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.

 

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127 – [Case Study] How A Traditional Karate School Generated $30,000+ In 72 Hours With This Simple Campaign

Richard Fall shares how they generated $30,000+ in 72 hours for his karate school with The 72 Hour ‘Cash Boost’ Sale. 


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How Richard and Kim generated $30,000 in just 72 hours
  • How asking for help leads to faster martial arts business growth
  • Why action takers are the money makers
  • The power of surrounding yourself with like-minded people
  • How to get over the fear of charging what you're worth
  • 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. Today, I have two special guests with me, and in fact, this is my favorite type of episode to create. Look, we have great interviews on our show, but these ones are a bit more special for me, because this is a case study interview. And so, a case study interview is me interviewing some of our top clients and documenting the journey that they've gone through working with us, and celebrating the great result that they have achieved. 

And so today, I have Richard Fall, and Kim Comeau, from London Karate Club in Ontario, Canada. And we actually met via this podcast – I was chatting to Kim on Instagram, she was, “Hey, we actually listen to you every day!” And we got chatting, and we started working together, and it's been really such a great pleasure working with Richard and Kim, and seeing what great results they have achieved. And we're going to chat about that, because just recently, Richard and Kim went through a process that we call the '72 Hour Cash Boost Sale', which is exactly what it is. And they managed to generate $30,000 in just 72 hours. 

Now, that's the highlight, right? And hey, we got to talk about the highlights first. But it wasn't that easy to get to that point! Yep. The cash was collected in just 72 hours, but there was a lot that had to happen. Mindset, just belief in the process, belief that it can happen, and just being comfortable in creating a promotion like that without feeling like they're being sellout or cheap, or, you know, just being weird about how they operate their martial arts school. 

So, we're going to jump into the details, just how they worked through it, what they went through, the change of mindset, and really how any school owner could achieve results like that on a continuous basis, if they committed to the process. So, we'll jump into the details, and just for a bit of context, the strategy, it's something that we do in our Partners program.

Our Partners program is our flagship program that you've heard me speak about before if you've listened to us before. It's a group of school owners that we work with around the globe, we get together weekly and, you know, work through different strategies on how to attract the right students, increase signups, and retain more members. And so, the 72 Hour Cash Boost Sale is a process that you can run about four times per year, and it's just a great way to boost your cash flow. 

We'll dive into the details and I'll tell you how. So, jump right in. If you – depending on where you're listening or watching this episode, you can get the show notes on martialartsmedia.com/127. That's the numbers one-two-seven.

And you can also download our eBook, ‘The Ultimate Facebook Ad Formula for Martial Art Schools'. And that's it, jump into the episode, I'm sure you're gonna enjoy it. And wherever you're listening or watching make sure that you subscribe, that you get notified when we have a new episode. Enjoy.  

So, Richard and Kim, what's been the most profitable and most successful marketing campaign and ad campaign that you've done recently, or up to date? 

RICHARD: Most important one that I've done and the most profitable one I've done was the 72 Hour Sale that you set out for us. Like, I've had goals in the past that I've made, but I've never surpassed what you had mapped out for us in the 72 Hour Sale. I think moving forward, the most important, yeah, that was the most important one that stood out in my whole running of the dojo career. 

GEORGE: That's awesome. And what was the outcome? What was the result? 

RICHARD: The outcome was around almost $31,000, which is what we did. Like, we had a goal to sell 20 memberships, and we were okay at only selling 12. Twelve was our minimum, 20 was our goal; and we did 20, right on the nose. So, we did 20 memberships right on the nose.

GEORGE: That is pretty cool, right? 31,000 in between the COVID madness and things like that. How did that impact the business? 

RICHARD: The impact on the business? We… It was to the point where COVID was kind of taking away from my business what I had made up to that point and it actually fueled the dojo to be, or the school to actually be able to carry forward into this year. So, I had no worries carrying forward into this year. 

So, it actually helped me out quite a bit, with just the money part of it. Just the money part and the worries of being able to pay the bills, being able to pay employees, and, you know, taking care of business itself. So, it took a lot off my shoulders stress-wise that way, and really gave me a good kickstart for 2022. 

GEORGE: Love it. Alright, so, before we get into all the other good stuff, welcome to the show and thanks for jumping on! So, a bit of context. I've been working with Richard and Kim for, I don't know, maybe about almost a year, maybe? 

RICHARD: Almost a year, yeah. 

GEORGE: Before we jump into everything else, firstly, you're sitting behind an awesome wall. But I've got Richard Fall and Kim Comeau from London Karate Club in Ontario, Canada. Just give us a bit of a round up. What do you do? What do you teach? And yeah, just a bit of a background; a quick, brief background about the business.

Martial Arts Business

RICHARD: I'm the owner of the London Karate Club and my teacher is Master Meitatsu Yagi out of Okinawa, Japan, and I've been training with him since 1985. And I've been training myself in karate for about 42 years. And yeah, so, we teach Meibukan Goju-Ryu, and we just teach karate, we don't teach anything else but karate. 

And, you know, we leave all the other stuff, jiu jitsu and that stuff, to the professionals that handle that stuff, and that's what we do. I follow the family religiously, and I travel to Okinawa when I can. Just over the last few years, I couldn't travel and see my teacher, but it's  – we're moving forward. We're moving forward towards seeing each other again. 

GEORGE: Awesome. And the important right-hand lady sitting next to you… Kim! 

KIM: Yeah, so, I've been training for about 20 years now, and I joined the London Karate Club about six years ago. So, I've been training under Sensei Richard Fall for six years. And I've also traveled to Okinawa and have credentials internationally, or black belt gradings and stuff. I came on board to help with the backend of the business. So, a lot of the advertising and Facebook and social media stuff.

RICHARD: She was also the first Canadian woman to win a tournament in Okinawa. 

GEORGE: Wow… and you just left that out, right?! 

KIM: And that… 

GEORGE: Of course, yeah. Any other credentials that are hidden from us, Richard, that we need to, we need to bring to light? 

RICHARD: Ranks don't really matter, but I'm a 9th Degree Black Belt. Hanshi under Dyson, say, Meitatsu Yagi in Okinawa, which makes me the highest rank in my style in Canada. So… 

GEORGE: Amazing. 

RICHARD: Allows me to do international gradings myself, and on behalf of my teacher, and we're hopefully going to soon connect Zoom classes with them, so that we can reach out to the entire world, right, with him and try to see if we can get some movement for him, you know, as well. 

GEORGE: That's cool. So, now I know you're very passionate about your karate and you're a purist at heart and can see it in the display behind you there. Do you want to just give us a quick round up – what are we looking at in the background there?

martial arts business case study

RICHARD: So, the three people behind me, the black and white picture above my head is Master Meitoku Yagi, the founder of Meibukan Goju-Ryu, who I have a third degree under, and fortunate to meet in 1990. To over Sensei Kim's head is my master, Master Dai Sensei Meitatsu Yagi, and then the guy that's just below is Ippei Sensie, his son. The kanji behind me means great well, so it means to move forward and the opportunity to make great wealth. 

GEORGE: And what else have we got?

RICHARD: Well, we got, we have the rope above my head, on the shrine there, that's from the tug of war in Okinawa. 2013, I went over and we did the festival of rope. The festival of rope is the longest tug of war in the world. They do it every October, it's kind of like an Oktoberfest, but it's to usher in good crops. They used to be to usher in good crops, and then what all would do, all the territories around the area would come together, and they would do kata in the Kokusai-dori, which is the main strip in Okinawa, and I had the fortune to be able to demonstrate my karate in with the Okinawans as well.

GEORGE: That's cool. So, you treasure that, and the history and the heritage, how do you bring that into the school and into the teaching?

RICHARD: When our students move forward, they have to actually learn history. So, as they move forward, they have to know who the master of the style is, who the creator of the style is, and what our history is. So, we go all the way from Chojun Miyagi to Meitoku Yagi. So, the founder of Goju-Ryu, Goju-Ryu is one of the major styles that make up all of karate in the world. So, Chojun Miyagi passed on, his family passed on the style to Meitoku Yagi Dai Sensei, and then passed the style onto his son. So, our lineage is a pure straight line. 

So, right straight from Chojun Miyagi, all the way to me is a straight line, there's no fragments in between at all. So, the culture is carried forward, because bringing my teacher here, he's very big on history. And I know history has a part of understanding where you come from, but it's not the end-all be-all, right? So, you can't, with me being part of, understanding history, I've always found that I'm humble. 

So, being too humble sometimes can shoot you in the foot, because you don't feel like you should charge as much for what you're doing. Because it's more spiritual to you, right? It's more inside that you feel gratification, through teaching, right? So, as I was growing up, going through, growing up as a child, I wasn't a very good teenager. I was actually getting into a lot of trouble and causing problems. And then that's when I first got introduced at around 15 and a half to karate, and karate actually saved my life. Two people that I hung around with actually committed murder and it could have easily been me. 

So, I owe karate my life. So, I kind of took that for… I've been in business for probably about 32 years now, and never really made a huge success. I'm still doing a part-time school, and still working a job during the day. I know, George, that makes you cringe. But I'm trying to get past that guy who is still afraid to step out of what he does as a job and get into something that he does for a passion.

GEORGE: Alright, so, you mentioned and I want to get back to Kim on just what part of that attracted you to training under Sensei Richard Fall. So, but on that, because you bring up a point, and this is a point that comes up a lot. I think the connection between the spiritual aspect and what martial arts mean to you personally, and then there's the business side, that's what's got to happen. 

Somehow, in most humans' brains, we make this connection, or there's past programming, that money is evil, or money's bad. Or there's somebody that's a real, you know, I don't even like the term dojo, but there's, you know, people that are just teaching real watered down, poor martial arts, and they're charging an arm and a leg and they're ripping people off. We didn't, I don't really see much of that in Australia, but you know, if you watch McDojoLife, you'll probably see, you can probably see it all, right? But I think there's a lot of danger there, right? Because you don't want to be that guy, and so now you link old programming to you know, money, how money is bad. 

And if I'm going to make money with my spiritual thing, that means so much to me and has impacted my life in such a positive way, and now I start focusing on the money, I'm going to be perceived as that guy… and I think that's a big thing that a lot of martial artists get stuck with. How do you feel you've overcome that? Because I think you, you might not be giving yourself as much credit is due, right, because you've moved a few mountains. How's your perspective changed over the last six months or so?

martial arts business case study

RICHARD: Well, I think when working with you and with Martial Arts Media and Partners, I think talking to everybody in the community kind of helped me to realize, “Hey, there's a lot of good martial artists out there that are charging what they're worth.” And like I said to you before, I have a hard time relating to people that have 400 students, 350 students. 

I used to have 250 students, and I did it all by myself and I realized that I can't do it by myself. That failure, that I went backwards, actually taught me a lot, that if I can get there, once I get there again. I just have to get it in my mind and the tools to be able to do it, right? And I think by joining the group and the Partners has kind of helped me, kind of start that machine and get those wheels moving, that see that, “Hey, you know what, it's not bad to make money at doing what you're doing, right?” And it's not bad at – teaching your craft and getting something for it, right? 

I put a lot of time and effort, and since Kim puts a lot of time and effort into making things happen, and the Facebook ads, all that stuff is something that you taught us, and like I said before, is that we're very thankful for that. And, you know, there's a point in time where money is tight. And I said, “Well, what did I do? Like I stepped into this thing, this commitment. And maybe it's the wrong thing to do at this time.” And the only thing I could cut is things that are new, and I'm grateful that I kept on going with Partners, because it's really teaching me a lot how to move forward, and how to move past that barrier of, you know, is it okay to make money? 

GEORGE: Cool. I remember there was a, I mean, we've had many conversations after but I remember, in our, the game plan call that we have as onboarding when school owners join our Partners Group… I remember this, it had an impact on me as well, because I remember talking to you, and I remember seeing something go off in your mind, that you realized, “Oh, hang on, like, I can charge what I'm worth. I'm, you know, I'm more valuable than the way that we are going.” Can you recall that moment? I recall it, it really stuck with me.

RICHARD: That was when we had a private, kind of a private, call. And you sat down and showed me the map of what I could do, and I think that moment, I realized that, “Hey, you know, I'm actually a part of this game, too.” And like I said, I did it by myself before, I can't do it by myself. 

I'm thankful for the person sitting beside me, because she does a lot, and she does a lot of stuff that I can't do, right? And not that I can't do it, I can probably learn it. It's just, it's difficult being, you know, I'm 58 years old, it's kind of hard to teach an old dog new tricks, as they say, right? That's not a Canadian term, either. That's actually a real term. 

GEORGE: I've actually heard that one before. 

RICHARD: But it's showed me, that showed me that I can make more, and since you showed me that, we are making more. Like, we got more people coming into the dojo, more than ever, with our Facebook ad. We're averaging about nine to… Well, I send it to you every week, right? Nine, and we just went up from nine, and went up from there; and, you know, we never had that traffic before. 

Growing pains is a good thing. It's scary, but it's a good thing. And we just, we're floating our boat in a little bit rocky water that we don't know, but we're navigating through it, right? And we have you to help us along the way, to navigate through that. So yeah, that moment, I do remember that moment, that moment that you had showed us the way to do it. Yes. 

GEORGE: That's cool. So, Kim, we want to hear a bit more from you there. No pressure. But I guess first, just as a quick side intro, right, what of the history and what of that attracted you to starting with Sensei Richard Fall?

Martial Arts Schools

KIM: I just moved to the city, and I was looking for a place that was… I was doing Goju-Ryu and I wanted to keep with that. It was actually a friend from way up north that told me about the London Karate Club. So, I did a class here. And I was kind of hooked, because I was doing it, I was training for about 15 years before, and it was a little different. I liked the lineage, how pure it was. It wasn't, like, branched off to different people. It was very direct. And I really liked that I could do the same style that I was doing for, like, 15 years, I can continue that, so… yeah, and then I just was hooked. I was like training every day here, and I continue to do that still to this day. So, yeah.

GEORGE: That's cool. Now, you also implement a lot of the marketing and so forth. So, how does your role work within the club? 

KIM: Okay, yeah, so I started with being more social media, like, with getting stuff out there for our club and just putting it out there on Instagram and social media. And then I was just making positive progress with it, and it just turned into a manager role here. So, I've done sales for 15 years. So, I know a lot about that, and I have a lot of stuff that I can offer and I'm able to do for Richard. I also went to school last year, when I was let go of my job, and I did coding and website design. So, that's when I started getting into redoing the whole website, and it's going really, really well. And yes, so, I'm just continuing to keep going forward. 

GEORGE: And keeping the marketing engine rotating… 

KIM: Just going, which is a consistent thing that you do like every single day. So, yeah. 

GEORGE: Love it. Ok, so, a quick couple of questions just on, I really wanted to bring the two of you on as my favorite Canadians, first and foremost. Getting a better understanding as well from just everything that you do, just the history and so forth. I want to take this opportunity as well, and just ask a couple of questions just about, you know, us working together, like what's helped you most. Although you have revealed a lot of that, just going into a couple of things, right? So, first up, like, when we started working together, you mentioned a bit about the money thing and the value in the belief, but what were the biggest problems that you were facing at that time? 

RICHARD: The biggest problems that we were facing is that, in my mindset, I didn't want to be the lowest guy, I didn't want to be the highest guy, I wanted to be the middle guy. And being the middle guy, I gave away a lot of free two-week classes, which are two-week courses, which kind of shot me in the foot, because it's, uh, they're tire kickers, right? They don't really want to pay a big amount of money. 

So, we would get maybe one, maybe one or two, one or two people from that, right? And it didn't really pan out, right? It didn't really pan out for us. So, I was kind of trying to feel my way through it, and then it really, the success I had, like I said, I've been doing this for 32 years on a part time basis. There were five Meibukan schools in London, and I'm the only one left. So, I'm very, I'm a very dug-in person. I'm a very perseverant person, right? 

So, I think, by the mindset of giving stuff away, I always gave it away, instead of selling it, right? So, moving on to meeting you, Kim and I used to listen to podcasts all the time. They kind of got me hooked. I said, “Well, let's…” I let her listen to you, and we listened to you. I even used to listen to you all the way when I went to work or home. I found it very interesting. I'm going, like, you know, I wonder if this guy is really true blue, real guy, right? 

So, I think Sensei Kim, I think Kim reached out to you. I'm going, “Holy crap, he actually listened and he actually, you know, got back to us, right?” So, that's kind of what got that ball rolling, was actually Kim calling you or sending a message to you, and yeah, then it went from there, right?

GEORGE: And what was the big goal? I mean, at that time, what was the big aim? The big goal that you wanted to achieve? 

RICHARD: I wanted 300 students, that was all. 

GEORGE: 300 students, why did you want 300 students?

Martial Arts Business

RICHARD: Because I think moving forward, I want to have a living doing this. I want to get away from my day job and do this as a living. Like, I want to have what Lindsay Guy has, I want to have what Cheyne McMahon has, I want to have what Ross has, right? I want to have that and not because of… No, good for them, I just want to have that for me. As at the end of, when it's all said and done, I can say, “I built that.” I made that happen, right? And it was always – I came close but never really made an achievement. 

So, I guess it's seeing my baby, which is the dojo here, the school, to become what I want it to be. You know, this gem that I want it to be and I want those students just, not to blow my horn, I teach a really good martial art and I want those students to move forward and them to become teachers. I want them to become senseis of their own dojo, right? And that is why I want to get to the point of becoming bigger, right? 

GEORGE: So, out of that, while working together, I mean, what's had the biggest impact? And what's helped you the most? 

RICHARD: Of growing now? I think the social media part. I think Facebook – Kim can answer that as well.

KIM: Yeah, for sure. Definitely the Facebook ads, and learning about them, and how to advertise and catch people's eyes for the ads. That's been a huge impact for us, like, I received messages, like, 30 messages a day. So, that's had a huge impact on us for sure. 100%. Like, we've had to actually make classes built around beginner classes. So, that really pushed us forward too and it started us thinking about how we can gradually bring them into our family of London Karate Club. So… 

RICHARD: So, when you had that challenge, that 72 Hour Sale, I remember saying to Kim, “There's no way we win this, there's no way.” We've got Brad who has 400 students, you got Cheyne who has 350 students… This little dojo of 100 students, there's no way we're going to be able to beat these guys, right?
So, we did give it our best. We gave it our best and hoped for the best. And I just had one more day, I had one more encore day in my pocket, and we sold four memberships on that one encore day, right? That moment showed me that I can move a mountain, right? I can make it happen, right? And it's refreshing that something can make you and bring you up and lift you up like that, right? 

And, you know, why did this little dojo, this little school, beat these guys with all these students? Right, perseverance, right? It's perseverance. It's like the Rocky movie, right? You know, the guy who doesn't think he's going to win, and all of a sudden, he's there, right? You know, now I know moving forward. And like I said, the other night, I'm looking forward to moving forward with you, and I'm excited for what's coming, right? 

GEORGE: So, just a bit more on the 72 Hour Sale, I think just for context for anyone listening. I know a lot of people run like a Black Friday sale or Christmas sale. We've got this method in the Partners group called the 72 Hour Sale, because it was created before we created anything for Black Friday sale, but it can be used as a Black Friday sale or Christmas sale or any valid reason that you really give it. 

So, you can run it four times a year, twice a year, you know, whatever. Whatever mountains you're trying to move. In our Partners Group, we put together these challenges every so often. So, we run on six week cycles, and we put together a challenge, and we just see who gets the most numbers. Who would have thought martial artists are competitive? 

Everybody tends to rally up and get stuck in, right? And, so, we ran the six-week challenge. You could tell us more, right? But like Richard, as you were saying, you thought it was not possible, because you've never done something like this, and then you ended up with the number?

RICHARD: Right. I never thought you could do that in 72 hours. I never thought in my life. I've never done – that was the best sale – and that was the best month I've ever done. Like, ever, ever! And it was, like, it opened my eyes. If you really put your mind to it and really put everything aside and just focus on that number – focus on that number – 20, 20, 20. 

And that's what I was focused on, I was focused on 20, but in the back of my mind, I would have settled for 15, right? But that last day I said to Sensei Kim, “We're not settling for 15. We're not settling for 16. We're going to get 20.” And we got 20! And well, the way we did it was that we took – it's not just selling individual memberships, we started involving families, right? 

So, we had one lady who signed up for a family of three, right? So, we took the first number as the number, and then the other ones would kind of it's a little bit smaller, right? So, we actually sold family memberships and went there. So, we made that number just by being a little bit creative, right?

GEORGE: And that number, the dollar number, was 31? 

RICHARD: Just almost 31,000. Was 30,880 odd dollars. Yeah. 

GEORGE: That's nice. Bonus, right? 

RICHARD: It was…

GEORGE: Especially if you haven't done that! Now, I think what's more important from that, and you were sort of mentioning that as well, is how does that make you feel as in what you can achieve next? Like, I mean, it's nice to grab the cash and money's great, but what impact does it have on you? 

Martial Arts

RICHARD: It shows me that I – everyday sales – if I really ramp it up and really focus on what I need to focus on, and it shows me that I can make this as a living. It shows me that if I really had to spend all my time and effort at this, that I will never have to go through that door for someone else again… because really, when we go to work, and we're not working for ourselves, working for somebody else, that door becomes a dreadful, dreadful entrance, right? The shrine that's behind me, you see the gate of training there.

I have the gi of training at the door of my dojo, and every time I pass over that, the world stays behind. This is my world, right? So, I want that door. I want to walk through that door every day. I want that door to feed me every day. Feed me that positivity every day. And then, Kim and I, we work on positivity stuff all the time, right? We try to keep ourselves positive. I said, you know, through this 72 Hour Sale, we can't be negative, we got to be positive and we got to think positive, right? 

And it just shows me that I can make a living at this, right? I can make a living at this, right? And I gotta shake off those fears, right? Like fight full contact in Japan and shoot fighting – getting punched in the face sucks. It really sucks getting punched in the face sucks, right? I did a 20 man fight in Okinawa for my 8th Dan. It sucks, bare fist, fair enough, it sucks. But that stuff's easy compared to… To me, that stuff's easy compared to shaking off the fear of going into business for yourself. But it showed me, the 72 Hour Sale showed me that I can do that – I can shake off those fears. 

GEORGE: Yeah, and hats off to you because it's not, I mean, we provide the strategy and the formula… and it's great that we've got so many smart cats in our group that we can test different strategies, and we even refined things that last few days, and how can we change the offer to make it more valuable. 

But it should be said that none of this happens if you don't have a great product – and that means you deliver great classes, teach epic classes and deliver great martial arts classes. So, nothing happens without that. Last few questions, if you had to answer this: I almost didn't join, because…? 

RICHARD: I almost didn't join, because I didn't know if I could make the commitment to afford it. To be honest with you, George, what I did was – hoping my wife doesn't listen to this – during the first part of COVID, I, well, leveraged my house to keep this place open, because nobody was here – was just me, right?

And the first part, I didn't know how to do Zoom, we didn't know how to do Zoom, right? We didn't understand it, and then – we joined – it was the Partners that helped us with Zoom, right? We joined Zoom, we joined Partners, and we had to figure Zoom out. And so, what we did is we bought a year subscription for Zoom, and now we're teaching Zoom classes when we're locked out. 

And people are coming out – people don't like it so much – but the people are coming out, right? Because it's information. It's information. And I, like, I picked up a student through Sensei Kim in the UK, and he's training now and he's enjoying it, right? So, I mean, Zoom has its place, and you know, it taught us that we can touch and get involved with a lot of different people around the world. 

GEORGE: Love it. 

RICHARD: I was afraid I wouldn't be able to commit to you. That's my biggest fear. That was my biggest fear. 

GEORGE: Now can I ask, Kim, what did he really tell you?

