137 – [Martial Arts Business Case Study] How Amanda & Wayne Increased Their Revenue By $200K In 12 Months

Amanda Saliba and Wayne Ardley share how they increased their revenue for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga gym by $200,000 in just 12 months.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • A martial arts hobby turned into a successful martial arts business
  • When to get help from a marketing expert?
  • How the ‘Partners OnRamp’ helps boost martial arts schools 
  • Quitting your day job to become a full-time martial arts instructor
  • Tapping into a pool of knowledge through Martial Arts Media™ Partners
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Start Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE:  Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast. Today, I'm doing one of my favorite episodes to create, which is a case study. A case study documenting a client's journey from when they started working with us to where they are now. 

Today, I'm speaking to Amanda Saliba and Wayne Ardley all the way from Melbourne. And I love this episode simply because Amanda is so committed to achieving big goals, and same as Wayne, still in the workforce, positioning out of that going full time into the business. And in the time that we've spent working together, they've increased their income with an additional $200,000 over the last 12 months.

What I love about this is that we zoomed out with this journey. You know, we love to talk about marketing on the show, attracting the right students, increasing sign ups and retaining more members. And sometimes the emphasis is on getting more students, but we all know there's more to that, right? 

There's the retaining, keeping the students, which is the biggest part, really. And well, you can't have one without the other. So this case study really documents the journey of staying with the course, you know, not looking for the quick fix, doing the work.

You know, we are on coaching calls every week. Amanda's always on the coaching calls. There's lots available, Amanda's always on all of them, and does the work, implements, makes the refinements, and really commits to the journey. And that's really what it takes.

So I love doing this interview. You are definitely going to get a lot of value from this so head over to martialartsmedia.com/137 if you'd like to download the podcast transcript and the resources mentioned in this episode. And that's it. Let's jump in. Amanda and Wayne, welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast.

WAYNE:  Hello.

AMANDA:  Thanks for having us, George.

GEORGE:  Cool. So I wanted to bring you guys on the show, and this is one of my favorite interviews to do because we get to talk a bit about a customer journey working together and the awesome results that you guys have managed to do over the last 12 months, which is really exciting and I look forward to diving a bit more into the details on that. But just before we kick things off, if you don't mind sharing just a bit of an intro, who is Amanda? Who is Wayne and what do you do in the martial arts space?

WAYNE:  What do we do? We run a club or gym, depending on what terminology you want to use in Bacchus Marsh in Victoria. We primarily focus on Brazilian  Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga. We also run a little side program called KravFit, which is just more of a high-intensity sort of workout. 

So it gets a little bit away from the martial arts space, but into the fitness space. But using martial arts techniques and things to just give that quick 30-minute high-intensity program.

AMANDA:  And we do that for adults and for children as well. From the age of 3, we have a little ninja program for 3 to 5 year olds, and then we go all the way through to adults.

GEORGE:  Love it. So what got you into what you do into the martial arts space and the different styles?

Amanda Saliba Wayne Ardley Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Business Case Study

WAYNE:  Well, that's a long question. I don't know, have we got enough time for that one? Well, both of us are long-term martial artists, I suppose you could say. I certainly started when I was probably around 14 in Taekwondo, moved to karate, and moved to Thai kickboxing, boxing, through a number of different programs. 

About 20 plus years ago, I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I've been doing that one ever since. That's sort of my real passion. I also studied and trained, got instructor publications in a number of other styles, including Ray Flos, Night Fighting System as an example. 

Kali, Filipino Martial Arts, trained as an instructor many, many years back for over half a decade with one of your compatriots from South Africa, Rodney King and the Crazy Monkey Defense Program. There's probably a long list, but the primary things for like 20 plus years, probably the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and basic striking, whether it be Krav Maga or boxing Kickboxing for myself.

AMANDA: For me, I started when I was 17, and I did Muay Thai for over a decade, competed in that, then moved into Crazy Monkey with Wayne. And then when I was 34, I started going into Jiu-Jitsu. And three years ago, I took up Krav Maga as well. So I've been doing this for a couple of decades now.

WAYNE:  She's won, I don't know how many Australian titles in Jiu-Jitsu now. So she's doing really well.

AMANDA:  And that too.

GEORGE:  I've seen those awards coming up.

WAYNE:  So no, we're just really both, I suppose, really passionate about martial arts. And obviously, our main thing is how we use it as a vehicle. It's not about training champions, although we do have a number of people who compete and compete quite well at a high level. 

It is about how we make people's lives better through martial arts. And I think that's pretty much what we're both mostly passionate about. How can we change and help people?

GEORGE:  Love that. All right, so we've been working together for I think just over 12 months, right?

AMANDA:  Yes. September 2021.

GEORGE:  There we go. So, just over 12 months, and you got some great results, but I just want to break down, just to process what got us to that and we'll speak a bit more about the journey of how we've gotten to when we had that first conversation. What did you want to achieve and, and what problems were you facing in the business at the time?

AMANDA:  So we met you through our ClubWorx seminar, so through our CRM. And you did a seminar there, and I was really interested to hear about marketing just because I knew that I wasn't doing it very well, and I needed some help in that area. So at that time, I was still working two jobs, and this was something that I thought if I wanted to be able to do this full-time, that we needed more members and that we needed to attract more people into the business.

So once we got people to the business, it seemed okay, once they were at Phoenix, but prior to that, just getting them there. So community awareness and then when you popped up, I was very interested immediately and I was thinking, we have to log onto this, and you shared some fantastic information on that seminar or podcast, whatever, however you want to explain it, which led me thinking that we need more information, and then the discussion with Wayne, of course, to contact you further.

WAYNE: We took it a little bit further back, I suppose you could say we pretty much run it really more as a hobby, so that we basically had training partners, so to speak, really, and had people to train with and it made a little bit of money on the side, but it was not at the time certainly not running as what we would call a business as such.

It was more, much more of a hobby. And, that's sort of, Amanda was the driving force that decided it's time to turn it into something that's a bit more than that, and make it grow. That's where we actually, where we ended up doing the ClubWorx, just to try to get better at doing things.

And then, of course, doing the podcast with yourself via ClubWorx which was quite fortuitous.

Amanda Saliba Wayne Ardley Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Martial Arts Business Case Study

GEORGE:  Cool. So at that time, business was going, was a bit of a hobby, but there's obviously this passion. So what was the big goal for you at that time? Where did you want to take the business?

AMANDA:  We just wanted more numbers. We realized what we were doing was not going to be, was not getting enough people into the doors. So we needed to attract people to us. And what I thought we were doing in terms of marketing turns out that I was not doing that. So I realized I needed some help. And lucky enough, Wayne actually got us onto ClubWorx, which is how, how we found you.

WAYNE:  If people found us, they generally stayed. We've got people that have been with us for a long time, but nobody knew we really existed, I suppose. We just did not know how to market ourselves. We put thought just putting a couple of Facebook posts out there every now and again will do the job. So obviously we had a lot to learn.

GEORGE:  Gotcha. So what did more numbers mean to you? Like, if you were able to get more numbers, what would be the impact on the business and you personally if you were able to, to do that and get that growth?

AMANDA:  So I suppose, it would be a transition from going to what we considered a hobby to a career. And even though we love what we do, we need it to be financially viable for us to be thinking we can do this, and only do this full-time and focus our full energy and passion into it. 

So it was that transition between our hobby and then saying, “We're doing this full-time.” That would be the impact on our immediate life, I suppose. Because, you know, I had two or three jobs, and Wayne worked full-time as well, so it was going to be a big shift in our lives.

WAYNE: We were devoting a lot of time already to the Club or the gym in particular at that time. And we were starting to invest a lot more money. New mats, new facilities, tried to always improve.

And it was just getting that we were outlaying a lot of money and we thought we actually need to make some more money if we want this to keep working and grow so that we can justify keeping it going as well, let alone taking it the next step, which is, of course, is becoming full-time careers for us both.

GEORGE:  100%. I mean, it's great if you have a martial arts hobby and you’ve got a lot of friends that do that as well, you know, just lay the mats out on the garage, and it's great when it's a hobby, but when the hobby is training with other people and you're taking on the expenses for more people to train, there's, there's got to be, the money's got to make sense to be able to, to continue, right?

WAYNE:  Oh, definitely. And then you've got the time commitment as well, even just as a hobby, you have to be there. If you've got a class running certain times each night, you have to be there. And that certainly interferes with other parts of your life as well. So, these are all things you've got to weigh up. And at the time, it was just getting too big that we had to make a choice whether we grow it or almost scale down. Obviously, we decided to grow and turn it into a business empire. 

Let's not go that far yet, but certainly grow it into something that could support us both as well as provide us with what we want out of a club or a gym, which really is something that's constantly evolving. And, we want a world-class type training facility with the best trainers, and that's sort of where we're, sort of… That's what we aim for. And obviously, you have to make money to be able to provide those things.

GEORGE: 100%. Let's shift from the implementation of things. So we started working together. What were the first pivotable things that you implemented that made the biggest difference right in the beginning?

AMANDA:  Which was, for us, we just went straight into your OnRamp. So I followed that program every step of the way. If there was something in that OnRamp, I was there and I was doing it. All I did was do that to the Tee and that changed us in an instant. 

And the three of us had a conversation, of course, and it was about even pricing, how we were underpricing, and trying to change our mindset about value. And what we're providing is a requirement or is valuable, and we can charge that. So changing our pricing structure, which to me was like, who's going to pay that? 

Who's going to pay that money to come and train? And then I started thinking about it, and then what we're providing and the experience of Wayne alone in coaching. I was thinking, “No, we are worth it.” And within our community, we have the most experience by far. So I was like, “No, we can charge that,” and changed our mindset to say, “We are worth all of that and more.’

So having those conversations with you and you just saying, “No, that's not good enough.” And restructuring our pricing as well, which was part of our OnRamp and the initial consultation with you.

GEORGE:  So I have to ask, right, because what you've just said is like the biggest obstacle that a lot of people struggle with, so much time invested into martial arts, all this experience, and then a lot, a lot of school owners really struggled with this and really just undervalue themselves. 

Sometimes it's from a hierarchy of martial arts leaders that are, you know, don't make money or whatever the case is, and you almost feel like you're pressured to fall under this same structure. Or it's just feeling that it's a bad thing to charge too much. There's so many things that come up with this, and so I just wanted to hammer home that point.

Is there anything bad that happened when you raised your prices and started charging what you are worth? And I'll say what you're worth because it's not just about raising your prices, it's about delivering the service that goes with it. Did anything bad happen?

AMANDA:  No, we've got more people joining.

WAYNE:  In fact, I actually would pick a small point with what you said, and I would suggest that now that I know what we've learnt from you and looking at the market and learning about business, I probably, I think we would probably still be undercharging to be honest, given what we're offering, the facilities, the training, the coaching, the experience. 

I believe we're probably still under-valuing ourselves. And it's something that we need to probably keep working on. It certainly wasn't eyeopener, up to having a few conversations with you about that and then putting it to the test.

AMANDA:  And since then, we've also increased our prices again. So within 12 months we offer a, like another package as well, and we've got people joining that package.

GEORGE:  Love it. All right, so let's wrap some numbers around that. So what outcome have you achieved with that? I think it's good for us to zoom out, right? Because sometimes we always talk about marketing and we're getting this many students and this many students, but then there's always the conversation not being had and that's numbers falling out the back. 

So, over the time that we've been working together, what difference has that made between going through the OnRamp and the pricing? If we had to wrap some numbers around that.

AMANDA:  Well, if I could go back a little bit, which was before we met you, we were only offering free trials. So the idea that someone would pay to do a paid trial seemed inconceivable in my mind. And I thought, there's no one, no one's going to pay to do a paid trial, but yet, people were just literally signing up to do a paid trial, which was like, this is crazy.

Which changed my whole view on marketing and that people would pay for a trial, whereas people don't see value in something if they're not paying for it. So when we started with you back in September of 2021, we had 67 members. Moving forward now to October of 2022, we're at 170 members. So that's an increase of 266% in net revenue in just over 13 months.

GEORGE:  Very, very cool. There was a dollar amount that you mentioned as well, with the increase.

AMANDA:  So I think it went…

WAYNE:  One of the beautiful things of ClubWorx is it graphs and keeps all these stats for us, which is really handy to keep. So sorry, we're just going to look that up for you. In the meantime, I will point out that I thought you were a snake, some charm salesman there at one point.

How on earth would people pay money for a trial where they can get it free? I think that's just crazy, but you proved me wrong. So, thank you for that.

GEORGE:  Just, just to add to the trials, I mean, I think there's definitely a place for free trial and, and I think it's always important to not focus just on the trial because a trial should never get in the way of just someone that wants to join either. But sometimes, I think markets are conditioned, you know, as a business owner you think, well, if I give it away for free, there's no obstacle.

But free normally comes with an agenda, right? Free feels like, well, especially if it's like short free, you're going to think, “Well, it's, it's really just that I've got so much time to try this thing and then I'm going to have to sign up.” And so sometimes it just feels like there's too much risk, almost free. Where, when it's paid, it takes.

There's value in the thing that you're paying for in the program even if it's just for a short time. And it feels a little more complete, that I'm actually paying for this and I'm going to get value from just what I'm paying for as well.

WAYNE:  No, it's certainly.

GEORGE:  Go for it, Amanda.

WAYNE:  Give us, give us the numbers.

AMANDA:  So within 13 months, we've gone up 190,000 in net revenue per year.

GEORGE:  Love it. So what does that mean for you in the business and for you personally?

AMANDA:  So for me, I am full-time at Phoenix Training Center. So doing the marketing side, the CRM side, running the back end, so to speak, as well as doing some coaching in the evening. We've been able to expand our business. So we've gone from one facility and extended that, so we've got another facility right next door as well.

So now, we're able to have two spaces going plus a gym, building a therapy room, and having a pro shop room being built as we speak. So our business and, and it's not just about the business, so to speak, it's about our lifestyle moving forward in the future, which is going to significantly change. And we can see this as easy to see now what the potential that we have now that we're in this position already.

WAYNE:  And just being able to offer so much more. And as I said earlier, we really wanted to grow the facility. Even though we're in what you would almost call a country town in Victoria, it's not quite, it's just on the outskirts of suburbia. But, to provide what I would try, I wouldn't class it yet as a world class facility, but we're on the way to that where the facilities are just constantly improving.

You'll be struggling to find a better facility outside of some of the big places around the world. So we're… That- that's one of the big goals there. And this is allowing us to do that. People certainly walk in, they go, “Wow, this is good when you compare it to everywhere else around us.”

GEORGE:  That's awesome. All right. Anything else to add on that? How are you feeling about all that? I mean, that's like a big moment and I recall getting the Facebook message from you saying, “I've got some good news to share with you and sharing the numbers.” How does, how do you feel about that and where you're headed?

AMANDA:  I think we feel like we've accomplished something that seems like in our mind, I, I sort of put it too, like I needed… We've got the facility, but we've got the spark, and I just need some to add a little bit of fuel and we're going to be taking off.

But I just didn't know how to quite get there, and you were sort of like the missing link that I felt like we needed. Because, you know, we've run businesses before but not like this. We know that we needed help and for us, I felt like you were the person that we needed to help us move forward and to get these results.

And there's no way I don't see how we would've gotten them without you and the support of Partners.

Amanda Saliba Wayne Ardley Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Business Case Study

WAYNE:  Realistically, we're, we're martial artists first and foremost. And like a lot of martial artists, we probably thought we knew a little bit about business, but we didn't, certainly didn't know about media and marketing and all those sorts of things. So it was a real eye-opener to realize how wrong we'd been with what we were doing.

And it was just that following the OnRamp course was sort of mind-blowing in that respect of how to do things properly. I think that's what a lot of martial artists probably need. We certainly needed that help. And I imagine that most martial artists would. We devote all our time to how to choke people and all that sort of stuff, punch them in the head.

GEORGE:  The good stuff.

WAYNE:  Probably too many punches in the head, so, but it means at the end of the day, we can't specialize in everything, and that's where you, you need to go to a specialist in something to get better at it. That's what we got. So we're pretty happy with that. This is just the start, George.

GEORGE:  That's, that's awesome. For sure. I want to say thank you, but you guys did the work and implemented without that drive, nothing happens.

WAYNE:  We actually decided early on that we're just going to follow your blueprint to the letter. It made it easier that way we could blame you if it didn't work as well. But we just followed the blueprint to the letter.

And again, not knowing any better, I think that was the best thing. We didn't try to read too much into it and said, this is what the blueprint says, let's just do it. And then we… I would often say to Amanda when she'd bring something to me and she'd been working on some advertising or whatever material and she said, “What do you think?” And I said, “Well, what would George say?” 

And I'd look at it because, and, and I start… We both started to learn what you would say when we were to send something to you, “Oh no, this is, this is this, or no, this needs to be fixed or no, that's got to be at that angle and you've got to have… what's the offer?” So things like that, your little saying Georgisms.

But, in the end where I would just say to Amanda, “What would George say?” I better go and change that. And it works.

GEORGE:  Oh, that's great. Georgisms.

WAYNE:  Yes.

GEORGE:  I'm going to have to check if that's, that's a real name that's available for one day when I'm famous. Alright, awesome. So if you could finish this sentence, we almost didn't join because…

WAYNE:  Stubbornness on my part thinking that we could do it ourselves.

AMANDA:  So thinking that we couldn't spend more money and that we couldn't afford it, thinking that we couldn't afford to invest in a coach even though we knew that we needed it, but thinking that we can do it ourselves. But like I said before, you were what we needed.

GEORGE:  All right, awesome. What's been your favorite part of working like with me and within the Partners group?

AMANDA:  You and all the other martial art owners, because I haven't really missed many of those meetings. The Hour Power that you run twice a week and then with the additional ones that you also run. I haven't really missed many and being accountable and if I get stuck within a problem, there's nearly someone in the group. 

I've never gone to a group where they're like, “Oh, no one's experienced that.”

So the experience within the group and the knowledge of the group like we are… and I am very, very grateful for, for everyone in a way, sharing and saying, “How about doing it like this?” Or, “I've been through that, try it like this.” I'm not only grateful but, but proud to be a part of it.

WAYNE:  The group is both knowledgeable but also inspiring. When you see what a lot of members of the group have achieved and what they've been through and as I and Amanda alluded to. The issues that they've faced that we've brought up to the group and they go, “Oh yeah, I've done that before. No, don't worry about that one.”

And just… it does give you a sense of purpose. I suppose to hear these people talk and listen to again, what they've been through, what they've done, how they've succeeded, and where they're now. And you sort of want to emulate that and give you that impetus or the drive to, to follow through and do, achieve what you want to achieve as well, what we want to achieve in this case.

And there are some really nice people, we've met some really great people and we've caught up with them outside of the group and chatted to them and it's been really good.

GEORGE:  That's so cool. I see you guys jetting around the country and meeting up with other members. That's awesome. Last question, Who do you recommend Partners to and why?

AMANDA:  I would say anyone that got a martial arts business and that if you think that you are not where you want to be and you want to do this full time, you need to join Partners because it's not just about George, it's about the power of the group and what the group gives back to you as well as you giving back to them.

WAYNE:  I think anyone really who's passionate about martial arts and wants to grow it and turn it into a career for themselves, definitely because it's… as I said earlier, you can't be an expert at everything and if your expertise is in martial arts, you're probably lacking in other areas like marketing, media, building websites, all these other things that the group provides the solutions for and helpful.

So no, it's really good to, for anyone who's a passionate martial arts instructor, most definitely join up.

AMANDA:  With the group, I feel like it… there's a level of comfort as well. I think when I'm there I feel like I can ask anything to the group because they've probably been through it already and I think they're going to give me not just their level of experience and knowledge, but it just feels warm within the group to be like, “Okay, I can go to this and I've got a problem or an issue or whatever,”.

They can give me a solution there and then too, because it's, it, it's live and it's interactive. And Wayne can't be there at all of them of course, because he, he, he's, he's working as well. But hopefully in the near future he won't have to do that either.

WAYNE:  That's the plan.

Amanda Saliba Wayne Ardley Martial Arts Business Case Study

GEORGE:  So on that plan, I'd love to have you guys back on the podcast and have another chat. What is the goal that we're going to celebrate on the next podcast? Let's, let's make it… let's cement it in.

AMANDA:  Look, once we get to 200, so another 30 more members, and I can't see Wayne going back to that job.

WAYNE:  It's hard to justify because of the workload… and this is one of the things we've learned through this, it's certainly not just turning up and taking a class, there's a lot of back-end. There always was. There's programming and all that sort of stuff for what was going to be taught, how it's going to be taught, all that sort of thing. 

But when you're not the only instructor on the floor and you've got multiple classes going and you're dividing things up and you've got different levels, training at different places, so you've got training instructors to deal with as well. So you've got to coach them on how they're going to coach, plus all the different stuff in the background for writing that up. Plus all the stuff that Amanda is doing with the marketing and managing all that sort of thing.

But as a number, although Amanda said 200, I reckon next time we talk, I want to be looking at least 250 preferably 300 members.

GEORGE:  Right. Done. Should we put a time and a day into it?

AMANDA:  Originally when I had a vision with you. So we sat down for 10 minutes. You and I, we wrote through setting some goals and I've still got it in my three-year plan, so to speak. And in 12 months, our plan was to have 140 members, which was on average two per week, and we're now at 170, so we're smashing our own personal goals. And in two years it was supposed to be 250, but I can do well…I believe that we will be able to beat that.

GEORGE:  Love it.

AMANDA:  So creating goals and making them short term and then hitting them all the time so it doesn't seem so daunting is, for my mind, it works for me. So short-term goals to long-term goals, breaking them down, having a clear vision, and then just going for it.

WAYNE:  And hopefully, by the next podcast we'll be a little bit more relaxed because this is actually quite daunting as well.

GEORGE: We'll just have to have you on more often. And then it's… everybody knows I've got an edit button because I need to be edited the most. So it's all good.

Amanda, Wayne, thanks, thanks so much for being on and congratulations again, love watching your success evolve and, really look forward to catching up again and chatting about the next milestone.

WAYNE:  Thank you. Looking forward to it as well, George.

AMANDA:  Thanks, George, and thanks for everything you've done for us.

WAYNE:  It's been really good.

GEORGE:  Thank you.

WAYNE:  Bye-bye.

GEORGE:  Thanks so much for tuning in. Did you enjoy the show? Did you get some value from it? If so, please, please do us a favor and share it with someone you care about. Share it with another martial arts school owner or an instructor friend that might benefit from this episode.

