Direct Response Marketing for Martial Arts Schools
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This was true in decades past, but the marketing world has changed for the better, and the best marketing practices available now can explode your business without hurting your conscience or polluting your reputation.
That system is known as direct response marketing. It sounds unimpressive, but the magic is in the content itself: the lead magnet, the email writing, and the ask. And the best part? This step is fun. Lead magnets, sometimes called content assets , can come in any of these forms:. In his book, The No B. Guide to Direct Marketing , direct response titan Dan Kennedy explains how this approach to marketing turns the traditional approach on its head:. You also might consider writing a resource on building confident, socially-adept children. Both are incredibly important to parents.
But for adults, you might put together a basic self-defense resources or a guide to managing stress through martial arts-related skills like physical fitness and breathing exercises. A lead magnet that might have done okay as an ebook could do great as a video course. Even better…why not take the script for your video course, make it into an ebook, and give away both? This step is the glue and duct tape that makes the whole system work.
If you can get leads to give you their email in exchange for your lead magnet, marketing your services to them gets remarkably easier and cheaper. You do this by speaking to the reader in terms of the benefits it offers them. Therefore, the page should not have any elements that distract from that goal. Removing these elements gives your potential clients no choice but to input their emails for your content asset or else simply leave. This is where that mystical transformation happens. Instead, you build a relationship with your new leads before asking them to invest in your services.
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By serving them valuable information in a friendly manner, they will know, like, and trust you by time you ask them to sign up. And then put together an autoresponder series using a service like MailChimp or Klaviyo so that they send automatically when a new member subscribes to your email list.
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At the end of your email sequence, you send one more email to your prospects with a strong call-to-action CTA. Essentially, you present them with an awesome, limited-time deal, and then ask them to sign up. Mechanically, that means grabbing their attention with the email and directing them to a second landing page that unpacks the deal and asks for the buy.
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Why are these important? Even if they want to sign up, failing to give them an immediate reason to do so could result in them walking away from the page and eventually forgetting about it. It works. As long as prospects remain subscribed to your email list, you can continue to provide them value and periodically ask for a sign-up. Or, go really old school, and send out direct mail campaigns straight to the mail boxes in the neighborhoods around your dojo, prompting them to visit your landing page. Direct mail actually has a stronger response rate than digital ads!
Of all the effective marketing methods available now, direct response marketing stands out above the rest. How does direct response work? The question might seem absurd. In the old days, instructors would teach random techniques without rhyme or reason, making it difficult to learn a system and dramatically slowing progress toward mastery. So when structured curriculums came along, martial arts instruction was revolutionized and learners unquestionably benefited. But with structure comes another danger. Jia Yi Chow, et al.
For example…[h]ow would a tae kwon do performer cope if a new opponent appeared on the scene who was taller, stronger and faster? Nonlinear Pedagogy in Skill Acquisition, p. A typical response to this problem would be to script drills in response to anticipated attacks. Variability boils down to unpredictable changes in the practice environment and tasks you perform during practice. Practice variability exists at more than one level. At the activity level , opponents kick, punch, and grapple in unscripted sequences that are hard to predict.
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At the session level , variability would be changing partners every round of sparring or shifting between different learning activities within the same class. Most of you are familiar with these exercises, but hear me out. As in, a part of every class. Both activity- and session-level variability should dictate nearly every aspect of your classes.
That means any drills or exercises that are scripted or cooperative should be minimized, and unscripted, uncooperative exercises should be emphasized. But the science of motor learning tells a very different story. Herbert, Landin, and Fairweather conducted a research study on basketball training methods. Study participants were placed into two separate groups: one where they engaged in blocked practice and one where they engaged in random practice. Blocked practice involves repeating the same techniques over and over again from the same position and angle every repetition.
In this case, shooting free throws from the same position with the same movement pattern. Random practice involves changes to the position, angle, and task every repetition. In this case, shooting at different positions and distances from the hoop. Although the blocked training group showed greater improvement during practice, the retention of those skills at later practices was poor.
Conversely, the random practice group showed little improvement during practice but greater skill at later practice as well as much stronger retention of those skills. The results indicate that performance on initial trials of a retention test was better following variable rather than specific practice.
This suggests that a variable practice schedule, which includes criterion skill, may be better than blocked practice.
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The effects of variable practice on the performance of a basketball skill , p. Traditionally, coaches in the martial arts and sports in general rely heavily on trying to perfect technique through blocked practice. They shy away from random practice until mastery is consistently demonstrated through blocked methods. In contrast, variable practice looks messier and often shows no observable improvements during immediate practice.
But it pays off in later practices with dramatically increased retention and overall better-developed skills. In their study , Variability of practice and implicit motor learning , Gabriele Wulf and Richard Schmidt found that in an exercise where participants had to visually track targets on a screen,.
These effects were seen during the acquisition, retention, and transfer phases, and even during the random test. Of importance, the variable groups outperformed the constant groups in the retention test, even though the constant groups had a specificity advantage over the variable groups in the retention test…Also, in transfer, errors on the repeated segment were smaller for the variable groups than for the constant subgroups that had practiced scalings of the repeated segment closest to those required in transfer, whereas the variable groups had experienced these scalings only on one third of their practice trials.
The important point is that the advantages from the repeated segment do not simply arise from having identical experiences from the repetitions that somehow accumulate over the acquisition trials. Variability not only facilitated performance on the repeated segments, but it facilitated the learning of the tracking task generally. Again, these effects were independent of the type of practice variability. Structure has raised the effectiveness of martial arts training but has also led to practice designs that hinder the natural human learning process.
Though logical, well-structured lesson plans feel most effective, motor learning research indicates that a lack of randomness or variability is less effective for building motor skills. Researchers have found that, while blocked practice methods yield noticeable improvements during practice, variable practice methods yield far greater skill gains and retention overall.
However, since martial arts largely deals with unpredictable opponents in both sport and self-defense contexts, instructors should prepare their students to meet these threats by embracing a variable practice design in all of their lesson plans. As instructors, we want our students to show up consistently, try their best, and put the work in. During my time studying Teaching and Learning in graduate school, I discovered that a concept known as motivation is one of the biggest factors in learning.
Moreover, intrinsic motivation is the most lasting and meaningful type of motivation for learning. Extrinsic motivation is a motivation based on something outside of yourself. For example, a parent promises you ice cream for passing a math test. Intrinsic motivation is a desire to do something based on your own internal interests — one might say, based on internal rewards. Do you find yourself often reading about subjects you enjoy, simply to learn more about them?
If you own a martial arts school, then you understand the immense competition in the industry. Our creative advertising solutions show prospective members why they should choose your school over another.
Our plastic postcards are perfect for:. As a martial arts center, you probably try to promote your business with free lessons or discounted training sessions with your instructors, but advertising these offers to the local community is the hard part.