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KIM: It was, that's what it was. It was, you know, can we keep putting money into this and you know, keep going and going forward at the same time? That's what it really was. And we just decided like, “Hey, let's just do it.” And like I said, the 72 Hour Sale, I think really opened us up to what we could do. It did for me too, because it – we were just a small dojo in, you know, in Canada, London, Canada, and we blew it out of the water really. For the short time and the work that you put into it, we got a lot out of it, and it just tells me that we can do a lot more.

RICHARD: Well, the other thing is though, when you sat down and went through the four-week sale with us, the four-week program? We used that four-week program, it brought a lot of students into us. So, that was the moment that you were talking about, when you saw the, “Hey, I can do this.” When I, when my wheel started changing, was that day and that's why I stayed. And also, just the feedback I get from all the people just sitting by – I don't talk a lot in the meetings – but I'm absorbing. 

I'm absorbing what they're saying and, you know, we're very much a paper and pen dojo. We haven't gotten on to a lot of apps and sign-in apps and stuff, and we're trying to figure it out now. Like, we're trying to figure it's got to be easier, right? So, we're getting a lot from the group and the Partners group and we're very thankful to be a part of it. Like it's, it's really helped us a lot, George. You guys have really helped us a lot. And I kind of like you a little. 

GEORGE: Ah, cool. So… 

RICHARD: Just a little bit, just a little bit. Take it easy. 

GEORGE: Okay, just a little, right. Good. I was glad to say that the, you know, the South African Aussie accent wasn't, you know, anything weird. 

RICHARD: Your Canadian accent is better than your Aussie accent. 

GEORGE: I do my best, hey! But one last thing, who'd you recommend us to, and why?

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RICHARD: I would recommend you to anyone, anyone who's looking to make gains in their schools, and to just all around, make their schools a better place, financially wise, and even with the stuff that you guys help us with, with getting classes scheduled and figuring out timewise… I would recommend it to any martial artists out there that really, really are struggling and martial arts schools all struggle, we all struggle. 

And if you want to be able to move forward in your craft that you love so much, I would recommend it to anyone, any school. Any school out there can always use the martial arts Partners, Martial Arts Media, and… nothing but good things, nothing but good things will come from it. 

GEORGE: Thanks so much, Richard and Kim. Thank you. And if that's you, and you're listening to this, and you do need some help. Best way to do that probably if you go to martialartsmedia.com/scale. We've got a little questionnaire you can just add your details there, and we'll reach out and have a chat and see if it's the right fit for you. No Canadian Club whiskey or anything was sent over as a funded endorsement. Do you guys even drink Canadian Club or is that just a thing? 

RICHARD: No, no, that's, that's so… no, no. 

GEORGE: Right, because I discovered Fosters beer when I lived in the United States, which is this big one liter can of beer. I was like, “Oh, wow, this is really cool.” And then when I ended up living in Australia was like, “Where the hell is Fosters?” Like you cannot buy Fosters. It's not a local Australian beer and nobody drinks fosters here. So, it's just an American thing or a North American Canadian thing. I don't know if you guys get it in Canada, but I think the attraction was it was just this big one liter can of beer. Yeah, right. So, Canadian Club is not a? No? 

RICHARD: No. It's not really good whiskey.  

GEORGE: Cool. Hey, Richard, Kim, thanks so much for being on. I'll speak to you soon. See you on the next call. 

RICHARD: Great. Thank you for having us, George. We really appreciate it.

KIM: Thank you. 

RICHARD: Appreciate everything you've done. 

GEORGE: Thank you. 

RICHARD: Thank you.

 

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126 – Ed Carr: How To Rise Above Bullying Through Martial Arts And Live An Empowered Life

Edward Carr shares how he’s built 2 thriving clubs through word of mouth, while helping his community combat cyberbullying and live an empowered life.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How to harness the power of word of mouth
  • Tips to boost martial arts community engagement 
  • How to encourage bullied children to share their experiences
  • Edward’s book against bullying, Lift Them Up: How to Rise Above Bullying and Live an Empowered Life
  • Effective ways to build a strong online presence
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey, George Fourie here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. So today, I have a special guest with me: Edward Carr from New Hampshire in the United States. And so, Edward owns two locations, Tokyo Joe Studios and Team Link MMA, both at the same actual location, in the same facility, on two separate floors.

So, we chat a bit about that divide, and also how he's built a thriving business. 320-330 plus students, mostly on word of mouth. And, look, always when someone says word of mouth, I'm always curious, because it always means there's a strong program, a strong product, and much more to it, right?

And so we chat a lot about things that they've done in the community, their community promotions, also his book against anti-bullying, that positions him as an authority. And all this, how it helped them thrive through the pandemic, and almost not losing any students after being locked down for a full year. So, we're going to jump into that.

If you are new to the podcast, do check out on this page martialartsmedia.com/126, depending where you're listening or watching, and be sure to download our ebook, ‘The Ultimate Facebook™ Guide for Martial Arts Schools', that will help you create your next winning ad campaign. And of course, wherever you're listening or watching, make sure you hit that subscribe button, so that you get notified when we release our next episode.

Alright, let's get into it. So, Edward, over the last couple of months, or just in general, what's been the top marketing strategy and lead generator for you?

EDWARD: It would be a lot of word of mouth, a lot of word of mouth and online. You know, some online advertising definitely helped out, but the word of mouth has been incredible-  with all the students promoting, you know, the school and, you know, me being involved in the schools a lot, also has helped out quite a bit, you know.

Just like I said, just promoting and having fun, and, you know, going from there. And just letting the kids know, you know, letting everyone know, you know, what we're doing, what we're about, promoting safety, you know. Letting them know, like, even though the pandemic, you know, people are still nervous, you know, having all the safety stations everywhere, and all that.

Just making everyone feel comfortable, and then having them go out and telling all their friends, “This is a place to go to exercise and have fun”, and, you know, how do kids learn.

GEORGE: So, if you've got great word of mouth, it's always a sign that you've got a great product, right, and great training and good program. But other than that, how do you feel you kind of orchestrate a lot of word of mouth? And what do you think? What do you think escalates it?

EDWARD: Every time someone competes or does something. Well, we've had a few big name fighters, you know, fight for us. That always brings in a lot of students, people see it, they watch it on UFC Fight Pass, you know, they go from there. We've had a lot of kids… Muay Thai tournaments, grappling tournaments, and karate tournaments – they're starting to do them again and that's always been great.

You know, kids want a medal, a trophy, they're all happy, they tell their friends, you know, and that's the type of word of mouth stuff that's happening. I wrote a book, and it was on bullying, and I got that involved in the schools. So, you know, they're, you know, me being involved in the schools and helping out and talking to the children, you know, about bullying and this and that, it's also been huge.

So, it's a good word of mouth, you know, think, you know, for me, you know, to do all that. Like I said, there's been a little bit of online, you know, stuff, I've done some, you know, contests here and there, you know, for everything, get the students involved, you know, and just try to work it, make it a grind.

GEORGE: What's the book called?

EDWARD: Lift Them Up.

GEORGE: And it's available on Amazon?

EDWARD: Yeah, it's available on Amazon. Yeah, Amazon, the book is called Lift Them Up: How to Rise Above Bullying and Live an Empowered Life. You know, just as in deal with this typical boy who deals with cyber bullying, you know, it goes through the whole… You know, everyone thinks bullying, you just, you know, pick on someone.

But, you know, a lot of people don't realize there's a whole cyber bullying, internet bullying, texting bullying and all this. There's so much out there that people don't understand or realize. So, you know, I mean, it's done well. I've sold like 400, 500 books, I can't complain.

GEORGE: That's perfect. Well, I hope you sell 4000, 5000 more after we do this podcast, right?

EDWARD: Absolutely!

GEORGE: If you don't mind sharing a little bit of insight, because I mean, it's a whole different planet, just like you saying, you know, it used to be bullying, face to face. But, you know, if I look at kids today, I think they're dealing with this whole – a whole different form of bullying, that's, it's pretty intense. And I don't know, I sometimes wonder how kids have actually got to deal with that, right?

If there's, especially if there's a group of people that are bullying you, or doing cyber attacks and just being nasty kids, what's your advice to kids on how to deal with that?

EDWARD: Communication. A lot of kids tend to hide things, you know, and I have a lot of kids that feel very comfortable coming to talk to me, and not even their own parents, or teachers, because they're afraid or scared. And it's just communication, I'm trying to, you know, when I talk to them, I want them to feel comfortable.

I want them to realize it's okay to talk to the teachers, it's okay to talk to your, especially your parents. Let them know what's going on. Too many kids out there just bottle it up, and unfortunately, you know, bad things do happen. And you know, a lot of times they'll bottle that up and hold that negative energy inside, and they explode, and something negative can happen off of that, you know.

And that's all, the key, you know, is communication. Letting them know, you know, that people are out there that, you know, these people in these positions care for them and want the best for them – and want to help them out.

GEORGE: And so, is that something you do on the mats, like mat chats and things like that?

EDWARD: Yeah, we talk a lot about that, you know, on the mats. At the end of every class, I usually have, like, a little, you know, 2 – 3 minute mat chat with them. And we're always talking about bullying, you know, certain situations, you know, just how to train, you know, how to deal with it, you know, how to use your words first, you know.

Everyone thinks, a lot of kids think too, you know, how to deal with things they don't understand either, gotta make them aware. Like, they think, “Okay, I know karate and martial arts, I'm just gonna go beat the bully up.” That's not what it's all about, you know, trying to get them to realize you go talk to them, try and make them – be their friends or walk away.

If there is a self defense situation there, then of course, you know, deal with it in the proper way. But definitely learn how to use your words first, and your brain. I always tell them to use your brain first, speech smart.

GEORGE: That's awesome. Cool. So, talking about online, moving through the pandemic, and you mentioned earlier that you managed to maintain almost a full student base, how long were you locked down for? Just curious.

EDWARD: About a year. It was about a good year, you know, and, you know, you weren't allowed to have any, I could do one-on-one classes. I had a couple people, you know, that would, I would make sure at 12 o'clock, they could come in, it was just them, no one else could be around.

I'd have to give a half hour's worth of time in between, so I could clean and sanitize and then could have another private – but that was it. No group classes. I could do family classes, but I'd have to do them outside. So, thank goodness, a lot of this was during the summer. So, it worked out pretty good.

GEORGE: Yeah. 

Martial Arts

EDWARD: And so I'd do a lot of group classes, you know, with families outside in the parking lot, which, another way in which pretty good advertising too, because then people driving by, seeing us working out and exercising and doing something, so it was good advertising in that way. So, you know, it was rough. But it was a learning experience for me, because trying to develop a system that keeps everyone happy on Zoom.

You know, I've never taught, I mean, I've done a lot of seminars and this and that, but I've never taught on Zoom, you know, pretty much eight hours a day, standing in front of a camera, trying to teach forms. You know, trying to teach, you know, a kickboxing combination and make sure they got proper footwork. It was a learning experience for me too.

But it worked and kept everyone happy. And, you know, like I said, we just always have a contest, I always had something going on just to keep them, you know, feeling good about themselves.

GEORGE: What do you think you've taken from that?

EDWARD: It's made me definitely a better instructor off of that. You know, it definitely opened up my eyes a little bit. I definitely became better – just made me practice a little… You know, we kind of get into, I don't want to say a rut in a bad way, but we get in a rut and a daily routine of coming into the school, four o'clock class, five o'clock class, six o'clock class.

And what it made me do is step out of the box a little bit – I hadn't done that for a while, because I got a successful school. I'm happy, I'm always wanting to grow, do what it takes, but I was, you know, doing well. So, I was like, okay… But this made me step out of the box a little bit, made me realize, you know, “Okay, start training, you got to start training, you've got to start using your mind, come up with these ideas, you know.”

You know, make these kids happy. Let these kids know you care, let the parents know you care. You know, BJJ, MMA make them happy, make sure, you know, and be a coach. And so it made me step out of the box and become a better person for sure.

GEORGE: Were there any, like, specific obstacles that you faced with the kids having to show up online and getting involved and engaging?

EDWARD: Yeah, it was interesting because I'd have to mute a lot of stuff. Like, they could hear me, but I couldn't hear them, because, you know, we'd have 30, 40 people online. Sometimes you can't have everyone, you know, they're still at home. So, they still have their home life.

So, you have dogs in the background or brothers and sisters poking their brothers online. So, at times it was a horror show. It was like, “Whoah, what's going on?!” But, I mean, that was the biggest obstacle, the biggest thing was just like, you know, trying to overcome all that at first, but once, you know, after a week or so, it smoothed out pretty well.

And it wasn't really that bad. You know, just trying to engage them, to let them know that they could do martial arts on the computer and not just play video games was rough, because I would have some students that would blank the screen, but forget to mute it, and I could hear them playing video games in the background.

So, then the parents would ask me how they're doing. I'm like, I don't know, you need to ask him, he's been playing video games. So, you know, stuff like that would happen on and off. But overall, it was, you know, it was definitely tough keeping them engaged – because just staring at a computer screen, even my own daughter would do karate in her bedroom. And, you know, I'd have to tell her to stop jumping on the bed, like, “Listen, you're in class, stop jumping on the bed.” Trying to keep them engaged was definitely a learning experience.

GEORGE: So, what did you do to have that constant state change? You know, because I mean, you can't let them do one thing too long to get in – yeah, boredom kicks in.

EDWARD: I just constantly kept them moving as much as I could. You know, sometimes in a normal class, you know, you take your time, you go over form more, there's more of a pause, more of a… So, you couldn't do that online.

I almost taught it like a cardio kickboxing class, you know, where I just kept moving and moving and moving and moving and moving. Class is only 30 minutes long, but it was, like, just keep them moving. Don't give them that time to stop. You know, don't give them that time to think.

We would do a form to warm up and right from that form we'd go right into some kicking, some punching, and then we'd go into some, you know, self defense techniques, and I'd make it a game and just keep them moving. So, they didn't have that time to go look around to see who's playing outside or stuff like that.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And then jiu jitsu – and how did you handle the BJJ side, and the adults, and so forth?

EDWARD: That was the tough part. Like teaching Thai kickboxing or MMA wasn't so bad, because you could teach them some combinations. So, sprawls, double legs, you can teach transitions, and stuff, that was okay.

But the BJJ was tough, you know, like I had, when – Everyone would make their own dummy, grappling dummy, or they could buy one from me, you know, but, and, you know, whoever made the best dummy won a free gift, you know, stuff like that. So, we had, like, 15 people make their own grappling dummies. So, that's part of getting them involved and engaged, a few people bought some off for me.

And then basically, it was just teaching them transitions and moves and talking to them about, you know, the connecting points, you know, always have points of control and hip pressure and where your hips should be, where your shoulders should be, where your grip should be. And it was more of a, you know, just teaching the technical side of things, you know.

There were some drills out there – you could do, you know, switching back and forth, knee on belly, switch and go into mount, going into, you know, back to knee on belly, to arm bars, north south, all that you could do all that stuff too. But that was, actually trying to teach them actual moves was, you know, definitely interesting.

GEORGE: It's something that is – obviously working with school owners, we've got a group we call Partners, and we've got gi school owners from around the world, but different styles.

And so, it's always conversations that have come up, obviously, with the pandemic. And interesting as well, because everyone was always at a different stage of; we're going into lockdown, we're coming out, what do we do, but it was a good opportunity to cross pollinate ideas, but…

EDWARD: Yeah.

GEORGE: We had one of our members, Carl just talk about, they were just in a two month lockdown in New Zealand, and – 100% jiu jitsu school – and managed to keep all his students going, but the main focus was just movement.

EDWARD: Yeah, 100%.

GEORGE: Movement, and keeping the community going. So, you know, a big thing that we've spoken about was the community, the content and then the coaching. So, how do you do those things? How do you create the community going?

I mean, that's the big thing, and how do you keep the coaching going? And we came up with some creative ideas, right? So, he bought the John Danaher set, and then we just, he would just go through a video, or they would post, you know, a clip from an instruction from someone else, and then they would study it, and they would analyze it, so the whole… Use even someone else's content, but then create the conversation around it to keep the community…

Martial Arts

EDWARD: Yeah, we did the same thing. We actually, one day, myself, would do a jiu jitsu video with my student, he's, I've known him forever, and it was him and I. We'd do a jiu jitsu video, then the next day would use a video of something from someone else.

We used a lot of John Danaher, Gordon Ryan, stuff like that. And then the next day, I would do, like, a karate video for everyone, and then the next day, my student would do a kickboxing MMA video for them.

So, everyday we'll put out a video for the students, also to give them some content to study. And so, not only could you do classes, I would send these videos and post them to everyone, and they could go at home and practice those same combinations, three or four combi- you know, five different ways on how to do an overhand right, you know. How to do two pins in the proper way, you know, a form, you know, and so that worked out pretty well, too.

GEORGE: Sounds good. So, give us a bit of a background about your school and your location. And I know you've got a massive facility, and you've got two floors, and just give us a bit of an overview on the infrastructure and how things operate.

EDWARD: I've been here since 1999. I pretty much have always done martial arts since I was 14. And I just turned 50, so I've been doing it for a while. I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to do my job anymore, and so then I'm gonna open up a school. Let's try it.

GEORGE: How long have you been… 

EDWARD: So, 1999. Yeah. And so I found this, I found a location. And at first it was only, we only had about 2000 square feet, but I liked this location because it always had an opportunity to grow.

So, I started off with traditional karate, I always studied grappling and wrestling on my own on the side, and had already had a couple fights on the side, but I didn't really promote that too much.

Yeah. And then as we grew, we grew fast. For six months, we grew pretty quick. So, I got to open up another 1400 square feet or so in the back, and we used that room for a while. And then what I did is, I always had the basement downstairs, and it's a giant, like, two big garage, you know, basement. 

And one day my landlord's, “Like, you know, if you want the space, I'll charge you this much for it. And, you know, just take it over and do what you want, you do the work. I'll give it to you cheap, and it's cheap.” And I was like, “Alright!” So, I did all the work, and then like I said, we got two open floors upstairs, bathrooms, office, all that stuff. 

Downstairs is a couple different ways you can go in, it's got showers, a couple of locker rooms downstairs, a bag room, it's got a ring, a cage, and probably about a 1800 square foot, like, weight room too. So, I did the weight room originally for the parents, a lot of parents don't have time to go to the gym. So, I allow the parents for free at first to, while the kids are in class, go downstairs and run on the treadmill, lift some weights to do something.

That way they won't have to worry about their kids, they know they're doing class. But that took off, and you know, that was taking off pretty good. So, now I hired a personal trainer, you know, so he comes in – he does personal classes, you know, for the parents and you know, it's a little bit extra income off of that.

And stuff like that, you know, they scheduled privates for the kids, a lot of them they'll come down here and work with them during the kids class and get in shape.

So, you know, we got a little bit of everything. You know, kids are martial – all the kids' classes are fresh. We got kids BJJ, kids Muay Thai, kids kempo karate, and then usually at night time, it's a, you know, depending on the day, gi, the adult Muay Thai, adult MMA, adult BJJ, gi or no gi on the day, and then cardio kickboxing too.

And then we do stuff on the weekend – Saturday is a full day of classes, Sunday is kind of my day, I invite either the black belts in and we do like a black belt workout or I'll just invite some fighters in and we'll just train, so it's like a training day on Sundays for us. So, you know, it's a full time job. Like I said, it's like 8000 square feet, full time job, I have about – maybe now 330 students.

And yeah, you know, it has its moments. But, you know, I've been blessed throughout this whole pandemic, so I can't complain.

GEORGE: That's cool. So, you've got two names, right? Tokyo Joe's? 

EDWARD: Yes.

GEORGE: Tokyo Joe's Studios and TeamLink MMA.

EDWARD: Yeah.

GEORGE: Curious on two names, but also Tokyo Joe's?

EDWARD: Well, my instructor, who was 14, was playing football, and he was in karate, and he's from East Boston, and he was doing some karate, was a football practice. And they just named him Tokyo Joe, you know, that was his nickname.

So, as he progressed and opened up his own school – he met me at – that was always his nickname. He called it Tokyo Joe's Studios. He named the downstairs his nickname.

And then I was at the Canadian Open as a karate tournament. And he had met me, he said, “Hey, you fought really well, why don't you come train with me?” And he goes, you know, “I'm like, alright.” And he was close by, so I started training with him, and, you know, competed under him, you know, in all these karate tournaments all over the place.

Also, I got a chance to train with like Johnny Tension, and Reggie Perry, who were part of the team, Paul Mitchell, who, you know, are World Champions too. So, it opened up some doors and ideas. And then one day, he's like, “You know, you should think about opening up a school, you're a great instructor, a great motivator, you're a good leader,” and I didn't really put much thought into it.

And then he kept bugging me and bugging me, and then one day, I'm out doing my job – construction – I was doing construction, driving some equipment. I'm like, “You know, yeah, it's time. I don't feel like doing this.” So, I went into the office and gave my notice and went back to him and said, “I guess we'll open up a school. Let's try it.”

So, that was the karate side of things.

GEORGE: Right. 

EDWARD: I'd always done MMA on the side, I was part of Miletich Fighting Systems with Pat Miletich. And when I trained there with them, it was, you know, they had three out of the five UFC champions, it was one of the best gyms around, we did a lot of fighting and training there. But as they all got older and branched off, opened up their own gyms, and everything kind of disbanded. 

I was just left with, like, no direction in my life; my BJJ program was only a purple belt at the time. And really know, you know, didn't know how to, you know, what to do. So, like I said, Michael Alvin, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Alexander Marino all came to me one day, because I trained with them, helped them out with fights and worked with them. 

And they're like, “Why don't you just join us, you know, it'd be a great marketing thing for your BJJ program.” It's a little confusing for some people, but once they get in here, they realize, I kind of keep it separate, and I like keeping them separate, because I like the younger kids… 

I think, you know, even though we do BJJ, we still teach a little bit of focus and concentration in that class, like a karate thing. I like them to learn about the focus and concentration side of things, you don't need to necessarily see all the hard work and training that goes into MMA.

Plus, parents, you know, sometimes they get the wrong opinion, they see the fights on TV, and they think that's what it's all about, and I don't want to give the parents that impression. So, that's why I have an upstairs and downstairs and stuff.

But it's actually become a great tool, because parents realize all the hard work and all the dedication that goes into that, that's their martial art, you know, that's their form, you know, while the kids are learning this stuff, they see the adults or the teenagers doing this, and they realize it's a lot of hard work if it's taught the right way. 

So now, you know, like, whenever we have someone fight, you know, a tough fight passes, I gotta open up the school, we'll have a school full of people watching it on the TV, you know what I mean? Becomes a school party sort of, brings them all together, you know. Like you said, you try to try to create a good, you know, good atmosphere, you know, for everyone – good environment – and it brings them all together, the watch, the fights, and stuff like that.

So, it's kind of cool.

GEORGE: Because that would be my next question – how do you balance the two cultures? Do you find that they are divided or they sort of come together?

EDWARD: It's actually come together- at first, it was pretty divided. You know, when it first – the sport was starting to grow, it was pretty divided. 

You know, people thought, you know, brutality, this, that and you know, and you can definitely understand that. But over the years, as time has gone on, people see it, you know, they've seen the fights, you know, parents have asked, you know, we've, like I said, they've, you know, they got, you know, a lot of kids would do karate competitions, you know.

So then, you know, now they have kids Muay Thai, very controlled, but kids Muay Thai and then, you know, they get kids BJJ. So, because of all these classes that we have, you know, kids getting involved in all these other smaller competitions, the parents are wanting to see what the adults and teens are doing and how that's evolved. So, it's actually brought it all kind of together.