And I'd love to hear from you if you got some good value out of it and you just want to reach out, send me a message on Instagram. My handle is George Fourie, G-E-O-R-G-E, last name, F-O-U-R-I-E. And just send me a message, and I'd love to hear from you if you've got some value from this. 

And last but not least, if you need some help growing your martial arts school, need help with attracting the right students or increasing your signups, or retaining more members, then get in touch with us. Go to our website, martialartsmedia.com/scale, and we've got a short little questionnaire that just asks a few questions about your business to give us an idea of what it is that you have going on.

And then typically from that, we jump on a quick 10, 15-minute call just to work out if or how we can be of help. Not a sales call, it's really a fit and discovery call for us to get an idea if we can be of help. And that's that, we'd love to hear from you and I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers.

 

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136 – Jason Flame: Community Networking That Fuels Martial Arts Business Success

Over and above professional wrestling, martial arts, and the Master Motivation podcast, Jason shares how giving back to the community powers his martial arts school and 2 other businesses.

 

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How community networking and fundraisers help promote martial arts schools
  • A traditional martial arts marketing strategy that works
  • Why advertising should emphasize the benefits of martial arts training
  • What helps improve student retention during the summer
  • Why giving back to the community matters for martial arts schools
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Start Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast. Today, we're back with another epic interview with a phenomenal martial arts school owner, Jason Flame from Moorpark Karate and Krav Maga.

So, this episode, the value per minute was super high. We spoke about community engagement, how to infiltrate your community organically and be involved, and we also spoke about him running three separate businesses. He likes to call it the trifecta and how the 3 businesses actually operate and help boost his martial arts school.

Jason is also a professional wrestler, so he spoke about wrestling, and what I really got a lot of value from is his student retention strategies that's really, really helpful, especially through your long summer months or when students want to take a break and how they boost their attendance through that.

So, all the show notes and the transcript of the show, you can download at martialartsmedia.com/136. The number is 136. You're probably going to want to do that for this episode because as I said, the value per minute is really high. So do that, and by all means, if you love this episode and get some good value from it, please share this with another martial arts instructor or another martial arts school owner, and help us grow the show and get it out to more people.

All right. Hope you enjoy the show. Let's jump in! 

Jason Flame, welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast.

JASON: Thank you for having me. Super excited.

GEORGE: Jason Flame, Flame is your last name. Is that real or a pseudo name?

JASON: It's funny, I get asked that quite often, and yes, it is the name that's on my birth certificate. It's actually my name. Master Flame is really easy to use in the professional wrestling industry. It's great in the karate world, and I guess I get a little extra attention with that name. I bring the fire.

GEORGE: Now, you, one person that can claim you bring the fire because, I mean, it's in your name, right? It's embedded.

JASON: That's right. 

GEORGE: First up, what I love to ask our guests is about marketing, attracting the right students, increasing sign ups, and also retaining new members. What I'd love to know from you, what's been your best strategy recently or of all time for you to bring in new students?

JASON: I would say that the best thing for us marketing-wise has to be our community engagement, our community involvement. We own three different businesses here in our small town, and the martial arts school was first, but it helped us open up opportunities for some other businesses. 

But the one thing that we pride ourselves on is giving back to the community by doing fundraisers, by providing items for auctions, and raffles, and different things for the schools and the sports organizations. Every youth organization in our city, we sponsor in one way or another, and it's just something that we feel is really important because our community has supported us for so long.

We opened our martial arts school in 1994, and we started at a recreation center and built it up from there. The community has supported us. So I think that it's only right that we give back and support our community.

GEORGE: I love that. So it's something that comes from the heart, but it also pays off for the business. I want to touch base on the three different businesses because that's interesting, how that can actually overlap as in one strategy that suits all, but that's the what, what you know do.

How do you actually go about it? Where do you start? Who do you contact? Where do you start with community involvement and so forth?

JASON: Well, you know what, what was really easy in a way is that we have two children who are now adult children, 17 and 20 years old. They went to preschool, and they went to kindergarten. They went to elementary school, middle school, and high school all here in our community.

One thing that my wife is really, really good about is she has always been present. She has always been there in the classroom with our kids. Maybe not necessarily coaching, that was more my forte, but being team mom for soccer, baseball, softball, football, whatever the kids were active in, dance.

So I think that was the best lead-in was that we had children that went through the program. But even before we had children, I think that it was still something that we were able to do. It's just that we weren't as engulfed in it as when we had children, if that makes sense.

GEORGE: Perfect. So, obviously, being a parent, but then just having a close ear to the ground of where the opportunities open up?

JASON: Definitely. I mean, with social media, social media has made our life so much easier in the way of gaining information quickly. Right?

So we see a post on social media, whether it's Instagram, Facebook, or wherever else, and we see something going on with the schools, and we're going to jump on that opportunity. We see something where there's a need for a fundraiser, we're going to jump on that, and we're going to offer our services. So social media has made it so much easier, but yes, I think even back in the day, we'd be looking at the cork boards that local businesses would have, the community bulletins.

I look at everything that comes through the mail regarding our recreation brochure because our recreation brochure goes out to every home in our city that tells all the different recreation programs, be it dance, karate, which we still offer to this day at the recreation program, swimming, you name it, right? The camps. So we can see a lot of what's going on in that brochure. That's really helpful.

GEORGE: That's cool. I always walk past those billboards, and part of me looks at it, and I think, “Do these really work?” It always makes me think that everyone that's in a small business, they typically struggle with the marketing side. 

They typically struggle to get the reach, whether it's a passion project or something that they're trying to do, and what a great way to actually look at that differently. You look across the community boards and just see what's going on. How do you just get people involved?

JASON: Right, and I don't know how it is in Australia, but lead boxes were a big deal in the late '80s, '90s, before the big social media boom. So I would notice Gold's Gym, all the big 24-Hour Fitness. They'd have lead boxes everywhere.

Well, if they can do it, and they're a membership-based service, why can't I do it from a martial arts school? I mean, that was one of the first ways that I learned how to market effectively.  I was a 17-year-old black belt that was working in a karate school, and I can't really say I was working because I wasn't getting paid, but I wanted to find out or create a way that I could get paid.

And I said, “Well, hey. What if I can bring more members into the school? Could we work out something where maybe I get paid per new member?” So lead boxes were part of that. I went out and just placed lead boxes everywhere, got those leads, called them up, made appointments.

I learned how to be really hungry that way, and then I remember even as a teenager making cold calls in our white pages, the phonebook. Nobody uses a phonebook anymore, but I'd just open it up and start calling. I think, for me, I was always looking for a different way to get the message out there, a different way to reach because my target audience for martial arts is literally everybody that is 3 years old and older, and whether they can stand on two feet or not, whether they can see or not, whether they can hear or not.

Anybody can do martial arts, so I don't really discriminate against my audience. I want to get that message out there to everybody.

GEORGE: It's so funny, right, because I'm a digital marketing guy, but if you want to shortcut marketing, just walk up to someone and ask. It can really be that simple. We did a program with Kevin Blundell who's a local here in Australia, he's got 21 locations, and they typically infiltrate these smaller towns.

We did this course called The Next Profitable Location, and everything was old-school, but in a real cool way. The way they would train their staff and the first thing that they would do is they'd just go to town, and get the haircut, go to the coffee shop, and it would always just be, “Hey, we are the new martial arts school down the road,” and always be introducing it in that aspect.

It's something that we've really adapted and we talk about a lot in our group. It is just looking at your surroundings like, “Who's the coffee shop next door? Which small business can benefit or already has your audience that you can chat to?” I was looking at your pages because you're pretty active with your videos, and I just saw you posted a Moorpark Chamber Networking Mixer.

JASON:  Yes, sir.

GEORGE:  Is that part of the strategy?

JASON:  So community networking is huge, especially in a small town, and just to give you an idea, our population is somewhere between 36,000 to 38,000 people. When we're surrounded by the surrounding areas, the population is anywhere from 130,000 to 150,000. So we're relatively a small town, and it's like everybody knows everybody, but still, that community networking goes so far.

Our Chamber of Commerce works really, really hard to help support local businesses to help give networking opportunities. So, yes, tonight we are hosting a networking mixer where everybody is coming here to the karate school. Local leaders, business owners, politicians, the city council, the school board, the mayor, anybody that's anybody will be here tonight in our school, which is amazing because now we get to show them the facility, show them a demonstration from our students, talk to them a little bit about the benefits of martial arts.

I mean, anytime that we can create something unique and special to bring people into the school, I think that's a huge advantage. So, the networking within our Chamber of Commerce has really stepped up over the last, I would say, seven or eight years.

GEORGE:  That's such a simple and really cool concept. Really, just bringing your community together, and you using your facilities to do that. I want to change gears just a little bit here, but I want to learn just a little bit more about you and your other businesses.

I know you were a professional wrestler, so let's just start with the martial arts stuff and the wrestling.

JASON:  Okay.

GEORGE:  So what came first? The wrestling came first, then this karate because it's Moorpark Karate and Krav Maga? Take us a bit back into the martial arts background.

JASON:  For sure. So I started training in martial arts in 1985. My instructor is Dennis Ichikawa, who was a student of Chuck Norris and Pat Johnson. So we're a Tang Soo Do system, and it was my mom's idea.

I think I saw Karate Kid around that time, but it wasn't really because of that. My mom always wanted to do karate, and she said that when she had kids, she wanted her kids to do karate. I have two younger brothers who are also black belts.

One of which owns his own school as well, my brother, Jacob Flame. He still carries the name of our original school, which is Tang Soo Do University. He's in our hometown where we grew up, Newbury Park, California.

So my mom put us in karate, and it just stuck for me. My middle brother played baseball, so he went in and out of martial arts, even though he did earn his black belt. My youngest brother went in and out, and then at a certain point, really engaged with my school in the beginning and worked with me.

We trained together before we decided to help him open his own school, and then I just continued all the way through as a teenager teaching martial arts and opened my school at 19 years old at a recreation center. It was the only way that I knew how to start a school because I didn't have much in savings. I didn't really have a job per se other than teaching karate and private lessons, and so my instructor started when I started.

I started at a recreation center. I said, “Well, if that's how he can build his school, I'm going to go do the same thing.” So, in '94, 1994, we started our first class at the recreation center here, and we still teach that program to this day.

Then, we finally opened our first facility in 1996. So it took me about a year and a half to build up enough students where I can pay rent because once again, I still didn't have any savings. I didn't have any financial backing. My parents were not in a position where they were going to help me open my school.

I wasn't going to borrow money and go into debt, but I had just enough to put the first month's rent down and the security deposit. I had enough students that I knew that I was going to be able to keep paying the rent as long as I kept those students, and so that's the beginning of the martial arts journey.

As far as professional wrestling, that came much later. I don't want to go too deep into the story, but at 20-something years old, I really did want to become a professional wrestler. It was always a dream of mine.

I grew up watching Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, and just loved the WWF at the time. Now, WWE. I actually went to a wrestling school, and long story short, I chickened out and I didn't follow through, but continued with my martial arts.

My martial arts was always my career and my passion. But flash forward like 20 years later, I met a gentleman who walked into my school, interestingly enough, who was asking me, “How would you like to promote your martial arts school? How would you like to tell more people?”

I'm like, “Yeah.” That's another marketing opportunity, right? I'm going to get out there. We're going to have a booth at this event. I didn't even really know what the event was, but I knew it was at the Boys and Girls Club, and then he told me it's professional wrestling. I'm like, “Well, I'm in because I love both of these things.”

So I go, and I meet the promoter. He basically says, “Hey, we have a school, and if you want to come by train, here's the address.” I went down, took my first class, and I wrestled for almost 10 years, over a hundred matches, and had a really, really great time. My last match was probably about 3 to 4 weeks ago, but it's not as frequent as it used to be.

Professional wrestling came later, but I was able to tie the two together. As a matter of fact, we opened a professional wrestling school five doors down from where my martial arts school was about five years ago. We've since moved the pro wrestling school, but having the karate school and the pro wrestling school almost next door to each other made it so easy. We wrestled every Friday night.

GEORGE:  I love that. I'm a big fan of the wrestling component, and I know about training Jiu-Jitsu. It is really important. When you get to be a wrestler, that's always the hardest work, but I want to ask you about the professional side. A lot of people look at WWF, WWE now, and they look at it. It's like, “Yeah, it's staged and so forth.”

What's your take on that? How much of that goes into the stage, and how much is the real hardcore wrestling?

JASON:  Well, the way I look at it is that professional wrestling is no different than doing a martial arts demonstration. Whatever we do in a martial arts demonstration is all choreographed. It's all made up.

It's all practiced and rehearsed, but listen, when someone throws you to the ground, there's some physicality to that. You have to be flexible, agile, and coordinated just like martial arts. That's a thing for me is that I flowed right into the professional wrestling world so easily because of my background in martial arts.

I was already very comfortable with my body and what my capability was. I had to learn a lot about the psychology of professional wrestling because pro wrestling is telling a story. It's not just doing a bunch of moves. It's telling a story and getting people to either boo you or cheer you, or get a reaction one way or the other.

I cannot think of many things that incorporate the physical aspect, the drama, and just the storylines. Professional wrestling is just so fun and so entertaining, and the best part for me was just like martial arts. The people that you train with and the people that you're working out with, day in and day out, you really have this bond.

As you train in Jiu-Jitsu, you know how close you get to the people that you train with, and those people that are getting better right next to you only elevate your game. So I found myself wrestling with a lot of people that were way better than me, but made me look like a million bucks. I mean, I have some really good friends that I made through professional wrestling.

GEORGE:  What really hit home for me, what you mentioned there is how the storytelling part works. Can you lean in a bit more about that? How does it work? If you look at a wrestling match from start to beginning, how is that storyline supposed to evolve? Is it flexible, or how do you typically go about that?

JASON:  I mean, it depends on the storyline that's going on with the wrestlers and the characters. Right? I mean, you got your good guy, and you got your bad guy. You got your heel. You got your face. It just all depends on what that next match is going to be or what we're working toward.

In the WWE in the old days, they used to always work up to WrestleMania, work up the storylines to survivor series, and there'd be a series of matches that would create this drama between two characters, and then there's usually some kind of resolution and some kind of closure to that story before moving on to somebody else.

Is it flexible? I mean, most of what's done in the ring is off the cuff. There are some people that really like to plan a match all the way out from start to finish. That's not really my style. I like to go with the flow a little bit more like this interview. Right?

We just go with the flow and see what works, see what's catching the attention of the audience, and draw them in. I mean, that's the whole thing is you want to take the audience on a roller coaster and make it fun.

GEORGE:  You're almost like a professional DJ in a way. You've got your skills or your tracks, and you're there to entertain the audience. Now, you just tune into what's getting the response, what's the vibe, and you give them what they want. Right?

JASON:  Yep, and I'll tell you something else too. I'll tell you something else. We tie in all professional wrestling with marketing, right? I mean, as a professional wrestler, you have to understand how to market yourself, and how to market the match, and how to market the show, right? Because it's really all about the show.

It's not really about one person. But if I can get myself over in a promo, do a video. We do videos for our martial arts school. We do videos for events. Well, we do videos in professional wrestling to get people hyped to watch us do our match.

I just watched one today. I was on LinkedIn, and someone that I know has a school, and he was promoting a match between two people. I happened to know these two wrestlers, and I've seen them wrestle, and I know what they can do, but that video, that promo that they did to hype the match, I was like, “God, I can't wait to watch this match.”

It's so interesting because there's a story behind it, but you got to market the show too because if you don't have anybody there to watch you, who wants to perform? I mean, we love to perform whether there's 10 people or 100 people, but what would you rather do, 10 people or 100 people?

I think most people would say 100 people, but even if it was 10, you want those fans out of their seats going nuts the whole time.

GEORGE:  Right. So this is really putting your marketing act on, right? Understanding your avatar who's your perfect target audience. Then, building a character around that for them.

So what do you think a martial arts school owner can grab from that, from that experience on how to position and promote themselves?

JASON:  Well, I think one thing that martial arts school owners struggle with is they talk about themselves. “I'm a seventh degree black belt. I trained in Tang Soo Do. I trained Krav Maga. I did some Jiu-Jitsu. I do this. I do that.

I've trained many black belts.” At the end of the day, nobody really cares what you've done. They really only want to know, “What can you do for me?” So I think that when a school owner is promoting their school, they need to think about creating value in their program and really outlining the benefits.

When we talk about discipline, well, how do you teach discipline? Confidence. How do you teach confidence? Right? Because sometimes people throw out all the buzzwords: discipline, confidence, respect, but how? How do you do it?

Can you give specific examples? If you go to our social media channels, I think that you'll get a very good sense of the culture of our school, and you'll learn about the benefits of martial arts, which is going to create value in your program and want them to come and sign up.

GEORGE:  100%, and I'm not putting you on the spot, but if somebody asks you, “All right. Well, how are you going to give my child more confidence?” What do you say to that?

JASON:  Well, so one of the things that we do in our program that helps build confidence in a student, especially on day one, on day one, very first class, is we have them do a board breaking lesson. So we teach them how to overcome obstacles and how to have a breakthrough moment.

These are all key terms that I use, but we lead up to it by telling them, “In order to break this board, you have to have the confidence. That means you need to believe in yourself even when nobody else believes in you. If you say, ‘I can do it,' you can push yourself farther than you think.”

“Then, number 2, you have to have focus. So I need you to pay attention. I need your eyes on my eyes. I need you to listen to every direction so you know what to do.”

You need to have discipline. Discipline means doing what you're supposed to do without being reminded. So I'm telling you, I'm giving you all these directions right now. I need you to remember what to do, and then you have to have commitment and follow through.  So when you go to break that board, even if you don't break it on the first try, I need you to try again until you follow through and finish.”

So these are just some of the main things we talk about with confidence. The second thing would be our belt system. Students will achieve confidence through goal setting and achievement. When you start at white belt and you have a clear goal.

The next belt is yellow belt, and you have to earn 3 stripes on your belt for your attendance, and then you gotta earn 3 more stripes for the curriculum that you learn. We happen to use 3 black stripes for attendance, and then a red, white, and blue stripe.

Every time they earn 1 of those stripes, it's like it's a notch on their belt literally to where they feel like they've elevated. Now, they know, “I've got 3 on this side of my belt. I got 3 on this side of my belt.

Graduation is at the end of the quarter. If I have these things, I'm going to be able to test.” Then, they get that new color belt, and now they are fully elevated. We get to start again. We keep repeating that process over and over, and I think that that's what builds their confidence.

GEORGE:  I love that. What I haven't actually heard so much before is giving 2 stripes, stripe for skill and stripe for attendance as well. So do you normally hand those out at the same time. How do you go about that?

JASON:  Well, so we're kinda old-school, and I'll show you something that most people in the martial arts industry are going to go “Oh, what software do you use?” I don't use any software in my school for our billing, not for attendance tracking, none of that.

This is how I keep attendance right here, this little card, and we still do it Old-school. We stamp the card every time they come in. Right? So every student is going to earn a black stripe based on their attendance requirements.

We divide in 3, whatever it is, if it's 30 classes. Every time they come to class 10 times, they get that black stripe. Then, when they get the third black stripe, we know that they have enough classes to be eligible. Once a month, we test on our monthly curriculum.

So, usually, the testing cycle is 3 months. If we divide that up into 3 parts, we're going to do their first portion at the end of month one, they earn their red stripe. Month 2  is white stripe. Month 3 is blue stripe. That way, there's a system which, again, as far as our curriculum goes in my school.

Here's our quarterly. You can't read it, but this is what we teach. This is our class plan. Right? There's no deviating from this class plan because if I deviate from it and do what I want to do and not what we need to do, I might not prepare a student.

If I'm not preparing a student to graduate, then I might not be helping give them the confidence to stick around. Right? So it's a cycle that if we keep the confidence going, and we show them the achievement, they just keep reaching for more, and it continues.

But once that break in the cycle happens, things like missing class, if they don't come to class, we have to make absent calls, and send “We miss you” cards, and find out like, “Hey, are they sick? Are they on vacation? Are they losing interest? What do I need to do to get them back on track?” because we know the longer they're out, the less chance they're going to come back.

If they don't come back, they're not testing, no confidence, they're gone.

GEORGE:  I want to ask about that. How does that help your retention?  I know you guys have this huge summer month, and always, when I talk to my American friends, one of the biggest challenges is keeping students active during that time.

Have you found this system helps you through long breaks?

JASON:  It does. When I was a young school owner and an inexperienced school owner, I would dread summertime. I would dread summertime because everybody's going to take a break, everybody's going to go on vacation.

So one of the things that really helped us business-wise is that we don't operate on memberships or monthly dues. We sell programs in our school. So we sell 6-month programs for our 3 and 4-year-olds. Everybody else is a 12-month, 1-year, 3-year, or a 5-year program, whether it's the basic training, elite training, or our leadership training program.

So they're all based on a time, not necessarily a belt, but when you sign up, if you sign up for 12 months, you're going to train for 12 months, and you're responsible for those payments. So, now, this is where people throw around the word “contracts,” and I don't know that the contract is what keeps them.

The program is what keeps them because you made a commitment to 12 months. Now, here's the deal with our school that's different from most. If you take a break during the summer or you take a month off, you don't lose that time.

We add that time to the end of the program and give you your full time, but programs have really helped us keep people from taking those really long-term breaks. Everybody is going to go on vacation. Everybody gets sick from time to time. So we just let them know, “Hey, no big deal. We add that time to the end.”

The other thing is the striping system that we use. It really just helps keep them on track and give them something to reach for, but again, students lose interest, or they play other sports, or they have other activities. I think more than anything else, what keeps students from taking long-term breaks is keeping them engaged with a fun and exciting curriculum, number one, but also offering special events during those downtimes, be it a day camp.

We don't do daycare, but a day camp or parents' night-out. Most fun comes when we have parents' night-outs. Bringing in guest instructors. I have been bringing guest instructors from all over the world to teach seminars here at our school, and that just makes people get outside of just the normal class.

They get to see a little flavor, a little something different from every one of those events, but the camps I think are so cool. I don't know if you went to a camp when you were a kid, but I remember making some of the best friends and having some of the best memories at camps.

When we create relationships between our students, there becomes this sense of accountability to one another to show up. Right? So if you and I are training together, and we go do this big long 8-hour camp or Jiu-Jitsu session together, and then you're not training next week, I'm going to be like, “George, what's up, dude? Come to class.”

