacher for more than 35 years. He has an MA in International Relations with a specialty in southeast Asia, and has lived and traveled in Japan, Okinawa and south and southeast Asia. He is 6th degree black belt in Seido karate under Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura, a long time student of aikido under Roy Suenaka (Wado-kai aikido), as well as a student of other martial arts (including daito ryu aikijujutsu, judo, boxing and several Chinese arts) and Zen. He is also a teacher of qi gong (Chinese energy medicine), in which he trained under Master Zaiwen Shen and is Vice-President of the DS International Qi Medicine Association.

In his business career he has been a newspaper journalist and entrepreneur of several business ventures, and he designed innovative telecommunication and marine products which were developed in companies he founded. In 1999 he founded FightingArts.com (which went live in August 2000) and its parant company eCommunities LLC.


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martial arts business, martial arts advertising, advertising, martial arts marketing, marketing


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