You know, and everyone's, you know, everyone's… it's pretty cool to see everyone, like, you know, support. Everyone gets together, supports everyone and have fun, too. You have a lot of parents that will just come down on Wednesday nights, our sparring night, they'll just come down and just watch, you know, they get to – they bring their, you know, 10 year old kid and you know, “Is there sparring on Wednesday?” “Yeah.” “Can we come watch?” “Yeah, come on in!”

You know, you have a whole group that will just sit on the side to just watch, you know. This is awesome, you know, because they get a chance to see, you know, kicks, punches and stuff and blocks and wrestling, they're into – actual, you know. You get a lot of kids that don't compete, we don't force them to compete. If you want to compete, we can get them ready.

But it gets to see them, you know, put it in practical use, kind of, you know. So, they like watching it.

GEORGE: Perfect. So, just to change gears a little bit – back to the marketing aspect. You got a successful school, 300+ students. You mentioned word of mouth is good. What else contributes to the growth?

EDWARD: Community involvement. Like I said, but everything's changing now. The whole world's changing. I mean, you know what I mean.

When I first opened up, you know, you had to advertise in the yellow pages, you know, big giant ads in the yellow pages, you know, that was a thing. You had to – who had the biggest ad, you know, the big best looking ad in the Yellow Pages, then as time went on…

GEORGE: And your name's gonna start with ‘A', right? So, that you, like, at the front of the book.

EDWARD: Yeah, exactly! Yeah.

Then as time went on, you know, the Internet became more, it was, like, you know, websites were huge. You know, websites are still very important, and they're still a useful tool. But, you know, that was important then, you know, now social media, you know, the whole advertising world has changed so much over the 20+ years, you know.

So now, I'm just trying to stay on top of things. I do a lot of social media, I do a lot of posts, and I do a lot of contests, you know, within the schools. I do a lot of, like I said, I'm involved in the community, the schools, you know, certain fairs, certainly, you know, town fairs, this and that. Those are all advertising avenues for me, you know, when they have town fairs.

I do a community fair myself every – well, I haven't done the last couple years, because of the pandemic – but I rent all kinds of bouncy houses, obstacle courses, this and that, dunk tanks, and at the end of every summer, I do, like, a community thing, you know, everyone's welcome. We'll do a little open house, some demonstrations, and have a huge cookout for everyone.

And you know, it's just, advertising like that is big. I'm always looking though, like, you know, I know right now, you know, I got, I'm looking to step up on the digital side of things, pick up the digital side of things on marketing, some online, make my online presence a little bit better, is my goal for this year.

GEORGE: Perfect. So, I love the aspect of community. I mean, that's, I think that's just gold, right?

Because being involved in the community, it makes you stand out. It also builds your authority, you know, way behind just the martial arts you offer, but you mention, things are changing; what are you noticing that's changing the most, especially with just the world and online that's impacting your marketing the most?

EDWARD: Really, it's just the online presence, you know, having a great online presence is very important now.

You know, before, it wasn't, but now, you know, a lot of you see a lot of the biggest school, you see ads all the time, you see this all the time, and, you know, these schools aren't spending that amount of money, if it's not working. You know, there's certain things out there, you know, and I know these school owners very well. 

And I know that they're not putting these ads out there if it's not working. And I just noticed a huge online presence and how important it's becoming, you know what I mean? And, you know, before you had a whole script on the phone, you know, very rarely do I get phone calls now.

Now it's all emails, or sometimes even text messages. “Oh, my friend gave me your number, my son's in…” You know, it's emails, it's text messages. It's all online. “We've been to your Whatsapp, we've been to your Facebook page, you know, what about this…” So, just the online presence is becoming very important.

And just making sure, you know, your name's out there, and making sure you know, you promote your product, or whatever it may be – your services out there. There's what I think is the best, you know, is what's changing the most.

Before, you know, you're right. Fortunately, I have a great word of mouth. And that's great. I mean, like you said, you got great service, you got great products, you got it. But, you know, you can always do better. So, I definitely want to do the online presence thing.

GEORGE: I think school owners like yourself, where you benefit is you built this whole foundation without that. Fine tune the product, the delivery, the programs, the community aspect. When you elevate your online presence, it's really just fuel on the fire, because you've got all the foundations right here.

I mean, we like to really, especially now, in the work that we do with school owners, we really just try to think of the simplicity of it. And like you were saying, people don't really call anymore. So, when you look at that it's not, you know, the message is still the same. It's just the medium of communication is …

EDWARD: Exactly.

GEORGE: So, people, you know, you’ve got to ask permission before you call.

EDWARD: Yeah, yeah.

GEORGE: The world's just gotten like that. I always text someone and say, “Hey, is it okay to call you?” “Yeah, we just picked up the phone.” Right? But yeah, exactly. Messenger and, you know, Messenger, I mean, we find ads to Messenger is still the best thing ever, because of course, you've got the process to sign people up and work through the process.

There's so many things that we are seeing changing and, and like you said, I mean, I'm a web developer, from you know, way back and my first advice was always just get the spanky awesome website, and get it up on Google and you're good. Now I don't give that advice anymore.

You know, I would say, right, let's get your offer, right? And let's get your ad up, you know, let's get your message out there and find a simple way to follow up. And if you can get those things right, websites are good to have for the people that will go Google and check you out. But you can build a big organization just without that.

EDWARD: Exactly.

GEORGE: The only thing that always scares me is the control factor of putting all your eggs into a basket like Facebook. And you know, that's the one thing that drives your business, and if it's not there, well, I mean, I think it's still going to be there for a long time, right? But especially when you see things shuffle, and people change the different platforms, it's good to be tabs and be a bit omnipresent in that way that you can do without.

EDWARD: Exactly, I mean, it's definitely been interesting noticing the changes, that's for sure. Like you said, you know, everything.

I always tell everyone this, you know, I've helped a few people open up schools, and I just, you know, that's what I – get your online presence going, you know, well, what about this ad? No, you don't need that ad. It's not like the old days, you know, you don't need yellow pages, you don't need this, you don't need that.

Get your online presence up and going. You need a website, of course, you know, people still visit it and go on, you know, make sure you have this in your website. And like you said, the right content on the website that's going to attract the people that go to it. The right ads, the right deals and stuff like that. 

Online presence is, you know, definitely one point for sure.

GEORGE: So, what's next for you, Edward? Like where are you guys going? Are you opening up more locations?

EDWARD: I don't know. Honestly, what's next for me is I've been really, I've been doing this for a long time. Just really been toying with the idea of doing another smaller location.

I don't know if I, you know, but before I've done that, I've been really trying to develop a good strong, solid staff here. I'm one of the few instructors, like, I enjoy teaching. And like some instructors enjoy running this school, you know, and then they have instructors teach for them.

I like still being on the floor, you know, with the kids and teaching, and I still like teaching them on the mat. I still teach BJJ, and people think I'm crazy, but I still teach up to 40+ classes a week. And, and I love it, but I'm also 50 now, so now I'm developing the staff, and the know-how, you know, really developing, like, I got some really good fighters that still have a few years left in them, but know that, you know, the end's coming… but unbelievable instructors.

So, I'm getting them involved, you know, developing a really solid foundation in the BJJ group of instructors, working on getting them, I got some unbelievable teens, getting them involved in them karate side of things and showing them and teaching them, you know, so that way, when that second location opportunity does come, I know that I'll be able to leave for the day and leave this place in good hands.

You know, staff training, and you know, picking the right people to find out. I want to be part of the team and make sure we share the same vision, you know what I mean? 

And so that second location, within, you know, I got a goal – I set goals, but within a couple of years, I want to definitely have something up, the second one up and going, you know, like, you know, this school is all set. So, that's, that's really what I've been working on now.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And I guess lastly, what are you most excited about? For the next couple of years?

EDWARD: Just growing. You know, I love it. There's, like, you know, we had, you know, already since January. It's, you know, what's today? The seventh. We've had, you know, it's always the New Year rush, but we had 14 new people sign up. So, it's been great.

I love getting the new people going, you know, I just love teaching. I just love growing and, you know, and just helping people out. You know, I can't complain. I got a – I have a great job – and so I mean, what's next is just to keep growing, keep having fun, and keep sharing what I love to do.

And, you know, hopefully the second location will come in a few years and go from there.

GEORGE: Sounds good. Hey, Ed, thanks so much for jumping on. Been great to chat, and just the title of your book again?

EDWARD: Lift Them Up.

GEORGE: Lift Them Up.

EDWARD: Yeah, definitely on Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles, it's also on Barnes and Nobles website too. So, if they want to check it out, please check it out. It's a great book on bullying. You know, all the different types of bullying that are out in the world today. So, definitely check it out.

GEORGE: Perfect. We'll link it up in the show notes. So, wherever you're watching or listening, it will be https://martialartsmedia.com/126, numbers one-two-six. That'll take you there. And just lastly, any shout-outs you want to give or any way that people can connect with you, if you're open to that?

EDWARD: Yeah, you can always, you know, we just talked about it, you could always hit me up, you know, of course, my email is at tokyojoeshooksit@comcast.net.

You can always hit me up on Facebook, under Ed Carr, or you can visit the school webpage, Tokyo Joe's Studios, Instagram, I'm on Instagram – @tokyojoesstudios – and on Twitter. So, those are the best ways, like I said, we're talking about social media and stuff. You know, that's what people use.

The best way to hit me up, send me a message. Ask me any questions. You know, you can call the school, 603-641-3444, if you want. Ask me any questions you want. I'm always here and always willing to help.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Ed, thanks so much. I'll chat to you soon.

EDWARD: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

GEORGE: You're welcome.

 

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125 – Ross Cameron: The Evolution Of The Ultimate Martial Arts Gym

Ross Cameron from Fightcross MMA has built the ultimate, world-class martial arts gym and lifestyle center. We do a deep dive on the planning, contracts, insurances and marketing that have made this a success.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • What sets this world-class martial arts gym in its own league?
  • Ross’s unconventional ways of building a thriving community
  • Details often overlooked when opening up a new location
  • Timing and changing the frame with martial arts campaigns
  • How branding helps the business of martial arts
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

I'm a big believer in doing this anyhow, it is to learn every job. I don't need to do it, but I need to understand how every job works. Then if someone's not doing their job, I can point it out and I can just tell them how I want it done or, but I've got to know every job.

GEORGE: Hey, George Fourie here! Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. Today's special guest is Ross Cameron from Fightcross MMA in Brisbane, Australia. Now, Ross and I go way back, we've been working together for quite some time, and I've been fortunate enough to witness his business explode from the sidelines.

Just recently, he's opened up his new location, and let me tell you what, it's not just any location. We were on one of our Partners Power Hour calls, our coaching calls, and Ross took us on a virtual tour through the location – we're going to include a virtual tour on this page as well. But he took us through the whole location, and just the multiple floors, the different aspects, the bar, the coffee shop, and of course, the world class gym.

So, we break down just the whole process of the two to three years that it took to put this together, the obstacles that he faced, with obviously things like COVID, things that weren't expected. And we do a deep dive into the technicalities of how to set up your contracts, how to structure your staffing, and a lot of the details that often go missed when opening up a new location. And then we do a bit of a deep dive on marketing and how he's gone about marketing this new location and the plan on filling it up to 500 to 1000 members over the next 12 months. Jump in, this is a good one.

Also, if you – head over to martialartsmedia.com/125 – where this podcast episode is hosted. So, no matter where you're listening or watching, you can check out the full transcript of the show. And you can also grab a download of our new ebook, Ultimate Facebook™ Ad Formula for Martial Arts Schools.

So, check that out, and make sure you subscribe to the show wherever you're listening, just to make sure that you get notified when our next show comes up. All right, let's jump in. Ross, what's been the top marketing strategy or campaign that you've run lately? What's been the highest performance?

ROSS: So, the best one we've had recently, because we've been moving into a new gym, has been our foundation membership drive, with Facebook and video and all the rest of it. And based around that, was a box that we gave away that had different items inside it. We had samples from some of our suppliers, we had a towel from the gym, we had a water bottle, we had a mouth guard, all the little bits and pieces to make them feel comfortable and give them some added value to signing on.

GEORGE: Great! So, what was the offer for the foundational membership?

ROSS: So, they got a discounted rate on the membership for 12 months. They got a – foundation sign-on fee was $99, and in that, they got this box that had a t-shirt, a mouth guard, a water bottle, a towel, samples, a card that actually had a link to some extra video content we'd done on how to tie a belt, welcome to the gym, how to do a mobility flow, all sorts of bits and pieces.

GEORGE: Perfect. So, I guess we can now give some full context, why the foundational membership, so, just a shorter intro. Ross Cameron from Fightcross in Brisbane, Australia. If you've been following the podcast, Ross has also been on the podcast before, we spoke about lockdown, which is their event… What do you call it? Modified jiu jitsu?

ROSS: It's submission grappling. Yeah. MMA in the cage without the strikes.

GEORGE: That's the tagline I've been looking for! So, you can – want to backtrack on that, which was episode 37.

So, Ross, you know, we chat every week, every so often when you're not busy evolving this new… What do we call it? It's like the evolution of the martial art school, is almost the way I look at it. You gave us a bit of a video tour and showed us what you've got going there, but why don't you give us a bit of a background, the vision and how this all came about?

ROSS: So, when I first started teaching martial arts here in Australia, I'd moved from having three clubs in New Zealand, with coaches and school halls and all the rest of it, to moving over to Australia.

And then I started teaching in my garage, and then quickly from that I went to a tin shed, and over a period of about 20 years, we've gone from the tin shed to what we have now, as I see it a very professional, high-end martial arts academy.

We've put in Fuji mats, we've put in a cage, we've got top-level cardio equipment, we've got top-level weights equipment, recovery center – so, ice pods, infrared sauna, massage therapists, physiotherapists, fitness rooms, the private PT studios, the lot. It's not just a martial arts school in the school hall, it's taking it to the next level of professionalism.

And in doing that, we've had to look at staff contracts, insurances, all the different things that you don't actually take into account when you're in a school hall. And sure, you have to have insurances and things in place, but do you need this type of insurance or this type of insurance?

Do you need to have 20 million public liability insurance or 10 million public liability insurance? Do you have to have product insurance? Do you have to have insurance to cover your income? Do you have to have insurance to cover fidelity? All sorts of bits and pieces. Do you cover your staff for all sorts of weird and wonderful things? So, it's taken a lot of time to go through and get to that point… But we're there now.

GEORGE: You there? Yeah, I remember we started having this conversation… Jeez, how long ago? It's been a few years, right?

ROSS: Yep. Yeah.

GEORGE: So, how many years in the making? I mean, not the planning – the physical actually putting it together?

ROSS: Ah, well, it's probably two to three years of actually putting it all together. It's not a quick process.

GEORGE: I'd love to dive into all the technicalities and details of, like, if you're a school owner, and you're looking at taking your business to the next level and elevating your brand, and upgrading your facilities, and being this premier school, and the process you've taken, like, the technicalities that often get overlooked. Just take us again through the facility because you left out one big part. What's in the gym, right?

ROSS: Right. So, we have a building that’s ours. Our gym is about 650 square meters. Below that is a high-end bar. Behind us is a five-star French restaurant, we have a coffee roaster, a brewer, a French patisserie kitchen, coffee shop, all in the facility.

GEORGE: Right. So, now that brings up a lot of questions. First up is – how many students arrive to class and never get up to the gym, because they are stuck in the bar?

ROSS: None, thank God.

GEORGE: Great!

ROSS: Although, they do go to the bar after.

GEORGE: Right. Their special punishment, if you're late, if you don't make it… begs the question, right? Why a bar? Why a coffee shop? What's the whole idea behind all the add-ons?

ROSS: It's trying to build a community, alright? And it's trying to have things that link into what will connect people to what we do. So, the bar is the social aspect. The coffee shop provides high-end coffee, cold brew, things that are really good for pre-workout and things like that.

And again, it's providing us a social atmosphere, where we can take the guys downstairs and have a coffee, have something to eat. People come in and spend the whole day around the gym, without actually having to go out anywhere.

GEORGE: Right. So, can you give us insight on a bit of the vision, and I think what we'll do, if it's okay with you, Ross; if you can do a bit of a video walkthrough after sometime and we'll add it onto this page where the podcast is hosted.

So, you could go to martialartsmedia.com/125 and catch the video there, because that will give you a… We were on one of our Partners coaching calls and Ross was there and he took us through the whole gym. Took up most of the coaching call, but everyone was really wowed, just by its… I mean, there's nothing I can compare to, which is just what makes it so fascinating.

So, what was the whole vision behind it? You mentioned community and it brings the whole community together, but what's the whole vision behind the new Fightcross?

ROSS: Well, martial arts as a way of life? So, the whole vision is actually that whole encompassing community. So, that's why we have a recovery center, as well as why we have the physios and the message therapists. That's why we have the PTs.

People can come in the door and do a workout, they can recover, they can eat good food, and it's all organic. It's not rubbish food, like the average pub food. It's all organic food. We've got the microbrewery on site that actually brews here with, again, organic, that whole encompassing vision is where we've gone.

GEORGE: Gotcha. What are you doing differently now, with the new – the whole new environment than you used to do just with running classes and so forth?

ROSS: Well, I'm trying to get out of doing all the work – hiring staff and doing those things. So, we have multiple styles in the gym. So, we have boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu, Japanese jiu jitsu, judo, taekwondo, karate we have, and then MMA, and everyone's got to fit in, we have like 72 classes a week, including pilates and yoga and so.

We've got a lot more of a community pull, because we have all these other add-on sessions.

GEORGE: Is there something you do differently to build the community when you've got all these various styles, and you attract a different caliber or type of person that resonates to these different styles?
 

ROSS: Yeah, you have to be more on the ball with the community building, as in… I spend a lot of my time now actually, just talking to people, that connection between them and me, it has to be really good because if I'm not taking all the classes, they lose contact with who you are and what you do, and all that sort of stuff.

So, you've got to spend the time around the facility, meeting with people, talking with people, building the community by organizing, like we're doing David Goggins' 4x4x48 as part of a team, we'll have a barbecue the whole weekend, we'll do all those things. And just constantly doing that sort of stuff, rather than just here I'm at the class, here's the grading barbecue and away we go.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And that's where a bar just works well as well, right? Because it brings the community together.

ROSS: Yep, yep, yep. So, even some of our little social club meetings, a Friday night sparring session, Friday nights, lots of the guys just go downstairs have a beer and a burger and then toddle off on home.

GEORGE: Love it. Alright, so, let's get into the nuts and bolts, right? I mean, what goes into this? So, first up, you have this, you have this vision, and now you have to get work, and turn the vision into reality, right? So, what sort of, what are some of the first few steps and how do you go about all this?

ROSS: Besides all the planning, dreaming and sketching, and all that sort of stuff, you get a building or you lease a building or whatever. The first thing you should do; we were finding the zoning, and making sure you have council zoning to be able to run a sport and rec facility. Step one. If you don't have sport and rec, you can be closed down by the council at any moment. Any moment.

GEORGE: Before you continue, I think, and you pointed at it, right? After the planning? So, I think we shouldn't just brush over that part, right? You've got this vision, what goes into the planning? And you've got a bit of experience in this type of thing as well.

ROSS: Yep, I'm an engineer by trade. So, planning is the key to everything. So, planning out how your building's going to look, the layout of your building, your color schemes, which mats you're going to have, what cage you're going to have, what staff you're going to require, what classes you're going to have, how you're going to get the stuff into the building, when you have to get the stuff into the building…

When you have to have your insurances in place, when your staff has to come on board, what contracts you need for your staff, whether or not you've got enough insurance to cover your product in your pro shop, and the equipment on the floor – whether or not you've got enough to handle the – if it all goes bad. Having a game plan B, C, and D. Yeah, there's lots to go into it – many moving parts.

GEORGE: Right, now there – plan B, C, and D played a big role, right? Because…

ROSS: Oh, yeah!

GEORGE: We were expecting the big old COVID to come around.

ROSS: Yep. So, we had an eight-month delay in actually getting into the building, due to building issues, due to COVID. So, in that time, we've had to, to go to game plan B, C, and D. We were doing things like running out of one of my franchises, we were running out of the coffee shop next door taking classes.

So, we had a local community, we were doing stuff in the park, we were doing bootcamp type stuff. All these bits come into play, so that we could keep community involvement here in the natural area where the gym is.

GEORGE: Alright, let's continue the journey, we’ve done the planning, we're getting all the infrastructure set up. Where do we go from here?

ROSS: So, I still think the first thing you should make sure is your building has got, one; before you sign the lease, or before you buy the building, check the zoning! Make sure that you have the correct zoning, because if the council comes along and shuts you down? You're shut down. Happened to one of my franchises, that the zoning got changed once, and they had to go and get an environmental impact study done on the traffic coming to the gym, to prove that they could stay. And it cost him about $25,000 just to do that.

So, I would make sure that that's a big tip to start with. Once you've got that, then you can start the nitty gritty into, like, what classes do you want to run, because that'll tell you what equipment you require. What sort of a gym you want to be – if you want to have weights, and you want to have, we want to be a CrossFit, box, and a martial arts gym – or if you want to be a health and fitness center, and a martial arts studio.

And then you can start planning out your equipment. Once you've got your equipment, then you can start planning out what sorts of insurances you need, what classes you're going to need, the staffing you're going to require for those.

And then you start going into if you need new staffing – are they casual? Are they permanent? How are they… are you going to pay PAYG? Are you going to have to pay supers? Are you going to have to do all those things? Are you going to… and your contracts that you require for those? Each one takes time, takes energy and takes effort. Even if you have good lawyers, and I've got good lawyers, you still have to make sure that you check all your T's and dot all your I's. So…

GEORGE: What issues did you run into that were completely unexpected, and that you particularly hadn't planned for? Or planned for?

ROSS: COVID?

GEORGE: Right. We didn't see that one coming, right?

ROSS: Yeah. And the effect COVID had on delays meant that the staff that I had organized, a lot of them were not here, not available when we actually got to moving into the gym. So, I've had that reshuffle of staffing and organizing things that has taken me longer, because of the fact that the delay was there.

Council approvals took longer than expected, building compliance took longer than expected. All those things that you think, “Oh, yeah, we'll just get it ticked off and it's… Oh no, these Braille signs are not in the right place. This fire exit needs another sign. That door swings the wrong way.” All those little bits and pieces just take time and take energy.

GEORGE: How do you go about your employment contracts and accounting and so forth? And I mean, if we can talk about budgeting as well, how did you go about all that?

ROSS: Accountants are great. If you have a good accountant, they'll make your business. We did a whole financial modeling. So, we sat down and we went through and we worked out, you know, our cash flow, our spending, funding the equipment, not funding the equipment, funding staff, how long that's going to take to ramp up the numbers to get to where we want to be…

So, we did a 2 to 5-year cash flow, then we could sit down and go, “Right. What other issues do we have here? As an accountant, what do you see?” And they always go, “You know, the next level is your staffing is going to cost you.” You got to make sure that you get your contracts right, you got to make sure that you are planning to hire slow, fire fast.

Make sure that you're looking after your people, but make sure that they're not costing you money. And contracts for your staff – again, it's that – are they casual? Are they permanent? Getting the technicalities of your employment contracts correct. I'm lucky, I've got – not only do I have good lawyers, I actually have an employment contract lawyer as a member in the gym, so I was able to go, “Tell me what I need to look at. Now go to my lawyers and say, ‘now write this'.”

And it's interesting to see all the little intricacies that you've got to have in there. And then you've got to worry about your contractors. So, if you have a guy who takes two BJJ classes a week, and if he's a contractor, you need to have a contract with him. It's not just, “Hey, mate, I know you're a BJJ black belt, can you take a couple of classes for me?” “Ah, yeah, it's 50 bucks a class.” “No worries.” It's not that easy these days, because if you do it wrong, it bites you on the ass.

GEORGE: And what could go wrong with that, because I think a lot of people do that, right? They just, you've got the top guy at the school and you're like, “Alright, we'll give you a couple of bucks to run the classes.” What's the downside?