Kids are doing that the same way, and the families become really close in our school. That type of culture I think is what helps keep people training longer.

GEORGE:  Jason, that's so good. I want to quickly change gears back just to touching base on your three different businesses.

JASON:  Sure.

GEORGE:  How do you go about managing all that? We spoke a bit about marketing. How does that overlap between the three businesses, and how do you go about managing that on a day-to-day basis?

JASON:  Well, number one, first and foremost is I wouldn't be able to manage or keep any of those businesses going without the proper teams and systems in place. So you have to have the right people whether it's here at our martial arts school, we also own Country Harvest Restaurant, and then we have Coaches Old Fashion Ice Cream Parlor which, interestingly enough, a lot of people ask me, “Well, how'd you get involved in these other businesses?”

Well, it's because of martial arts, because a high school friend of mine purchased a restaurant about six or seven years ago in our hometown, and we had trained in Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, Ketsugo Jiu-Jitsu from the time we were teenagers until now, right?

My friend is where I earned my first degree black belt in Ketsugo Jiu-Jitsu with him, and so Chris, his name, and his wife, and another friend of ours that went to school, purchased a restaurant in our hometown. During COVID, he was reaching out to me and saying, “Hey, I'm thinking about expanding the business and opening another restaurant. What do you think?”

I said, “I got the perfect location. It's already set up. It's already ready to go.” We already have a built-in networking community here in the city. We have a lot of great connections with everything that we do, and so we opened the restaurant first.

Then, within 6 to 7 months, we ended up opening the ice cream parlor as well, and that's something that he also had in our hometown. He had the restaurant, and then he opened Coaches Old Fashion Ice Cream.

It's really cool. I love Coaches a lot because number 1, it's what I do. Right? I am a coach, whether it's martial arts, or wrestling, or business, or whatever, but the whole theme is about highlighting coaches. If you look at our social media at all, every time, it's a quote from a famous coach.

We have one of our coaches, our hometown coach, Dan Burchfield, on the wall with his son, who unfortunately passed away when he was very young, but it's a story in our community, and so we featured him and his quote which was amazing.

Who doesn't love ice cream either, right? I mean, it's just super fun, but how we tie the 3 together, here's just an example, and this is where my wife's marketing genius is just unparalleled. I mean, my wife, when we were younger, I would ask her to run the front desk at the school. I would teach classes, and she could take care of our students and our families, but she didn't like to sell. It just wasn't her thing.

She didn't want to sell memberships or do any of that, but she just has this uncanny ability to market anything and bring people together with events. So what we do in our area is we have a lot of what we call dine-out fundraisers. It will be for,  let's just say, for example, the middle school is having a dine-out fundraiser.

Well, we give a percentage back from the restaurant. We also hold the fundraiser at the ice cream parlor, so we give a percentage back from the sales of the ice cream, and then the martial arts school will match what both of those businesses donate. So, now, we're giving almost 40% back on every fundraiser.

Most fundraiser events like this, they're given 10%, 15%, maybe 20% back. We're actually giving 40% of the sales every time we do one of these special events. So we can really tie our businesses together.

Tonight, the Chamber of Commerce event is held here at the karate school, but all the food is provided by our restaurant, and everybody gets a scoop card to go over and get some Coaches Ice Cream right after the event. So we're constantly doing things where we're tying together, and then also, when we're doing sponsorships, when I come in with three businesses, they're going to sponsor a banner on the high school football field.

You can imagine that they're going to take care of us. Right? We might get a little break when we're doing 3 ads versus just the 1 business, so I call it the trifecta. We have a trifecta of businesses that all work perfectly together.

GEORGE:  Jason, been so good chatting to you. I have one more question, kind of a double question before we wrap things up.

JASON:  Yes.

GEORGE:  What drives you, and what are you excited about for the future?

JASON:  I mean, when you ask me what drives me, my family always comes first. I want to create opportunities for my family to spend more time together. When I first opened my business, I was so focused on getting the business going, and I would pride myself on working 12, 14, 16 hours a day because I thought that was the right thing to do.

But as my family was growing, family time became way more important to me than anything else, and so that drives me to continue to find that extra family time, to provide both of our children work in our businesses. My son coaches here at the karate school. He works at Coaches Ice Cream. My daughter is a server at the Country Harvest Restaurant.

My wife manages all the social media. So these things have brought us together, but my family is what drives me. I want to be the best example for my kids. Physically, I try to work out every day to show them that I take care of your body.

I read every day, trying to show them that we got to take care of that mental. Taking time for prayer and going to church. That spiritual side as well. So I try to be that example for not only them, but also for my team members and for my students in my school. So, really, those are the things that really drive me.

GEORGE:  All right. Perfect. The last one was, what are you excited about for the future? Where is Jason Flame headed?

JASON:  Well, I'll tell you what. With all 3 of these businesses going exceptionally well, and I really enjoy all 3 of them all for their own reasons. The martial arts will always, has always, and will always be my passion.

I love professional wrestling, so I try to stay in tune and in touch with it, but I'll tell you what I'm really excited about is my podcast called Master Motivation. I host a show every Monday at 12:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. I have a guest.

I've had you on the show. I've had several martial arts instructors, school owners, mentors, coaches, but I've also had actors, comedians, authors, and speakers. It's funny because with the businesses, I get paid to do what I do.

The podcast, I don't get paid to do any of it, but I look forward to it each and every week. I don't have any sponsorships. I'm not monetizing it in any way, but the conversations like today, the conversations that I get to have with whether it'd be local or regional, national, international leaders that I get to talk about and help share their story, that is what I'm truly excited about each week to be able to do that.

One of the reasons why is because I feel like… and this is something that I developed after I did several things. I feel like it's an opportunity for not only my children, but my children's children.  

My legacy will be able to look back and watch those interviews and learn about the people that I knew and go, “Wow, my dad, or my grandpa, or my great grandpa knew some really great people and got to learn all about them.” So I think that that is what I'm most excited about now and of course, going on vacation with my wife every chance we get. Those always excite me too.

GEORGE:  That's awesome. Jason, thanks so much. I'll link to Master Motivation in this episode. It was really great.

Thanks for having me on the show there. It's funny, when I started this podcast, I was new in martial arts, but I was so fascinated about martial arts and so inspired. I started so late in my mid-30s in the industry.

The podcast that I started, when I started this Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast, it was pure selfishness of learning. That was the goal. I just wanted to interview school owners and get to learn and understand. That was five, six years ago that I started the show.

Jason, so good having you. Thanks for being on, and we'll link to the podcast on this episode. I hope to come and see you in California soon.

JASON: I'll be here. I'll be here. I appreciate you having me on the show and going out of your way to make this work. I know we tried it a couple times, but we got this one done all the way through.

I hope that everybody enjoys the information that we provided and keep tuning in and listening to what George brings to the table on this podcast.

GEORGE:  Cool. Thanks so much, Jason.

JASON:  All right. Thank you, sir.

GEORGE:  Thanks so much for tuning in. Did you enjoy the show? Did you get some value from it?

If so, please, please do us a favor and share it with someone you care about. Share it with another martial arts school owner or an instructor friend that might benefit from this episode. I'd love to hear from you.

If you got some good value out of it and you just want to reach out, send me a message on Instagram. My handle is @georgefourie, G-E-O-R-G-E, last name, F-O-U-R-I-E. Just send me a message, and I'd love to hear from you if you've got some value from this.

Last, but not least. If you need some help growing your martial arts school, need help with attracting the right students, or increasing your signups, or retaining more members, then get in touch with us.

Go to our website, martialartsmedia.com/scale, and we've got a short little questionnaire that just asks a few questions about your business to give us an idea of what it is that you have going on. Then, typically, from that, we jump on a quick 10, 15-minute call just to work out if or how we can be of help. Not a sales call.

It's really a fit and discovery call for us to get an idea if we can be of help. That's that.  We'd love to hear from you, and I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers.

 

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Apply Here.

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135 – How ‘Teachable Moments’ Drive This Martial Arts School’s Year Long Waiting List

Sean Allen's thriving martial arts school supports his lifestyle of training, learning, and surfing. Discover how his passion for teaching drives demand and impacts his community.

 

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Sean Allen: The Antichrist of martial arts marketing?
  • The 1 sentence that trumps all other martial arts marketing methods
  • How the Dunbar number boosts relationship between student and instructor
  • Capturing 10% of your martial arts school’s target audience
  • Turning class challenges and discomfort into teachable moments 
  • Getting parents off the phone and focused on their kids' martial arts class 
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Start Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business podcast. In today's episode, we're back with interviews and I'm really, really excited to have a repeat guest with us, Sean Allen from Margaret River Martial Arts. 

So Sean and I connected way back on episode number 8. I had a look yesterday when we did the recording, it was just over six years ago that we had our first chat. First up, it was great to chat and tap into a different insight that Sean Allen delivers. 

Sean does a bit of a contrast of what we speak about, which is how to do marketing, online marketing, attract the right students, increase signups, and so forth. Sean does no marketing and his school is at capacity with a one-year waiting list. So we might say there's no marketing in there, but there's obviously a lot in there to generate that type of demand.

And I really wanted to chat with Sean about having this lifestyle martial arts business, his choice of where he relocated to which is just in Australia. Margaret River is like the surf Mecca of Australia of the world, you'll hear that from the Margaret River Pro. And Sean decided to relocate there and really build this lifestyle martial arts business that serves his lifestyle.   

But we took a strong turn in the episode and spoke about teachable moments in martial arts instruction. There's some real, real value in there for you as a martial arts school owner and instructor. So buckle up, this is a great episode. 

Jump in all the show notes are on martialartsmedia.com/135. So you can go there and download the transcript of this episode. And if you've got some value out of this, please share it with someone that you feel… Share it with an instructor that would get some great value from this. All right, that's it for me. Let's jump in.

Hey Sean, welcome back!

SEAN: Thank you very much, George.

GEORGE: The last time we spoke on podcast 8, I was just looking back a few minutes ago and exactly a few days past six years ago that we actually spoke, episode 8.

SEAN: Lot's have changed.

GEORGE: All right, and so let's jump into that. I wanted to have you back just to have a chat of those changes and a few things that we do differently now. So I'm going to kick it off with the question that I like to ask. What's been your best marketing strategy since we've spoken or just in general that generates the most students for you?

SEAN: I was thinking about this. I knew this question was going to come up and there was a fair amount of trepidation on my behalf because I know you are a marketing guru. What you do is, you get relatively new school owners to get more students. Whereas me, I'm like the antichrist of marketing.

GEORGE: What? 🙂 

SEAN: I'm just not interested in making the phone ring. We've got a year's waiting list for our martial arts school. Now, my caveat is I only have 250 students, but I've spoken to people and they go, oh my God, I'd love 250 students. 

I make good money, my overheads are low. But I find that my best marketing tool is word of mouth and everybody says, but you better call them 'cause they've got a waiting list. Now, it's true. We literally are saying to people now, maybe, maybe second term 2023. 

And as of the time of our recording, it's the end of term three 2022. So it's nearly a year, especially for some classes. I mean, most martial arts instructors, they're going to get a huge number of inquiries for six-year-old boys or eight-year-old boys. This boy is sending me nuts, he needs some discipline and we know our limits. We know what we can do well and we don't overload ourselves so that we forget their names.

GEORGE: All right. So I'd argue that that's like the forefront of marketing, but we'll go with the waiting list antichrist. But let's dive deep into that. 

You're doing a lot of things right to have 250 students and to have the waiting list. And so there are a few questions there, obviously, what drives the waiting list? What drives that demand and what stops you from taking it to another level and say, all right, well 250 is not my cap and I'm going to scale further?

SEAN: George, have you heard of the Dunbar number?

GEORGE: Remind me.

SEAN: Dunbar number. It's the number of social connections that one person can keep juggling and remember. And it was coined that when, I think the guy's last name was Dunbar. When he noticed that villages in South America, or it might have been Africa, when they got to a certain size, they split into two because the chief couldn't keep his control of more than a certain number of people.

And the average size of those villages when they splinted was 152. And I remembered I needed my first full time employee somewhere between 100 and 200 students. And I actually spoke to him yesterday, Jason who runs Moorey's Martial Arts in Mandurah. And he's got like 300 or whatever it is students, nearly 400 students. And I remember I employed him at about the 100 to 200 marks.

So I know personally, I just can't remember all their names and have a personal connection once it gets over a certain number. So when I say I've got 250 students, I've got 115, my wife and another two instructors have 100 students that they share. And then we've got another in a satellite town, there's another 30 odd kids so I'll disregard that. 

In my school, I teach 150 people. Adult males and kids. So for me, I know that I can control that. Could I join more and do more classes? I think that that would water down my ability to be able to provide a good service.

So that's where I make my decision of, okay, if I'm going to have George Fourie raving about this martial arts school is the best place I've ever been to or I've ever sent my kid or whatever, I've got to be able to have the time to be able to foster that relationship. I remember the last teaching job I had, I had a tough class.

It was in a relatively low socioeconomic area and the principal said, “Sean, you don't have a class. You have 25 relationships.” And I've never forgotten that. It's just personal relationships and you've got to juggle all those 25 relationships. Now if you've got seven classes in a row, 3:30, 4:15, boom, boom, all the way through, you can't juggle that amount of stuff in your head.

I do three classes on a Monday. I do none on a Tuesday. I do three classes on a Wednesday. I do none on Thursday. I do two classes on a Friday. And I've just started a competition group on Saturday and Sunday. 

And I only do that here and there because I want to, but I take a personal interest in each one of those students and I know if I have any more than 150, my service is going to drop. So that's where I think my buy-in is. My emotional buy-in is from my clients.

GEORGE: I think it's good to add some context on a little bit where you're at. Because if I look at you and your business, I kind of see it as it's the lifestyle martial arts business. You're super passionate about what you do and you're teaching, from what I recall from the last time we spoke. And then you've got all these other things in between, surfing and so forth. 

So yeah, we've got a worldwide audience. How would you describe Margaret River where you live?

SEAN: Margaret River is, I would say probably the surfing Mecca of Australia, definitely Western Australia. So we are a town within the Shire of Augusta Margaret River with about 20,000 people. There's about 5,000 or 6,000 people in Margaret River itself, Margaret River township. 

There's about 2,000, what is it? 2,500 kids between 6 and 16. So I've got about 10% of that market training with me.

GEORGE: Whoa.

SEAN: So it's a relatively affluent area three hours south of Perth in Western Australia, winery region, obviously surf. We're on the world surfing circuit. So you can see that a lot of people who are attracted towards Margaret River have a reasonable level or a reasonable income level. 

And of interest is that they are very much into a peaceful lifestyle. I think if I ran a fight gym, a hardcore fighter's gym, I would not be able to do a lifestyle type situation I have now. However, if I moved it into a hard core area in a big city, I could have a fight type gym and make a good living because there's the demographic. 

My demographic suits me. And by the way, most people move to Margaret River by choice, they weren't born here.

GEORGE: Hundred percent.

SEAN: Very rarely do you have a born and bred person here, apart from the kids that we train. So they come here for the reason of a relaxed lifestyle. They want to raise their kids in the same way that I run the martial arts school. So it's a marriage made in heaven, you might say.

GEORGE: Hundred percent. I love that description. American listeners, if you look at the map of America and you sort of look at San Diego, maybe sort of South of that West.

SEAN: Totally similar, yep. San Diego has a similar feel to it that Perth has. It's got a similar weather system, we're on a similar latitude. And in terms of the surfing aspects of it, I've surfed my way from San Francisco down through the Big Sur, down through LA into San Diego. 

So I've seen all that coast and it definitely is a surfing lifestyle over there. So I would compare the two. Yeah, definitely. However, our population is a lot smaller.

GEORGE: So you would take a fraction of San Diego, remove all of it, and then you got Perth and then you got Margaret River.

SEAN: Yeah. I mean, there's big name UFC fighters training in San Diego and they've moved there for the training. There's no big name UFC fighters living in Margaret River.

GEORGE: No. I guess just to add to that, so if you want to get perspective and especially if you surf as well. Look up Margaret River Pro if you would've seen that on the circuit and that'll give you a glimpse into what Margaret River's about.

SEAN: Yeah, they do quite a good video promo. So yeah, it's a good idea.

GEORGE: We'll probably include that just in the show notes. Let's just go back to martial arts, teaching, and so forth. So we touched on, you've got this demand and so forth. 

What's happening and you've spoken about the lifestyle and how it suits that demographic, but what else is there to capture 10% of your market? Most school owners I talk to have the philosophy of if I can grab the 1%, I'm doing well. If I can grab 1% of my town, I'm doing great. You've captured 10%.

SEAN: Yep. We've got two kids in every class, every school class between grade one and year 12, which is our start primary school and end of high school in Australia. We've got two kids on average, two kids in every class throughout the four or five schools in our area. That's a huge number.

That was by design once I realized, okay, I had a couple of years off from martial arts teaching, I decided I wanted to make a measurable difference. And I thought it just takes a couple of kids in each class, school class to give a teacher headaches. But it just takes two kids in a school class to be able to, especially if they've got street cred, to be able to show other kids what should be done, how to concentrate, how to be respectful, how to be strong, emotionally strong.

And that was my aim to make a difference in my community by putting two strong character kids in every single class between grade one and year 12. Now obviously some classes have got five kids, five of our kids in there. There are other classes that don't have any of our martial arts kids in there. But that was my idea. It takes quite a while for you to be able to create a strong young boy or girl out of someone who's a little bit scatterbrained or needs direction. 

So it doesn't happen overnight. But I thought when you were talking about we were going to do this podcast, I thought, what is the benchmark of my school? What makes my martial arts school different now than what it was 20 years ago or 30 years ago? Because I first started teaching part-time in 1985 and then I started full time in about 1994 or something like that. And I've changed the way I stand in front of a class now.

The two things that I think I need to mention was one, being able to teach discipline. And I think all martial arts schools try to do that. Whether it's a discipline to be able to get in the ring or the discipline to be able to say no to drugs or stand up to a bully or whatever it might be. 

It still takes discipline to be able to do the regular things in a martial arts class and the regular things which form a strong personality outside the martial arts class. But our method of delivery, I'm not sure if you understood when I sent you this, was by creating teachable moments.

GEORGE: Can you elaborate?

SEAN: I learnt this from educational consultants within the West Australian Education Department. And I also learned it from the Rock and Water course. Have you heard of the Rock and Water course, George?

GEORGE: Is that the surfing one?

SEAN: No different. The Rock and Water course I did about five or six years ago. It's a martial arts-based course. I think it started in Germany, Belgium, and Sweden, European-based countries where effeminate boys, young men, and gay young men were being targeted and beaten on the streets. And I think one of them died as a result of a beating. 

So this guy, Freerk, I think is his first name. He created a system to be able to teach them martial arts techniques but to be able to stand strong, to be able to get eye contact, to be able to say no in such a way that no means no and he created a series of activities or drills and then he would scaffold a conversation after that drill so that it makes sense. The problem 20 years ago, Australia-wide, we started to use what's called a message of the week.

And we would say, this week's message is about telling the truth. It's important you tell the truth because of this, this and this reason. Repeat them to me, bow, thank you and all the kids would go home. And there was no context whatsoever for them to be able to think, I've got to tell the truth or I've got to stand up for myself or I've got to make good decisions. 

So our school focuses on teachable moments. A lot of times you won't know when a kid is going to start crying because he's cracked his toe or when a kid is going to lose his cool because he hates that kid who keeps punching him sparring or whatever the story might be. So we tend to step back and wait for a teachable moment, which is what child education specialists say that teachers and parents have.

 If a parent's got a problem with a kid because a kid loses his patience with his sister and the parent takes the kid to an educational specialist and the psychologist, counsel of the specialist says later on, what's the problem? Why do you get upset? Why do you lose your temper? And it's too far removed from the actual situation. 

We're in a very lucky situation, we're in a lucky position to be able to know pretty well, in most classes, when someone's going to get stressed out, male or female and also a kid. And that is a platform, it's a scaffold to be able to pitch the virtues or characteristics of martial arts. You can't just say indomitable spirit and then walk out the door. 

You've got to provide an opportunity so that they feel it emotionally. And that's what we do. So for instance, we might… Say for instance, I had a bunch of kids who competed and I got them in a class last week and they had just competed last weekend. One of the kids, let's call her Jane, she has competed twice now in Perth. First time was averagely successful, second, this time averagely successful, but this time she was up against better opponents.

And I said to her, how did you feel last weekend? She goes, I loved it. I said, how did you feel the first time you did it? And she said, I was really scared. And I remember I was there, she was petrified. So I had this opportunity that the kids are looking at this girl thinking, wow, she was scared, now she's not because she confronted difficulty and then I can spiral into, that's what it's like every time you come here in martial arts training. 

So I've created a situation that happened in the class and they can go, if I stick at it becomes easier. It's only difficult at the start. Whereas if I just do a martial arts class, nothing goes wrong. And then I say, remember kids things are always difficult at the start, bow, see you later. 

They're going to go, what the hell does that mean? So our discipline is taught by teachable moments by the instructor standing back and watching for amongst other things, what can I say next which is going to make a measurable difference in this kid's life. So yeah, I thought that's how I'm different now to 10 years ago, to 20 years ago, to 30 years ago.

GEORGE: That's pretty unique and high level. The way I'm perceiving it is you've got a very close ear to the ground and instead of just teaching and saying something for the sake of saying it. You're waiting for the timing of an emotion, maybe it's an emotional reaction as you mentioned, kids got in the face or something. 

So emotions are, there's frustration, there's anger, there's disappointment, there's fear. And in that moment, you're anchoring a new belief to that emotion immediately because it's right there at the moment. And beyond that is you're not just teaching the one person, but you're taking it to the group level with what you mentioned with Jane, for example.

SEAN: I've been teaching kids classes for, I don't know, 25, 30 years. Always with parents on the side, always. Years ago they'd be talking to each other. Nowadays they're doing this on their phones. 

So I always encourage parents to watch what's going on in the class, but sometimes they still zone out until I give one of these talks and I say, this kid was crying three minutes ago, three minutes ago. Or you could hear a pin drop from the parents. And I'm delivering life advice at the moment, not general life advice, like be nice to your brother and sister and tell the truth to your mom and dad. You know, really?

GEORGE: Unscripted.

SEAN: Yeah. This is, it's something and my wife has asked me to write these things down and we do have things written down. How do you teach patience, how do you teach discipline? How do you teach indomitable spirit, which is the Tae Kwon Do one, and so on and so on. How do you teach character? How do you teach courage? 

