The Business Side of Martial Arts
Marketing Your Dojo: Part 2 - Got a Web Site?
By Joshua M. Davis
Editor's Note: This is the second of a four part article on marketing your dojo. In Part 1 the author discussed the importance of "word of mouth" referrals, knowing your own strengths and defining your target market Part 2 discusses the need for an effective web site. Part 3 includes information on submitting your web site to search engines, use of keywords and backlinks, local directory marketing, use of social media and traditional marketing. Part 4 discusses traditional marketing.
Ok, so you know who you are and what product you are selling, but how is anyone ever going to find you? More and more martial arts programs are sharing space with other organizations or working out in home dojos. While the bad news is that there is a lot of competition out there, the good news is that with the web levels the playing field. You can build a website and put your message out there just as well as anyone else.
For the purpose of this article, I am going to assume you have a website. If not I suggest you consider www.dreamhost.com as a your web host site, although there are many others. I have used this site for years and generally like their services and find them to be responsive with their customer support. If that does not work for you, there are lots of other options.
WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY ABOUT YOURSELF
Crafting your website is going to take time and you are going to need to research other websites to determine what kind of information you want to share about your self. Here is a list of what I feel are the core elements that you need to communicate on your website.
WHAT - What type of martial arts are you offering and who your services are for, i.e. Shotokan Karate for Adults, Smith's Family Martial Arts Center, Karate For Kids, Thai Chi for Seniors, etc.
WHO - Owner and Instructor bios let people know who they are buying into. It's ok to embellish your story with other non-martial arts information. If you are a father of five, for example, this can be a benefit to other parents who are looking for people who understand their concerns or needs. If you are a combat veteran and have been studying martial arts for 20 years and taught self-defense in 20 countries... let ‘em know. It all paints a picture of who you are and what they are buying.
WHY - Describe some benefits of your dojo and what makes you stand out. Adult classes, small class size, clean dojo, morning classes, weight loss and nutrition support, advanced classes, etc.
WHEN - Clearly describe your class times and stick to them so people can count on you being there when you say you are. If you offer private lessons, post your time slots and make it easy for people to book time.
HOW - Make an offer for them to visit. Offer a special promotion to get then in the door. When they come, welcome them and kill them with kindness. Even if you are a bunch of bad asses you can still shake hands and let people know you are glad to see them. Shaking hands and a warm welcome is vital to a good first impression. If you are teaching class and can’t get off the mat, instruct your senior students to step off the mat and welcome people and let them know they are welcome and that the senior instructor will be able to speak when class is over.
Continue with Part 3
About The Author:
Joshua Davis has over 15 years of web marketing experience and has been working as a web designer and graphic artist since 1995. His career has taken him from working for humble no- profits to Fortune 500 companies. Joshua came late in life to martial arts after dabbling off and on with several styles before discovering his passion for Wadokia Aikido in 2009. He has immersed himself in the study of aikido and marketing martial arts to help market the 3 Wadokai Aikido dojos in Richmond Virginia. Since then Joshua has been helping other national Wadokai Aikido dojos and local martial arts clubs. Joshua offers consulting services through www.bigwaza.com. Joshua is a student of Sensei James Golden who teaches Wadokai Aikido in Richmond Virginia.