ROSS: Well, number one, he could open a gym down the road, even though that's technically a breach of what's called fiduciary duties. So, they're not allowed to do that, but they do.

GEORGE: … because that's never happened before, has it?

ROSS: Never happened at all! That, if you have your contracts in place, that's going to cover your bum for that sort of thing. You can't stop them from opening a martial arts school, but you can stop them opening a martial arts school within a certain area to compete with you. So, there's the, sort of the fine line of understanding what they're allowed to do and what they're not allowed to do. And you only know that through experience or lawyers.

GEORGE: Very important, yeah.

ROSS: And as the contractors, you know, do they have their insurance? Do they have their first aid certificate, do they have…? And by signing the contract, you get them to agree that they have all these things in place. And then when there's verbal involved, it never lasts. If it's written, you can go back to that writing. Contracts, contracts, contracts!

GEORGE: Right.

ROSS: Like an engineer does it.

GEORGE: Now, how did you decide between… because you've got this massive organization that runs, I mean, morning, you said from 6am to?

ROSS: 5:30am to 9pm.

GEORGE: 5:30 to 9. Alright, and there's lots happening, so, you've got permanent staff, you've got casual staff, contractors. How did you decide on who you need? And did you work on a ratio, or like the ratio of students? How do you determine what staff you really need?

ROSS: What I worked on is actually the skill bases that I require to cover the multiple disciplines. So, my boxing coach that I have as a contractor, he's a boxing coach, he's a CrossFit coach. He used to fence for Australia at an Olympic level. He's done Muay Thai and karate. So, he covers multiple bases. The same with my BJJ coach. The BJJ coach, I haven't, he's, not only is he a BJJ black belt, he's also a karate black belt.

My PTs that I have, they tend to have boxing or kickboxing backgrounds, as well as being PTs. So, we've got even down to some of the reception sort of staff. I have one receptionist, a remedial massage therapist, so he can cover multiple angles for me. Sit down, work out the skill bases, then try and find the people that will fit those skill bases.

GEORGE: And then what about culture?

ROSS: That's a huge thing. Culture is a huge thing – and culture comes from the top. So, you have to drive the culture and what you want and how you want people to act and behave and talk – even down to talking. So, all the boys have their locker talk and things like that – if I catch them having locker talk anywhere in the gym, I shut that down straight away. You know, I want a large percentage of my clients to be female.

So, I'm not letting the locker talk go on in the gym and things like that. So, I set the rules, and I'm told I'm pretty hard on people. But I think it will be hard to see the culture that you want from the beginning. Tell people how you expect to be treated, and then expect them to come up to that standard.

GEORGE: And what's your strategy with that? Are you just, I mean, you just, I know you're pretty straightforward with a smile on your face, right? But is that just your approach? You just go out and tell people, “That's not cool,” pull them aside?

ROSS: That's it. I like the military principle. I don't tell people off in front of other people. I'll pull them aside and have a word with them. But I pick when I do it as well, and try not to do it so it's too obvious, or if they're making a fool of themselves, when they shouldn't be and something's dangerous? I'll say something then.

GEORGE: Alright, are you going to open a big center like this again? Another one?

ROSS: Oh, yes.

GEORGE: Oh, yes. Right, cool. Great. What would you do differently this time, if anything?

ROSS: Avoid COVID. Probably more planning, more control over certain parts that I just let other people do. One of the big things that I've learned out of this, and I'm a big believer in doing this anyhow, is to learn every job. I don't need to do it, but I need to understand how every job works.

Then if someone's not doing their job, I can point it out and I can just tell them how I want it done or, but I've got to know every job. Handy being an engineer, because that means I look at all those things and get most of it. So, yeah, but that would be more planning and more understanding of every bit that goes into it, before I get the person to look after it.

GEORGE: That means marketing too, right?

ROSS: Absolutely. Yep. Marketing is one of the things that I've had other people do before. And I'm a believer in that I should show you your job, tell you your job, let you do it. And if you don't come up to the tee, I'm going to crack across the knuckles.

I've had a few guys that have done that for me, where they've come up and then just disappeared, or they've gone and hidden from me, because they know that the knuckle breaks are coming. You've got to be able to hand over the job to somebody at some point. Otherwise you spend 24 hours a day doing every job. You still need to understand every job, you just don't need to do every job.

GEORGE: Yeah, and so, I mean, that's something that I deal with a lot, just with marketing. And I think it's, obviously if you're a school owner and you've got all this on your plate, and now you've got to handle marketing…

I mean, it's just easier to hand it off to someone and say, “Can you do it?” That's great. The problem is, if you don't know the strategy, you've actually just handed over the drive and the growth of your business to a person or foreign entity. And if they don't perform, as they do, your business is crippled right there.

And this is, I guess, my big pet peeve with, sometimes with agencies, because they can start out, you know, or the go-to guy that is doing all these great things, decides to do your marketing for you, and he does well…

But then he realizes, “Alright, well, I'm going to make a business out of this. I'm a good marketer. Maybe I'm not a good business owner.” And most agency owners would know when you get about 10, 20 clients – you better have your systems in place. So, the person that was your go-to guy becomes your not so go-to guy. And again, you're looking for the new one.

ROSS: Yep. Yeah. And exactly it with agencies – it's exactly the same as if you have – and every martial arts school works the same sort of way. They all work on their community. So, Joe Bloggs knows how to do this stuff, “Can you give it a crack for me?” And then later down the track, it doesn't work.

So, you've got to know how to do the job and then have some KPIs in place that you can check and all the rest of it and have control over it all. You don't want to hand that control over to somebody, so you get an agency doing it, and they're doing everything for you. You've got no control over it at all. Suddenly, you've got no data, you've got no information that you require to keep your systems moving.

GEORGE: Yeah, and I think there's a special place in hell for agency owners that set up your accounts on their business – their own Google accounts, their own Facebook business managers, and they run your ads or keep your data and your accounts hostage. And so, you walk away with nothing. And that's a real thing. I couldn't believe that was a real thing, but that's actually a real thing.

ROSS: Yeah, I've seen it on multiple levels, and the same sort of thing. Not just Facebook marketing, but in other areas of marketing, where they just keep everything and keep it hostage until either you pay them what they want to get paid, or they just take it and go.

GEORGE: Crazy stuff, right? So, Ross, I mean, it's, I feel it's always the lame question, right? But it's such a topic that, you know, you've got such an extensive knowledge on all this, and I just want to make sure I get all the information from you. Is there something I should be asking you that I haven't asked yet?

ROSS: No, I think sort of the next thing for us will be our ongoing marketing campaigns and planning out our year. Month by month by month, week by week by week by week, when we have to have our marketing running by, when we're having our campaigns and how we're planning those little bits. Sounds funny, but the artwork and the copy, once you've got it right, it's easy.

The planning and execution of when you need to execute it at the right time, because you can always put out an ad, and whether that ad is actually beneficial for the timing is the issue. So, if you run it, run your Christmas special in August, it's not going to work. But if you run your Christmas Special, four weeks, six weeks out from Christmas, you've got a bit of lead time up and you've got the groundswell hit just before Christmas, it's perfect timing.

Same with your February fitness or your New Year's resolution stuff. If you're trying to do that, July, it doesn't work, you know, everyone's hunkering down for the winter and they're not thinking about getting out and moving and doing all those bits and pieces.

So, timing is the important part for your marketing, understanding your market, understanding when you have to hit the go button. And then having a process from that, that says, I need my artwork ready by this date. I need my wording by this date, I need to have my flyers printed on this day. I need them distributed by hand by here to be able to get the result I want on this date.

So, all that sounds, and it sounds very easy. But you've got to have the systems in place to make it happen, because if you don't have the systems in place, you just won't do it.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. I want to ask you, just because you touched on design, how important do you feel is the design from top-level through to your social media? And how do you combine it?

ROSS: So, design's really important. So, I go down to, and this is a bit old, I don't have business cards anymore, but it used to go down to how the business card felt in your hand – the paper, the weight, the gloss, if it was embossed or not. So, your design and everything being the same image, the same look, the same feel is so important.

Because if you haven't got an even playing field when it comes to that, and you drop the ball on an ad that doesn't look anything like what you actually do? And I see it quite a bit in, well, the classic is you see ads out there that don't have their phone number, or their email address, or… there was a fight show here in Queensland that wrapped up a whole bus with just their name and all the rest of it, and didn't have a website, didn't have a phone number, didn't have when the event was, no details on the bus.

The bus drove around for about eight weeks before the fight show with no real marketing material on. So, it's that, little things. I'm quite lucky I have a graphic designer that I use in Japan. He's been a student of mine for many years, and he always looks at the little things and goes, “Oh, you've missed out your phone number here,” or, “You can't notice where your address is,” or… And everything you do, say, leaving off your website on a flyer.

GEORGE: Yeah, we were just chatting about this on the coaching call, Partners coaching call yesterday. But I think what, just to add to that, things that are so important, we were talking about timing, you know, your frame. We always say change the frame, you know, don't necessarily have to change your offer, just change the frame – that your frame is relevant.

You know, what is the talk? What are people talking about right now? Is it Mother’s Day, Easter, etc.? And then one of the mistakes we always see on any ad or any promotion is no call-to-action. It's like, here's the ad, but like, what the hell do I do to get this thing?

And then, just lastly, the wrong call-to-action on the wrong platform, because if you've got this super spanky flyer, that's really great when you hold it in your hand, and it's got a phone number. But when you see it on social media, you look at the phone number. If I'm on my phone, I can't click it. I can't type. I can't write it down. There's nothing I can do. So, it goes into the “I'll check it out later” basket, which means there goes your lead.

ROSS: Yep, exactly. On social media, you've got to have your links on your email address, on your email campaigns, have your links to things. Big mistake, I see it all the time, and not just martial arts businesses, you see it by some big businesses doing, making huge mistakes.

GEORGE: And so, just what Ross was mentioning on branding, I think what's important here – just to add on that aspect – if you're running campaigns back to back, and you have a brand identity and people can see, can you see this… I always look at Apple, you know. You don't have to know, you don't have to see an Apple logo to know it's Apple. It's just got this; the colors and the design speak for itself.

If people are seeing your ads all the time, you know, and they might not respond to this month's campaign, next month, the third month. But if you've got a design and a concept that people resonate with, and they see – when they're ready, whenever that is and they see your ad, there's a bit of a trust factor that's been built, just because they're familiar, the familiarity of your brand. So yeah, definitely important to keep that congruent from top down.

ROSS: Yeah, the classic with that is Coca Cola. You know, they don't have to change a lot, but they still have to market. So, yeah, you know what, you know what's a Coca Cola brand. You know, what's – the colors, the look, the flow. But, yeah.

GEORGE: So, Ross, what's next? 

ROSS: What's next? 

GEORGE: What's next for Ross and Fightcross? 

ROSS: So, for the next 12 months, it's consolidation. We're aiming to have somewhere between 500 and 1000 members of the facility here. And then I'm looking to purchase some more buildings and expand. So, that's the plan. 

GEORGE: Now, if you don't mind sharing, wrapping some numbers around this, what budget do you set aside? I mean, what budget did you set aside for your current location and when people see the video, they'll get a good aspect of what it's about, and how would you be budgeting for the next round? 

ROSS: So, I've spent, and fitout-wise, I've spent about $250,000 in fitout. So, it's not a cheap fitout. 

GEORGE: So, everyone will see why. Yep, yeah.

ROSS: Yeah. And it's what you're trying to achieve with your building and your fitout, like I say, even down to choosing the mats. I chose the Firmimats, and I chose the traditional Tammy Green matte finish, and all the rest of it, for the right look. So, I've spent extra dollars to make sure I got the right look and the right feel, because it's so important. 

GEORGE: Epic! Well, Ross, great catching up again, and would love to catch up again when, yeah, maybe not in the next location, but just in between and just chat about your experience with running the business and how things are going. Any last words? How can people find out more about you? We haven't even spoken about the events and things that you run. But where can people find out more about you?

ROSS: I'm all over social media so ‘Ross Cameron MMA' on Instagram, ‘Fightcross Ross Cameron' on Facebook, Aftershock, lockdown, hammer fight nights. They're there. They're all over social media. So, at one stage I did a lot of social media work. 

GEORGE: That's cool. Awesome. Great. Thanks so much. I'll speak to you soon. 

ROSS: No worries, yes!

 

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124 – Free Trials Vs Paid Trials For Martial Arts: Which Works Better Between Facebook & Google?

Even if you’re biased like I am between free or paid martial arts trials, this might make you reconsider where one might be more useful than the other.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • What’s the purpose of a trial class anyways? 
  • Why what happens before the actual enquiry matters
  • When to use a free trial and a paid trial offer?
  • Intent-based vs Interruption-based marketing
  • What differences to consider when marketing on Facebook and Google 
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, George Fourie here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. In this episode, I'm going to be talking about a martial arts marketing age-old dilemma: free trials versus paid trials, which one should you be using in your social media, in your Facebook ads, your Google ads, your promotions, and so forth. 

So, I'm going to break it down, and the answer is actually not as straightforward as you might think, especially if you're getting good results with free trials or paid trials, and you are kind of biased towards the other. So, there's actually a place for both. So, I'm going to break down where you could potentially use the paid trial, the free trials, and a bit of the science and the logic behind why you should be using it, at which area in your marketing. 

Stick around to the end, I'll share with you how to, where you can download our free resource, ‘The Ultimate Facebook™ guide for Martial Arts Schools', that will help you create your next winning ad. Alright, let's jump in. 

So, before we dive into details of free versus paid trials, I think it's important to just discuss why a trial in the first place? I mean, we're not in the business of free and paid trials, right? We're in the business of signing up students; and if a student stays with us for one year to two years to three years, I mean, that's really where things are at, right? 

So, why not just go for the marriage proposal straight-up, instead of the drink at the bar? Well, it's really just that, right? We kind of need to start with the drink at the bar. So, what is the drink at the bar? Well, we can use a different analogy for that. But you get what I'm saying, right? So, free trial, paid trial, which is going to work best? Well, it's going to depend on what happens before the trial. 

So, how are they actually entering into your world? And where are the inquiries coming from? So, let's take the first example. Let's say somebody walks into your school, they walk into your school, and the conversation goes, “Hey, I'm, you know, been walking past the school and had a look at your website and had a look at- I've seen your posts on social media, and I wouldn't mind giving it a try and seeing if it will work for me.” 

So, what do you do in that situation? Well, you could present your paid trial, if that's something that you do. But what if a person like that is not keen to pay something just yet? And they just want to try it out? And maybe it's not the money at all, it's just, they just want to give it a go.

They're just not sure, right? What would you do in that scenario? Is it- should you be enforcing a paid trial? You could… or why not just give away a free trial and let them try it out, right? 

Because whether they, I mean, the hard work is done – they've actually walked through the door. From there, you know, how they get to being a member, is really up to you and your sales process, and we'll talk a bit more about that as well. In a sense of that, that's where a free trial could work great, right? Somebody walked in, and they just wanted to give it a try. 

Let's look at another angle where free trials can work great, and to do that, let's do a quick comparison on two core platforms, two core advertising or promotional channels, one being social media, and one being Google. So, let's take Facebook versus Google, for example. Alright, so starting with Google, when people go to Google, Google is intent-based marketing. Facebook is interruption-based.

So, let's talk about the big G first. So, Google: intent-based, so, somebody goes to Google, they are actively searching for a solution or trying to solve a problem. And so, depending on where they are in the buying cycle, is going to depend where they're at, with what their search terms are going to be. So, if they've gone through all the cycles, they might be typing in something like, “martial arts school near me”. 

But if they're not there yet, then they might be typing in something like, “is martial arts the right thing for my child?” or if they know a little bit about different martial arts schools and martial arts styles, they might be typing in, like, “taekwondo versus Jiu jitsu”, or, “Jiu jitsu versus karate”, etc. So, depending on where they're at in the buying cycle, would really depend on where they're at and what type of search term they are typing in. But nevertheless, this person has got intent. 

And by the way, if you want to know more about how these different cycles work, these different stages, I recorded a podcast quite a while ago, called ‘The Five Stages of the Martial Arts Students Signup Cycle'. It's podcast episode #41 – if you go to martialartsmedia.com/41, I'll dive into the details of that, Alright, back to free trials. So, free trials, and searching Google. So, your prospect is searching Google and they find your website. 

Now, they've got some intent, right? Because they've been searching, educating themselves about martial arts and they're kind of ready to potentially take the first step – or not. So, they get your website and they're presented with two options. Now, if they know you, like you, and trust you at this point, or your website does a good job of doing that, they might be ready to take on the paid trial. But maybe they're not, right? 

So, this is where a website could really, it's good to have a few options. And having an option to have a free trial or inquiry, and the paid trial are all good, right? So, this is where a free trial could also be good, because your prospect is just not ready to take out their credit card just yet, although they are very interested. So, that takes care of Google. 

Now, let's move over to Facebook. If we look at mass growth, and student signups, what we've experienced mostly with most of our clients, is it's still the premium channel to attract new students. So, let's look at Facebook. The difference between Facebook and Google, is Facebook is more interruption-based.

So, you can target really well and define exactly who you want to, which demographic you want your ads to be shown to. But you still have to interrupt someone out of their mindless scrolling, right? 

So, they're scrolling or they’re just checking the phone for a couple of minutes, your ads have got to grab attention – got to grab attention. And if you want to know how exactly to do that ad structure, I'll share with you the download resource that you can grab on the podcast page, that will go through that resource. 

But firstly, you have to grab attention, and attention, interest, and desire, right? So, to create desire, you need to create an irresistible offer – an irresistible offer that's got to communicate value. Now, here's where you can struggle with a free trial. If you've just interrupted someone, and they look at your ad, and they look at the option of a free martial arts class, it doesn't really, it's hard to paint the value around it, right? Again, could be case by case, could be different, right? But we're just talking in general. 

In general, how this platform works, it's going to be hard to establish value with a free class. And because you interrupted someone, you could be getting inquiries from people that maybe aren't that interested. And so, you're also going to potentially attract the wrong crowd by having the free trial on Facebook. So, in our experience, and I say in our experience, because we work with a lot of school owners, and we've helped martial arts school owners generate more than 7000 paid trials through this formula. 

It's important to have a well-structured, well-worded paid trial with a Facebook ad, and we find that works way better on Facebook. Now, how do we structure the paid trial? Well, that's important as well. It's not just paying for a few classes, but it's packaged with a combination of classes. Classes plus a physical item, and then demonstrating what the value is. And that last point is really key.

So, what do I mean by that? Well, it's not just, you know, buy five classes for 50 bucks, or, you know, whatever the number is, and I'm just making that number up. I've actually never used that offer, so don't… well, try it – if it works, let me know. But it's important to package it with something physical. Why the physical really helps, because if I'm paying, let's say, 39.95 for two weeks, and I get a free training t-shirt or free uniform, that's something physical that I can picture in my mind. 

And so, if I'm looking at an offer, and I can see that I'm going to pay 39.95 for a two-week trial, I'm going to get this free uniform that's valued at 75, 85, 95 dollars, or I'm saving this much. Now, if you look at this as a package, and it's like, “Ah, cool,” that makes sense – that demonstrates value. I can understand that, because I can understand a physical item better than I can imagining what a martial arts class would be like.

The silly thing is, in your mind, you might be, you know, a prospect might be rationalizing, “Well, you know, if I can try this, and at least I can keep the free item, if I don't like it.” Not sure what you're going to do with a Gi if, or a uniform, if you're not going to train, but hey, nevertheless, that's cool. 

So, just to wrap it up, where do you use a free trial? Where do you use a paid trial? Depends on the platform, where you're going to use it. Make sure that you've got both on your website, so that if somebody finds you, that they can access both – whichever one suits them at the time in their buying cycle. And if you're going to use Facebook ads, then the best bet is to use the paid trial and potentially get the most results from that. 

And if you want to know how to do that, then on this page, depending on where you are watching or listening to this episode, martialartsmedia.com/124. So, the number 124, martialartsmedia.com/124. Scroll down to the big red button that says, ‘Download the Ultimate Facebook™ Ad Formula for Martial Arts Schools.' That will help you, take you through the exact process that we use with all our clients to create winning Facebook ad campaigns that help you attract new students all year long

Thanks so much for watching. Thanks so much for listening. Wherever you are accessing this episode, please make sure you subscribe, that you get notified when our next episode comes out. And please do me a favor, if you got great value from this episode, please share this with a martial arts school owner or instructor friend that you know would get some great value from listening to or watching this.

Thanks again. See you in the next episode, speak soon.

 

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

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123 – 3 Key Steps To Master For Your Next Martial Arts Facebook Ad Campaign

If you believe that things like the iOS updates have impacted your martial arts ads, chances are you’re going about this the wrong way. Here’s a foolproof strategy to adapt for your next successful campaign.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • What is The Ultimate Facebook Ad Formula For Martial Arts Schools?
  • Spending too much money on ads? This number might tell a different story
  • Creating an irresistible martial arts offer
  • How to use the AIDA formula for martial arts Facebook ads
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

If you don't get the leads, you don't get the trials, you don't get the signups. So if we get this right with Facebook, first up, we can get the ads to flow easily. So it becomes a bit of a timing thing. The right offer at the right time in front of the right people.

Hey, this is George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media business podcast. And in this episode, I'm going to be talking about three key steps that you need to master your next Facebook ad campaign. And I'm going to kick off with a bold statement. And the bold statement is, most martial arts school owners are going about this dead wrong. Why do I know this?

Well, first up, we look and we speak to a lot of school owners and look at a lot of ad accounts, but I can tell you that we don't even have to look at the ad accounts when we hear things like, the iOS, the latest iOS update has completely crushed our results. Or, our website is not bringing in leads anymore. Or, we used to have this strategy of running this ad and this retargeting ad, and this doesn't work anymore. Or, everything used to work, and now our ad costs have gone through the roof, and it's not working anymore. 

All those things are really a key sign that it's not about Facebook itself, but it's actually about the strategy. So in this episode, I'm going to break down the entire strategy, how to go about it, what to avoid, what to optimize, what to look for and outline a winning ad strategy that you can use. Winning to the point that we've refined it over the last four, five, six years. And we've seen more than 7,000 paid trials go through the system.

So I'm going to share this with you today. Make sure that you hit subscribe wherever you are watching this video, or if you're listening to it, head over to your favorite podcast listening tool thingy, and make sure you subscribe. And also if you hang around to the end, I will share with you where you can get our latest e-book, which is a breakdown of much of what we're discussing here today, which is called The Ultimate Facebook Ad Formula for Martial Arts Schools.

All right, let's jump in. 

martial arts ads

Let's jump into three key steps to master your next Facebook ad campaign. So just for a little bit of context, this presentation and these slides that I'm going through right now comes from our Partners group. Our Partners program is our flagship program where we help school owners attract the right students, increase signups, and retain more members.

And if you look at it from a model standpoint, this is pretty much what we work on on a month to month basis. And what we're talking about right now, Facebook, Facebook advertising, falls in the top group there, which is called activate ads. All right. Activate ads under Attract. All right. So let's jump in. 

So first up, what's the big problem that we're trying to solve here with Facebook ads? And the big problems that we run into? Well, first up, I'm sure you know advertising is hard. No matter who says what, it's hard. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, right? It can be very inconsistent.

And so sometimes it's hard and sometimes you think, well, hang on, I'm actually, I'm on top of this. And then somebody pulls the rug underneath your feet and it just stops working and it could be hard to diagnose and figure out, all right, well, what's actually going on here?

Why is this working and why not? Which can cause a lot of frustration, but more… The biggest impact of course that you get is you struggle to get the leads, and if you don't get the leads, you don't get the trials, you don't get the signups.