But you don't know whether you are going to have to deliver a talk on courage or patience because you don't know what's going to happen in a class. So you've got to have a bank of these discussion topics in the back of your head. And it might be courage, tonight's talk was going to be patience, but it's now courage because that girl showed up for another competition after the first competition where she was terrified but she went back. And now she controlled, she came to terms with her fear through being courageous.

And as we all know, courage is mastery of fear, not absence of it, Mark Twain. And it's those things you've got to have just on the end of your tongue. It does help that I'm 60, I'm not 30, I'm not 20. I'm 60. I think the best role models are those that have had trauma in the past. And for that reason, I think, say the average lifespan of an adult male is 80, I'm 60, 20 years to go. 

These kids are 10. It's like I'm the same age as your grandfather. I could be your grandfather. Your mom and dad are 20 years younger than me. So I'm very careful about what I say because I know it has power, words have power. Especially when the situation has just developed. 

The kid is still crying, the kid still has tears on his cheeks and I deliver a talk about his courage. He'll never forget that. His parents will be talking about it on the way home. And that's the difference with just doing a normal martial arts class, that's why we've got a one year waiting list.

GEORGE: So walk us through that, right? Because what would be the first thing that you would do to deescalate that situation? Let's say, the kid burst out into tears, the situation is tense. 

There's pressure on you on how you're going to handle this in a gentle way that the outcome is good and you've got other parents watching and there's potential judgment. You spoke about trauma, I would like to talk about that as well in a bit because I think a lot of times the trauma that the parents experienced could, they could have certain negative annotations towards certain types of responses or certain words. You were just talking about words. 

That one word could just trigger an emotion and that sets things off. So how do you go about handling that situation, deescalating it, and then reverting it back to the parents for life lessons?

SEAN: It was only last night, I was watching a bunch of, I don't know, 10 to 14 year olds. And I said to them afterwards, I said, help me out here. I said, I can see some of you are making mistakes. 

I can see some of you are going through a difficult time with a particular partner. And I don't know whether they're wrestling or sparring or what, it doesn't matter. I can see the frustration. I've got a choice. 

And I said this to all the kids that are spread out right in front of me and the parents are over on the back and I go, help me out. Me and mom and dad can watch you getting upset. We can run him and save you. Mom and dad aren't because they're polite because I'm the instructor, but I can run in and I can save you and I can tell you all the answers to life and martial arts straight away.

I said, but I'm torn. Sometimes you've got to work it out yourself. Sometimes you've got to feel the pain for a while until you get so frustrated then you'll go, oh that's right. I'm supposed to parry the punch. So I said to the kids, what do we do? Do we save you or do we let you experience the trauma? And all the kids said, let us experience it. How's that?

GEORGE: Wow.

SEAN: I mean, we're closing in on the end of the term. Say I've got 15 kids, we've got a cap on our numbers, 20 in a class. So I say I have 15 kids, all of them said, not one kid said, I want you to come out and save me. All of the kids said, we've got to learn the lesson. So I do quite often set the scene for the parents and the kids to say, this is how we roll.

For example, once I said it a little while ago, if you are struggling at home with homework and your dad knows that in the back of the book is the answer. And you go, I'm really struggling with number five. He's going, keep trying.

He's not going to go, mate, the answers in the back. Just look up the answer. Okay. No parent is going to do that. They're going to possibly help you come to work out how to get the answer, they're never just going to tell you the answer. 

And it's little talks like that, which are carefully scripted in my head, which I spend a lot of time thinking about so that when I deliver these talks, you end up becoming the Mr. Miyagi for these kids. You end up becoming a god. I think it's, it would've been hard for me to deliver these talks when I was 25.

I didn't start teaching till I was probably late twenties, say 30. Wouldn't have been… I wasn't even a dad then. I became a dad at 32, got divorced at 42. So there's all this trauma that happens, now you look back and you go, ah, that's what happens. So now I can step back and say to the kids, this is life. 

If you don't get frustrated here, you are guaranteed of getting frustrated out there and we have these talks all the time. And I tell them how to control their breathing, how to count to 10 if they want to punch their brother and count forward, don't count down to one count up to 10, control your breathing and we deal with this stuff but just after someone's traumatized. 

And then they go, ah and they can see the kid crying. Or some kid goes like, they always do this. Oh Mr. Allen, I got three submissions in wrestling today. And I go, yeah, congratulations. Then I sat him all down and went, James over there got three submissions and he told me, and I'm so glad you are proud. 

Who did you wrestle, James? And he goes, I wrestled Jackson over there. And I go, when you said to me I got three submissions, how do you think Jackson felt? And then he goes, not too good. I go, so we have a rule, you can tell me that you got three submissions, but tell me in private. Share it but in private. If you submit Jackson, you go, good job, here's how you defend against it.

So we have a little structure around that one particular area of training and that's what the parents listen to. They stop scrolling especially because Jackson's mom's going to lift her. She'll be halfway down Facebook or Instagram and she'll hear Jackson and she knows I'm talking about Jackson and James's dad is going to be looking because he's wrapped. 

So the rest of them start going, whoa, what's happening? What's he talking about? So yeah, it's a carefully thought-out procedure of creating a responsible kid based on what I think is a strong character. Does that make sense?

GEORGE: A hundred percent. Let's flip it on the lid quickly. Let's say you're not 60 years old and you don't have that life experience in two ways. 

You're either a young instructor and you are improving your craft of being an instructor or you're a school owner that's got younger instructors and you want to put some structures in place to deal with certain situations or teach at this level. What advice would you give in that situation?

SEAN: At this stage we have a lady who would like to do what we do, be full-time martial arts… And maybe full-time, but she's taking her own class. It's gone from 15 students in a class to now she's got 30. And I don't include this with the 250, she's in another town outside of where we are. 

She hasn't got the ability yet to be able to jump on those teachable moments. So my wife goes down there every second week and she delivers those talks. And this girl, this lady who's the teacher, she's listening all the time. So obviously she's a student of ours anyway. She also assists in our classes. So she's privy to these talks all the time. 

So she hears the talks. She's on the receiving end of the talks sometimes. But when she's assisting in a class, she sees me take over and I deliver the patience talk or whatever it might be. She sees how I deal with it. So it's a gradual stepping away process. 

Now she's running her own school, she's been doing it for a year and a half, two years. She's still by her own admittance, not comfortable enough to be able to teach the character development in the way we do it. Anybody can parrot fashion. 

Indomitable spirit means not giving up. What does indomitable spirit mean, kids? They go, not giving up. Say it again, not giving up. Anybody can parrot fashion that. But I don't know, I just, it's fake. So as the dog tells you, it's fake. So I think that it's a gradual stepping away process. It's so important that's the reason why we keep the school small. 

My library behind me is littered with books which are autobiographies that talk about how people got through difficult times. And I think that you need to be able to immerse yourself in your education as a teacher and as a human being so that you can lead other people. Because we're not just leading people to punch and kick and do an armbar. We're leading people to be able to make good decisions under pressure. And that's a life skill which is not to be handled lightly.

GEORGE: A hundred percent. So let me ask you this, Sean. What drives you and is there something about trauma that's triggered this for you that does drive you? Are the two linked or are they separate things?

SEAN: No, they're totally linked, totally linked. What was I listening to today? Tim Ferris as in 4-Hour Work Week Tim Ferris was abused as a child. He said you can look up Tim Ferris and trauma on the internet and you'll read about it. So I'm sure he won't mind me sharing it here. 

The numbers of other elite level athletes or very successful people who have had trauma and have grown as a choice afterwards. They've had to think, what do I make of my trauma? So everybody's had trauma that fills their life. 

I mean I was picked on, I was bullied as a kid and I still remember being beaten up by a group of people and they took turns punching me. I still remember the laughter, I still remember the crack of my head and I still remember them laughing, the girls and guys laughing. Now was I sexually abused? No. Was I tortured? No. But my physical battering that I got, filled my life.

So everybody has trauma that fills their life. My most recent one, which gave me an ability to stand in front of the class and say, I walk our talk. Because they all saw me last year, I had, within a six month period… Did you know about my last year in the hospital?

GEORGE: I do, yeah.

SEAN: Yeah. So within a six month period I had a burst appendix whilst surfing, burst appendix. Then a month later I had a brain bleed. So I had brain surgery and then another month and a half later on for that I had open heart surgery. 

And then early this year, during all those surgeries, they found a grapefruit size growth on my adrenal gland. So they cut in through my back and took out this growth and the whole adrenal gland.

GEORGE: Wow.

SEAN: So all the kids see is Mr. Allen going into hospital, coming out in the hospital coming out. And I told them how I dealt with pain because the burst appendix was the hardest one. That was horrific. 

The brain surgery was difficult, the open heart surgery was difficult, but you get good at breathing through pain. And so I said, all I did because they all wanted to find out how's Mr. Allen? He's in hospital, he's been in an ambulance to Royal Perth, next thing you know is at another hospital and I've got this huge zipper scar down my chest again. 

So I told him, I said, you've got to take yourself to a happy place and you've got to concentrate on your breathing because that's the only thing you can take with you. You might not have your teddy bear kids, but you'll have your breathing and your ability to be able to focus and bypass that negative voice in your head.

So it's because of difficult situations that I've been in that I can stand in front of them and go, I know this works. For example, but it doesn't have to be me. In two weeks, two and a half weeks' time, I've got Danny Green coming into my martial arts school. 

Now for people in America, if you look up Danny Green and boxing, he's a three-time world champ in traditional western boxing. Knocked out Roy Jones Jr. which is one of his claims to fame. But Danny Green, a legitimate world champ in boxing, happens to live down here. Move to Margaret River because he's a surfer. 

I said, can you come down and talk to the kids about how to handle trauma, how to be able to stay focused on your goals when you feel everyone else is against you, how can you get through anything difficult, how can you control a mindset so it's positive? He fought Markus Bayer in Germany. He flew to Germany to fight the German world champion.

Can you imagine a crowd full of Germans who want to see blood and it's not their guys, it's your blood. And heed up to that. Now, he's got stories as a result of that. And I've talked to him and I said, our teen boys need to hear it from someone else apart from me. 

So I think that the parents will appreciate the fact that they're doing a difficult job in this day and age. It takes a village to raise a child and a coach is a tremendously powerful and formidable force in the life of a young boy or girl or even young man. Because say if I've got a 30 year old young bloke, who's juggling, his wife's pregnant and he's taking care of one kid and she's pregnant with a second. 

I go, I remember that. I totally remember that. And you just gotta get through it mate. I know what it's like to have a son looking you in the face and saying, you're not the boss of me, a 14-year-old son. Whereas six years before when he was eight years of age, I love you dad. 

You are the best dead in the world. And then at 14 and a few short years, he goes, you're not the boss of me. You can't tell me what to do.  And I'm thinking, I brought you into this world I could take you out. But I've got no answers for some of these things. 

The mothers I've had every year I have mothers tear up in front of me. What happened to my little boy? He used to love me so much and now he doesn't want to talk to me. I go, I totally get it. Just be there for him. And I tell them my story of my son and what have you. 

So life is about gradually having a series of experiences and growing from those experiences. And looking behind you and as people have their experiences, then you can help them. You say, look, I might not have ever… I don't know what it's like to give birth to a child, I have no clue, but this is what I've done and you support them.

GEORGE: Love it.

SEAN: So I think, yeah, your life experience is very important. I was at a seminar years ago and it was a business seminar and the person who was running the seminar said, “If you have a question, you put your hand up and we'll say, yes you and you stand up, you tell us your name, tell us how old you are and what you do for a living.” 

And at one stage this girl put her hand up and he said yes. And she said, my name's Sally, I'm 27 and I'm a life coach. And then she started her question and the guy next to me lent over and said, at 27 years of age, what would she know about life? He was half right and half wrong. 

There's not much she can teach a 60 year old, but can she teach other 27 year olds and other 20 year olds and other kids about life? Yeah, she probably can. I think that as long as we have dealt with some difficulties in our life, as long as you have drawn a plan to handle those difficulties, you can stand in front of people and say, this plan works. And I think that's important.

GEORGE: Love that.

SEAN: First time, I've had heart surgery twice. Once eight years ago and then once again last year. I was really scared the first time. Because they put the incision there and they pull your chest open, your heart is off for about four hours and on a bypass machine. So blood goes out through a machine and comes back again and then they wire your chest shut again. 

And by the way, you're on ice the whole time. And after, so your organs don't start fading or decaying or whatever and then afterwards they heat you back up again. So anyhow, I have this open heart surgery and I'm also a speaker for Beyond Blue, I think you know that.

GEORGE: Yeah.

SEAN: I was asked to do a talk for Beyond Blue, which is an organization that helps to increase awareness and decrease the stigma of depression and anxiety. So I was asked to do it in a retirement village and part of my talk was how I dealt with pain in open heart surgery. And so I'm talking to all these retired people, at that stage I'm about 50 and they're about 70 or 80. And they were wonderful. 

Afterwards there's a line of them, they're all lining up to shake Sean's hand and say thank you young man for coming along. And they said, I really enjoyed your talk about heart surgery. I've had three heart operations and I battled cancer.

And anyway, I just wanted to say I really appreciate it. No, thank you very much. I'm thinking you should be doing the talk and the next person comes up. Oh yes, I've had heart surgery too. 

And so Gerald over there and I'm like, I really am not in a position to be able to talk to these people about how tough I am having dealt with heart surgery. But that's an extreme situation. I think any young instructor who's dealt with difficulty in their life, especially if they've been bullied or been beaten up and then they've done martial arts and now they are confident. 

That's a platform with which they can go, this is how I dealt with it, this works. And as your life turns over, you get better and better at articulating your method when it comes to standing above normal human weaknesses. I'm speaking to a guy in Newcastle upon Tyne, northern England. I spoke to him a week or two ago. 

I don't know, he's 25 or 30 or something and he's all keen and eager. And I saw you, Sean and I just wanted to talk to you. So we organized a little FaceTime thing like you and I are doing now. And we're helping him, yeah. I'm helping you. 

I gave him some advice and I don't know what I would've done without guys like you George as a mentor when I was learning how to market my school. But I remember thinking afterward, sure I can stop him from making some big mistakes, but he's still got to learn the ropes. I can't turn someone with five years of experience into a 40-year veteran. You've got to do the next 35 years. That's why.

GEORGE: And what you've just… A hundred percent, but what you've just done is you've given, we've gone full circle back to how does a young instructor develop that skill. And even without the vast life experience, you've still got experience that took you to being a martial arts instructor and achieving that level of expertise. 

And in that there's going to be experiences that you can pass on to your 10 year old to younger kids or anyone really younger than you, purely based on the level that you're at through your martial arts.

SEAN: Yeah, I think one of the things that fledgling martial arts instructors, young martial arts instructors should do is continue to put themselves on the edge, continue to compete or continue to stress themselves out, put them into positions which are difficult. Some of my colleagues opened up martial arts schools about five or six years after we started martial arts training. Because our system was going through an expansion in those days in the mid eighties. 

And I remember thinking, I want to be a little bit more lethal before I stand up in front of other people. So I kept fighting, I was in the ring fighting full contact. I'd done all tournaments and all that stuff, but that didn't really scare me. But the ring, fighting full contact is a huge thing. I did security at some of the roughest pubs I could find.

And I'm not a violent person, by no means am I a violent person. But I had to be able to find a switch inside me that I could turn on if there was aggression in the air. And that's something that I teach now. 

I know that I don't want to teach a young, gentle young man or boy or girl, I don't want to make them aggressive, but I want to make them assertive. And I tell the parents, I want to give him or her a button that she can push, that only she can push. No one else pushes that button and gets her mad or gets him mad. 

I want to be able to give that kid, your child, your daughter, your son, a button that they're in control of. That they know they can switch on if someone attacks them, is aggressive, is standing over them, you know going, give us your money. So you've got the courage to be able to think now's the time to stand up, look him in the eye, maybe not swear, not drop to their level, but say the answer's no and there's no way you're going to get my money or whatever the story might be. 

And I think that teaching for instance, that skill to be able to say no to unhealthy peer pressure or whatever is far more important as, more important than being able to dodge a right punch. How's this, George? I told you that I've had somewhere between five and 6,000 students since I first started. No one has ever been killed in a violent confrontation. Out of all my students, I would've heard of it. I've lost five to suicide.

GEORGE: Wow.

SEAN: So that tells me that I'm keeping them physically safe, but I'm not keeping them emotionally and mentally safe. So handling demons inside you is probably as if not more important than handling demons on the street.

And once I realized that… One guy did it with his own blue belt that I'd just given him, he'd just done his blue belt grading and it just rocked me. His brother was training with me also and his brother told me, I remember thinking that I've got to become better at equipping people to become emotionally stronger, which then shines the light back on me because I've got to become emotionally stronger. 

I'm six foot one and 90 kilos. I'm not to be sneezed at, but am I emotionally strong? So that made me sort of look back at myself and go, I've got to reinvestigate what real strength is. And it might not be the ability to punch someone in the face. 

It might be the ability to be able to say no to drugs, might be the ability to accept the failure of a marriage and know that it's just one of those things and how you feel today is not how you're going to feel next month. Tomorrow you're going to feel just as bad. 

Next week you're going to feel just as bad. Next month you're going to have an hour where you don't think of it. And then a month after that, you're going to have two or three hours every now and again that you don't think of and you gradually pull up. 

And I had to really get my head around how I create real value in the life of a student and not just an ability to be able to punch and kick because the value of that is minuscule compared to internal peace and happiness.

GEORGE: So good. Sean, I'm really happy we caught up and had this chat again. I think we should have another chat again sometime.

SEAN: Yeah, I was thinking what advice, life advice do I give? Because I'm thinking why am I successful now? I said, I think you should be a student of the martial arts longer. 

And you need to really, like I joined our, you and my original Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, still my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. I joined Adam Metcalf’s school. I was still running the big school bigger than Adams, but I'd come to Adams during the day because I wanted to get smashed. 

When no one knew me, I'd done 25 years of kickboxing and karate. I was a six degree black belt but you're a white belt and you get your ass handed to you, as you know all the time. And I thought, I don't want to stand up and have all these people calling me these traditional martial arts. Oh, sensei. I think I don't wanna, I'm not going to hide behind anything.

So I think you've got to be a student longer. I think you need to constantly educate yourself. And I think you need to take yourself out of your comfort zone, which is the reason, one of the reasons why I moved down here. Because surfing down here scares the hell out of me. 

I did a breath hold course which trains people to be able to handle large waves of consequence where people died. And my breath hold went from, usually I could hold my breath about a minute, minute and a half. On the first day with the training and the mental pressure they put you under and the mental rules and regulations they had to go through, I went for a three and a half minute breath hold. 

Underwater, not sitting on a couch, but with someone pushing you down underwater. Three and a half minutes, from one and a half to three and a half minutes just with a system of controlling your emotions. And once you've dealt with stepping into the ring, you need to keep finding areas to be able to challenge yourself. And that's the reason why I did the breath hold course and now I help teach it.

GEORGE: I'll chat to you about that because I know the level of Margaret River surf is just at another level. And when I was a kid, we would do that kind of stuff, but it was just young and reckless and we would paddle out into the surf that was just ridiculous. And if I ever thought of the ultimate fear of watching water approach me at a level and feeling that I've got to put myself in a very calm state or I'm going to die.

SEAN: Literally, you'll run out of oxygen.

GEORGE: Yeah.

SEAN: And dealing with that is very important. Like George, the first time in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, someone squashes you or puts you in a sleeper and cuts off your airway. You tap so quickly, you freak out. 

So you've got to be able to deal with panic. And I think you need to chase adrenaline because we are adrenaline junkies, all martial arts, decent martial arts guys, we're adrenaline junkies. We need to push the limit so that when we come home, come home at night, we can sit in a chair and think I'm happy with my day, I'm happy with my life. 

And I've challenged myself, whether I survived or not, whether I was successful or not, I challenged myself. I had the courage to be able to paddle out into those waves, join that martial arts school, step up, start another university degree, and jam something into my day. And I think that's important that we walk our talk.

GEORGE: Love it. Sean, thanks so much for jumping on. Always great chatting to you. If anybody wanted to reach out to you, say hi or connect with you, how would they go about doing that?

SEAN: If they do a search on Margaret River Martial Arts, and I chose the name for the school because if someone's in Margaret River, they're going to look up Margaret River Martial Arts. So that's the name of the school and then it'll lead you to our website and me, Facebook, Instagram, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff. So do I market via those? 

No, but I post regularly. My thoughts, what we do, what kid has demonstrated the type of attributes that we teach, giving the kids street cred. So they'll see all that kind of stuff. A lot of people, they educate themselves just by looking at what other martial arts schools do to promote themselves. And obviously that's what you do too when you share that type of knowledge.

GEORGE: Awesome. Cool, Sean, thanks so much. I'll speak to you soon. Or I'll see you on the mats or maybe even in the surf.

SEAN: Yeah, there's a seventh Dan coming up to see us in a couple of weeks at Adam School. Coral Belt, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

GEORGE: Yes.

SEAN: He's the guy that started off the GF team anyway, so I'm coming up for that. So I'm still coming up to do regular seminars like that which will be cool.

GEORGE: Awesome. Sounds good.

SEAN: Okay, George.

GEORGE: Speak to you soon. Cheers.

SEAN: See you, mate.

 

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134 – Martial Arts Business Events: The Partners Intensive Live 2022 Review

Live martial arts business events are back! Here’s what we covered at our private Partners Intensive members event, and details about the next one.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • A look at what's included in the 170-page Partners Intensive workbook
  • What’s wrong with most martial arts business events
  • A walkthrough of Ross Cameron’s world-class martial arts facility
  • Nailing your socials with vertical videos
  • Google’s bigger comeback
  • Creating martial arts curriculum using the Curriculum Creator 
  • Getting young instructors to run high-level classes
  • How to Run a 6 Figure Open Day   
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast. So today I'm going to give you a full review of our most recent martial arts business event, our Partners Intensive, which was a private martial arts business event for our private clients, and our Partners members, and it was held in Brisbane, on July 2022. 

martial arts business events

So I'm going to give you a full review of just what we covered, what we did, and what made the event cool, different, and exciting. And stick around, I will also share with you how to access the recordings of the event and how you can potentially be invited to the next one, or on martialartsmedia.com/134. But let's jump into the details.

