The Business Side of Martial Arts
Marketing Your Dojo: Part 4 - Traditional Marketing
By Joshua M. Davis
Editor's Note: This is the last 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 discussed the need for an effective web site. Part 3 included 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.
It is vital that you continue with your traditional marketing campaigns: door hangers, business cards, flyers, bumper stickers, and most important, local newspaper and magazine advertising. Get your name out there over and over and over. Make sure people know your brand so when they think about martial arts, they think about you. Make sure your website and Facebook address are available on your traditional marketing materials.
Cheap print goods online. This can be found at http://www.vistaprint.com
Press releases are also a great way to get some quick and free PR in your community. If you have events or demonstrations or even a special guest, put it out to the community calendars. A reporter might also show up; if local news story appears, it can attract attention. You can also post your press releases on a number of free online PR sites. You can find a great list at http://mashable.com/2007/10/20/press-releases/.
People love wearing swag (identifying paraphernalia) from their dojo. Make it easy for your students to get good quality clothing and items like gym bags, t-shirts, hoodies, water bottles, etc. from you with your dojo logo and website on it. Having a t-shirt for your dojo is just one small way that people can feel like they belong to the “pack”, and they will wear it proudly. I have also heard of some dojos having workouts where you can wear sportswear from the dojo instead of a gi (often during hot summer months).
There are lots a ideas out there for swag. You can even create your own online store of dojo swag using a site like cafepress.com or zazzle.com. If you are not that creative when it comes to artwork, you can always use a service like http://www.boldlook.net/weekly_design_icons.php and add your school name to some cool shirts for cheap.
There are a number of places you can pay for advertising your dojo online. I would suggest that you stick to Facebook and Google boost ads because you can target your ads only to your demographics in your local area. Google boost can be found at https://www.google.com/boost. As for the local directories you can use a service like http://www.yexttags.com, if the process of manually submitting is uncomfortable or too time consuming for you.
I want to thank Christopher Caile the Editor of FightingArts.com for all the wording suggestions, clarifications and editing of this and other articles in this series.
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.