So if we get this right with Facebook, first up, we can get the ads to flow easily. So it becomes a bit of a timing thing, right? The right offer at the right time in front of the right people. 

And if we know how to adapt our four-step formula that works in between those timeframes, in between those segments, then we're off to a good start. If we could do that, ads will keep on working. Most importantly, we know what to measure and improve. You want to be building up a big library of winning ad campaigns. And this is how it really becomes easier.

Some of our best clients that always used to ask all the questions in the group about Facebook ads now almost ask nothing because, hey, they've just got it mastered. And they've built up this library of winning ad campaigns. And best of all, you get it right, obviously you get the leads and you get the signups. So I'm going to jump into three key concepts, three key concepts to win at your next ad campaign.

So first up, know your numbers. Now I'm sure you've heard this thrown around a lot, right? Yeah, you got to know your numbers, and yeah, we all know we got to know our numbers, but what numbers are we really looking for? So first up we want to know what is a student actually worth?

Because here's the metric that everyone focuses on that's the wrong metric. And that metric is cost per lead. Cost per lead. How much did it cost? What is the cost per click?

Now, yep, it's important to try and reduce that, but it's not really the number that matters, right? Because if you were in real estate, for example, and you were paying per lead, that most martial arts schools are paying, you would be winning. So, yep, we want to try and reduce that cost. But what really matters is, what is the return on investment? 

And I'll give a real simple example. I mean, if you had to walk into the casino, and you found a slot machine, and every time you put $1 into that slot machine, it gave $2 back. How many dollars are you going to put into that slot machine? All of them, right? So that's the winning formula.

Now, I mean, if you had to put $5 in and you got $10 out, well, how many dollars are you going to put in? All the $5 that you can get together. So you're not going to go back and say, oh, well, hang on.

I really preferred to put a dollar into the slot machine. No, you don't care because you're getting $10 back. So what I'm really trying to reference to is what is that number? What is the lifetime student value, or at least, what is a student worth for you over the next year? 

Because if you know that every student that signs up is worth $1,500, $2,000, $2,500, then the cost per click starts getting a little more irrelevant. Now, obviously you need to be concerned about that because I mean, if we're spending $1,000 to get a new student and a student's only worth $1,500, well, we're going to burn through cash flow quite fast, right?

And something I learned from Mike Rhodes way long ago was to look at what is a student worth? What is a customer worth over the first three months? And then, grabbing a name, another tip from another gentleman I've learned a lot from, Dean Jackson, stating how much would you spend with a smile on your face to acquire a customer? 

So if you look at, let's say, all right, well, what is the student worth over the next three months? And then, how much of that am I going to spend with a smile on my face to acquire a new customer, a new student in our case, then what is that number? So if you're comfortable with that number, now we know, all right, well, I'm comfortable spending $50, $100, $150 to acquire a new student, and I will do that all day long. And that's the metric that you've got to dial in. All right, let's move on. 

Number two, your irresistible offer. What is an irresistible offer? Well, I've got a picture here of a fidget spinner. It's probably not an ideal irresistible offer. Well, it was for a while, right? Because everybody wanted a fidget spinner.

But what is an irresistible offer? Well, you want to think of your offer, in the case with martial arts, is how do students get started with you? And what is a way that they can get started with you that's completely risk free for them, and it's enticing enough for them to take the first step.

So here's what the offer is not. The offer is not trying to sell the membership, especially not on Facebook, right? Not with this type of marketing. And I can dive deeper into how Facebook works as an interruption, but for now, we've just got to focus on the fact that we want to put an enticing offer in front of people that gets them to take the first step. 

Now, the first step is not signing up for a 12-month membership, right? The first step is them seeing an offer, seeing something that's irresistible enough for them to go ahead and take the first step and put their hand up and say, all right, I'm keen to do this. Okay. I'm keen to do this and let's go ahead and try this out, right?

And I say try this out, I mean, we want people to start, but we want people to feel comfortable about taking that first step without the risk being on them. And risk might be, well, sign up for a 12-month membership to get started. I know nobody does that, but hey, you want to make it easy for them.

So let's talk about offers. So what is better? Should we run a free trial or a paid trial? Now in our experience there's room for both, but when it comes to Facebook, paid trial typically works better. And I'll explain why.

If we had to compare Facebook and Google, when somebody comes through Google, there's some intent. Meaning they go to Google, they look for it, they search, and they've got some intent to actually… They're interested, right? They already have the interest.

On Facebook, we can target really well, but we have to interrupt. So we got to interrupt people from scrolling. People are sitting on their phones and they're looking through, and we got to put something in front of people that appears of great value. So, yep, we can grab their attention and get them interested, but we've got to build desire with a specific ad offer. And that's where a good irresistible offer comes into play. 

So you need a good, irresistible offer, and you need to establish some value. Now it's very hard to establish value with something that's free. Because what is a free trial?

What does that mean? What's the catch? Why is it free?

But if you package something with a uniform or a physical item, like gloves, t-shirt, belt, et cetera, and they're paying X instead of XX, now they can see the value and it's much easier to make a decision. All right. So work on your offer and work on your paid trials. 

Now, these are examples. You might already be using a paid trial, but what could… And if your paid trial is not working, then you got to dig a bit deeper, and it could be actually in the way that it's worded.

So there's certain things that you've got to avoid and certain things you can say or not, and there's certain numbers that will work better than the others. But too much detail to get into right now, but pay attention to the way you deliver your paid trial. All right, let's move on. 

And number three is, follow the formula. Follow the formula. So what is the ad formula to work with when creating ads? For us, we keep it super simple. We use the age-old AIDA formula. A I D A. If you've heard of it, great. Maybe you'll get some context if you haven't heard of it. A is for attention. I is for interest. D is for desire. A is for action. So I'm going to break down exactly how we go about this, right?

So A for attention is grabbing attention. So you want to call the people out that you are trying to have a conversation with, and that could be simply calling them out. San Diego moms, men of Sydney.

So it's just telling the people who we are talking to, that we are trying to talk to them. The next thing that will also, and this probably counts for more than anything, is the type of media that you use. So the type of image. Now, should you use images? Should you use videos? 

Well, in our case, I'd rather use an image. It's just much easier and you've got to be really good at video to really make video work. And side note, all respect to all videographers, but most people that think they're really good at video are not because they create a good video, but they don't have the sales knowledge and marketing knowledge to package it in the right way, to grab the attention and build up the desire. That's attention.

Interest is creating a cool headline. How do you grab interest? Well, in our case, what we do is we create a benefit driven headline.

So how do we craft a benefit? Something that, what is the thing that they're going to get? Now, what you want to avoid here is not talk about what it is, but you want to talk about what they get.

Two different things, right? What it is, is they get martial arts classes. What they get is the result that they get from martial arts classes. 

So this is where we want to talk about more of the end result, the benefit, the desire that they're going to get from this. Let's talk about desire. How do we go about desire? Because we've managed to craft the offers in such an irresistible way, we tend to find that in the desire section, we just insert our irresistible offer right there.

And if we've grabbed their attention and built up their interest with a powerful, benefit driven headline, then that's normally enough for them to say, all right, I want to try this out. And this is where we insert our irresistible offer. And then last but not least is the call to action.

So what do they need to do to get this? And this is where most school owners fall flat. Reason why: they will send the person to a website.

The worst thing you can possibly do is just send them to your homepage website. Because imagine you've just spoken about this awesome offer and everything, and now they click on a link and when they click on it, it's nothing relevant to what was just spoken about. 

So they're lost, and immediately they leave, right? And they bounce and away they go. The other is to send them to a landing page.

Now this is where everybody feels and thinks that they have to have the best landing page. Well, got news for you. If you're struggling with Facebook right now, Facebook doesn't want you to leave Facebook.

So actually sending people to a landing page could be really, really hard to do. So unless you're super experienced and you're testing it and your landing page was specifically created for that specific offer, I would not recommend going about this.

I would do one of two things. One would be to create a lead ad, which is internal with Facebook. Or number two is send people directly to Messenger. And by doing this people stay on Facebook, they stay in the framework, and now you can follow up in that way. 

And if you do something like in our Partners group, we have The Messenger Signup Method. It takes your prospects from being curious to serious, and then we sign them up. Then that's something that can really work for you. And it's really scalable, as well.

All right. And that's it. Those are the three key steps.

So quickly as a recap, number one, know your numbers. What are the key numbers you got to pay attention to? Well, first up, what is your student worth over the next 12 months or for the lifetime?

Your lifetime student value, and how much are you comfortable spending that? What are you comfortable spending with a smile on your face to acquire your student? So paying attention to that rather than what are you paying per click. 

Number two is your irresistible martial arts offer. So what type of offer are you using? If you are generating your ads from Facebook, highly recommend you look at a paid trial offer and then make sure that your paid trial offer is worded the right way, worded using the right numbers and making sure that when somebody looks at the offer, that it automatically screams of value.

And what I mean by that is, they look at it, and it's a no brainer for them to not go ahead with it. And then number three, follow the formula. So the formula being AIDA, which is the formula we follow. A for attention, I for interest, D for desire, and A for action. All right. And that's it. 

Now, if you do want a copy of our latest e-book, The Ultimate Facebook Ad Formula for Martial Arts Schools, then head over to the podcast episode on martialartsmedia.com, and you'll find it at martialartsmedia.com/123.

We're just lucky that this episode is number 123, right? So martialartsmedia.com/ the numbers 123, not the words written out, just the numbers, 123. And there'll be a button there, all the show notes will be there, plus a transcript. And you'll be able to download The Ultimate Facebook Ad Formula for Martial Arts Schools. 

And if you need some help with your Facebook ads and you want to learn more, how we can help you, or maybe you need someone, you just need a second set of eyes to have a look at your ad account and your ads, then reach out to us. Best way to do that is go to martialartsmedia.com/scale. So S-C-A-L-E. martialartsmedia.com/scale.

There's a little questionnaire, a couple of steps with a few questions for us to better understand where you're at with your business, what you need help with. And then that will go through to another screen where we can book any time to chat and go from there. 

All right, thanks so much. I hope this episode was helpful. And if you're struggling with ads, I just want to confirm this, do take this formula seriously because we work with this formula. Obviously, there's layers and details on it, but this formula, it's not our formula.

It's a proven formula. We've just refined it for martial arts schools. And like I've said, we've seen more than 7,000 paid trials go through the system for schools of all sizes. Schools that are just starting out, pushing a hundred students, schools that have got multiple thousands of students, and the formula just works.

If you need any help, let us know. And otherwise, thanks a lot for listening, thanks a lot for watching, and I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers.

 

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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.

Now also available on Spotify!

122 – From UFC Fight Pass To Dana White’s Contender Series ( With Ben Vickers )

Ben Vickers shares his UFC journey, from Eternal MMA’s 14 fight shows on UFC Fight Pass, to Scrappy MMA’s Jack Della Maddalena winning his fight on The Dana White’s Contender Series.

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IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How the UFC ‘Walks the Talk’ and raises the bar in the industry 
  • Molding fighters through collaborative coaching style
  • Australian champion Jack Della Maddalena’s martial arts success story
  • Creating a pathway into the UFC for Australian fighters 
  • How to navigate flights and borders during restrictions
  • The journey to Dana White’s Contender series
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

I actually think the key and the secret is they're so close as a team that they all want to lift each other up. I never have issues on the mats with ego. Everyone's just there to get better. And it's really proving the results now.

The guys are self-motivated. I don't need to beg them to come into the gym. They're there. They want to be there, and they want to be the best. And they're prepared to put the work in, and it's showing. There is no secret. It's hard work, it's good quality coaching, and it's teamwork.

GEORGE: Hey, George here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. So, I've got a repeat guest today. Ben Vickers from Eternal MMA and Scrappy MMA. How are you doing today, Ben?

BEN: Yeah, I'm good. I'm good. I'm enjoying the sunshine in the backyard, so happy day.

GEORGE: Well, last time we spoke, we were grabbing a coffee, but last time we spoke on the podcast, podcast 87, we spoke about Eternal MMA. You just got a deal with the UFC, UFC Fight Pass to have all your shows and everything featured. And I was at… Actually, I just bought a ticket yesterday to Eternal MMA.

Yeah. So Ben and the team run an epic show, Eternal MMA. Real top quality production, great fighters. Kind of see now how you've got to deal with the UFC, but wanted to bring you on to chat about the new development that's happened.

And I guess I could just leave it to you before I maybe go down the wrong path with it. So how have things evolved with the UFC from the last time we spoke?

BEN: It's like anything in business really, I'm learning. I'm a self-investing accidental businessman. I had a passion for martial arts. I competed, and then just by natural progression, I ended up owning an academy, coaching fighters, and then running an MMA event.

So I kind of happened upon this business world, but as I am noticing now, it takes time to establish these business relationships and stuff. So I guess for the last… Since 2019, when we did the October Melbourne event, Eternal 48 debuted on Fight Pass, we've done 14 shows with the UFC. We have regular communications with them. We have a monthly call with them where they fill us in on what they need from us, what they want from us, how we are doing.

And we're doing very well. We're one of the strongest events on the platform. We get great viewership all across the world, which is a testament to the matchmaking because we show in a very bad time zone for the U.S.

Our shows go live sort of 4:00 and 7:00 AM East and West Coast. Sorry, that was the wrong way around. So it's normally 4:00 on the West Coast and 7:00 AM in the East. So it's not a great viewership time for the U.S. market, but we seem to be attracting attention there, which must state that we are doing something right, and people enjoy the entertainment that Eternal's providing.

We've got a big viewership in Europe now. We're the second highest performing platform on show outside of the UFC in Europe, sort of a non-European show, should I say. So everything's going really well, and we're really happy with our partnership.

We've got another deal locked in for next year, and we're in the process of signing another TV deal with another massive sports company. One of the… Probably the foremost sports platform in the world. So things are looking good for Eternal.

GEORGE: Great. Well, congrats I'd say, first and foremost. Does it conflict with the… So you mentioned you got moving… Well, you signed the additional deal. How does that work with the UFC? Do the contracts conflict in any way, or-

BEN: They do.

GEORGE: Do they complement each other?

dana white's contender series

BEN: They definitely complement each other. The company that we are going to work with works closely with the UFC as well. That's how we've been able to do the deal, so the deal's not signed yet, so I won't say too much about it, but it's in the latter stages of getting signed.

But yeah, there is synergy there, and what's been really nice for our partnership with the UFC is they've actually gone outside of scope a couple of times and sort of waved the exclusivity clause on a couple of things for us, which is kind of unheard of in the market, especially with the UFC being such a juggernaut. They don't normally do that, so they genuinely believe in the term partnership.

In business, partnership, teamwork, gets thrown around all the time by people that want things, I feel, but the UFC sort of really seem to be living up to that, which is great to see. I think in business these days, a lot of people promise you a lot of things, and from my experience, people very rarely deliver, and that's at the core of my business values is delivering on what I say I'm going to deliver on, and I expect the same thing from people that I'm going to work with and partner with.

So it's really nice to see that such a big company has the same respect for us, and it's a two way street, which is probably the first time in my experience that that's ever happened.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's great to hear. They definitely walk the talk. I mean, if you look at all the reporters and all the media, the negative press they get from obviously people trying to chip at the biggest player and critiquing how they pay for their fighters, you see a lot of negativity come around and it's good to hear from someone that's actually in the trenches, working with them on how the partnership is complementing your business and the direction where you guys go.

BEN: Yeah, I don't think you can be as successful as they are without being good at what you do, and you're going to moan about fighter pay and stuff like this, but if you look at what the UFC has done for the sport, I'm probably not sat here if they haven't made the sport as big as what it is because there's that flow down effect, and they're putting in front of everybody's eyes which is filling my gym, which is inspiring people to want to take up martial arts, which is inspiring people to want to come and watch local MMA and see.

And now we've created this pathway. We've had a couple of fighters go from Eternal champion into the UFC, so now we're creating a pathway where people go, “Well, hang on. If I fight in Eternal and I become the champ, there's a chance I can go and fulfill my dreams, and the UFC might pick me up.” So it's nice to have created that pathway for Australia, for Australian martial artists, and hopefully we can start hammering a few more people into the UFC and really get Australian MMA…

Although it's pretty well on the map, I think we can… I think the standard of martial arts and MMA in particular is super high in this country right now, and there's a lot of talent out there, so hopefully we can get that to the big show.

GEORGE: Yeah, so let's talk about that and your most recent trip. I mean, one thing I noticed at Eternal MMA, which is what I didn't know, is you have a bench of really strong fighters. I mean, all the guys from Scrappy MMA that were part of the event were just really, really good to watch.

So you've definitely developed a great team of fighters yourself. So what do you account that for? Is it just experience or is it also painting this pathway, and your team being able to see more of what is actually possible in the sport?

BEN: For me, I believe that… See, I don't think I'm necessarily a great coach. I think I know what I know, and I know how to put that across. I have a collaborative coaching style. I have a lot of very experienced, very talented fighters. We work together.

So their input is taken on board by me. We'll often sit and talk about positions or things that happen in fights and brainstorm it with all the brains that are around, come to the best solution, practice that, make that part of the game, and then move on to the next position that we want to discuss.

So that's a big part of the collaborative coaching effort. It's not a dictatorship. The guys don't turn up and go, “Right, you're doing this, this and this and this.”

We sort of get our minds together. There's many years of experience on my mats now. I have a hugely experienced team of high level guys, so I tap into their knowledge base as much as possible.

BEN: But what I actually think is the key and the secret is they're so close as a team that they all want to lift each other up. I never have issues on the mats with ego. Everyone's just there to get better, and it's really proving the results now. The guys are self-motivated.

I don't need to beg them to come into the gym. They're there. They want to be there, and they want to be the best. And they're prepared to put the work in, and it's showing.

There's no secret. It's hard work. It's good quality coaching, and it's teamwork.

GEORGE: Yeah. Awesome.

BEN: So that's my key.

GEORGE: Love it. So I don't know how much you could talk about your recent trip to the States?

Jack Della

BEN: That's all… So we… Jack Della who… If any of you don't know who Jack Della Maddalena is, he's been Australian champion on Eternal since 2016. He's got a really interesting story.

He started his career 0-2, losing his first two fights. And then we had a conversation after that, and I basically said, you're too good to be 0-2. Let's set the goal that we're going to get 10 straight wins.

We're going to move to 10-2, and we're going to laugh about this period in a few years’ time. So Jack went 9-2. I don't know if you were there for that one where he knocked out Aldin Bates in spectacular fashion at the HBF Stadium in 72 seconds avenging his first pro MMA loss, and that was his last fight regionally.

And since then, Dana White's Contender Series and the UFC came in and gave Jack a match on week three of this season's Dana White Contender Series, so if you go on UFC Fight Pass, Dana White Contender Series, season five, week three, Jack's on there. He fought an incredibly talented fighter out of Sanford MMA, which is home to Gilbert Burns and Michael Chandler. Kamaru Usman used to train there.

A bunch of high level guys down there, and we went from little old Perth, and we cut the head off the juggernaut, and Jack sort of demolished this guy. It was a three round fight, and the guy hung in there, but he got his ass kicked for pretty much 90% of the fight.

Jack had Dana on his feet at the end of the fight and a round of applause. Basically Dana White Contender Series is a trial, so if you win your fight and he's impressed with you, he's going to sign you to the UFC. So Jack was awarded the contract that night, and we now have a matchup for early Jan in the UFC for Jack to make his UFC debut.

So it's been an epic, epic few weeks. I've done two weeks in the States which was great, and then I've subsequently completed a month. Well, almost completed. Today is my last day of my month quarantine back here in Perth Australia.

GEORGE: Great, so I mean, congrats to both of you and for really putting, I guess, Perth on the map officially as having a fighter in the UFC as well. So, how does that go from here for you? The fights, the travels, the whole agreement?

BEN: Yeah, so Jack signed a four fight deal with the UFC. Those deals are very one sided so that if Jack had one fight and the UFC decided they didn't want him anymore, they would cut him, but he is tied in for the four. So it's very biased towards the company; however, we know that. You know that when you get involved.

GEORGE: It's your foot in the door.

BEN: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, foot through the door, and if Jack goes out and does what he's capable of doing, then his contract will improve quickly, and for us, it's never been about cash. It's always been about being the best in the world, and I firmly believe that Jack Della Maddalena is going to win the welterweight championship in the UFC. So that is the goal now. That is the new goal is to hit the rankings first, get top 15, and then push towards the title.

With the travel and stuff, I mean, most of the fights are going to be stateside at least for the foreseeable future, so I guess it just depends on what happens in the world and where we're at come January as to how much of an ordeal it's going to be, or whether it's going to be…

It would be really nice to just fly out there, do what we need to do, and then come home and just slot back into normal life, but I understand that's probably not going to be the case. Jan, maybe later on in the year, but as long as we can get out there, we can have the fight, we'll worry about the rest of the stuff.

GEORGE: So, I have to ask for anyone in the world listening that's not familiar with how Australia works, but you know, in Perth we're pretty stuck in our state, but we can't actually leave. You can't come in and you can't leave. So big the question, how the hell did you get out?

BEN: Getting out was actually easy. We got the sporting exemption. The UFC is obviously a very powerful entity, so they have lawyers, and they can make these things happen. Seems very strange to me that sports and celebrities get the free will to travel where there's people that have domestic problems, and it doesn't sit very well with me, but I wasn't going to turn it down out of principle.

At the end of the day, we were granted the exemptions to leave, so we left. The problems were when we came back to Australia. Getting out was fairly easy. Once we touched back down on Australian shores, it was a bit more complicated.

GEORGE: In which way?

BEN: No one knows what's going on. No one knows what the rules are. And this is entirely not the people on the ground's fault.

It's obvious there's a lack of direction from the top level feeding down to the employees who are enforcing this stuff. So you get told 10 different things about the same question from five different people. Everyone's a bit confused as to what the rules are, what the rules aren't.

So we did the two weeks hotel quarantine, which was expected. We kind of knew that that was on the cards. They lock you in a twin bedroom with an on suite for two weeks with no opening windows, and it's a little bit inhumane to me, like why you can't have a window and no fresh air for two weeks.

And the room we were in, unfortunately, got no sunlight because it was on a curve. The building was curved, and the sun never hit our side of the curve. So no sunlight, fresh air for two weeks was interesting, but we kind of prepared ourselves for that.

And then getting back to Perth, that's another problem all in itself. New South Wales, especially, is viewed as Chernobyl in this country at the moment, but we managed to get our passes signed off to come back home to Perth, which was great.

It's kind of a weird conversation to be having with someone, to ask if you can come home, but we were eventually allowed home, and I'm just completing my two weeks home quarantine. So it'll be a six week trip for a 15 minute flight, which is a lot of effort.

GEORGE: Yeah, so that begs the question, right? Because if that's going to be the norm, how do you do that? Do you relocate? Does Jack relocate? How do you…

BEN: No, I think… I could be being overly optimistic, but I think that this is about to come to an end in some way shape or form. The vaccine numbers are creeping up towards where the government wants them to be. International travel is about to start again. They're talking about home isolation as opposed to hotel isolation. So I think it is going to improve, but I'm very committed to Jack and the sport and Jack.

If I didn't believe so strongly in Jack, it might be a different story, but I firmly believe that he's going to be a world champ, and I'm prepared to do whatever I have to do to help him make that happen. And he's the same way, so if we have to sit for a month in quarantine, after every fight for the foreseeable future, if it gets us to the goal, then that's what we'll do.

I'm lucky that I've got such a good team at the gym, and I've got a business partner in Eternal that they can… Everything I can't do remotely they can look after, so I don't stress about the businesses and stuff while I'm away. And I just get the freedom to focus a hundred percent on what we're doing.

GEORGE: That's epic. How do you feel about this whole situation now that you've traveled? Like the way we are handling the COVID situation versus internationally? And there's two sides to this, right?