All right. So our Partners Intensive, that was it. If you're watching this, I'm holding up a big, thick workbook, 170 pages of strategies, notes, models, and things that we worked through from front to back. Why so many pages? Well, you didn't ask that, but I think I'm just going to tell you, because you think, “170 pages. That sounds like hard work.”

Well, it actually means less work, right? It means that we did the hard work upfront. And in the sessions, our members were able to take notes. The strategies were already done for them. And it was a great way to just really refine things and keep track and walk away with a clear plan.

martial arts business events

So let me start with that. Events. Now, I don't know what type of events you've been to. There are great events, and there are not-so-great events. And then there are events that you think are great events and you feel like it was a great event because it was, but when you look at the content, you kind of walk away with a scatterbrain. You walk away with all these ideas. And you're on this dopamine high, so you feel really good about attending this event. And you've come back with ideas and you think, “Oh, wow, I've got all these things that I've got to do.”

And so you're on this mental high because of the event. But now you get home and now you got to make a plan. Now you got to put this all together. Now you got to make it practical for yourself. And that's hard to do if you don't have a structured strategy and an outline for you to be able to take everything and implement it fast, because, let's face it, information without implementation means squat.

martial arts business events

So you might feel good about the event and you might have gotten a lot of ideas, but if you weren't able to capture it and capture the strategy of how to implement it, it sort of becomes like that whole long to-do list of stuff that just never gets done. And so it doesn't take long, and you look at it, and it probably causes more overwhelm than actual results because you just can't get to the things that were mentioned.

So I'd like to say we go about it a little bit differently. Now, our events are for our private clients. So these are paid for events by us, our members who pay to be in our program, and so we run the events for free for them. We structure it over three days, and we make sure that our members can walk away, get the strategies, but also get the work done and be able to implement. And so that when they get home, they have a clear plan and they know what to do. All right.

Partners Intensive

So I'm going to jump into exactly what we did over three days. So first off, this event was really special because one of our Partner members, Ross Cameron from Fightcross in Albion, Brisbane, created a… When I say world-class, I don't even think it does it justice, but their new gym is a combination of a complete lifestyle center and a gym, martial arts gym.

So what I mean by that, is that I'll just get Ross's permission before sharing it, but I'd love to post it below in this episode. So if you go to martialartsmedia.com/134, there will be, I say, “Will be,” because he'll say, “Yes…” We did a walkthrough of his facilities and we posted this in our private members' group, but I'll share it on this page so that you can get a perspective of actually what this gym is about, and it will really inspire you for whatever it is that you want to add or fine-tune in your facilities.

So it's a complete lifestyle center, meaning you walk in, there's a coffee shop on the side. There's a patisserie where you can pick up pastries and really healthy meals. Then there's a bar. And then you walk upstairs and you walk into Fightcross, which, you got to see the video, right? But it's like wooden panels. It just looks spectacular, the vibe, the feel, the everything.

There's a gym at the back. There are different areas for fitness, fitness classes, and so forth, and then a large mat space at the back and a cage in the corner. When we hosted the event then, this was an event that we probably won't be able to repeat really because, well, we'll need a bigger space next time. Now, Ross's gym is huge, but, obviously, the space where we were able to host a conference can only host so many people.

So it was really great to have that type of experience and be able to host the event at a martial arts gym/lifestyle center of that caliber. It was really good to have all our members get together there. And we were able to do things on the mats as well as in the conference facilities. So really special to have done that. Thanks to Ross Cameron for opening up his facilities for our members. If you're ever in Brisbane, hit him up and go have a look. It's mind-blowing. So, that's the first thing I want to say about it. Just the facilities were, it was just a spectacular environment to be in.

So then we got to work, right? So for three days, we got to work. And let me just cover some of the content that we went through. So first up, we started off with our Progress Snapshot, just all our members looking at things that they have done over the past couple of months and the results that they got. We also had a session called Mimic the Masters, where some of our members shared some things that they were doing well, and then we had a round table discussion about that.

martial arts business events

Then my friend, Pete Tansley, Pete Tansley spoke to us about nailing your socials. So you can follow him on Instagram, Pete Tansley, P-E-T-E, last name T-A-N-S-L-E-Y, all one word. Also, check the show notes, obviously, for a link to that.

So, Pete Tansley spoke to us about nailing your socials. So we were talking about vertical videos, how to get traction on it, how to plan it, and how he creates an astronomical amount of videos. I think he created 30 videos in 17 minutes, something crazy. And he really brought a great diverse flavor and experience to the event.

Now, obviously, our clients are all martial arts school owners. Pete is very well-known in this fitness industry and works with Fitpros. And so he gave his perspective of just building that personal brand and how we could adopt it for martial arts schools. So a really, really valuable session.

Then we jumped into Google. So we had a goal that by the end of the day, our members would have either new Google Ads up and running, for those that didn't have any Google Ads or those that already had Google Ads up and running and had their setup optimized. So if you've listened to my podcast for a little while, you'll know that we focus heavily on Facebook, and that's what we do. We've also started diversifying back to Google. 

And if I say, “Back to Google,” Google is where I learned how online marketing works. That was before the Facebook days. I know I'm giving away my age here. But that's really where I started. I started learning how Google Ads works, and how direct response marketing works via running Google Ads. And the first time I ever worked with martial arts schools, we were running Google Ads, and we got great results from it.

Google is, I don't want to say, making a comeback because it's always been there, but there are a lot of things developing with Google that I'm really excited about. And I feel that if you're not taking advantage of what Google is doing, then you're not running a complete customer journey. So yep, you might have great Facebook ads, but then people search for you and they don't find you.

Now, a lot of people say, “Yes, but when we type in our name or this, people find us.” Yep, that's great, but it's typically only for one keyword. And if you're coming up in the organic search results, it's easy to come up just for your name or something else.

But you've got to remember a few things. Number one, there are about 10 to 15 spots on the Google front page that can be occupied. So the more real estate you own, the better. And you probably won't come up for all the other keywords, all the other terms that people are typing in. And by the way, Google has expanded way beyond just the search mechanism.

So yeah, very excited about that. So the first session we did was hands-on, more about the theory. And then we all pulled up our laptops, and I was able to walk around the room and help everyone get their Google Ads up and running. So, that was great. Cool. So, that was day one.

Partners Intensive

Day two. On day two, we had my friend Costa Prasoulas from Zeus Academy in Sydney. He covered a process that we called the Curriculum Creator, where we went through a strategy of how to extract a curriculum from your mind and structure it in a way that you can build an asset within your curriculum. We went into the real detail about how they go about breaking down a technique, which I found really interesting, breaking it down between not just the actual technique but a whole framework around it, behind the history, the founding fathers, the etiquette, et cetera, et cetera. And so we did.

In the conference room, we went through the whole strategy. Our members were able to, we had a bunch of sticky notes, they were able to write down all the techniques and strategies and be able to map it out on a big board and structure a curriculum.

And then after lunch, we went to the mats. And we went over the various styles as an example. So Costa, with them, they teach Taekwondo, they do Muay Thai, and they do jiu-jitsu and Hapkido. So we went over the different styles and how we could bring this curriculum together and what the crossover was between different techniques so that you get more of a visual experience of how it all fits together.

So, that was day two. A lot of it was martial arts, martial arts training, and curriculum. And then we rounded off, the last session of the day, and this is always a killer, was our Mastermind Session. And the Mastermind Session was just 90 minutes of pure gold. It's also the one session we could not record, because the Mastermind, you got to be in the Mastermind to get the value out of the Mastermind. So mastermind's kind of just a round table, and everybody brings something that they're working on or stuck with, and we use the power of the room that everybody gets clarity on that.

Partners Intensive

That was Saturday. Saturday night, we had some fun. A good night out in Brisbane City, which was great. And then Sunday, we had an epic day. Sunday morning, we had Brett Fenton. Now, Brett and I created a program way back, and I'll link to it in this episode, called The Instructor Team Blueprint. So I might butcher the numbers a little bit here, but Brett runs about, I think it's 74 classes per week, and he only teaches 6 of them. So he's really empowered his entire instructor team to run the classes, with complete autonomy.

And so we wanted to do an add-on of the course, Instructor Team Blueprint, and we covered a session, Young Instructors: High-Level Classes. And we did a video breakdown of how his instructors go to work, and how they run the classes. A really, really valuable session.

Partners Intensive

Then we jumped into The 6 Figure Open Day™. And so Cheyne McMahon, one of our top members, did a session on what they've been doing to run a 6 Figure Open Day. In the most recent one, I think they got 89 signups on their Open Day. If you're in the States, you might refer to it as an Open House, States or Canada. The same thing, we just call it an Open Day. And we went through the whole process. This was a really heavy session with just strategies, how we go about promoting it in Facebook groups, just community groups, which is really gold, how we go about running the Facebook ads, and how we structure the ads.

The real gold is how to sign people up before the Open Day, from the Open Day, and after the Open Day. And the beauty of it is the whole Open Day runs in 90 minutes flat. Yeah, that was a really good session on how to get local communities involved, how to get food trucks involved, how to get local radio involved, etc., etc., etc. Last but not least, we ran a session to map out a 6-week plan, so like a 6-week cycle. And so all our members were able to take all the notes, everything that they covered, and map it out into a plan to execute over the next 6 weeks. That was our event.

Partners Intensive

Now, if you would like to join us for our next event and come as my guest to our Partners Intensive, at the time that I'm recording this, we are planning to host the next one somewhere in North America. That's all I can say right now. We also run these online throughout the year. Now, if you'd like to join us for our next Partners Intensive, then I'd like to invite you to come as my guest. Now, the way you can do that is on this page where we host this podcast, martialartsmedia.com/134, the numbers one, three, and four, go to that page, and there's a button where you can download the transcript.

And on the next page, you'll find a little calendar where you can book a time to chat with me. It's 10-15 minutes. The purpose of the call is really a quick marketing brainstorm to see how we can potentially help you. And we can chat about whether you would be a fit to attend our next event or not. It's not a sales call. It's really just a chat, a low-key chat, between a little bit about marketing, what you're doing, and to figure out if you would be a fit for our next event. Go to that, book a call. Otherwise, if you don't want to book a call, just send me an email. Go to your email client and just email me at george@martialartsmedia.com. Send me an email, just with the subject line, “Event,” and we can chat via that.

Partners Intensive

And if you do want to get access to the recordings of the event, all the content that we create is always recorded. We had a video crew that recorded all three days. That is currently being edited and uploaded into our members' portal for our Partner members. So for that, same strategy, same way to get in touch with me, send me an email or just go to martialartsmedia.com/134, download the PDF transcript for this episode. And on the next page, book a call with me, and we can have a chat about whether that would be suitable for you or not.

That's it. I hope this was useful. I hope you got a few things out of it. Before I wrap it up, I really want to say this, and I should have said this in the beginning, it's been a rough couple of years, right? It's been a rough couple of years with events and doing everything online. And I think people like myself are probably way more ready to live in this online world because I've been living in this online world for way prior to COVID. So it was just business as usual for me, but I know it was a lot to adapt for a lot of people. But there's one thing that just can't be beaten and that is face-to-face human interaction. You can watch content online and you can sit and watch an event online, but come on, you know what it's like.

Partners Intensive

When you're in the same environment where you can still be distracted, where your phone can ring, where somebody could walk in, you still don't have that uninterrupted time to focus. And events are not just about the content. It's really about the people that you meet and the conversations that you have in between. So, yep. You got to book the flight. You got to clear your diary. You got to have the conversation with your wife to look after the kids, unless, of course, you bring them along and they can have a bit of a break and you tag a holiday onto the back of it.

Hey, we work a lot and do a lot for our members, and our students. Why not use the business and claim a good holiday on tax as well? Use the business to your advantage. But at the end of the day, right, and I'm preaching to the choir, and you've probably been to a lot of events and you agree with me on this 100%, but nothing beats going to live events and meeting people and having those conversations in between the sessions, and that's really where the magic is.

So anyway, get in touch with me if you want to join us for our next event. And thanks for listening, thanks for watching. I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers.

 

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Download the Martial Arts Media™ Mobile App.

It's our new private community app exclusive for martial arts school owners, with top courses, online events, and free resources to help grow your business.  Click here to download it for iPhone or Android (any other device).

2. Join the Martial Arts Media™ Academy Membership and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month to get to 100+ students. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, get started with our 7-day risk-free trial – Click Here

3. Work With Me and My Team Privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, fill out the form and apply HERE … tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details – Click Here

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

133 – Should You Have Prices Listed On Your Martial Arts Website? (Round 2)

Here’s my attempt to end the age-old debate about the pros and cons of having your club fees listed on your martial arts website.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The honesty vs dishonesty debate about prices on martial arts websites
  • The pros and cons of listing prices on your martial arts website
  • Getting the best results from your martial arts website
  • How an irresistible martial arts offer boosts your conversions
  • When is it actually a good idea to list prices on your martial arts website?
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast. Today, I'm going to revise one of my first podcast episodes discussing, should you have your prices listed on your martial arts website? 

Should you have your club fees listed? If you don't, what should you have listed? And if you do, how does that impact your sales and your conversions? And if you don't, are you just hiding stuff and being all weird? 

All right. Let's dive in. Make sure you stick to the end, and I'll share with you a cool resource that you can have on your website that boosts your conversions and helps you sign up more students. All right. Let's dive in.

Having your prices listed on your martial arts website, should you do it or shouldn't you do it? I see this topic come up often, and I just dug through the archives of the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast, and I actually covered this on episode number four, my fourth podcast. It was 2016. And I wanted to have a look if my stance has changed on it. And I could say, “No, it hasn't,” but I want to give some context to what that stance was and where the exceptions to the rules are.

First up, short answer, is it a good idea to have your prices listed on your website? No, it's not a good idea. Now, what I've been noticing over the years is people get really weird when you say that. People go the whole honesty and dishonesty route. 

People get really angry about this, that if you don't put your prices on your website, you're hiding stuff, and you're not being ethical, and you're being sleazy. And it gets really nasty, which I find really odd and weird. 

I want to explain the psychology of why it's actually not a good idea to have your prices listed on your website, and it's actually the reverse. If you don't have your prices on your website, you are serving your potential prospects way better. You are able to establish way more value around what it is that you provide.

Let's dive into a few scenarios. As a recap of what is discussed in episode four, in the younger version, I had no beard and maybe the camera's a bit better. Hopefully, I've got this podcast thing a bit smoother, more relaxed, and better after a couple of years down. 

All right, let's just cover one scenario. You've got a mom sitting in front of her computer. She's thinking about enrolling her child in martial arts. In context, she's never done martial arts before, she doesn't understand it, somebody might have told her it's a good idea, somebody might have mentioned it and said, “The benefits are X, Y, Z,” or she's done some Googling and researching, or maybe she's got a child that's being bullied. She's kind of figured out that martial arts could be a good thing for her child, but she knows nothing about it.

All right. She knows nothing about it, so she starts searching and she finds a couple of websites. Maybe she finds you and she finds another school. You know the other school, you know that you provide a way better service, provide a way better martial arts than the other school does, and this person is searching and all that they can compare with is price. Right?

Because let's face it, no matter how good your website copy is and whether you've done a really good job of conveying what your message is, your values, et cetera, when somebody doesn't know what they're looking for, there's one thing that they do understand and that's dollars.

So, they're going to revert to the dollars and think, “Well, if that club's this and that club's this, well, martial arts is martial arts. They don't know any better.” Potentially they're going to go for the cheaper option. Right? Because there's no value attached to this figure. The price of a martial arts class, how do you justify that? 

So, because your price was listed on your website, you might have missed the chance to have the actual conversation with that person, because they just looked at it, and said, “Well, it was expensive. That's not what I want to pay.” And rightfully so. They don't want to pay that because they don't have any value attached to that price. They just see a price and a number, and they think they don't want to spend it.

Now, what if that person sat in front of you, and you showed them around your school, and you showed them the impact that you have on your students, and the value that they get, and your environment, and the club, and the quality, and the level of the instructors, and they got to experience that. Would they change their mind on the pricing? If they see, “well, this club is much cheaper, but you provide all this service.” 

Would they have gone with you? Probably, yes. Right? Because they got to experience the surrounding, but also they got the opportunity to build a relationship with you. Right? So, this is where it's way better to not have a price on your website because the price is not what should be discussed.

Let's face it, the cost of martial arts classes, people could say it's expensive, but compared to what? Because people pay way more for a car or way more on a night out. People spend so much more money on things compared to martial arts. So, saying it's expensive is, well, against what? Because they're spending more money on other things. You have got to think of the value that you can attach to your martial arts classes.

So, what do you have instead? Well, you should be looking at, well, where can you have a conversation? Where can you have a conversation with your prospect? So, your website should rather be optimized for conversions and conversations. Can they make an online inquiry, enter their name, detail, number, and email, and inquire online? Or maybe you have a chat icon on your website. Or your number is visible and they can contact you directly, or you can have an irresistible offer. 

What is an irresistible offer? You can download it on this page. Martialartsmedia.com/133, the number 133, and you can download our template, irresistible martial arts offer, the PDF worksheet, and we'll give you all the options of which numbers to use and how you can create an irresistible offer to promote your martial arts school.

Now, why would you want an irresistible offer instead of your club fees? Because the person that is just looking at the martial arts school, and they've never done martial arts before, and they might be nervous to give it a shot, but if they see an offer that’s irresistible, and there's value in it, and it feels risk-free because remember, this person is not… they're not sold on martial arts, potentially. Very few would be. Right? But more than likely, they would not be sold on martial arts hook, line, and sinker, so they're probably going to be hesitant. Right? 

So, we want to give them something that's of value, that they can try out, and what do we know? We know that if they try it out, and they're going to walk in, and they're going to experience it, then yeah, that person that was skeptical or was looking, has now completely changed to a person that's engaged and sold on the idea of martial arts, almost all martial arts school owners will tell me we've got no problem signing people up once they're through the door. Right? Because that's where the experience changes. 

So, why would you want to put obstacles in the way of them getting through the door? Makes sense. Right? I hope it does.

Now again, I've seen people get a bit weird about this. And I've seen well-respected martial arts school owners and coaches get really weird and hung up about this. Maybe because they were annoyed with a certain group that maybe appeared like they were unethical and spammy and they promoted not having prices on the website, and then they just deemed the idea as how those people approach the business world. And I can understand that. 

But what's important is to just take a step back and think, “Well, if I'm trying to serve my potential students the best, and I know I provide the best service, and the best martial arts, and create the biggest impact on my students, then I've got to do everything humanly possible to make sure that happens,” and that you can sign them up and change their lives, because you're really doing them a disservice if you don't sign them up. It's really in their best interest.

Now, what I didn't cover the first time I covered this topic was exceptions to the rule. Where would it maybe be a good idea to have your prices listed on your website? I want to be funny, but it's probably not funny. I say this tongue in cheek and not. You hate money. You think everybody is a McDojo that is more successful than you and charges more money than you, has more students than you, and you don't want to attract any more students. Right. Maybe true. Maybe not. Let's just take that for a grain of salt.

But here's a real exception to the rule. Right? A real exception to the rule is your brand exceeds the availability of students that you have. You have a huge reputation in the industry and people that… maybe it's an MMA or jiu-jitsu, or you are just seen as a professional martial artist that people typically follow and want to train with. So, your brand and reputation way exceeds the market demand. And you want to let people know that you are the premium martial arts school, and this is what you pay and you don't want time wasted. Now, just be careful about this. 

You obviously got to be in demand to be able to repel the people that you don't want to train with you, and we've got a few clients like that, where the leads are just so many that we structure our irresistible offer in a way that is a few hundred dollars extra, that the average inquiry will probably look at it and say, “No, that's not for me.” It does repel people, and they don't take up the offer. 

So, number one, your demand exceeds your supply. You've got leads coming in, everyone wants to train with you, and you put your price at a premium and you want people to know that. Or you are super famous and you are well known and respected in the space, and you want people to know that you are the premium provider. 

And then number three, you have a martial arts school at a holiday destination or place where people visit often and maybe they just come for two weeks or three weeks, and you've got packages available where people can train. Then that'll be a good idea to have your price listed on your website because then people know when they travel, what is available, and what they can do. Other than that, I still stand by episode number four, the best idea to not have your prices on your website.

What to do next? Well, if you want to know what you can put on your website, the one thing that makes or breaks in the conversation is the irresistible martial arts offer. Now, obviously, there are a few more components. Right? But if somebody has been looking around, and they're comparing clubs, and they're looking around and they get to your website and you provide an irresistible offer that feels like the risk is on you as the martial arts school owner and not on them, it feels like they can try it out. 

We know we don't want them to try it out, but we want to remove the risk of them trying it out. Then head over to this podcast page, martialartsmedia.com/133, and download the irresistible martial arts offer worksheet. And that'll get you started.

Anyway, thanks again for watching. Do go check out episode number four, just for its good value, and just for a laugh, a laugh just because it's super old and probably good to know that I haven't changed my stance on any of the things I discussed a good five years ago. Anyway, thanks again for watching. Thanks for listening. I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers.

 

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Download the Martial Arts Media™ Mobile App.

It's our new private community app exclusive for martial arts school owners, with top courses, online events, and free resources to help grow your business.  Click here to download it for iPhone or Android (any other device).

2. Join the Martial Arts Media™ Academy Membership and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month to get to 100+ students. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, get started with our 7-day risk-free trial – Click Here

3. Work With Me and My Team Privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, fill out the form and apply HERE … tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details – Click Here

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

132 – Pros And Cons Of Hiring A Martial Arts Digital Agency

Many martial arts school owners long for a martial arts digital agency that delivers new students on demand without having to lift a finger. But Beware! This pipedream could cost you your business. Here’s the pitfalls to avoid and what to do instead. 


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Pitfalls to avoid when working with a martial arts marketing agency
  • Who owns your digital assets?
  • Local digital marketing agency: Do they have proven, irresistible martial arts offers? 
  • What media should you use when running Facebook or Google ads?
  • Why most martial arts schools don't need a marketing agency
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business podcast. In this episode, I'm going to be talking about digital marketing agencies for martial arts schools. Martial arts, marketing agencies, however, you want to word that.

Do you need one? Do you need to hire an agency? And if you do, what are the pitfalls to avoid? What should you be avoiding? What questions should you be asking? What should you be looking out for? All are covered in this episode.

Make sure you stick around to the end and I'll share with you how you can download an actual checklist with everything discussed, all the questions to ask, pitfalls to avoid and so forth. All right, let's jump in.