Because for most Australians, we feel like… I think in Perth, people feel pretty cool about everything because we just got freedom until you try and leave, right?

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: And then Queensland pretty much the same, but for most of us, we don't want to be in New South Wales and Victoria right now.

BEN: I think vaccinated, New South Wales isn't a bad place to be. I think they've just let all the clean people out and the dirty unvaccinated people must stay indoors for another couple of months, which is crazy as well. Yeah, I'm… Look, it's probably not the best conversation for me to have. I have pretty strong views on it, and they might not fit everyone else's. I'm not an anti this or anti that, I'm a pro doing what you feel is right for you.

So if vaccine's your method and your coping mechanism, I support you a hundred percent. If it isn't, I also support you a hundred percent. Just do what you feel is right for you. I'm blown away having been to America, which was supposed to be like this hotbed of COVID, and people are just cracking on and living a normal life over there.

I feel like it's been badly handled, if I'm honest. We had the jump on everybody else. We had hindsight, we had time to look at what was happening in the rest of the world. We used our geographical position as a safety net without any real thoughts of strategy or long term strategy.

We were just gloating to the rest of the world how good we had it over here in Australia, and now we are the worst in the world. So to me, that's poor leadership.

I feel like forcing people to do things they don't want to do medically is a very slippery slope, but I have no choice in the matter really at the end of the day. Comply or live a second rate life. Your options have become very limited, so it's a bit unfortunate this happened, and two years ago, we'd be sitting there having this conversation, and if we started bringing into to the conversation, you must have a vaccine or you won't be allowed to do this that and the other, well, we'd have thought we were both gone completely mad two years ago.

So it's funny how quickly it's changed. And essentially in two years, 50% of the world is now vaccinated against this, which is… It's crazy, but that's where we're at. So we just got to make the most of it, and do the best we can, navigate our way through this mind field and try and get out of it the other side as safely and healthily as possible.

GEORGE: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. What's next on the cards for you guys, just with everything that's going on? Is there a different structure in the team and how you are doing it, especially with the focus, having a fighter at that level?

Does the team adjust with training schedules to support, or is it just business as usual?

BEN: It's business as usual? Like Jack's part of the team, and when it's his turn to fight, we'll focus on him for the six weeks prior to his fight, exclusively, probably. He's on a slightly different time schedule to the rest of the boys, but I've got boys fighting in two weeks.

While I was in the States, Jack Becker went away and won the Australian title on the Gold Coast. He went on his own, and that's the confidence he had in his own skills. He didn't need his coach.

He was happy to go over there and beat an undefeated dude. Knock him out in the first round and take his title. So I've got him fighting November, which will probably be the last fighter I have out this year.

And then all the focus will be on Jack's training camp. He's got a UFC fight in Jan. So, no, we crack on as normal. And I'm hoping that Jack Becker defends his title.

He might follow Jack Della's footsteps next year into the international scene. He's definitely ready to go. And I've got a bunch of boys just chomping at the bit to get out there. So we'll all train together.

The team mentality stays. Jack's not a big time guy. He's humble. He'll be in the gym as normal, like nothing's changed. No, we just crack on. As far as Eternal's concerned, again, it's just business as usual.

It's been challenging these last two years. I'd say now trying to get at these shows across the line, and it's cost a lot of money to travel people around for no reason, and there's been umpteen challenges, but Eternal has grown and gone from strength to strength as well during the pandemic, so all these challenges just help you get better at doing what you do.

We think on our feet now, so when something comes up, we've always got contingency plans in place. We know so-and-so might not get here, so who's going to fill in, and have we got the people on the back burner and sometimes we might give you a little retainer to stay ready for just in case, and we're sort of trying to future proof the business as best as possible and get as many good fights on as we can and, and keep doing what we're doing.

GEORGE: You're definitely doing that. On the contingency type plans, I was curious, what is the plan when you have the show scheduled for X date and government decides, hang on, we got a case and we're shutting the city down, which happens-

BEN: It happens, yeah.

GEORGE: What is the plan? Is it just shift to the next weekend? Or how do the venues compensate and work with you in that situation?

BEN: The venues don't really compensate. Everyone's sort of covering their own ass, if you like, at the moment. So what we'll do is we'll pencil dates in the distance.

So say that Perth was an example around February, our February show. Perth went into lockdown, and it came out of lockdown the day the show was supposed to take place, so I moved the show 16 hours, and I did it on Sunday. So it's just little things like that.

Once it gets canceled that late, boys are already cutting weight and stuff like that, so we want to try and keep it as close to the original date as possible so as not to mess around with the guy's health too much. So that's always my main concern is making these fights happen as close to the original date as possible.

But the last Gold Coast show was postponed numerous times. I think it went on the third date that we planned it for.

GEORGE: Wow.

BEN: It's just having the dates in the diary, speaking with venues, and venues understand the scenario, so they let you multiple pencils, and if people are canceling their events and you can slot in then we'll do that, and it's just being reactive really. I mean, it's a very tricky space at the moment. Imagine I've got a show on October the 30th, but if we have a lockdown on October the 29th, there's not much I can do about that.

Everything's in motion, everything's paid for everything. That's a tough one, but that's where insurance comes. And there are grants available from the government. They're hard to get, and they take a while, but if you qualify, which we haven't managed to receive one yet, then they'll compensate you for canceled events and stuff like that.

GEORGE: Got it.

BEN: You've just got to keep working. It's like anything. You want the result you want at the end, you just got to put your nose to the grindstone and make it happen.

That's all it is, is the extreme desire to make these events happen. It'd be easy to go, “Fuck it. I'm not doing anything for three months until this shit calms”, but you could be waiting three years.

GEORGE: Exactly.

Jack Della

BEN: You might as well just try and make… And we haven't… We fulfill our contracts every year with our broadcast contracts, the main COVID year, and then this year as well, we will fulfill our broadcast contracts, which is what… Like I said, at the start we promised we would deliver that, and it's important to us to…

I'm sure the UFC would understand if we didn't, given the circumstances, but it's never really been an option for me.

GEORGE: Yeah. I love that attitude. It's like survival of the fittest has taken on a new meaning. Like you just get it done. And I speak to a lot of school owners, and it's always frustrating when people have chosen…

I don't want to pick on anyone, but chose the backseat, chosen to… It's okay to not follow through and not succeed because X, Y, and Z.

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: Yeah, so it's not easy. It's complicated. It's definitely not easy. It's definitely not simple.

If you can navigate through this and manage to put all these different contingency plans in place with everything that you do, I think when everything's over and done and a bit more normal, whatever that is, you'll just operate at a whole another level.

BEN: Absolutely.

GEORGE: Yeah.

BEN: I always said to Cam, who's my Eternal business partner, I always said, “If we position ourselves right, and we play this right, we'll be in a very strong position at the end of this pandemic, and it's just literally a can-do mentality. Like whatever it takes to get the job done, and then having the support of commissions and people and years building up these relationships, they come to fruition when you need something from people, and you've been consistent in your behaviors and your delivery over the years, people are much more willing to help you out.

GEORGE: Yeah.

BEN: It's been a big collaborative effort from everyone involved, and I appreciate that. It is easy to go out, you know, “Let's just leave it. That's too difficult. Put it in the too hard basket, and move on.” But that's not how I operate. I like working under difficult circumstances. I like pressure. That's where I want to be.

GEORGE: Do you feel it kind of fires you up in a way?

BEN: I just like being in the thick of it. I don't like… Like for me, quarantine is the worst thing that could ever happen to me because I like being amongst it. I like shit to be happening all the time. That's just how I like to do it.

GEORGE: Love it.

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: Hey Ben, it's great catching up. For anyone listening, it's kind of… And I did chat about it in the last podcast episode, but it's actually funny how we met because our daughters go to the same daycare.

BEN: Yeah. They're all grown up now.

GEORGE: Yeah, growing up. Growing up and… Oh sorry, you've got a son as well that's growing up that's now in the same daycare. And I was just wearing the UFC shirt the one day Ben came in and it was like, “Hey, UFC”. And I could just… I looked at Ben, and it was like, yeah, he trains and-

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: That was the conversation.

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: And so I bump into Ben every so often just at the daycare, we have a bit of a rant or bump to his wife or at the local coffee shop which is Alex Junior.

Alex Junior Coffee

BEN: Alex Junior Coffee has the finest coffee in Perth.

GEORGE: There we go. Yeah. What is the full story behind the Dadbury? So, and for anyone listening, that's obviously… We're using terms here that are pretty not… Yeah, if you're not in Perth, sounds strange, but Padbury is a suburb. Go for it.

BEN: Padbury is where we live. It was the idea of one of the local dads that we should have a community of people, and what Dadbury does is get the dads together for one, but they've actually now got government grants and government funding. And what they do is they help people out in the suburbs. 

So say you might be a single mom and your garden's got away from you. The boys will come around on a Saturday, they'll dig your garden out. They've got a Bobcat and they'll… Or your roof's falling you in, and you can't afford…

So they're helping the local community, raising money for kids that are sick, cleaning the school grounds up, all kinds of stuff. It's just like a community, and anyone can sort of message the page who lives in Padbury or even I'm assuming, sort of the runnings of… But if you were the next suburb over, but you've been from it… It's just a community of dads that have different skill sets that…

My only skill set is I can rock up sometimes and lift some stuff and move some stuff around, and be a bit of a morale, making people laugh by falling over and being clumsy. But it's just a great group of people.

And I kind of have a little routine. The coffee shop, they built a coffee shop here, and it's become like the hub of the community. So after I drop the kids off in the morning to go to school, before I head down on the freeway to work, I'll drop in. I'll get my coffee.

I spend 10 minutes talking to the lads, whoever's around. It's a really nice suburb to live in. Like everyone sort of knows everyone's out for everyone, and being from London, I never really had that.

Everyone's too busy. Everyone's doing their own thing. No, one's really interested in what their neigh-… I didn't know the name of my neighbors, and they lived above me and beside me directly.

So it's really nice to walk around the suburb with the kids, and the kids play with other people's kids. You can sit and have a coffee, and it's a nice thing.

Community is very important to me and my gym is a community that I have, and now I have another community where I live, so I'm in a pretty good position for support. In quarantine, the lads come and drop coffee off at the doorstep for me.

GEORGE: Wow.

BEN: It's been amazing. They made sure to, when they saw Nat while I was away, make sure they didn't need anything. It's just nice to know that someone's got your back while you're away.

Obviously with traveling, it's going to become a bit more frequent for me now. It's nice to know that we live in a nice place where people are looking out. And I think if there could be more of that in society, then I think we'd all be in a much better spot.

GEORGE: Yeah, definitely. And I, I've got to admit it's… And I'm kind of sad I discovered that part before I moved, and I'm 10, 15 minutes away, but whenever we drop our daughter off, that's the first spot I go for coffee, and it's just got a great vibe to it, and it is kind of rare.

It's the first little hub that I've found in Perth that is very, very close and very… It's just got a different vibe to it. And that is rare in most places.

BEN: First time in my life I found it… Obviously, I was a soldier, so I was very transient, so I never really had a home base, and I never really had friends, loads of friends or a group or a community where I lived. It was more like at work.

And then when I went home on leave, I'd meet up with the other soldiers and you wouldn't really fraternize with your local community. So it's really nice for me, and it's probably the first time ever that I've had this sort of community vibe as an adult, and I think it's a great way to live because if you're…

Sometimes you feel shit, and there's a bloke down there you can just talk to. He doesn't really know that much about you, so it's quite an open sort of… Don't really… Yeah, so it's nice just to be able to get things off your chest, chat, and just have a laugh and some banter and push through the day.

But everyone knows that there's someone there if they need a shoulder to cry or they have some issues, then there's plenty of lads there to have a chat.

So I think it's important for men. Men don't talk enough, and I've had some mental health struggles in the last 18 months, and the support of those communities I have around me has been instrumental in getting through that, coming out the other side in a good spot. So find a community, whatever it is. Join a club.

I think men are terrible for just bottling everything up and drinking their way out of problems, and before you know it, bang, there's an explosion there.

GEORGE: Yeah, very, very true. I can vouch for that, and I think coming from a culture, South Africa culture which can be perceived as very stubborn and very hard in mindset just because of the circumstances of where you're from. But it's a lot of pride that goes into opening up and you always got to show up, be cool, be a hundred percent. Can't…

BEN: I mean, I think it's been great that Tyson Fury has come forward so heavily. For me, he's the greatest boxer of my generation. Definitely the greatest heavyweight of my generation, and what a human being.

I've never really met anyone that doesn't like him. He's been to the bottom. He's the baddest man on the planet, and he wanted to top himself, and here he is a week removed from one of the most amazing boxing fights you'll ever see, and he's flying, but he's a good advocate for… He's the baddest man on the planet, but he's able to stand there and go, “Yeah, I have mental issues, and I need to deal with it.”

So to have more advocates like that is fantastic, and it doesn't make you weak. There's this stupid stigma that us men have that we are weak if we have a problem. I was the worst for it.

I wouldn't tell anyone anything, but there's a reality check coming at some point in your life and you won't… It might… It chooses the right to time to come for you to work through it. So it happened to me at 40. It might happen at 50. It might happen at 60, but at some point, if you don't start getting rid of some of these demons or some of these problems or some of these issues, they're going to compound, and there's going to be an explosion, and there might be some collateral damage, so sooner or later, get it off your chest.

Find someone that you can confide in, and I think it's really important to do that.

GEORGE: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Hey Ben, next time I'll hit you up for some coffee, and next time we chat on the show, I think we'll start talking about bull champions. How about that?

BEN: Yeah, sounds good.

GEORGE: Or earlier.

BEN: Give me a few years. When was the last one? Couple years ago?

GEORGE: I was looking this morning, so it's episode number 87 for anyone who wants to listen. 2019.

BEN: Yeah, so a couple of years.

GEORGE: Yep.

BEN: Yeah, I reckon if we circle back in a couple of years, we'll be knocking on the door.

GEORGE: All right. We'll call this the Ben and George Show, episode two of 20.

BEN: Yeah, there we go.

GEORGE: It'll be slow. It'll be slow paced. We'll do it once a year, once every couple years, but yeah, we'll just document the journey.

BEN: I'll get Jack to jump on and the next one.

GEORGE: Yeah. Sounds good. Would love to chat to him as well.

BEN: Perfect.

GEORGE: All right, mate.

BEN: Thanks for the time.

GEORGE: Good to catch up, and all the best for the last few days of quarantine. Enjoy the sun, and you'll be back on it next week.

BEN: Cheers, mate.

GEORGE: Speak soon. Cheers.

 

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***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

121 – Is The ‘Anti-McDojo Mindset’ Sabotaging Your Martial Arts Business’s Success?

Cheyne McMahon and George Fourie discuss overcoming a somewhat outdated, old-fashioned, traditional mindset that’s holding many martial arts businesses back.

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IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Original, traditional karate charged at premium prices?
  • How to raise prices and still keep your students
  • Been called a McDojo?
  • Martial arts fees based on value vs time
  • Growing from 110 to 350 karate students
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

I think as instructors, maybe people try to be that person on the pedestal and be that person that they want to be, but they can't because it's not ingrained in them. But if people perceive them as that person, perceive them as, oh, my sensei does it for the love of karate. Well, yeah, we all do it for the love of karate or the love of the martial arts. If we didn't do it for the love of martial arts, we wouldn't do it. 

GEORGE: Hey, George here from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media business podcast. I've got a repeat guest and I think I just discovered the record breaker of repeat guests, record breaker, Cheyne McMahon, third time on the show, I believe. 

CHEYNE: Yeah, that's right. Thanks for having me, George. Again. 

GEORGE: Cool. Welcome back. We used to introduce Cheyne as Cheyne McMahon from Australian Karate Academy, but now we'll add to the introduction Cheyne McMahon from Australia Karate Academy and the Karate Over Coffee Podcast. Cool. 

CHEYNE: That's it.  

GEORGE: Cool. We're going to talk about that, but Cheyne and I were chatting a week ago, so I'm going to put some context to this conversation. This might turn into a bit of a rant, I don't know, possibly, but it's going to be something that you really want to listen to, if you are struggling with growing your business, your martial arts business.

We're going to focus on karate, but I see this overlap in martial arts school owners I've talked to that do jiu jitsu, Kung-Fu, Taekwondo. I don't know if it's a generational thing, but it's a problem. And we're going to take it head on.

And I hope you get a lot from this. And if you have felt anything similar in the circles that you hang around, in the martial arts community and I hope this helps because this is the one thing that I see holding school owners back the most.  

As you guys know, if you listen to this podcast, I work with a group of school owners, we call Partners. And we promptly help school owners attract the right students, increase signups and retain more members. A lot of people always reach out and say, “Hey, we want help with our marketing.”

The first… I think the one thing that almost 99% of school owners always come to me for is, “Hey, we need more students.” That's always where the conversation starts. But what I've really noticed of late is, it's almost never the problem.  

It's almost never the problem. It's not. Yes, it is the problem, you need more students, but it's not the root cause of the problem.

It's not the marketing. It's not the, we need the latest trick. All those things are relevant. The problem goes way deeper than that. And it's mindset and mindset around money. Mindset and mindset around money. And I think this is the biggest thing that's holding most school owners back, especially, we're going to talk about karate, traditional karate, and beliefs around money and how to overcome that.  

Cheyne, let's just talk about where you're at right now with your school and from where I sit. I think if we talk about traditional karate, I think that Cheyne lives and breathes karate, like someone I've never met in my life. It's seven, eight hours a day. It's karate, it's talking karate, it's teaching karate, it's learning karate.  

And then, when you look at his school, if anybody has a label, throw those… What's with those dodgy labels like McDojo or things like that? If anybody has to do that, they need a bit of a reality check. But not that anything that we're talking about is wrong, but if we talk about purists, Cheyne does karate. He doesn't add other classes, there's no Muay Thai, there's no kickboxing, it's karate. There's no birthday parties. It's karate.

Everything is just centered on this one, the core of what Cheyne lives and breathes. I'll hand it over to you, where's your business at right now? How does it look and so forth?

Martial Arts Business

CHEYNE: Yeah. Well, at the moment, student-wise, we're in the 340 to 350 mark in the one dojo. We have a dojo in Sydney as well and he's looking around the 150 mark. But karate-wise, I've never moved away from teaching the best quality karate that we can offer.  

Everything is based around our style of karate. We teach the little kids, the kinder ninjas, but we kept those numbers. We have kids and we have many adults as well.

We'd be close to 150 adults in our program and that's not teaching anything other than traditional karate, karate and Kobudo, the weapons. Everything is geared around learning, understanding traditional karate. The dojo has gone, we have to keep expanding the dojo to have everybody in there, which is a great problem to have, but it doesn't mean that we've watered down any of the karate.

In fact, our karate has gotten better and better over the years because I've been able to… Instead of working a nine to five job and then coming and teaching karate, I've been able to focus everything on understanding more about karate, because I've got, not free time, but I've got allocated time during the day, now, for example, to spend on understanding more about karate and reading books about karate, reading internet forums about karate, watching videos.

I can spend a couple of hours a day just doing that and incorporating that into the classes, instead of going nine till five at a job and then having to teach, two, three hours after, a couple of days a week. Everything is geared around karate and karate getting better. Learning more about the oldest style of karate, traditional karate. 

GEORGE: Perfect. When it comes to fees, would you say that you are the cheapest in the market or more sort of the most expensive, when it comes to fees?  

CHEYNE: Well, I'm the most expensive, yeah, in my area. If you look at the karate schools around me, I'm definitely the most expensive, but I have the most available times. I've got a big training area, I've got toilets, change rooms, air conditioning, and new flooring.  

I am the most expensive, but not only that, my family have been doing karate for a long time. I charge the most because I deliver the most and I consider my karate to be the best. That's why, if you walk into a Mercedes dealership, you know you're going to be paying Mercedes dealership price.

If you walk into a Kia dealership, then you're going to pay a Kia price. The Kia salesman may be wearing a tie or they could be wearing a polo, nothing wrong with that. But if you go into a Mercedes dealership, they're wearing cufflinks, they're wearing tailored shirts. The tiling on the floor is a hundred dollars a tile, the Kia dealership is $10 a tile, so you get what you pay for.  

GEORGE: 100%. I've framed the word expensive and fees and cheap and expensive, but really what it comes down to is, and you've answered that is, you are priced based on your value. You are priced based on your value and not on just the time or so forth.  

CHEYNE: Yeah. We also have… The mandatory time is twice a week. The minimum time for you to train is twice a week. If you're after a once a week class, then I'm not the dojo for you. I'm only looking for serious students who want to do serious karate.

If you're interested in just doing once a week at a community hall, no problem, I will send you there and I'll give you the instructor's name, but for me, and the way that I want my club to be, it's a serious karate club, where we teach serious karate.

GEORGE: All right. Let's talk about why you feel that traditional… Let's start with your background and, if you're listening in a different country, or you've got a jiu jitsu school, TaeKwonDo, it doesn't matter, but we're going to go from Cheyne's experience, draw from Cheyne's karate experience, talk about traditional karate.  

When you speak to other school owners, traditional karate and so forth, where do you see the problem with them getting to the level that you're at?  

CHEYNE: I think it's a mindset from their previous instructor. It can be a preconceived idea that if you teach martial arts, you shouldn't make any money. Whereas in reality, in karate, I'll give you just a quick background story.

When Japan came over and took over Okinawa, all of the martial arts that were taught were in the Royal, there were 39 families, I think, something like that. 39 families and that's where martial arts were created.  

When Japan came over and took over Okinawa, those families had to leave the palace or they were made redundant more or less. They had to go and teach or they had to go and make money. And these guys, the only things that they knew how to do was read and write. Some became writers and other people, all they knew was karate, for example.

They would go on and teach karate for money because that's how they survived. And that's when… For people to think that karate instructors shouldn't make any money, they were doing it 150 years ago, whereas people just don't understand that.  

GEORGE: Where did this belief then… How did it infiltrate the modern, in our times today? 

CHEYNE: George, I don't know, mate. Maybe it was the Karate Kid. I honestly have no idea, because if you look in the sixties, seventies, eighties, and I'm only just talking about karate because that's all I know. We were bringing Japanese instructors to Australia, paying them money for us to learn karate, and then we would turn around and not charge our students. 

It may be an ideology that we want to be the samurai who doesn't make any money. We go from village to village and you pay me in bread and you pay me in water. I honestly have no idea.

It's that whole humbleness or the humility in karate or martial arts in general that we try to… Not BS, but yeah, probably BS about what really karate or martial arts teachers are. I say this a bit…  

GEORGE: Say it.  

CHEYNE: But I don't know, if you're an asshole outside of karate, before you learn karate, then you're going to be an asshole learning karate.  

But I think as instructors, maybe people try to be that person on the pedestal, be that person that they want to be, but they can't because it's not ingrained in them. But if people perceive them as that person, perceive them as, oh, my sensei does it for the love of karate. Well, yeah, we all do it for the love of karate or the love of the martial art. If we didn't do it for the love of martial arts, we wouldn't do it.

And there's that whole idea that my sensei, or even instructor… My sensei doesn't make any money out of karate, he does it for the passion. Yeah, well, how is he paying for the rent? How is he paying for insurance? Of course, everybody charges money, but yeah, to answer your question, mate, I don't really know, but I would think that's where it would stem from.  

GEORGE: And does he show up 100% devoted to teaching your class or does he show up halfhearted, because he knows that when he walks out here, there's a whole bunch of other problems to deal with that's money-related? 

And so there's half a commitment. Intentions are pure and so we're not talking about intentions here, because I think the intentions are pure, but what baffles me is that money sometimes, this ingrained and maybe ancestral belief about money that's genetic, carries over and somehow when someone's more successful in martial arts, let's throw them under the bus.  

And it's spoken about a lot, the crab in a bucket philosophy. If you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket and you watch them try and get out, one, they never get out because one just pulls each other down. And I mean, I've lived in Australia a long time. I don't know but I've only experienced martial arts…

Well from the start, mostly in Australia, other than speaking internationally and speaking of other cultures and so forth. I don't know if it just stems mainly from Australia, but no, it doesn't, I'll correct myself.  

CHEYNE: Definitely not. Well, I see a lot of instructors who have 50 students and they always ask you, how do you get more instructors? How do you get more instructors?

But it's not getting… Sorry, how to get more students? How do you get more students? But it's not about getting more students, it's about, you've got to set the time aside to get more students. You have to have the times available for those new students. 

If you're only Monday and Wednesday for an hour, you're only going to get a small percentage of people who have those times available. Instead of thinking, if you want to grow your dojo to be something that is a full-time dojo, then you've got to be a full-time dojo. You can't expect to be a full-time dojo running two or three times a week. 

GEORGE: And juggling three other jobs to…  

Martial Arts Business

CHEYNE: Exactly, yeah. If you're really passionate about your martial art, then you can dedicate yourself to it. And that's what I like to consider, I've dedicated myself to karate and that's how I'm able to offer so many different classes.  

GEORGE: Cheyne, let's talk about a term that gets thrown around. We've touched on it. It gets thrown around a lot, McDojo, what comes to mind or what triggers you when you hear the term McDojo?  

CHEYNE: Yeah. Well, I think those who point those fingers, I know some people would think that I'm a McDojo, for sure. But generally they're the people who are teaching karate from the seventies who haven't evolved their own karate. They're still practicing and teaching the same karate as what they learnt and really they have no idea what karate really is and what karate isn't. They're not doing the research. They don't know what they're doing. They don't know why we're punching to the body, why we're blocking to the body.  

They're teaching stuff that they don't understand the biomechanics, where I've put in the time and the research and so has my father and they're teaching karate from the seventies and still charging five bucks a class, where the karate that they're teaching is really poor, is bad karate. And they're the ones who think they're doing traditional karate, where in fact, they're doing modern sports karate. 

Whereas guys like myself are teaching traditional karate because we understand where karate comes from. We understand the changes that karate has had. We understand what karate looked like before and what karate looks like now, and they're teaching karate from the seventies, eighties, and nineties, whereas they're really just teaching modern sports karate from Japan, instead of understanding what karate is.

And for them to accuse me of being a McDojo, Well, I've spent many, many hours and many, many dollars on understanding what karate is and what karate isn't.  

And these guys are at a local hall, on a dirty floor, teaching two hours a week, karate from 1975 and parading around like they're a Japanese sensei and, “Don't question authority,” all of these sorts of things, and really they are the McDojo because they are actually… If you're going to say a McDojo, it's an awful term, but they're not progressing their karate.

They're still doing karate from 30, 40, 50 years ago. Whereas the Japanese instructors, who taught that karate, didn't understand karate, didn't understand what they were teaching because their instructor didn't know what they were doing.  

Whereas now we can go back through and we're researching… I'm not going to say we, not me, I'm following the guys who are doing all the research, but these guys are understanding what karate is and what karate isn't and how karate has evolved in the last 30 years.

Whereas these guys are still doing the same poor karate that they were doing without understanding biomechanics, how the body moves, how the body doesn't move. They're still teaching sports karate, thinking they're teaching traditional karate, where it's not. My karate has evolved, their karate hasn't.  

GEORGE: It's a word that I hate and I don't understand because I see it begins and for me, it comes from a place of jealousy. It's this place of, well, would you value this person's karate or martial arts more just because if they were less successful than you? Okay, the karate is great and successful, oh, but now they make more money than me, now they're a McDojo and they're selling out. What a lot of crap, selling out. 

Or it angers me a bit because is that what we teach people in life? If martial arts is the vehicle to improve people and improve your wellbeing way beyond what you do on the mat then is this what we have to teach people? Well, here we talk about… Well, we don't talk about bullying, it's not accepted and we are anti-bullying and we do this, but between each other, between our peers, it's okay to bully each other.

It's a bit of this hypocrisy in a way, yeah, don't bully, we'll teach you how to physically not bully, but mentally we'll tear everybody else down around us and that's okay because they are McDojo.  

CHEYNE: I'll tell you where it stems from George, it's insecurity, insecurity about their own karate or their own chosen martial art. If you are secure in your karate or secure in your martial arts and if you understand what you're doing, then you don't even worry about what other people are doing. You just focus on what you're doing. But for those who rant and rave about this McDojo, this guy's making too much money, that guy's making too much money.

Obviously this is a crap dojo because you are so insecure about the karate that you teach, if you've got to pull everybody down and that's what a bully is, they're insecure.  

GEORGE: Bullying and martial arts, who would have thought?  

CHEYNE: Well, I was bullied by somebody not long ago, a very well-known person, because obviously they are insecure about something that I said and they're insecure about it. And I called the person on it and they didn't hear anything else, but it's just because people are insecure, they're jealous.  

GEORGE: Let's talk about different pricing and positioning. In our Partners program, we have a new section which we call Onramp, which it's basically the first 10, 11 steps that a school owner's got to walk through before sort of graduating into the real group, into the official Partners group.  

Until a few months back, everything was marketing and how do we get the marketing right? But right now, the first thing that we actually care about is mindset. Mindset and turning time-based pricing to value-based pricing. And what I mean by that is, a lot of school owners would come into the group and they feel like they're still charging per class. It's per class or it's for this time. And it's like, well, that's what the value is based on the time.  

And a big focus for us is to shift from that to value-based pricing, which is, well, it's not about the time, it's about what do they get in that time and what do they get in the time as in a full experience. And that is how you are able to raise your prices, because it's almost not what you teach, it's how you frame what you teach and realize that the outcome exceeds just the physical aspect of martial arts.  

Let's talk, just in current times, I don't know when you're listening to this or if you listen to this in current times, but with the state of the world going from lockdowns, in and out of lockdowns, and maybe you're not in lockdown right now, but who knows, there could be one coming or you've just come out of one. But with that happening, a lot of martial arts school owners are reverting to online classes.

And some are cool with that and some are not. And I find it fascinating that just speaking to some school owners, they lock in down for two months, they've got a 90% retention. Students are getting value.  

They still get value from being in the club. They're not physically in the club, but they get value from being in the club and being in the community. And that is a big step for realizing what your value is, because it proves that the outcome that you get from martial arts and being in the martial arts environment, exceeds way more from being on the mat and how you punch, how you kick, how you do chokes, how you do submissions, whatever type of style you do.  

Let's talk about your process. Let's break it down. You're a martial artist, maybe you're a traditionalist, and you've only got a few students and you want to take a step up, you've got to grow, you know you got to scale but you may be in that situation where you got one or two classes. You don't have the funds potentially to grow and scale and so you've got to make changes to your pricing.

How did you go about changing your pricing to a direct debit, more sort of a recurring basis and raising your prices? Because you were saying earlier that you're actually the most expensive in the market. What was the process that got you there?  

CHEYNE: I doubled the fees and those who stayed with me paid double the fees and those who didn't, left, but it was a very small percentage of people that left. I doubled the fees.  

GEORGE: What conversation did you have with yourself when you doubled the fees? How did you combat the little voice that was fighting you, saying that there's no way I can double my fees, that's unethical, I'll be labeled a McDojo, everybody's going to call me a scam artist? My peers are going to look down at me and call me a scam artist or whatever.  

CHEYNE: McDojo is such a bad term. People consider anybody who charges fees a McDojo. If you charge for a grading, you could be considered a McDojo. Lose that mindset of being a McDojo. Well, I suppose everybody is a McDojo, who charges money and everybody charges money.

There's not a martial art club in the world that I know of, that wouldn't charge money. If you're doing it at home, I can understand maybe not charging, but if you've got to pay rent, you've got to charge money.

It could be considered, everybody's a McDojo. The mindset I had was, well, I'm worth it. The 35 years I've been involved in karate. And when I say involved, it's not just once or twice a week for an hour or two. It's all day seven, eight hours, thinking about karate, reading about karate, writing about karate, talking about karate, doing podcasts about karate, doing videos, traveling, seminars, the amount of money that I've spent over the years, it is huge.  

I think that my time is worth this. And if you think it is too fantastic, you pay your money. If you don't, there's a local community dojo down the road, happy to send you there. The mindset was, I don't really care what other people think of me, I'm comfortable with what I really like, I'm happy with where I am.

I believe my karate is fantastic and I believe we offer a fantastic experience, quality karate, quality experience, and these things. And I charge what I think I'm worth, I stopped caring what people thought of me a while ago, mate.  

But honestly, it did take a while. It did take a while, if I'm going to be honest, it took a while for me to get over the fact that what people would think of me. Now, I don't care.  

GEORGE: It's interesting because I remember, it's a story I did tell a lot, but the first time we had a conversation was when you had 110 students and the dojo was flooded. What I found interesting from that story was that you listened to this podcast, it was episode number 44.

If you ever want to listen to it and you sent me a message straight after and said, “Hey, I did this thing that you said on the podcast, and I've got new students or inquiries.”  

I can't remember at the level the result was. And then we got talking and 110 students, you took a gamble on yourself and said, well, I'm going to do this thing. And we jumped in, we created some really good offers. Something we probably never spoke about was mindset, but we just put the right offers in place. And before you knew it, it was 200 students.

And then before we knew it, there were 300. And now you're sitting at a very sweet spot of 340, 50 students. And you've got a wait list. Am I correct?  

CHEYNE: Yep. 

GEORGE: Yep. 

CHEYNE: We have a waitlist, yep. For all programs, yep.  

GEORGE: How has your pricing changed from Cheyne that was at 110 students to 340, 50 students?  

CHEYNE: Well, I'm able to employ more people, more instructors, which makes it easier for me, which gives me the time to make the classes better, and make the karate better as well. Instead of taking every single class, I can spend more time with my family, whether they like it or not.

It allows me breathing space as well. Having more instructors gives me breathing space to make my karate better, so I can learn more stuff.  

We have a separate black belt class where I teach. I love that class, the black belt adult’s class, where all we do is the secrets of… No secrets, but all we focus on is all the stuff that I've learned, new stuff, more, Kobudo, more weapons, all the stuff that probably separates my karate from other people's karate, because I've put the time in. I've been everywhere, I've learnt from many people.  

That extra time allows me to make sure that the karate that I'm giving is the best quality traditional karate. Our karate is based on Okinawan karate and we have a Japanese sensei as well, who's 88. Time is limited, but it's based on karate that was done a hundred years ago. We include throws, joint locks, take downs, the pressure point strikes, as well as weapons, as well as [kakia], which is all different drills, two person drills, kumi kata, sticky hand drills, all of these things that I'm able to teach into my system.  

And I'm not bogged down by teaching kata, hundreds of kata. That's a total karate podcast, but these are things that I've already done. I did those things 20 years ago and now I'm able to teach the best karate that I can. But the biggest thing is, it's not like I'm making a million dollars. I wish I was, shit, who wouldn't? 

GEORGE: And you should, for the value that you provide.  

CHEYNE: Yeah. Well, it also allows me to employ people, instructors, and to give back to those as well. We have a group of maybe 10 instructors who teach and help out. And yeah, it allows me that as well. It's not like I'm making all the money, because again, if I did all of the classes and all of those sorts of things, then I would make all the money, but I couldn't develop my karate and I couldn't give back because I'd be out there for four hours, five hours a day teaching classes, instead of being able to understand more about karate.  

GEORGE: Yeah. You're building a legacy and you're transferring knowledge. Knowledge is not just ending with you, it's actually going through you and you're empowering the next generation.  

Martial Arts Business

CHEYNE: Yeah. Building the legacy. That's a huge thing that I'm trying to do. Build a legacy for my son as my father did for me. That's the biggest thing I want is to build a legacy where karate is the best possible. And hopefully my son takes up karate, whether he does it…

Whatever he does, that's cool. I'm not going to put any pressure on him. And my dad certainly didn't put any pressure on me either, but the karate that my son is going to continue, is hopefully better than mine, because I know mine is much better than my dad's, but don't tell him.  

GEORGE: I'll be sending this over to Bob. I'm sure he'll be listening anyway.  

CHEYNE: I wouldn't say it's better than my dad's, but we do more and more than my father did, because I've got another 30 years on top of him. In 30 years, when I'm his age, I will be 30 years further than he was.  

GEORGE: Got you. Yeah. I guess if we had to sort of start wrapping things up, if you're really stuck with your martial arts business and you're not moving forward, then maybe take this episode on board. If things triggered you that we spoke about and we were talking before this and we went deep into a lot of aspects, but if anything triggered you then have a look at your… I guess, have a look at your relationship with money.  

Two things from this podcast that have stuck with me, one was, first time I spoke to Kevin Blundell and Kevin runs a multi-billion dollar organization. I think there were 24 or 25 locations, I can't keep up. But one thing that he mentioned to me that really stuck out was the minute you charge a dollar, you're in business and you've got an obligation to fulfill and deliver value.  

If you're charging nothing, great, and that's great. If that's what you do, and a lot of people do that and this is not about discriminating or looking down, if that's a choice and that's something that you want to do and you provide value to your community in that way. But the minute you charge a dollar, you are in business. Now this is where you've got to decide, well, how much value you can deliver for a dollar versus a hundred versus a thousand versus whatever, however your fee structure works.  

And then the second thing was, Kylie Ryan, who is a mindset coach who I really respect. And we just spoke in the midst of the whole pandemic. And one thing that she pointed out was, when people pay, people pay attention. And when people are paying more for a service, there is a subconscious value to it, that you appreciate it more and that you are more committed to it because if you are showing up and it's just costing you five bucks, you might not be that committed to show up.  

But if it's 500 bucks or whatever the fee is, you might look at it a bit differently and you might value it differently. And that's probably the same from your parents, from parents with kids in martial arts as well.  

If you feel you are stuck, then have a look at your surroundings, who are you listening to? Who's influencing your thinking about money and maybe unfortunately, that is someone real close to you, within your family, or maybe that is someone higher up in martial arts that you aspire to and they are the best and sincere and authentic martial artists. But their relationship with money is crippled and you are forced to live under that same mindset and thinking, and if, unless you deal with that issue, you can have all the marketing solutions in the world and get all the students you want, they're going to be leaving and it's not going to result to success. 

CHEYNE: Yeah. I think there's a lot of jealousy. A lot of people don't understand what money is and how money works. And when somebody else has more money than them, people get jealous and point fingers and don't really understand what it takes. And it could also be that your sensei has a, as you said, bad relationship with money because their sensei had a bad relationship with money and didn't understand.  

GEORGE: Yeah. Perfect. Just to wrap things up. Two things, if you need any help with any of that, do reach out to us, martialartsmedia.com. You can contact us from there. And if you want to learn more about karate, Cheyne, since the last time we spoke, Karate Over Coffee podcasts, tell us about that.  

Cheyne McMahon Karate Business

CHEYNE: I love karate and I'm a big fan of coffee. It's a podcast where I talk about all my experiences in karate. Interview people, it's all karate based, everything is based on karate, obviously, that's why it's called Karate Over Coffee. And yeah, we talk about lots of things, dojo management sometimes as well. Talk about competitions. Talk about what kata and what karate is and what karate isn't. And yeah, I only really scratched the surface so far. We've got some sweet merchandise there.  

GEORGE: I can see, if you're watching this, Cheyne completely outdone me with my plain black shirt and, oh, that's it. We've got a mug and we got a shirt, all right, I'm going to need to up my game. That's for sure. Where can people tune in to Karate Over Coffee?

CHEYNE: Well, you can go straight to the website, karateovercoffee.com. I got all the episodes there, or you can follow us on iTunes or Spotify. However you listen to your podcasts, there's a YouTube channel as well, just type in Karate Over Coffee, yeah, we've got some shirts available karateovercoffeeshop.com. We're everywhere.  

GEORGE: It's everywhere. Perfect. Cheyne, thanks so much for being on again.  

CHEYNE: No worries.  

GEORGE: We might break another record and have you on for episode four of the…  

CHEYNE: Yeah. When I hit 500 students, for sure.  

GEORGE: When you hit your 500 students. Okay cool. The half… I almost called it the half century mark, the half… The 500 mark.  

CHEYNE: 500 mark, yeah.  

GEORGE: Cool. We'll call this part three of 20 of the Cheyne and George sub-division podcast overlaps over the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast versus Karate Over Coffee. And I think this is where we got to call it quits.  

CHEYNE: Thanks for having me, George. 

GEORGE: Thanks, Cheyne. Speak soon.  

CHEYNE: Cheers, mate. 

GEORGE: Cheers.

 

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120 – 3 Martial Arts Photo Mistakes That’s Hurting Your Brand And Reputation

If a picture says 1,000 words, what are yours saying about your martial arts school? Martial Arts photographer, Francine Schaepper, shares 3 pitfalls to avoid that could tarnish your brand and reputation.

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IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The costly mistake that school owners make with random photos
  • Why use a vision board to strategize your martial arts photos
  • How to create attention grabbing martial arts photos for Facebook ads
  • Forget ‘message to market match’ – think ‘photo to market match’
  • The Power of Pictures: How to use them to communicate your message
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

There's a lot of mistakes you can make, and we're not talking about technical mistakes here. You know, the how to, that's a whole different story. But the main mistake that I see is that a lot of martial arts schools who are owners don't have a plan when it comes to photography, they have no plan.

There's very little purpose behind when they take photos or how to take photos. And then also because of the first two, then there's no message, or there's a wrong message which can really greatly damage your school and your image really. 

GEORGE: Hey, it's George here from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. So, I got a repeat guest with me today. Good day Francine. 

FRANCINE: Hello. 

GEORGE: Hello Francine. Francine Schaepper from Martial Arts Photography International. We've got a great episode lined up for you today, and we're going to talk about the three martial arts photo mistakes that's hurting your brand. So photos that you might take in the school, training, photos that you're using for ads and promotions and three mistakes that you should avoid and how it could be tarnishing your reputation and your brand. 

We've also got a great download with this episode with a short little instructional video. So I'll give you all the details on how you can get that. But first up, if you haven't listened to podcast one or two, you can go listen to that and get the full story about Francine. I think we spoke a lot about that and a bunch of other things, but for now, Francine, if you could give us just a two minute background, who you are and we'll go from there. 

martial arts photography

FRANCINE: Okay. I'm Francine. I am a martial artist of 20 years myself. So I've been training in different styles, it's kind of my passion. Well, it's not kind of my passion, it is my passion and I am a professional photographer as well. So at some point it merged.

I created my niche and I've been taking photos for martial arts schools for, I don't know, maybe six, seven years. Yeah. I've got thousands and thousands of photos of martial arts and martial artists in my database. Yeah, I love doing it. So it's an awesome industry to be working in. 

GEORGE: Okay. So let's talk about photos. Now, depending on the state of the union, the state of your country within martial arts where you're at, what I'm referring to is whether you've got restrictions or lockdown or so forth, chances are you might not have a professional photographer on hand that could take photos and a lot of people are just doing it themselves. I mean, smartphones are so good.

Actually Francine and I created a course, the Smartphone Photography Masterclass, which is all about taking photos with a phone. 

So phones are really … it's kind of all you need, but it's not just about point and click, right? There's a lot of things that … it's the little things that can make the difference. And I think what we want to really talk about today is those things that you've got to look out for and avoid. So three mistakes, what are the three top mistakes that you see martial arts school owners make when taking photos that's tarnishing the brand and reputation? 

FRANCINE: There's a lot of mistakes you can make, and we're not talking about technical mistakes here. You know, the how to, that's a whole different story. But the main mistake that I see is that a lot of martial arts schools who are owners don't have a plan when it comes to photography, they have no plan.

There's very little purpose behind when they take photos or how to take photos. And then also because of the first two, then there's no message, or there's a wrong message, which can really greatly damage your school and your image really.

GEORGE: All right. Okay. So big picture overview. Now let's … if we can get a bit more into the details, like a plan, what type of plan are we talking about? A written plan or a big mind map, or what am I doing? What's wrong with me just looking at the class and getting happy snappy and just taking random photos?

FRANCINE: Well, you can always … It's better to get happy and snappy than not taking photos at all, which I see too. So that's probably the main mistake, don't take any photos. So that's the fourth one. Look, the plan is chances are when you started your school, and I'm going back a bit because that's really, that's the work I do with every single client I work with. 

And you can do it for yourself, it is just stepping back and going, okay, when you started your school, when you were really excited about it all, at some point you decided about a brand. You decided, okay, my color is red or green or blue, or that's the name. And then that comes with all the emotional things, which is good. Like the passion, the emotion, you might be in a very traditional school, like a Shaolin school, where it's all about … You've got your little alter there and things like that. Or you might be super clean cut and modern. 

And I bet with all of you that at some point when you started, or I hope so at least, that you had that thought that you had this big vision of your school. And there might be chances that you have a business plan as well. The problem is when it comes to photography, often that gets forgotten because, “Oh yeah, I'll just take my phone and take some happy snaps.” Like you said. The problem is that often, and that's something I might talk about a bit later, that you forget what the original vision was.

So let's say that your vision was, you have this really traditional school and it's all about the details and you've got really cool uniforms and the weapons are carved. I mean it's a stereotype, right? But let's say this is your school. 

And then all your photos are really just quick snaps of, I don't know, just really wide shots. You're not really showing those details and you lose that passion and that love for details that is a part of your brand, if it is. On the other hand, if you have a very, very modern brand, you're nice and clean cut. Everything's really nice and neat.

I don't know, and then you take photos where there's a yellow bin in it in every shot, or you don't look at the details you have … I'm going into probably too much detail, but it's just that you lose … If you don't have a plan, then you don't have a direction and it's just very random. All your photos are random, and chances are that they just look like any other school, even though when you set out to create your brand, you had these points of difference that were very you. 

And it's almost like when you do your planning or your vision boarding, that's what I will get you to do, is like, okay, sit back, remove yourself from everything that you have now, even if you've had this school for 20 years, sit back. I use Pinterest, which is a free app with most of my clients. And it's not about finding martial arts shots. It's about finding shots that convey that feeling or the energy and everything that makes your school so unique because your school is unique.

Every school is different. And sit back and really have fun putting photos in that you'd find online. And that could be a photo of a dragon. It could be a photo of a cat. I don't care what it is. 

But once you've got that vision board and that collage, it will tell you all, this is what I should look like. And you might have a lot of detailed shots in there, or you might have a lot of very specific colors in there. And then if I came in, I would look at that and go like, “Okay, well, that's your visual … that's your vision for what you want your brand to look like.”

And then when you take photos, the best thing is you print it out, you put it on the wall, then it reminds you, “Oh yes, I do want to record all those really intricate details because that's part of my brand.” Or, “No, I want it clean cut. It's about lines and being very clean and that's how I'm going to shoot.” So it's just about having a plan in the background that you can get back to. 

GEORGE: So on that plan, right? And you were mentioning all these different elements, the cat and everything else, how do you get to the point where … I mean, because you've got this clear vision of what you want your school to look like. What are you trying to draw inspiration from so that you can make your vision the reality?

And I think a lot of us might have … We're not experienced photographers. Our vision gets blurred and we think that it's kind of looking like that, but it's not really. So how do we cross that bridge? And what are we looking for if we had a cat and we've got a boat? We've got things that look good, but what are the intricate little inspiration elements that we try to draw from that, that we could take on to taking photos of students on the mats?

Francine Schaepper

FRANCINE: Well, I guess it's more about … It's not, okay, if you've got a picture of a cat or a dragon or whatever it is, it's not about the cat or the dragon. It's more about the energy, right? So, okay, well that's going down the creative rabbit hole. But if you got a cat, like let's say cat style, old Kung fu or Karate, whatever, I don't know which style has cats or tigers.