All right. So let's talk about digital marketing agencies and do you actually need to hire one? I've got to start this one with a short story, and the story actually involves how I, one time, lost a valued podcast listener by my actions and I don't regret it. I've got to share the story. I've probably shared this in a previous podcast, but I think it's relevant if you haven't heard it. It's a relevant story for what we are talking about today.

All right. A couple of years ago, a podcast listener reached out to me and said, “Hey, George, love the podcast. Got a quick question. Which channels are the best for advertising a martial arts school? Is it Facebook or is it Google? Facebook ads or Google ads?”

And I replied, “Good question. It depends on a few factors, which it does. Facebook strategy works like this. Google strategy works like this. If I was doing this myself and trying it, this is the one that I would go for, which was Facebook in this case.”

I said, “Curious, just why are you asking?” And he replied and said, “Thanks for the information, but I'm actually starting a digital marketing agency for martial arts schools and I just wanted to know which channel works best.” And that got me fired up a bit. I said, “Hang on. You're opening a marketing agency and you are asking me which platform to advertise on. How are you going to actually take people's hard-earned money and run ads for them if you've never done it yourself?”

And then his response fired me up even more. And he said, “Oh, that's okay. I'm just going to hire someone offshore to do it for me and run the agency that way.” And that made me boil over.

And I can't recall the exact reply that I messaged back, but I said, “Look, the world does not work like that and you cannot take people's hard-earned money and charge them and think some magical person offshore is just going to know what to do.” Now, there is a way to use an offshore person, and I might share this in this episode, but that's definitely not the way to go about it.

And so I wanted to start that with caution because, well, as a warning, really, if someone is not charging you a premium fee to run ads, which is quite a hard thing to do, they're probably not going to do a very good job.

Now, I must admit the industry's come a long way and I've been doing this for a long time. Facebook wasn't around when I started digital marketing. I started by hard trial and error, wasting a lot of money. It was way harder to run ads back in the day than it is now. So things have evolved. The industry has evolved and agencies have also evolved, but there are a few pet peeves and pitfalls you got to watch out for.

Pet peeves I have about agencies and pitfalls that you should watch out for, and there's this dream scenario for martial arts school I know is you could just do what you love. You could just do the teaching. You could just show up. There are always students and you just do what you love.

That is the dream scenario and you could definitely achieve that, but is an agency always the answer to do that? And I'm going to say no because I've played on both sides of the coin. This is purely from my experience. I want to give props to really good agencies that are out there and that have really evolved in the martial arts space, but I still want to approach this with a word of caution because I've seen the pitfalls and I've seen how things adapt. At the end of the day, you as the martial arts school owner are worse off.

Another just trip down in history, memory lane. So the way I got started in this industry before I started our Partners group, where we helped martial arts school on a scale worth marketing and attracting the right students, increasing sign-ups and retaining more members, we were an agency and I started my agency with this dream idea. If we could just do everything for martial arts school owners, they would be better off and I really believed that. 

And I really wanted to create something magical for school owners in that way, but as we ran it and as we had clients do this, I felt that every time things didn't go right, or worst case, we parted ways with a client, the client is always worse off. The client is always worse off running by just throwing their entire energy and faith into a marketing agency to deliver leads for them every month and month-end.

When you part ways, you're always worse off because now you're left with nothing. You've got nothing. And so again, you're looking for this magical agency to do everything for you, and that was always a big concern for me is when somebody is doing the lifeblood of your business and they are responsible for it, and they're always doing it.

What if that service is not what it is a month later, or they grow too big, and now the service starts to deteriorate and they're not on top of the strategy and they need to scale, so they need to get on more clients and they need to hire more staff. And now the person that you hired, isn't even touching your account anymore and your costs are going through the roof.

So for you to be better off, I'm going to go through a couple of things that you should be watching out for, pitfalls to avoid, and things to consider when you are hiring an agency.

By the way, if you're listening to us or wherever you're watching us, go to martialartsmedia.com/132, that's the numbers one, three, two. I'll have a checklist where you can download all these questions and that you've got just a guide for the right questions to ask if you're ever going to hire an agency.

All right, here we go. First up, let's just start with a few pitfalls. Who keeps the data? Number one, if they're going to run your ads, who keeps the data, and this goes hand in hand with, are you going to be better off? Meaning if somebody comes and they're running the ads for you, then who keeps the data? Are they hanging onto the data or will you actually get the data?

Meaning if you ever left the agency, are you going to be better off or are you going to be back to square one, back to where you were before you started with the agency and you've got no way to generate more leads? So you've learned nothing. You've gathered nothing. You've gained nothing other than, of course, the leads that you got. But when you leave the agency, you're back to square one.

And so with that, the follow-up question to ask on that, whose ad account do they run the ads from? Is it your ad account or is it an account that they have and they just run your page through that? Because if they're doing that, that means they are keeping all the data. I had a local company here that I helped out in Perth, Australia, just another nightmare story from an agency.

They had developed a website for this martial arts school and they were running the Google ads and they never handed over admin access. So they'd spend five to $10,000 on this website with combined services. Well, mainly for the website and they didn't get handed over the admin access to the website and they didn't want to hand it over when they moved. So they made it super uncomfortable for them.

So they'd paid for something that they had no ownership rights to because they had no login details to the hosting company or the website company, and I was just shocked that any company would hold a business hostage like that.

And that's the first time I'd seen that unethicalness in an industry. And I picked a big fight with them and called them for what it is because they knew what they were doing was unethical. After a long fight, they handed it over, but it really opened my eyes to realize that hang on, when agencies are trying to scale, they take shortcuts.

And so they'll take your money and they won't set up an account for you in your name. They'll run it on their account, which means they always keep the data and they hang onto all the assets. A big thing that you've got to watch out for. Which accounts are they running it from? And are you going to be better off when you leave?

All right, let's go to the next step. What type of offer are they running? Now, if you are running a niche agency that's in the martial arts space, hopefully, they've tested some offers. But if you go looking for the local agency, the problem that you're going to find with the local agency is they probably have not fine-tuned the right offer for a martial arts school.

So they don't know what strategy works and that is something that takes experience and it takes a lot of testing. And so if you are the guinea pig and you are the first guy that they're testing, they're not going to know if it's going to be a free trial, a paid trial.

They're not going to know which wording to use, which copy. They might be as experienced as they are, but they are used to running ads for corporate-type companies. And so they've got this corporate type strategy, which means the strategy they're going to use for you is going to cost you a lot, and it's going to take a long time for you to get results.

How much experience does that company actually have with martial arts schools? Are they going to get you the results that you want or are you going to have to burn through a lot of money before they get to a result? All right.

So let's talk about strategy. What strategy are they using to generate leads? And are they on top of these strategies? So here's something that's happening in the digital space right now. At the time we're recording this 2022, there's been a lot of shifts and things happening on platforms.

Facebook has still been the dominant ad platform. There are emerging platforms, more Instagram, which is under the Facebook umbrella. TikTok is doing a lot of things. So are YouTube ads. So there are a lot of things happening, but is the strategy that you are using going to work now and in the long run, or are they hanging onto an old strategy, which means it doesn't really work that much on the platform anymore.

And so you're spending way too much money to generate leads. So now you've got this massive fee for the agency and your ad costs are way higher because they are doing the wrong strategy to get you the result.

Now, maybe you don't have to touch it and that's okay, but you're burning through a lot of cash and way too much cash for something that could be actually done if it was really, really simple, because I'll go through quickly, something that we do with our martial arts school clients. We work on getting the offer right. We spend a lot of time on this.

We've helped our school-owner clients generate way more than 7,000 paid trials through our process. So it's something that we've refined and tested, so we know it works in different styles for karate, four TaeKwonDo, for jiu-jitsu. We've played around with various offers in all styles and modified it.

We know what offer works best for which style and which offer works best in a scenario. So how are you going to sign people up afterwards? Is it going to be a free trial or you're going to run a paid trial and then sign people up? What's your sales process going to be because it's all got to be congruent. Your front-end offers really got to be congruent with your sales process on the back end.

And so if an agency doesn't know that flow that works, number one, and that compliments your strengths, well, there's going to be things that break in between. That's a big thing to consider.

First up, we look at how we craft the irresistible offer? Now, you can run a bad ad with a good offer and get great results, but you can't run a great ad with a bad offer. So we know that if we craft the perfect offer for our clients, they're going to get results. And then we go through the process of how to run an ad that gets results. And how do you go by testing and refining the process so that you'll get the best results from your ads? And it's a really simple process and formula.

And then after that is, well, how do you do the follow-up? How do you follow people up and how do you use a strategy that is congruent with how the platforms work right now? Because as we speak right now on Facebook, for example, if you are sending people away from Facebook, meaning they got to click on a website link or go to a page, that's great, but Facebook doesn't want you to leave Facebook.

Your strategy to optimize for people clicking away from Facebook is way more expensive than if you had the conversation within Facebook. Got to admit, this was a hard pill for me to swallow because I'm used to being the website guy and developing landing pages.

And so it took a lot of adjusting for my mindset first up to adapt to that, but there's a simple strategy like we use our Messenger signup method where you can follow up with people within Facebook and your conversion rate is way much higher and your cost per lead is way, way less. What is the strategy that your agency's taking, and is that congruent with how things work today?

All right, let's look at another thing. Media. Okay. Media means videos or photos, for example. What are they going to use, and have they tested it? If they're going to recommend the video, well, there's a whole list of boxes to tick with the video.

Now, generally speaking, people say video is better on social media. It is, but generally speaking, not on ads. Video for the most part is not better on ads. And look, there's an exception to the rule and I'm generally speaking, generally.

If people think video is better, then everybody says, “Hey, let's go do video.” Well, can you craft a good video? And that doesn't mean a video that's got a logo circling for 10 seconds, where by that time everybody's left or it's a video that the videographer student, maybe someone that's got great intentions and they're a student with you and they created for you, but have they crafted a video that conveys a structured sales message and gets people to take action?

That is a whole different ball game. So just because you can edit on video software does not mean you can create a video that's going to drive a conversion. Completely different thing.

What media should you use and how are they going to go about that? Now, they might say, “Well, we've tested these stock images,” and that's great. Now, I've got a bit of a pet peeve with stock images because again, it's not congruent and it looks fake. People can see what is fake and what is real.

And here's the thing, they've probably seen everybody else use the same images in your area as well. Do stock images work? Again, an exception to the rule, but do you really want to portray a fake image about what it is that you offer and then people arrive at your school and there's a complete disconnect about there's no congruence with what they saw and what they're getting at your school.

What images are they going to use and what are they going to recommend? So they're probably going to say, “Look, use these stock images.” All right. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't, but in the long run, it's going to tarnish your reputation, and it's going to do damage to your brand at the end of the day.

We got a strategy we followed. We did a course with Francine Schaepper. We did The Smartphone Photography Masterclass, and in that, we cover the process of how do you take the photos? And it's not rocket science. It's the kind of thing that when you learn it, you know it and you know what to look for. 

And there's a whole bunch of things that go into that, but it's something that you got to know. And if you don't know it, then you, depending on this agency, deliver all these results for you, but what are they going to use to get the message out and is it going to be congruent with your brand?

So we teach our clients just the basics, what to look for, what type of photos should you be taking, and how many people should be in the photos. Smiling faces is always a plus and go about the testing and then roll the ad out and just do the testing. So it's really a simple process to follow if you know what to do.

And so that for me begs the question, do you actually need an agency? Now, what I'm not saying is you have to be running the ads and be hands-on all your life in marketing. But the danger is, if you give your lifeblood over to a marketing company, you have to hope that they're around today, in 3 years, in 5 years and 10 years. So you've not only got to hope that they're a good marketer, but you've got to hope that they're a good business owner and know how to run an agency.

In the agency world, there used to be this thing of there's a breakpoint at, I think, it's 20 clients, that when you've got 20 clients and 20 ad accounts to run, the agency owner typically breaks because they just got to keep employing staff and keep employing staff, unless they're just doing a cookie-cutter approach and doing the same thing for everyone. In our experience, that is not a good strategy to go by.

One of our frequent guests, Kevin Blundell, we were chatting about running ads way back. And we were looking at ad accounts from two different locations and we were running the same offer in two different locations, with the same strategy. One went through the roof and the other one crickets. And so when somebody takes a blanket approach and doesn't assess things specifically for your location, again, you're going to spend way more to get the results and probably it's going to be costly.

And then the danger is, let's say they did deliver. So let's say you got the guy and he was a great marketer. He's a great marketer. So he is a great marketer and he's getting the results, but now he hits that benchmark. Well, he's got 20 clients plus. Now, he's got a scale. And so now employs the staff member to run it, and the staff member still needs to learn the strategy and experiment. And the person that you hired gets more and more detached from the actual process and your ads start to decline and decline and decline and decline and decline.

And so here you are, and you're like, well, this isn't working anymore and you don't know what to do because you are disconnected from the strategy. You don't know the offers, you don't know what works, and you don't have access to the data.

And so you decide, all right, well, I'm going to do the next thing and look for another agency to run this, and here you go back on the train. The lifeblood of your business is always dependent on somebody else looking after it, and you just have to have the hope strategy. You hope and pray that they deliver for a long time.

And so when it comes to the way we go about it, we know that most school owners don't need an agency. Number one, you can save a lot of money doing it yourself, but the other thing is you get an insight about your business that you will not get when you work through an agency because you know what offers work, you know what people respond to, and that is something that you don't just do in your ads, but now you start duplicating that across the board with internal marketing and running flyer campaigns or internal flyers or other advertising platforms that you want to work on.

So you've got the insight and you know what people respond to because you've got a hands-on overview. Now, does that mean you've got to always be hands-on? Definitely not. But if you've got the strategy and you know how this works, then finding the hands to do that is really easy.

We've got a few school owner clients that we work with that are growing the family business and they've either got their kids that are taking over the business, or they've got other instructors that want to be hands-on in the business.

And so slowly, they're just handing over the reins to them. They keep the data, they keep the strategy and they hang onto it and everything grows within the organization, and that way everybody's hands-on, everyone knows which strategies work, which offers work, and you can get students on-demand without knowing that the livelihood of your business is dependent on X, Y, Z business and you got to hope and pray that they're going to be around in the next five, 10 years.

Anyway, there was a lot more that I wanted to cover. I have spoken about a few of these things before, but I just wanted to give you a good perspective on what to look out for, and what to watch for. Head over to martialartsmedia.com/132, numbers one, three, two, and you can download a resource, just all the questions and all these things that we've just discussed, what to ask, what to look out for, and hope that helps.

Anyway, thanks so much for watching and listening. I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers.

 

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Download the Martial Arts Media™ Mobile App.

It's our new private community app exclusive for martial arts school owners, with top courses, online events, and free resources to help grow your business.  Click here to download for iPhone or Android (any other device).

2. Join the Martial Arts Media™ Academy Membership and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month to get to 100+ students. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, get started with our 7-day risk-free trial – Click Here

3. Work With Me and My Team Privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, fill out the form and apply HERE … tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details – Click Here

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

131 – 10 Must Haves For Your Next Martial Arts Location (Plus Downloadable Checklist)

Kevin Blundell goes through 10 essentials from The Location Analyzer Checklist – the must haves for your next profitable martial arts location.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Using The Location Analyzer Checklist to pick the perfect martial arts location
  • Putting your passion for martial arts aside for clear business decisions
  • The 3 most important things to consider when choosing your new location
  • Why you should ‘visit for the vibe’ of your chosen location
  • Setting up your school where people live vs where they work
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

We found that the yoga studio was having an open day so we, ironically, had an open day at the same time. And yeah, we got quite a bit of interest from there and students who joined. 

GEORGE: Hey, George here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business podcast. And today, I've got a repeat guest for the fourth time. I think this is a record, Kevin. 

KEVIN: Yeah, I think so, George, and I think it's about our fourth time we've had a chat. 

GEORGE: So just for a recap, way back, this goes a couple of years back, so the first episode was 20 – 100 New Martial Arts Students in 5 Weeks Without Sleazy Selling. We got back together on 115 – The Strategic Mindset Behind Running 23 Successful Martial Arts Schools. And then, 129 – Success By Design – Foundations Required To Setup Your Next Profitable Location. 

So today, we're getting back together and it's a bit of a follow-up from the process of talking about The Next Profitable location. And we were discussing The Next Profitable Location Blueprint. Today, we're going to do a bit of a deep dive. And one question that comes up a lot is, what are the things to look for when you set up your new location? 

And so, in the course that we created, The Next Profitable Location Blueprint, we've got a worksheet that you can download at this episode. So, depending where you're watching or listening, it's at martialartsmedia.com/131, the numbers 131. And it's called The Location Analyzer Checklist. 

We're not going to dive deep into Kevin's story. You're going to have to go through all those podcasts I just mentioned. So, we're going to dive straight into the good stuff. Are you happy with that, Kevin? 

KEVIN: That'd be great, George. 

GEORGE: All right, perfect. So, we've got The Location Analyzer Checklist in front of us, and these are 13 steps altogether, things that you should be checking out for when setting up your next location. And we're just got to go top to bottom. We'll probably have time for about the first 10. 

And we're just going to discuss them and jump straight in. All right. So, Kevin, so Location Analyzer Checklist, if we start from the top. Number one, think with my head and not with my heart. 

KEVIN: People are very passionate about martial arts, that's why we're all in this industry. Sometimes that passion can override some sensible analytic thought processes. So, what we try to do is get our guys to focus on, “Right, think with your head and not with your heart.” 

And what I mean by that is pretty simple, is okay, sure, be passionate about what you want to do. But at the same time, go through a defined checklist. Hence, why we've developed this Analyzer Checklist to enable people to do so. 

GEORGE: Where are areas that you might get… Like, let's say you find this location, are there certain elements where the love and the enthusiasm can take over, and you can step into the wrong environment really quickly? 

KEVIN: Yeah, I've found, and not only within my organization but many people around the world I've discussed this with, that they may get something well within their budgetary range, for example. But later on, they've got to pour so much money into advertising and promotion, it would've been better to have a little bit more expensive rent, but a better location, that's for example. 

They may believe it's ideal to be close to where they live instead of maybe a few kilometers further away or a few miles further away. You've got to really step aside from what suits you the best to what's going to make the business function properly and your school successful. 

GEORGE: All right. Number two, commercial property versus light commercial or industrial. 

KEVIN: Yeah. This is, again, one that you really need to think through thoroughly. Ideally, your location needs to be relatively close to where people reside, not where they work, unless you're going to focus on purely daytime only classes. So commercial property is more like your shopping centers and neighborhood shopping centers. 

Light commercial is a combination of a shop front with a facility out of the back, so more like your retail outlets. And then industrial is purely industrial, where you're in there where there's mechanics, cabinet makers, carpentry, transport hub, all those sorts of things, warehouses. 

So, you need to weigh up what's going to be most appealing to your current and/or potential clients in the new location. 

GEORGE: All right. And not mentioned here, but probably worth adding. You mentioned setting up your location where people live versus not where they work. Do you mind elaborating on that? 

KEVIN: Certainly. Look, people need to come home from their work, and in the city that could be anywhere from a 30 minute to a two-hour drive. And when they're home, if they're going to do an activity, it needs to be in the area that they reside close by. 

So, they can come home, get organized, come and train. And then they're only 10, 15 minutes back to where they reside. As opposed to if it's in where they work, in that area, most people don't live in commercial areas. They reside further out. 

So, it's important to do that demographic analysis before you proceed with even looking for premises, which is another topic. 

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. All right. So, number three, do my neighbors operate 24 hours a day? Sounds almost obvious, but probably worth investigating, right? 

KEVIN: Yeah, very important. I found an ideal location in a city, and I thought, “This is great.” But then I realized that nobody went home at 4:30 or five o'clock in the afternoon. The business kept going and going.

And I drove there one morning early and they were still going. So, they had three eight-hour shifts, and it was a slight industrial place, and the noise was continuous. Traffic was continuous. And yeah, it was just, unfortunately, not an ideal location. 

So, depending on the nature of the business, George, that's the key thing. But however, importantly, you need to identify, is it going to be operating 24 hours a day? Instead of between 7:30 till 5:30 as most businesses do. 

GEORGE: Are there any businesses that are complete no go, that if they're within close by neighbors that you avoid? 

KEVIN: Yeah, look, if you share a combined, I suppose, car park space, and they're a heavy transport company, and they're coming and going all the time, you've got to think about the safety of your students coming and going. The hours they come and go, it's dark when they leave from training. Is it well-lit? 

Most importantly, which leads into our next point, is it a business that creates a lot of dust, like a tire place or a carpentry shop or metalwork? Is that going to float through and into your beautiful new setup and your mats? 

So, these are pretty much common sense things, but sometimes when you're leading with your heart and not your head, these are overlooked. And it's not until you're entrenched in and embedded in there that you come to the realization that, “Hang on, this is not very… I'm constantly cleaning the mats. I'm constantly cleaning my pro shop, my waiting area, and my office.” 

So just a little bit of research makes a big difference in the end. 

GEORGE: Perfect. And so, we combined number four there, dust in the air being generated by neighbors. And I guess, if you really, just as you emphasized point number one, if your heart's so into this place, it's easy to make that… You're thinking, “Yeah, okay, but we'll be okay.”
KEVIN: Not always. 

GEORGE: Yeah. 

KEVIN: Unfortunately, not always. And if you're locked into a 3×3 lease, which is three years with an option for three years. That's the minimum I suggest also, is three years minimum. That way, you've got a bit of an out in case things don't quite go as well as you anticipated or in that particular area. 

And we need to look at, is the environment great for students and parents? And this is a really big one, is that don't go there during the middle of the day when everything seems to be going along. You need to go there at your ghost timetable time. 

So, you need to set up a timetable that you're going to run in that area, and you need to look at getting to the facility. What's the traffic like in that area? And is it well-lit at nighttime, as I mentioned previously? Is there parking space? Does mum and dad have to walk more than 150 meters? 

It's not suggesting they're lazy, but it becomes… Anything that's a barrier for the students, and the parents especially, you want to make sure they're eliminated. So most importantly, is it safe, well-lit, easy access? 

GEORGE: All right, perfect. And I just want to define the points there. So, number five was, is the environment great for students and parents? With that, number six, enough parking? And number seven, is it safe? 

KEVIN: That's all integrated, but enough parking is probably the key thing before you can even proceed with the location. Because various councils or municipalities have various requirements with parking. And that can be crucial in you even being able to use the facility so you need to investigate that thoroughly.

And enough parking for your students and the parents during your go time, when you're operating it the most. And importantly, ticking off, is it safe? And safety comes in many ways, and that is, do you have to cross three or four high traffic areas? 

Are there big trucks around? Is it well-lit at night? Is there access to public transport if you're in the city, and how far away is that? And is it a safe thoroughfare to that public transport? 

So, these are a lot of things that you need to look deeply into before you make the final decision. 

GEORGE: Okay, number eight, who opens up when we start?

KEVIN: Okay, this is a good point, George. You need to look around what other businesses are either operating or opening at the same time you start. Now, when I say start, I refer to your actual afternoon, evening class times. 

Generally, depending on the area, if you're in a light commercial, most businesses will be closing down. But not only that, some may still be open. So, this can be a little bit of a draw for parents, if they know that not far away, they could do some shopping of some descript whilst their child is participating in a class. 

You just need to go there at the time of your ghost timetable. And basically, just see what happens. 

GEORGE: Yeah, one of my friends here in Perth, they've got a big location in an industrial area. And they've been growing and growing and growing. And they're at this mark of 600, 700 students. And the biggest war that they have right now is council and neighboring businesses that try to do everything to shut them down.

Because they just take up all the parking. He's offered to buy the building next door at way above market value and they just refuse. But I think it's really to consider the capacity of right now as well. 

This is the amount of students we're going to have at this moment. But if we scale to a certain point, what's going to be the complications of that as well? 

KEVIN: Okay, well, yeah, that's a good point. And there are a number of cases where we can't open until 4:30 PM as part of the council approval. Because I went and saw the other businesses and said, “What time do you finish?” And they say, “4:30 to 5:00.” 

I say, “Well, look, we've got people coming in,” and I set down the details of what time we open and shut. And they were quite happy because at 4:30 they were shutting their doors, and we were opening ours. So, it really wasn't taking up that parking space, especially in a big shared area, in your light commercial area. 

It's like a big U shape. And it usually has hundreds of car parks. And yeah, you certainly don't want to be taking that. 

The only guy that was a bit iffy was a pizza guy, takeaway guy. But when I said, “Oh, look, our guys are going to be hungry.” His eyes lit up and so he became a friend. Because I said, “Well, I'm going to be generating new business for you.” 

So, you just need to make sure that you find out who opens up at your start time, that's for sure. 

GEORGE: Perfect. And I think we can sort of add to that, we will share the bonus at the end that elaborates on this, but I think it's worth also considering who your neighbors are. And how can they benefit from you being where you're at?

KEVIN: Well, certainly, I've got plenty of stories about other businesses that are very happy that we're there. They've even decided to keep their business open a little bit longer in the afternoons to enable some of our parents and students, pre-class, to go there. And that's a coffee shop. 

So, there's a whole story in that, but that's one example. There was a retailer down the road, which was sort of like a convenience store and just had a few grocery items. And he said, “Oh, I generally close at 6:00 PM, but now, I'm closing a bit later because you're here. 

Because people are coming down and grabbing some grocery items.” So, you form relationships in your area. 

GEORGE: Excellent. Okay, so number nine. Number nine sort of mergers with number eight, visit at the times when I will be open. 

KEVIN: Yeah, as I've mentioned a couple times now, George, it's really important just to go there, and park across the road or in the car park. And do a bit of work on your laptop or your device. But just keep an eye on who's coming and going and get a bit of an idea. 

And you'll see the car park empty quickly at 4:30 because the staff don't want to be hanging around. Or conversely, if there's another, like a gym in the area, “Wow, it's filling up really quickly at this time,” because people are coming to use the gym when they knock off work. 

So, you just need to just go and see what happens in the area. Also, an important thing is, if you drive into the area, what route can you take, and how long? How heavy is the traffic in the area at that time? Or the distance from public transport? 

One of our Sydney locations is directly across the road from the train station so it's the perfect time. So it just depends on the area. So go there and have a visit. 

GEORGE: Perfect, cool. Number 10, will parents be inconvenienced? 

KEVIN: Yeah, this is a tricky one. And that is, if they do work further away, come back, and they've got to get their kids to class at 4:00 PM or 4:30, you need to be really mindful of what happens in that area. We have a number of locations that have what they call after school care or OOSH or whatever it is, and all those sorts of things. 

So, a lot of the kids go from school to there. But we've managed to liaise with them to get them to drop the kids off. They pick them up from school, they spend an hour at their facility, and then they drop them round in their bus to us. Which is a real win because we netted a lot of children out of that one particular location. 

Because the guy there was, “Oh, well, they're under our care, but we'll drop them off.” And the parents pick them up directly from us at 5:30 or six o'clock when they get home. So that's, again, about forming partnerships and seeing who's in your area. But you got to be mindful of the parents. 

You start your class too early, and both parents work, have they got a carer or a grandparent that can drop the child off? So, we have early and late classes for children to facilitate a better outcome. And that's worked really, really well. 

GEORGE: Perfect. All right. So, I said we were going to stop at 10, but I think we have time to actually just go all the way. Let's do it. Number 11, and this is a big one, internet and mobile reception. 

KEVIN: I found a great location but I just couldn't get phone reception. So, I went and asked a few of the businesses in the area, and they said, “Oh yeah, it's terrible here. The Internet's shocking. 

They reckon they're going to do something,” and all that. And as you know, if you've got a CRM that you have people checking in on, you can't operate your business, unfortunately, unless you've got Internet and mobile reception. You can, but it's a little bit antiquated. 

Plus, you want to provide the service if people want to come in and whilst they're waiting, do homework or study or something. We have study benches at our locations where they can download their information. So, you need to do that. 

You go to, what is it? Speedtest.net, I think it is, or use a mobile app just to see what it is, and go from there. Nowadays, it's not too bad, but four or five years ago, it was a shocker. Some areas just didn't have it. You can have workarounds, of course, but again, the less inconvenience for everyone, parents; students; and staff, the better. 

GEORGE: Yeah, this is… My family always laughs because whenever we go check in at any Airbnb or any hotel, the first thing I do is I pull up the speedtest.net app. And I just check what we got? Or well, in that case, whenever you're at any resort or hotel, the Internet is… Everybody promotes free Wi-Fi, but it never actually really works. 

So, it's always good to get, and most people don't really ask for Wi-Fi anymore because everyone's got enough data on their mobile. But if they're going to be using their mobiles, it's also worth checking to see what type of reception is in that area.

KEVIN: 100%. And just those little things like that, just make a big difference. Again, it's like the dust floating in on the mats. At first, it's okay, then it's manageable, then it's frustrating, and then it's just down right annoying. 

So, you just got to make sure you cover all bases. There's a lot to think about, and that's why we use these really defined checklists, such as this one we're discussing today. 

GEORGE: All right, perfect. So, number 12, and then a bonus. So, number 12, ideal distance to manage from but remotely, minimum 30 minutes away and maximum 60. 

KEVIN: There's a lot of information here. But just an overview for everyone, George, the ideal distance is 30 minutes away from your current location, if you're in a big town or a city. And, or if you're in a country environment, where you have one city and then another one, and you're going there a couple of times a week or you're going to manage it or whatever. 

Or you've got current staff traveling down there, the maximum, you want to be 60 minutes away. But you need to be at least 30 minutes away from your current location. Otherwise, you'll have people scavenging your current location, depending on your arrangement.

So, if it's going to be under license, or if you're going to be an owner, operate in partnership, so you need to look closely at that. So, it works quite well if you own both locations and they're relatively close. And you've got a big dividing thing, like a major highway, and you might only be three or four kilometers away. 

And it might work really well because people never go across the major highway. They do everything on that side. Whereas, in a rural environment, towns are generally 45 minutes apart. 

And as you go further out in the country, that gets further distance apart. But in the city, 30 minutes from your location might only really be six or seven kilometers. But it's far enough away for a new lot of students to come and join there.

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. So, for that number 12, thanks for the context. In The Next Profitable Location Blueprint course, we've got a module that goes through a bit more in depth of this, called The Location Identifier. All right. 

And then the bonus, are there any businesses that already serve my target audience, gyms, yoga, and so forth? 

KEVIN: This is a really important one. A lot of people get concerned, in the industry, about, “Oh, there's a gym across the road, or there's soccer fields, or there's hockey fields, or netball course,” or whatever. To me, that's great because that means you've got active people in the area where you want to have more of an audience. 

So, if you've got a martial arts' facility, big signage, looks quite clear to see, and you've got netball courts, then adjacent to that is a soccer field, rugby league field, AFL field, or field hockey, that's great. Or if you've got a gym just across the way, yoga studio, Pilates studio.

Now, some of those people may not necessarily want to do martial arts, or want to do it immediately. But they might go, “Hey, this is a great idea for my son or daughter,” or someone they care for. And they may drop them off while they go and do their workout. So, we've got a situation at one of our locations, there's a gym. 

Well, there's actually three gyms within… You can throw a tennis ball. They're very close by. And we're finding a lot of people are starting to make inquiries. 

We've only been there for a little while now. But they're starting to drop their child off and go and do their workout. So, it works really well. 

And in due course, people start doing the martial arts. And then because it's goal-orientated with belts or other mechanisms to measure graduations, you find that they find that a little bit more exciting to do than just going to do yoga or to the gyms, which is great. 

Great facilities in a good location, but it attracts your sort of client. And then it's a case of making sure there's opportunities for them. And also, if the gym's having an open day or whatever, you can jump on the back of that. 

And I talk a lot about that in one of our other topics, and the success riding on the back of someone else's marketing program. It makes a difference. So, we found that the yoga studio was having an open day so we, ironically, had an open day at the same time. 

And yeah, we got quite a bit of interest from there and students who joined. 

GEORGE: Perfect. So, thanks for that, Kevin. So, if you want to download the actual checklist, The Location Analyzer Checklist, you can just go to martialartsmedia.com/131, so numbers 131. And we are running a workshop called The Next Profitable Location Blueprint Workshop. 

There'll be a link on the same page that you can access. And I'd also like to mention that The Next Profitable Location Blueprint course is also now live. And you can access that from this page, or go to thenextprofitablelocationblueprint.com. 

Kevin, thanks so much. Any last words before we head off?

KEVIN: George, yeah, look, I think most people have a conceptual idea of opening another location, or even enhancing their current location. But the tools that we've developed are very useful and are proven and very successful. So, jump on the workshop at least and participate, have a look, and see what you… 

There are some tools in there for you. But the course is very comprehensive and it has really worked well. So hopefully, it'll bring you the same success. 

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. Awesome. Kevin, thanks so much. And I'll see you on episode number five, I guess. 

KEVIN: Yeah. Sure, George. Thank you very much and much appreciate it.

 

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Download the Martial Arts Media™ Mobile App.
It's our new private community app exclusive for martial arts school owners, with top courses, online events, and free resources to help grow your business.  Click here to download for iPhone or Android (any other device).
2. Join the Martial Arts Media™ Academy Membership and become a Case Study.
I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month to get to 100+ students. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, get started with our 7-day risk-free trial – Click Here
3. Work With Me and My Team Privately.
If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, fill out the form and apply HERE … tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details – Click Here
Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.
***NEW*** Now available on Spotify! 

130 – How To Attract More Adult Martial Arts Students

If you’re struggling to attract adult martial arts students through your paid ad campaigns, try this instead.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Do this before running adult martial arts ad campaigns
  • How to cross-promote martial arts to adults
  • Upsell to students without sleaziness
  • The perfect time to cross-promote to adults
  • Do this if your adult ad campaigns aren't working
  • 9 Conversation starters that lead to more martial arts students
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast. In today's episode, we're going to be talking about how to attract more adult students. How to get more adult students on the mats, and what to do if your adult ad campaigns aren't working.

This is a conversation and question that comes up often, and we are going to dive into the details, and I'm going to give you a simple, simple solution on how to do this. You're probably going to kick yourself when you hear it, but it's that simple. But in order to execute the simple strategy, we're going to have to take a bit of a broader approach and give some context about how the whole strategy works and fits together.

Make sure you hang around to the end, and I'll share with you a really cool PDF resource with nine different conversation starter strategies that can elevate this process and get you much better results. All right, let's jump in.

Not sure what this is like for you, but most successful owners that we work with, and the school owners that have got a fair amount of solid student base, don't really struggle to attract the kids. It's more a question of how do we get more adults training and how do we get more adults on the mat? Now, there is the rare case that this is in reverse. Right? Depending on what type of club you run and what type of style you have, what type of style you teach, maybe your focus is 100% adults and not so much kids. There's obviously the rare occasion.

But generally speaking, this is the case. What do you do if you want to attract new adult students? We talk about this in our Partners group often. And typically when we start working with school owners and we start looking at the online process of how we going to attract the right students, increase the signups and retain more members, it's easy to lean towards, the adults is the student base that we need, and so if we want to go run ad campaigns we want to run directly for adults.

Now this could be both good, but also not so good, because if you've never actually run ad campaigns before, running it for adults is way harder. Right? It is way harder to run ad campaigns for adults. If you haven't mastered the process yet, then it would be a bit harder. It's always better to start with what's easier, what works, which is campaigns for the kids, and then graduate yourself up to running ads for adults.

The only reason for this is just getting used to and accustomed to the system. Well, how do we pick the right ads? What is the right media, the right images? How do we split test them? How do we make sure that we pick the right one so that we reduce our cost per lead? And then how does the whole follow up work?

Now, most school owners like yourself don't really have a problem signing people up when they show up and when they're in front of you, but you've still got to get them to show up. Working that whole process of making sure that all the leads that you speak to are actually going to show up, and you can take the whole process from there.

That's probably the first pitfall to watch out for. If you want to jump straight into running ad campaigns for adults, it's totally doable, and our clients do this successfully, but there is a steeper learning curve to really master it and get it nailed down. All right, so that's the first thing.

Let's jump into the solution. Well, where do you start? Well, the good news is if you want to attract more students, and you already have a client base of kids that are training with you, then you already have the perfect pool of prospects waiting for you. Right? And that is obviously the parents. The parents are the people that are paying the fees, and hopefully you've got a fairly good relationship with them and the students are enjoying the training.

If that's the case a cross-promotion is the perfect way to get more adult students on the mats. Where do you do this? Well, there's a good time to make an offer and a great time to make the offer. Good time is to, if you haven't yet, go make the offer right now. I'll give you an idea of how you can do that. The best time to do it is getting your timing right.

I'll tell you a little story. Now, I'm not a big car guy. I love a lot of other things, surfing, drums, jiu jitsu obviously, but I'm not a big, big car guy. I'm more like A to B practical … Where we live, an SUV 4X4 type thing is essential. Not essential, but it's great to have, right, because we've got the space, we've got the beaches and so forth.

Anyway, we were in the market for a new car a couple of years ago, and most people are pretty fearful of walking into a car yard. I love being in sales and marketing situations because I feel there's always room to learn. There's always something that you're going to pick up, some little technique, or in this case, a reminder of something that you might have forgotten about.

In context of this, so anyway, we look at a car, and we purchase a car, and we sit down with the sales rep and we've just bought the car. Now, if you think back to the last time that you bought something significant, something of significance, something that you really wanted or desired, there's some level of emotional high that you feel once you've made that purchase. Right?

There's a bit of a dopamine hit. You feel good. And so, we are sitting there and obviously, we feel good, and the sales rep asked us, “You've got the car. Have you thought about tinting the windows?” I thought, no, probably not. “Are you looking at traveling locally? You might need a tow bar for a trailer or caravan.” I thought, oh yeah, we probably do. “Do you want this? Do you want that? Do you want the roof racks?” Oh yes, of course, I surf. I definitely need the roof rack.

And so goes the upsells. Right? Do you want this insurance that you probably don't need and your other insurance covers it, but this insurance sounds cooler, so do you want to get this one? You know what I mean, right? But it wasn't done in a distasteful way, because it wasn't like it was a … I think internet marketing terms, I think it's called upsell hell.

You just go through all these upsells, and it's ridiculous. But as long as the upsell is actually complimenting the purposes that you just did, it's pretty good. Right? In this case, we've just spent a big chunk of money on a car, and all these little add-ons are really just providing extra value. It feels like a no-brainer.

That begs the question. When is the best time for you to make this offer to parents? Well, it's just when the kids have signed up? One thing probably to consider is, let the sign up process go through first, focus on the one, and it's the old concept. Right? You can't focus on two things at the one time. Focus on the kids. They are there to sign up, and then transition over to the adults.

And just ask the question. Just ask, what about yourself? Have you ever trained in martial arts before? And just open up that topic of conversation. If there's ever going to be a good time to open that topic of conversation, it's going to be in the heat of that moment, right, because they've just signed up their kids. They're probably happy with what they see, what they've experienced, and the kids are happy, and you're probably going to have the kids say, “Yeah, mom. Yeah, dad, how about it?”

That's a quick, just short way of doing it. It's like thinking as well of the McDonald's concept of, would you like fries with that? It's just an add-on to the offer that makes life better for everyone. When do you make an offer? Well, when you've just made one. Now, I want to give you something that can make this a lot simpler.

Another little backstory. One of our top clients, Cheyne McMahon from Australian Karate Academy, when we started working together, he sent me a message on Facebook.

I just got a friend request, and Cheyne sent me a message and he says, “Hey, I just listened to your podcast episode number 44, and I did this thing that you said, and I've just signed up two new students.” I was, “Wow, that's awesome.” Awesome, number one, that he listened to the podcast, but more importantly, number two is he actually took action and implemented the strategy right there and then.

We got talking a little while ago, and talked about these little conversation starters. Right? Because essentially all that you are doing when trying to sell something, is you're actually just trying to start more conversations, because the conversation will lead to the conversion. Right? How do we start more conversations?

In our Partners group, we got working on, well, if that's the case, then how do we just start more successful conversations? How do we get more conversations going? We created a tool and a resource which we call Conversation Carrots. Think of a carrot. It's something that you dangle in front of someone, and it's a way to start conversations.

What we did is, we created nine variations of this. It's really simple. It's just ways to start conversations and move things along. If you have a list of prospects that maybe haven't responded to you in a while, or haven't engaged, this resource will be perfect for that. You can send out an email, and you can just start a conversation, either with directly making an offer, or starting a conversation that's going to lead to the offer.

It's called Conversation Carrots. Depending on if you're watching this video on the website, the button is below. But if you're listening to this on YouTube, or Spotify, or iTunes, or anywhere else, go to martialartsmedia.com/130. That's the number 130, for episode 130. Click on the big button, download the resource, let me know what you think. That's it.

If you've got some great value out of the show, please do me a favor and just hit the share button wherever you got it, or leave us a great review. Always welcome. Always great to hear from any of our listeners, especially if you are implementing anything that we share and get results from that. All right. Thanks so much for listening, watching.

See you in the next episode. Cheers.

 

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***NEW*** Now available on Spotify! 

129 – Success By Design – Foundations Required To Setup Your Next Profitable Location

Kevin Blundell shares 3 essentials from The Next Profitable Location Blueprint that’s helped them open 20+ successful martial arts locations. 


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IN THIS EPISODE:

  • What’s the population needed for a successful martial arts school, and how far should this be from your existing location? 
  • The ‘drivers science’ behind choosing your exact new location
  • What to avoid in your environment when scouting for locations
  • Accessibility and geographical location: what are their impact on your martial arts business?
  • Why should you take advantage of ‘The Next Profitable Location Blueprint'?
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here. 

 

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey, it's George Fourie – welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. In this episode, I'm chatting to repeat guest, Kevin Blundell, from Kumiai Ryu Martial Arts System. 

Now, if you've listened to the podcast over the years, we originally spoke on Episode 20 – talking about signing up 100 new students within five weeks. Then we got together on Episode 115, talking about the strategic mindset behind 23 locations. 

And this episode is really special to me, because if you listen to Episode 115, that is where this whole new journey began. Let me give you a few insights. 

So, Episode 115 was actually a recording from our internal, private Partners event that we hosted for our Partner members. So, three times a year we get our Partner members together and it's a combination of masterminding, networking, and bringing speakers together – and just learning and growing and sharing information and networking together. 

And after the event – Kevin spoke at the event, which was the recording of Episode 115 – and after that, we started talking about this process of opening another location. Now, Kevin is one of the most humble and sincerest guys that you'll meet and won't always reveal the depth of knowledge that he has within the industry. 

But when you speak to him, you'll know that he's very methodical and everything is systemized and designed for success, step by step with absolute certainty and clarity. We started talking about how to go about opening, successful location after location; and they've rinsed and repeated this process 20 plus times, very, very successfully.

And so, I spoke to Kevin about, number one, speaking again at one of our events, but how about, we actually just look at the whole process and the blueprint, and map it out and see if it's something that we can share with other school owners. And that's why I'm really excited about this podcast, because we're just in the process of putting together The Next Profitable Location Blueprint. 

Martial Arts Location

So, depending on when you're listening to this, we are hosting a Partners Intensive Event that for the first time we opening up to the public, and if you're listening to this a bit later, the program will be ready to go and available, which is the full course – The Next Profitable Location Blueprint.

So, we chatted a bit about the first steps. If you're looking at opening the next location, what are the things that you got to look for in… Firstly, why do you need to do it in the first place? How do you go about probing the population? What have you got to look for? What is the minimum number of people that you should have in a town, if it's a rural town? What is the best structure to set up your location, and all the rest. 

So, we're going to jump right in now. Wherever you're listening to this podcast or watching, make sure you hit the subscribe button. If it's on YouTube, hit subscribe. If it's on your favorite audio channel, make sure you subscribe – that you get notified when our next episodes come out and look for the notes and the links to the show notes. Episode 129. 

So, we're at martialartsmedia.com/129 – check the show notes. There are links available to the event depending on when you're watching or listening to this, there'll still be time to jump on. Otherwise the program should be available. Have a look, and if you're looking – seriously considering opening up the next location, it might be worth checking out. Alright, but let's get into the magic. Let's jump into the show. Let's do it. 

Kevin, so in the context of opening a new location, we always ask the marketing question first. But in reference to opening a new location, what has been the best marketing campaign or promotion that you've done that's been most successful for you? 

KEVIN: We've had a number of successes, but one that comes to mind is when we open one location, we systematically went around creating rumors and whispers. So, we, you know, we joined some local Facebook groups, we spoke to local sporting groups, and we just said, “Hey, it's a new martial art school coming to town.” 

We had a few people in the geographical area, and we asked them to do, just in their day to day activities, just say, “Oh, by the way, there's a new martial arts school coming to town,” and it piqued a lot of people's interest. So, it was really good how it unfolded for us. 

GEORGE: What was the result of doing that strategy? 

KEVIN: What was really going… On our opening week we got 50 paid trials for the first week before we even commenced. During the construction phase, you know, I was present a fair bit and went to hardware store, service stations, you know, just interacting with the local community – and I always told them what was going on. 

And funny enough, a lot of those guys booked in, paid for their trial, and were there that first week. Some are still with us in that area. So, it's really good, it's really successful. 

GEORGE: Fantastic. So, Kevin, I wanted to bring you on, we've got – and depending on when you're listening to this – but we've got an event coming up, and we've put this program together called ‘The Next Profitable Location Blueprint'. If I think of any martial arts business owner in the world, and I think who would be the renowned expert on this topic, it would be you – just because you've done this so many times and successfully and run a multi-million-dollar organization with your multiple martial arts schools. 

So, if we're to just start from the beginning – if I'm a martial arts school owner and I'm looking to open up my next location, I want to grow my growth, where do you start? 

KEVIN: A lot of trials and tribulations to get to where we are now, but I certainly feel confident we've got it pretty accurate. Certainly, over the last number of locations we've opened, we've been very successful, as we followed the blueprint from day one. 

Probably the most important thing is once you establish your why – why you want to do it and what you want to achieve – is to find the geographical area you want to be in and one of the key things is, you know, if you're going to own both the locations, you need to be able to manage those. So, anything more than an hour's drive away, becomes a little bit untenable, but if you're, you know, 30 to 45 minutes away, it's an ideal location. That's the first thing. 

So, you just basically look at the map and, you know, if you're in a city, do you know how many suburbs away you want to be? How busy is it to travel there? If you're in a rural environment, what's the next largest town or city, and how long is it going to take to get there? You need to account that in, because that's one of the key things, if you are running both locations, you certainly need to have that measured from the start. 

Probably the next thing is, once you decide where you'd like to go, is to physically go there yourself and just have a look around, get a feel for the place, just see what happens. And there's a lot of subheadings under that of what we do, that primarily is just see. I know it sounds a bit, you know, of a sort of fly by. 

You've seen your parents' way of setting up a business, but get a vibe, it really is – get that vibe for that area. And you can get that over a couple of days, visits, you know, just by interacting with the community, having a look around, and obviously doing your research. 

GEORGE: Perfect. So, I want to talk a bit more about visiting for the vibe and so forth. But let's take just one step back – before you've even visited the town, what are you looking for? 

If you, like, draw up a map and you're looking, “Alright, well, I'm here and I'm looking at a radius of about 30 minutes to an hour from where I'm at for my next location.” What are the things that you're looking for? And what type of research are you doing to determine where you are going to set up? 

KEVIN: So, once I've gone to the place and had a look physically, just to sort of satisfy myself, that's an area. So, these two things correlate together, and that is… Then I go on and I look at the Bureau of Statistics, I look for the population in the area, I look for the medium income, I look for activities, you know – is it a sporting town or is it a retiree town? Is it a low socio-economic area or is it a, you know, wealthy area? 

Generally, somewhere in between those two is an ideal area, young families. You can plonk yourself in a very wealthy area, but people, you know, haven't got any time and then you put yourself in an area where there's a lot of folks that just haven't got the resources to participate. So, you have to weigh all those things up so you can do your research. 

Our local government area websites have a lot of information. So, we systematically go through and tick off – look at the Bureau of Statistics, your local government area websites, and you just see, you know, even news articles. I've done research on news articles as well, just to see what sort of people are in that area, and if they would fit into your martial arts school community.

GEORGE: And what about sports activities and things like that? Is there anything you look at? Are you concerned about competition or anything like that? 

Martial Arts Location

KEVIN: Look, I think if you go to an area where there's a lot of sporting activity – we've had a lot more success where there was, areas where there wasn't. So, you know, do they have a soccer competition, a touch football competition, basketball, hockey, how many teams they got, you know, and that's easy. 

Just look at the local associations, you know, for example, the Hockey Association for field hockey, you know, football, all sorts of things, swimming, whatever sporting day. Even look historically at the sporting pages for that area, you know, to see the prowess of the athletes that come out of there. 

Because if they're a sporting town, it's, you know, you do run into the thing of ‘we only can only train in the summer, because winter,' and vice versa. But once you get people involved, you know, they'll work it out, and you'll have them there training all year round. 

So, you know, you want to look at that. In part of a scenario, where, as I say, you might have a lot of retirees or people, there's not much action happening, you might have a level of success, but I just found that, you know, really looking into the area you're going to make a big difference. 

GEORGE: Fantastic. If we had to look at population density, and how big are communities, is there a set number that you think of as a minimum? Especially if you're looking at like a rural town that's close by, that there's just not enough people in the vicinity to make it work? 

KEVIN: I look at percentages. So, if you can get 1% of the population to participate… 15,000 is a good benchmark, so if you've got 15,000 people who are within 30 minutes of where you're going to set up your new martial arts school, generally you'll get 150 people there as a rule. 

Obviously, this varies from location to location, but that's been the formula I've used, probably for 30 years. We have a lot of rural locations. You know, some initially were just community services into small areas. But you know, as we went along and became more proficient at what we did, we identified around that, around that 15,000. 

So, although we do have some schools, where there's a very small population, and for 5000 or 6000, they have over 100 members. So, you know, it really depends on the community. So, that's everything – dovetails together. It's really important to make sure it all marries together when you're doing research. 

You need to be honest in your assessment, but sometimes you get a little bit, you know, look at things through rose colored glasses. So, it's really important to make sure you're honest with your analysis. 

So, let's say you visit a town and you like the vibe, and it feels good. Has there ever been a moment where emotions clouded the actual logical “business brain”, and maybe the decision making didn't go in the right way? When I wore a younger man's clothes, yes. Because I thought everyone should do martial arts, and I couldn't understand why everyone everywhere in the whole world wasn't doing martial arts; but the reality came along pretty quickly. 

So, you know, you can make a clouded judgment, but with my overall approach now, if you follow the analysis, and you follow the steps, you'll get past that and make you feel… 

For example, we looked at a number of locations, Jason, you know, other towns near where I live at the present time. And one up north was closer to the one in the south, but once we went there and did our due diligence, we found that the one that in the north just wasn't going to support a full-time center and, you know – be great for little community martial arts in a hall type place, you know, it'd be fantastic for that. 

And there's some great martial arts schools there, but they don't ever have any great numbers, because it's just not that environment. 

GEORGE: And can you recall what the distinct trigger that made you feel that that's just… What is it about the town that you felt or the research that told you that it's just not going to work there? 

KEVIN: Well, initially, the vibe just wasn't there, and there was, just the atmosphere. Then when I did my research, you know, sporting groups and socio-economic, and it started to really throw up a lot of red flags. And I just thought, before I proceed any further with this, I'm not going to make a quick decision. 

So, I sort of left it for a few weeks and came back and re-went over the material and chose the other location, which was a great success. So, I guess, you know, a vibe is not a thing, but it just comes with experience. But having the opportunity to look at statistics, income, age, population demographics, obviously… 

Then what's happening in that town – was it a, you know, highway town or was it bypassed? You know, like, there's lots of little things that, you know, added up. And it just didn't add up right, and I made the right decision, 

GEORGE: I just want to go back on the distance, because we spoke about within a half an hour's drive. And I think anybody that's in a city might think, “Woah, nobody's going to drive 30 minutes to get to martial arts in a city environment,” right? But your experience in a rural town is very different, right?

KEVIN: In some of our rural locations, we have people drive 100 kilometers, or 60 miles, as we know it, each way to class twice a week, you know, well, without fail, and have done that religiously, year in and year out. So, in the city, I find that if you're more than, say, probably about 25 to 30 minutes, that's a maximum amount of travel, but generally, it's 15 to 20 minutes. 

But you still don't want to be parked on top of, you know, in an area that you're not happy with, you need to have a good area. So, you still need to do the same due diligence. We have locations in major capital cities as well. So, we understand how that works. So, there's sort of, like, you just need to make sure what, you know, public transport – is that available? 

One of our locations in Sydney, the train station is straight across the road from where they've got the dojo, which is the martial arts school, you know, and it's a great little location. 

So, it's not a full time one, it's a community hall, but he's got such a great relationship there. He can set up, you know, he has a set up team – they set up each night – has 150 members, and he's just killing it, you know, it's just great. It's a really good, great location. 

GEORGE: Fantastic. So, let's talk about that – location, right? So, you've done your research, your decision-making process has evolved and you're confident that, “Alright, I've found the place, I've found the town or the suburb where I'm going to set up my location.” 

Now you start looking for an actual venue, for an actual facility where you can set up. What are the elements that you go through to assess where a good location is, or whatnot? 

Next Profitable Location

KEVIN: It really comes down to a lot of things. But the major thing I found is accessibility. As I said, in that Sydney location, we had a choice of a better venue, but it was buried. It was so far away from public transport, whereas this one is, people just step off the train and walk across the road. So, it's probably not the best venue, but it's been the greatest venue. 

So, you need to look at, you know, if people have to come off a main thoroughfare and turn more than three times, they usually just don't bother with it, you know. What I mean by that is, from going on a main thoroughfare through a city or regional area and you just turn left, right, left, there it is, it's been a little formula I've used. 

And as people know, you know, around here, being involved in setting up a martial arts school, you can spend a lot more on advertising, if you've got a place that's pretty much not known about. So, sometimes I see the rent as an investment in my marketing, and I balance that. 

So, if you've got a big signage, it's easily accessible, and it's in an area that may have other activities similar to yours, like a gym, massage therapist, you know, indoor center of some activity. When people come, it really is a factor in making the decision. You don't really want to be next to a trucking company on one side, a diesel mechanic on the other, you know, or a noisy sort of industrial area. 

Because it just might be cheaper, but you'll be punished in the long run, because people just don't want to bring their kids there. So, it really comes down to thinking like a parent bringing a child or a person who's, you know, finished their day at the office or even a tradesperson. 

You know, they try to come somewhere where it's nice, it's clean, it's easy to get to, good parking, well lit. And lighting is a key thing, especially when I try to visit other martial arts schools and, you know, you need a torch to get in through the carpark. Just little things like that, that makes a massive difference.

GEORGE: Kevin, I find it interesting that you mentioned that you favor accessibility to the actual venue itself. Now once you've found this venue, how do you then… Do you do random visits at random times of the day? Or how do you just further assess if this is, you know, before you sign on the dotted line? 

KEVIN: Yeah, I think that's really important for people setting up a new location – actually go there during the key times you'll have a timetable. So, at this point, I would have a ghost timetable, written out roughly what days and nights we'd run classes based on other locations and what works already. 

And then I go to the area, and sort of drive around and just see, because of the, you know, there's always going to be schools nearby, or businesses closing or whatever. You just need to get a feel, as a parent, you know, dropping your child off, getting there after work, you know, how hard is it to get there? You know, some locations are gridlocked at 3:30pm, so you might have to review your timetable. Nighttime is always important. 

The safety of your students as they come and go, and the parents' parking accessibility, walking distance from public transport. You know, is it a safe walk? You just want to think about all those things, and whilst you may not be able to tick every single box of that list of things I mentioned, if you can get close, it'll work much better for you. 

GEORGE: Okay, so we've covered a lot of the foundational stuff, and I want to be respectful of your time. But I do want to cover something and this is a question that always comes up a lot, you know, different business structures and how you go about it. Now, you mentioned that you select a location that's within the 30 to 60-minute range. 

But obviously, the goal is for you to open the location and not completely run it forever. So, you want to have somebody else in charge. Now I know you've got a few business structures, three that you potentially work with, but if you don't mind sharing, what is your favorite business structure for your next location to open up, and why do you prefer that? 

Next Profitable Location

KEVIN: With my experiences, I've tried many different formulas. I find under license seems to work the best for me, and that means we have someone who is growing within your organization, and then they can branch out and open the next location. Now that person would obviously be one of your instructor team, or ready to become part of your instructor team and have the financial backing to put themselves into the position. 

Sometimes we do work out a financial arrangement of, like, helping set up as part of the license agreement. They're primarily under license, so it gives a person autonomy. It gives them their own identity, still under your umbrella and infrastructure, which enables them to be very successful, because all the hard work is already done. 

GEORGE: Alright. Kevin, we've got lots more to talk about and I'll lead into that, but if you don't mind sharing, we got together a couple of months ago, and I started asking questions just about your process. And you spoke at one of our events prior – for our Partners group, the Partners Intensive – we decided to get you back on, depending on when you're listening to this, we either have the full program released or you're still in time for the event. 

But we decided to get together and my job was to extract all your knowledge and help put it together, and we've come up with the whole format, the whole blueprint, “The Next Profitable Location Blueprint.” And do you mind just sharing a little bit? Why the program and who will benefit most from that? 

KEVIN: Over the years, you know, by default, I started public speaking at seminars and events, being privileged to do it pretty much all over the world and met a lot of fantastic people along the way. And every time, you know, people would ask me, how do you do this? How do you do that? And I'd sort of give them a rough idea, and after our discussion, I thought, “Well, it'd be remiss of me not to package it up, so other people have the opportunity to, you know, get their next location up and profitable and running successfully, without having to go through all the pitfalls.” 

And my ideas aren't grandiose or, you know, unrealistic, they're all measurable and they're all obtainable. So, you know, I think it's a great opportunity for people to plug in. And, you know, have a listen, and we've been very successful, and I wish nothing but success for everybody else in the industry. 

GEORGE: I have to add that is a really modest way of putting it, from the perspective of helping. Kevin, you know, putting all this together and breaking down the modules from how to fit out all the facilities, how to maximize your space, the organic marketing approach you take, which I have to say – next level – you know, and this coming from a marketing guy! 

This is just setting up the right foundations to get your school growing and thriving before you take on any paid type marketing campaigns. Yes. So, the approach is just, I have to commend you. It's really phenomenal. 

KEVIN: Well, thank you, George, and I truly hope, you know, people do take the opportunity, because they will benefit. It's, you know, we call it The Next Profitable Location Blueprint because it really, it's about your next location, we want it to be profitable. 

And the blueprint is your map, it's clearly, you know, and we've done all the heavy lifting, and if you follow the steps, you know, I've had nothing by success so far, and you've got 40 years of mistakes, condensed and cleaned and polished and out the other side already, so, yeah, well, thank you very much. 

GEORGE: Perfect, and we'll leave all the details where you can access either the event if you're on time or the actual recorded program. It'll be on martialartsmedia.com/129, the numbers one two nine. Kevin, thanks so much for sharing so generously, and we'll speak again. 

KEVIN: Thank you very much, George. Looking forward to it.

 

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128 – 5 Factors That Make An Irresistible Martial Arts Offer

An irresistible martial arts offer can be the ‘make or break’ of any promotion to attract new students. Follow these steps to turn your offers into winners.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Being uber specific with what’s included in your irresistible martial arts offer
  • Should you give away free items with your martial arts offer?
  • Do this and you instantly increase the value of your martial arts offer
  • What’s the best price for a martial arts paid trial offer?
  • This turns any martial arts offer into a ‘no-brainer’
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here. 

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, it's George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. In this episode, I'm going to be talking about irresistible martial arts offers.

So what is an irresistible martial arts offer? And do you even need a good offer? Well, of course, you do. And that's what this episode is all about. So we're going to dive into the details of what it is that you actually need to include in your offer. Does it need to be free? Does it need to be paid? What do you add? Do you add different items? How do you package it and so forth?

And I can tell you what, with all the school owners that we've worked with over the years, whenever somebody shares with us a campaign that's just not working, or they're struggling to get traction on the ads, or just a general internal promotion that's not really getting results, it's almost always due to a broken offer.

So you can run a really bad campaign with a great offer and still get great results, but you can't run a great campaign with a bad offer. So we're going to dive into the details on how you go about creating an offer, what it even is, and how you craft it so that it gives your future students the confidence to take the first step and start training with you on their martial arts journey.

Hang around to the end. I'll share with you where you can download our PDF, called The Irresistible Martial Arts Offer, and it will show you step-by-step the process that we go through to create your irresistible martial arts offer in just a few minutes.

All right, let's start with the basics. What actually is an offer? Well, an offer is, and if we go straight into referring to martial arts terms, it's a combination of how you package different free classes with potential free items. And how you package it in a way that the value exceeds the price if it's a paid trial or the actual value that's being presented for the commitment that needs to be taken to take advantage of the offer.

So that brings up the question, should your offer be free, or should it be paid? Well, it really depends, and I'm not going to dive into that, but if you do go to martialartsmedia.com/124, I did cover for a recent episode on free trials versus paid trials for martial arts and comparing the different platforms and when you should use which one. But either way, it's always important that the value exceeds the actual commitment or the financial commitment of the offer. So that's a bit of a bonus tip, I guess.

So I'm going to cover five points of what actually makes an irresistible martial arts offer. All right, let's dive in. Number one, be specific. Be specific with anything, and I think this is just copywriting in general, and this is if I say copywriting, I mean, sales copywriting, not copywriting, that's like the legal thing, normally at the bottom of a website, right, with different terms.

So when crafting good sales copy, it's important to really be specific and in a way almost dumb things down. There's a rule in copywriting, it says you've got to write for third-grade level because you don't want to leave people to look at something and have to think about what you just wrote.

So it's important to make things so specific and so simple, that even the obvious things that you think people would maybe know, that you still state the obvious, right? So you've got to state the obvious. You've got to be super specific in how you present what is included in the offer. The minute someone's got to think, you potentially just lost them because now they're trying to figure out what your offer is.

So being super specific is very important. So what should you be specific on, well numbers and what they get. So let's start with the beginning. What are you giving away? Is it a couple of classes? Is it one day? Is it one class? Is it five classes? Is it seven? Is it one month?

If I had to be technical, if I had a month trial versus a four-week trial, I'd rather have a four-week trial because four is more than one, right? It's a little play on words, but guess what, crafting an irresistible offer, a lot of the mechanics is having a well-structured play on words so that the perceived value does increase, right?

So this is partly important, it's not going to be the make or break. You can't trick someone into thinking that it's a good offer when it's not, but it's important to have a look at some of these elements. All right. So that's number one, be specific.

Number two is what are you giving away? What is included? Is there a free item included? So let's assume you are running a paid trial. And in fact, most of these elements are references to you running a paid trial. Although there's a lot of overlap that you can use if it's a free trial as well. If it's a free trial, you might not be giving away a free item, unless you've got a good backend process of where you sign people up.

So on the front end, you're running a paid trial, for example. So let's say you include a free item. Including a free item is really important, and it does increase the perceived value of your offer. And this might sound funny, but it also helps people rationalize the value in their mind because let's face it, how can anyone determine what the value of a martial arts class is if they've never actually taken a martial arts class? I mean, we'd all want to think, yep, everybody's just going to love it and they understand the value.

But if I'm looking at an ad or promotion and I've never taken a martial arts class before, then how do I know what the value is? But if there's a free T-shirt, a free uniform, or free gloves, that's something tangible I can actually visualize. And in my mind, I can rationalize the value of that item. All right. So number two, include a free item.

Number three, state the value of the item. Okay, now sometimes we break this rule and I'll cover why that is in point five, but include the value of your actual item. So I don't know an item's value unless you tell me what it is, right? So if there's a free uniform, well what is the value of that uniform? I need to know that this is a good, valuable offer. So if I'm paying, let's say 39.95 for the offer and the uniform is worth $85. Well, now I can immediately actually see that the offer is pretty valuable and it's a good deal.

All right, now I'll tell you what the rules are when we don't use this and when we do not include the value of the item, is when the value of the item is actually less than what the paid trial is worth. And I'll show you how we get around that in point five. All right. But in general, it's good to include the value of the item, right?

Number four, pricing. So again, obviously for a paid trial. For a paid trial include what the pricing is. Now, what type of numbers do you use? Well, odds typically convert better than evens when you're running ad promotions. Don't ask me why. I didn't make this up, I didn't invent this, but this has been tested by so many marketers online and typically the odd numbers convert better than even numbers. That's just a given fact. I like to start with facts and look, it's always good to prove your own tests wrong.

So if you do want to test even numbers, go for it. But rather start with a tried and true and tested first before you try and prove it wrong by going in a direction that's not really proven. All right. So what's up in numbers. Well, if you download the worksheet, the PDF that we included in this episode, we'll actually share with you the price points that we've tested the most. We do that in free items, in classes, in items, value, etc. And what we're discussing here of course is the price points. So I'll share with you how you can get that in just a minute. All right, so that's point number four.

And number five, number five is we talk about either the savings or the total value. So we use this if number three just doesn't look great.

Let's say our offer is 69.95 and we're including a free T-shirt, that's worth 20 bucks. To mention the 20 bucks included, it just doesn't give so much of a wow impact. So here's what we do instead, we talk about the total savings or the total value. So how does that work? Well, if I'm giving away four weeks' classes and I'm including, let's say just a free T-shirt. So what we'll do then is we'll calculate the value of the four weeks of classes and included with the T-shirt and now we can say in brackets, total value X. Or what we could also do is we could look at what they would save.

So what would it cost them to train those four weeks and buy the free item? And we will deduct that, and then we'll work out what the savings is, right? So that is an alternative for you to use. And that's really it.

Now, if you want to get practical and you want to get stuck and you do want to create your irresistible martial arts offer, then what you want to do is just download the PDF and we'll show you exactly what numbers we use, what type of free items, what price points, and exactly how you can go and structure your irresistible martial arts offer so that you can increase your conversions because that's what it really is about.

It's really about including a great offer in your ads so that when your potential students look at it, they can go from curious to serious, to signing up much easier and much faster. And you get much better results with your ads. All right. So where do you get this? Go to martialartsmedia.com/128, so that's the number 128, and just have a look below the video of this podcast, you'll find a link where you can download the free PDF, Your Irresistible Martial Arts Offer. And go ahead, let us know how you go with this.

And if you've got value from this video, don't forget to share it and I will see you in the next episode. Have a good one. Cheers.

 

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Download the Martial Arts Media™ Mobile App.
It's our new private community app exclusive for martial arts school owners, with top courses, online events, and free resources to help grow your business.  Click here to download for iPhone or Android (any other device).
2. Join the Martial Arts Media™ Academy Membership and become a Case Study.
I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month to get to 100+ students. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, get started with our 7-day risk-free trial – Click Here
3. Work With Me and My Team Privately.
If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, fill out the form and apply HERE … tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details – Click Here
Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.
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