Well if you think about it, it's a whole different energy of stalking and moving that if let's say you have a horse, which might be galloping. I mean, that's really weird, but I do go down these rabbit holes. And in the end, even if you're not creative, if you have that in the back of your mind that, okay, this is the spirit of the movement or whatever you're trying to show, then you'll start to take different photos. 

And that's something that we spend a lot of time on, where I spend a lot of time talking about in our course is that's the how, but that comes later. First you just have to put that vision up and just go like, okay, well just leave it there and just kind of marinate with it a bit. And it will, if you work with it, it will start infiltrating how you take your photos later on. It's not clean cut. You probably need a little bit of direction, which someone like I can give. Or maybe you have a very creative person in your team. 

So I always tell school owners who feel like, “Oh my God, that's just doing my head in just thinking about that.” Well, I'm sure you've got one of your especially junior instructors, right? They're on their phones all the time. They're on Instagram. They look at photos all the time. So find your most creative person, show them that vision board and say, “Does that … Can you do something with this? Does that inspire you to take photos?” 

If you get a person that is visual and that has that naturally, they'll probably … Because it's something that you do intuitively, it's not a technical thing, not so much. It's more of an idea, which I know, if you're technical, I've lost you now, but that's why I say, just find someone in your family or in your team that can do that. And then they can do it for you as well. You can delegate these kinds of things. Does that make sense?

Because the first step is very much just about, don't think about how am I ever possibly going to translate that into a photograph? That happens later. First, you just need to have that vision and just put it somewhere, and then how comes later. 

GEORGE: Okay, cool. And I think what would add to that would be this creative talk or things that cause some tension in your gut and you're like, “Ah.” Then find what you don't like. Sometimes it's easier to eliminate stuff than to pick the thing that you want. But you know, if you know what you don't like, then have that on your un-vision board and eliminate doing those things that will pull you towards what you need. 

FRANCINE: An un-vision board. I like that. I'll use that. 

GEORGE: That's … I just, yeah. 

FRANCINE: Yeah, that works.

GEORGE: It's a number two, no purpose. So there's a bit of an overlap here. So tell us about that. 

FRANCINE: Yeah. I mean, it is totally an overlap and I see that throughout. It's not just a martial arts business. It's with any business I work with. It's this thing of, “Oh, I need photos.” And we all do, especially now, we're a lot more online. We have Zoom classes. We just need content. We need to stand out.

And as I often say, yoga, Pilates, and all of these industries are much better than mine. They look better than martial arts. Let's be honest. They just look better. They're on it. So that's why our industry needs to catch up a little bit. But the thing is not having a purpose is more, “Oh, I need photos, take the phone, take a snapshot, walk off the mats.” And then later you look at it, you're like, “Oh, I don't even know what that was supposed to be.” 

And we're all guilty of that because you do it under pressure. You don't think about why you're doing it. And it's like going into battle without a plan. I mean, you have some plan and your plan is that vision board or that un-vision board, I do not want … And that's a good point actually. If you go, “I don't want dark photos. I don't want blurry photos. I don't want people looking like they're in pain in my photos.” Which is probably three things you should avoid anyway, so there's some extra for you. 

Even if you set out with that in mind, “All my photos will have really nice, bright exposure because I like bright pictures because that's on my vision board.” If that's the only thing you take out, you take your camera and that's something I can teach you, but you can YouTube it. I mean, we've got a whole course and you go out and you learn how to make sure that your photos are well exposed. That's the one thing you do. 

You have a purpose because your purpose is, “I'm going to create photos that look nice because the lighting is great.” Take, done, that's the purpose. Or if you go out and you say, “Okay, today my intention is, because I like close-ups.” Right?

So on your vision board you might have lots of photos of close-ups and details. Now translating that will be like, “Okay, I want to focus on somebody doing a punch. I want to focus on the head or I want to focus on the face or an expression.” So what you're going to do, your intention is going to be, “I'm going to go close in. I'm not going to stand outside of the mats and just take photos of whatever.” Potentially little Johnny crying in the background and then you don't see it. You post it. There you go. 

You're going to go on the mats. You're going to go nice and close. You're going to interact with your students and go like, “Hey, give me a smile.” Click, and then that's tick, that's another purpose. So even if it feels like a lot in the beginning, if you have that plan, just take one thing at a time, especially if you're new or if like you say, you have an anxiety attack even thinking about it. 

Pick one thing, bright photos, close-ups or colors. Can I capture colors? Belts or whatever it is. And you can make it a little challenge. I mean, we all like a little challenge. So just having a very simple purpose when you go out there to take a photo, that'll expedite, not expedite. That'll increase your … I just lost my word. That'll improve your photos a lot just by doing that. And I'm not even telling you how to do it, it's just the approach.

GEORGE: So we're getting a bit clearer on a plan. I guess what I'd like to know, where does emotion overlap in all this? Is there like a certain emotion that will be more leaning to the message in point three? But where does emotion fall in play? The emotion that we're trying to extract out of the photo or the emotion that we're trying to perceive from the person seeing the photo.

Francine Schaepper

FRANCINE: The message one, that's the next one. I think when you're just … you have your vision, you have your purpose. It's about your emotion, what you bring in. Because the photo is never … not never, but it's not about the tool. It's not about your camera. It's about how you … I always say it's about how you see the world, how you perceive the world or how you perceive what's happening. 

At some point, if you take enough photos, that's what is going to make your photos unique because nobody looks at things the way you do. I mean I'm someone, I like to be flat on my stomach on the floor taking shots. That's just where I like to be. I'm never just standing straight, but that adds that angle that people go, “Oh yeah, that's a Francine shot, obviously.”

And that's emotion in itself. And also because you're interacting with the students because they know you, the emotion comes through the shot and that's not something that you need to think about. 

I don't think about it when I take shots. It's just something that happens naturally because you are out there doing something with an intention. You're going to get some sort of emotion in there and probably take photos on a day that you feel happy and that you're good and not when you're grumpy. Because it always comes through, like it's with any creative process, it's a process that happens in the background. You often don't even know that it's happening. 

So you don't have to be artistic to do that. Everybody is creative in their own way. I mean, creativity is problem solving and your problem solving with martial arts. So you're stepping out there and you're just taking a shot, chances are that the emotion will come through and don't question it too much.

Just do it and just be yourself doing it. It sounds really simple, but it really is. It's not rocket science. It's just something that … And the more you enjoy it, the better it's going to get. And if you really hate it, then yeah, just delegate it to someone who loves doing it. And then you get that emotion through too. 

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. And so what I do want to do based on that is just take a bit of sidestep, right? Because like in our Partners group and Academy group, a lot of school owners want to run ads on Facebook. And so there's a message that they want to deliver.

And so, I mean, the first thing we always say is test, but then some photos are just not good and they should not even make it to any form of a test. Everyone's always asking for feedback on photos before they go live. And there's certain elements that we do obviously too, and a few rules that we always stick by just a couple of people and so forth. 

But the question I have for you is, let's say we are running an ad and there's a certain emotion or message. Maybe I'm leaning again to the message, right? But we're trying to communicate, like we want to display confidence for example.

It's a big one with kid’s karate or it's a self-defense situation. So maybe it's a lady's workshop, or it’s jiu jitsu and it's pretty brutal, but we're doing a display that someone's getting choked out and they've still got a smile on their face. It's a sort of fun environment.

So what are those elements? And I know I've given you probably too much to work with, but how do you go about that? Let's just take the first one and say, all right, well, I'm running an ad that promotes confidence with kids and so now I want to create a photo that's going to resemble confident kids. Where would I start with that? 

FRANCINE: Well, it has all three in it. So first of all, you would have to go … I would send you to go find photos of kids that you like that convey confidence and happiness. Just find random photos. They don't have to be martial arts because it's hard.

On Pinterest there's very, very little content for martial artists. I mean, one of my suggestions is I'm working on it, but go on my website, see how I do it and then try to copy that because yeah, there's not a lot out there.

But so the plan would be to find photos first that you like, that you go, yeah, that conveys confidence. Print them. Then you would go on the mats and go like, okay, well then your intention is, I need happy kids. Right? Happy, confident kids. You kind of want both. How do you do that? How do you see that?

So your intention is to show their face, right? So your purpose or the intention for you, the second one will be, okay, if I want to get that expression. I need to capture the face or most likely an interaction maybe in a self-defense kind of environment. Right? So there's two kids. They're doing their self-defense, they're looking or even with an adult, they're looking confident, but they look capable and happy doing it. 

So then that's your intention. Then the third one will be, okay, the message it's already in there. So you want them to be doing … You want them to look a certain way. And that's also when you start communicating, so you set the scene. So if it's kids, photos, you go like, okay, well, if you shoot that at night, when it's really dark, it's underexposed, you can't really see the face. That's already a no-no. So your message would be wrong.

Even if you have your plan, you've got your purpose, but you chose the wrong time to do it, let's say, right? So you got to go, “Okay, well, that's what I want because I want my viewer on the message to be, it's a bright, I don't know, it's a bright, sunny day that's happy.” Right? So it's bright and sunny.

It's a Saturday morning. That's happy, and the kid's having fun doing self-defense and then there's your message. I don't know if that makes sense because it's very complex. And for me it's easy because I do it automatically. But the more you do it, just think logically, like if you want a confident, happy kid, that's why you go back to the plan. You would never choose a dark alleyway self-defense layout or image. That would be maybe for women. Because you go like, “Okay, I need to walk …” A kid shouldn't be there.

So think logically, okay, well for a kid what's a happy environment? It's a sunny day playing with their mates, but they're still looking confident. And then from the plan, you've got your intention and then you translate it to your shot. Does that make sense? Because it's a lot of logic. Like if you want women, show photos of women.

Francine Schaepper

GEORGE: I'll make it easy. As we're talking, just thinking, we're including a download, which we'll talk about in a minute because when we talk about having no message and how to go about that. In the course that we created, the Smartphone Photography Masterclass. We had two sessions, Shooting With Purpose and People and Portraits. And I know people and portraits, we did a few comparisons with a few kids and photos and different styles, jiu jitsu and so forth and examples of great photos. I'm putting you on the spot, but would it be okay to include that as a download? So if people go to the episode and download the transcript that we can include those with the episode? 

FRANCINE: Yeah. I think it was a case study we did. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Because sometimes you just need to have sample photos that you go like, “Oh, okay. I know what she's talking about.” Yeah. 

GEORGE: So especially just being a podcast and it's auditory and you might be … maybe you're watching the video on martialartsmedia.com or you're watching it on social or you're listening on iTunes or Spotify or somewhere. It would be good to put the visual element in perspective. So if you go to martialartsmedia.com/120, one, two, zero, there will be a link where you can download the transcript. 

And in the transcript, we'll have the transcript of this episode. And we'll also include portions to the worksheet that come from the Smartphone Photography Masterclass with a few case studies and something that we're going to talk about next. So Francine, let's talk about the message and also the worksheet that's included. 

FRANCINE: Yeah. So the message, I mean, like it's apparent, those three things are intertwined a little bit. If you work backwards, if you say you want to have the message, you cannot have a message without having a plan and having a purpose. It's just not going to work because then it's random. It's like you're happy snaps, like you said. 

GEORGE: So before we get into the details, let's define the message. What are we actually trying to say when we want a message delivered through our photos? 

FRANCINE: We call it the photo to message match. I mean, there's this saying, I think in every language that a photo speaks a thousand words. No, a photo says more than a thousand words. And one of the things that I will ask is, well, if one word has so much … If one photo has so much power, then if you look at the photos on your page or your socials, does it actually tell the right story? 

And often I get this kind of like … And you know it doesn't because you know exactly like, “Yeah, no, that's not the story I wanted to tell.” Or it's just mismatched. So visual, and with visuals, it's even harder because there's a lot of space for interpretation, but that's at the pro level. But even when you do your day to day photos, just keep it super simple. Like what's the message? And then what is logically, how can you visually convey that message? 

Like I said before, if it's for kids, like confident, happy kids training, using a dark alleyway for self-defense in a self-defense like a hooded guy, you know? It's probably not the right message because that's not … Mothers would think, “Oh my god, what's my kid going to do?” Like, that's too scary.

Even though your idea might be right. It's not. Just think like your prospect would think and with kids it's the mums usually, right?

So if you put anything out for kid’s classes, you got to think … And I'm not telling you anything new. I mean, I hope that all of you have done a business plan. You've got your guide, you've got stuff in there. You've got your demographics, you've defined your demographics. What do they think, where do they go? Where do they get their coffee? All of that.

Now just use that. You already have it. So go back to basics, find your demographics, and look at this. You should have it. If you don't, it's the time to do it. And then just try to think in their terms. So don't think like a martial artist, don't think like a fighter, think like someone who has no idea. And think what would they … It's very elaborate. I mean you can keep it quite simple. If you have a boxing class and you've got that, I don't know what the title is on the sheet that we're giving you, which we had. I think I broke it down into four very… 

GEORGE: The Photo to Message Matchmaker. 

FRANCINE: Yeah, duh, I'm talking about that. And we've got four very … I think I came up with four total stereotypes. Right? So I'm going to take a step back. Usually you have your macro brand, which is your school, and then you might have a fitness class, a kid’s class, self-defense class and a traditional class.

Now, if you download that and it's not, you just read it because it's going to click, you're going to go like, “Oh, okay.” And you just change it with whatever you were doing. If it's for example, BJJ, you would go competitive sports BJJ, more self-defense class, maybe for women, then you've got kids and you might have something else. 

So just translate it to your own. And I've got a lot in there. And then just go back to your plan. Literally, you go to Pinterest and go, women's fitness classes, and then you see photos coming up and you go like, “Okay, well how can I use that?” But instead of a woman doing yoga, it's a woman doing a kick, smiling. If that makes sense?

So that's where the plan comes back into play with your message, if you're not sure what it is that you were trying to do visually. 

GEORGE: Actually Francine, I've got it open here on the screen. So just to add to that, four broad categories of different styles. If your style doesn't fit there you can pick one that's closest to it. But we talk about a breakdown of the audience, the motivated desired result, role models, aspirations, existing issues, environmental, fear barrier, internal, and then photo suggestions of how you can actually go about the photos.

So there's page two, there's three suggestions on each for photos. Then there's lighting tips, movement, tips, composition tips, and a few bonuses as well. 

FRANCINE: There you go, if you print that out and put it up in your academy, that'll solve a lot of question marks already. Because it is quite a … I mean, I could talk about this all day, but in the end, it's a very logical process. You think about who you are trying to sell it to? What do they like? And you have to work with stereotypes. I mean, you do. Women probably prefer bright, colorful kinds of photos. 

If it's for a fight club or for a sparring class for guys. Well then obviously you're not going to use pink tops. You've got to obviously make it a little bit more masculine. You can turn it black and white. There's a lot of tricks. I mean, there's so much that we have in the course, which yeah, I could talk all day, but it's just trying to think logically. 

And if you don't have that logic, I mean, it's a bit of a creative mutual logic. If you don't have that, ask your target audience, ask your mums at the school. Like, oh look … Even maybe print a few photos, like find a few photos online of kids' classes, no matter what sport, print them out. And then you can show it to the mums while they're waiting and go like, “Oh, okay, can you please cross which three do you prefer?” 

And you go cross, cross, cross and then the one that has the most likes if you want, or you could even do it on Facebook, because there's not a lot of material out there for martial arts. It is sometimes difficult. But if you think in movement it's really doable. And ask for feedback, ask for feedback from people that you want to sell it to. Ask them, what do you want? What would you respond to? A, B or a C? 

And they will tell you, and you will see that there's usually … because psychology works kind of very similarly. I mean, you've got to ask, don't just ask three people, and maybe ask 30 or 40. Ask your friends, ask your family, put it on your private Facebook and then see what … And don't talk to other business owners or other martial arts school owners because often you'll have the wrong mindset.

You'll think as the instructor, but you want to have the feedback from those who you want to yeah … You want them to come to you. If that makes sense?

GEORGE: Yeah. So a couple of things that I got from that, I think most martial arts school owners need to tone it down rather than to ramp it up. You know, the angry, focused, violent type look, it's probably more toned down for your target audience. 

One that really hit home and I think it really stings if you are really objective about it, is if a picture tells a thousand words, then what is mine doing? And just having an honest look and removing your emotion out of it I think is also key, because it might have been the best technique that you ever pulled off, but if you removed your emotional attachment away from it, how is this perceived for someone that just wants to give a class a try, type of thing? 

martial arts photography

FRANCINE: Exactly. Yeah, and I see that a lot. Like when I go and take photos, it's often … And I get it as a martial artist. I get it. It's always like, “Oh, what do you want the class to do? Let's spin whatever sidekicks.” And I'm, “Na, na, na, just keep it simple.” Because first of all, the more complex the technique, the more you can screw it up, and not everybody's very good at spinning sidekicks or whatever it is. 

And it's a very nicely executed, straight punch with a smiling kid will beat a kid looking … I mean, it depends what it is. If it's a competition, then yes. Get a kid that does a perfect sidekick looking really stern. Just know what story you're trying to tell. Like it's really about what's … and show people, take a shot and put it somewhere and ask people, maybe don't put it on your socials, but ask people. “So what do you think when you look at this?” 

Ask different people, ask some kids, ask some moms, ask some teenagers and they will all give you a different reply because I've got amazing shots. You know, my warrior shots that I think are amazing, but for somebody who starts martial arts, they're not the right shots because they're going to say, “I can't do that.” 

And everybody's always comparing themselves, so it's also important to really know your target audience and present. And if it's middle-aged women or mums classes after drop-off, don't … And I see that all the time, you've got these 20 year old, super skinny girls that obviously don't know what they're doing because it's stock photography. Don't do it. Get those, get someone in, ask a mum. “Oh, do you mind? Look, you can do a free boxing class. I just want to take a few photos of you punching the bag.” 

And then use that because it's authentic and it speaks to that audience. They go like, “Oh, if she can do it I can do it.” And that's how you need to think. Like you say, you've got to step back and not be the instructor or the martial artist in that you need to really try to understand what they would want to see and what motivates them. And it's nothing easier than involving your students, your parents and family, they all like to help. 

GEORGE: Okay. Thanks so much. So for all our listeners to get a head start, go to martialartsmedia.com/120, that's the numbers one, two, zero and download the transcript with it. We've included the photo to message matchmaker, which would be a great guideline for you to work with on how to approach different situations, different styles, et cetera. And we'll also include a couple of case studies to give you a good visual representation of good photos, how to take good photos. 

If you need to take better photos and you realize how important this is and it's something that you do yourself. And you're doing it or your students are doing it. And I get it, obviously you're busy with classes and so you just kind of make do with what you get in the moment and you post it up. Francine put together a great course, Martial Arts Photography Smartphone Masterclass. I've mixed it up. Ah, that's the worst promo ever. 

FRANCINE: The Smartphone Photography … No, I don't know now. 

GEORGE: Smartphone Photography Masterclass. So yeah, if you go to martialartsmedia.com/courses, just look for any combination of those words, the Smartphone Photography Masterclass. 

FRANCINE: And me. 

GEORGE: With Francine, there's probably a picture of her in pink. 

FRANCINE: Great.

GEORGE: Good little brand education on that. Check out the course, it will be super helpful. Will save you a lot of time, a lot of money. What I got from the course, and you know I was just a facilitator, all Francine's knowledge. And I was fortunate enough to learn side by side. The good thing that I got from it is it's all the little things, that it's not rocket science. 

It's just things I didn't know. And now I know it and every time I'm taking photos, I have these new trigger points in my mind for things that I have to look out for. And that's what makes a big difference and adds to your value. So Francine, thank you so much. And we'll probably get together soon for round three, who knows? 

FRANCINE: Yes. 

GEORGE: All right, awesome. Thanks so much. Speak to you soon. 

FRANCINE: Bye.

 

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All Online Materials on the MartialArtsMedia.com site are Copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Text, graphics, databases, HTML code, and all other intellectual property are protected by US and/or International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, reengineered, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission. All of the trademarks on this site are trademarks of MartialArtsMedia.com or of other owners used with their permission. You, the visitor, may download Online Materials for non-commercial, personal use only provided you 1) retain all copyright, trademark and propriety notices, 2) you make no modifications to the materials, 3) you do not use the materials in a manner that suggests an association with any of our products, services, events or brands, and 4) you do not download quantities of materials to a database, server, or personal computer for reuse for commercial purposes. You may not, however, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute Online Materials in any way or for any other purpose unless you get our written permission first. Neither may you add, delete, distort or misrepresent any content on the MartialArtsMedia.com site. Any attempts to modify any Online Material, or to defeat or circumvent our security features is prohibited.

Everything you download, any software, plus all files, all images incorporated in or generated by the software, and all data accompanying it, is considered licensed to you by MartialArtsMedia.com or third-party licensors for your personal, non-commercial home use only. We do not transfer title of the software to you. That means that we retain full and complete title to the software and to all of the associated intellectual-property rights. You’re not allowed to redistribute or sell the material or to reverse-engineer, disassemble or otherwise convert it to any other form that people can use.

Submitting Your Online Material to Us

All remarks, suggestions, ideas, graphics, comments, or other information that you send to MartialArtsMedia.com through our site (other than information we promise to protect under our privacy policy becomes and remains our property, even if this agreement is later terminated.

That means that we don’t have to treat any such submission as confidential. You can’t sue us for using ideas you submit. If we use them, or anything like them, we don’t have to pay you or anyone else for them. We will have the exclusive ownership of all present and future rights to submissions of any kind. We can use them for any purpose we deem appropriate to our MartialArtsMedia.com mission, without compensating you or anyone else for them.

You acknowledge that you are responsible for any submission you make. This means that you (and not we) have full responsibility for the message, including its legality, reliability, appropriateness, originality, and copyright.

Limitation of Liability

MartialArtsMedia.com WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OR INJURY THAT ACCOMPANY OR RESULT FROM YOUR USE OF ANY OF ITS SITE.

THESE INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO) DAMAGES OR INJURY CAUSED BY ANY:

  • USE OF (OR INABILITY TO USE) THE SITE
  • USE OF (OR INABILITY TO USE) ANY SITE TO WHICH YOU HYPERLINK FROM OUR SITE
  • FAILURE OF OUR SITE TO PERFORM IN THE MANNER YOU EXPECTED OR DESIRED
  • ERROR ON OUR SITE
  • OMISSION ON OUR SITE
  • INTERRUPTION OF AVAILABILITY OF OUR SITE
  • DEFECT ON OUR SITE
  • DELAY IN OPERATION OR TRANSMISSION OF OUR SITE
  • COMPUTER VIRUS OR LINE FAILURE
  • PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, INCLUDING:
    • DAMAGES INTENDED TO COMPENSATE SOMEONE DIRECTLY FOR A LOSS OR INJURY
    • DAMAGES REASONABLY EXPECTED TO RESULT FROM A LOSS OR INJURY (KNOWN IN LEGAL TERMS AS “CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.”)
    • OTHER MISCELLANEOUS DAMAGES AND EXPENSES RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM A LOSS OR INJURY (KNOWN IN LEGAL TERMS AS “INCIDENTIAL DAMAGES.”)

WE ARE NOT LIABLE EVEN IF WE’VE BEEN NEGLIGENT OR IF OUR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR BOTH.

EXCEPTION: CERTAIN STATE LAWS MAY NOT ALLOW US TO LIMIT OR EXCLUDE LIABILITY FOR THESE “INCIDENTAL” OR “CONSEQUENTIAL” DAMAGES. IF YOU LIVE IN ONE OF THOSE STATES, THE ABOVE LIMITATION OBVIOUSLY WOULD NOT APPLY WHICH WOULD MEAN THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECOVER THESE TYPES OF DAMAGES.

HOWEVER, IN ANY EVENT, OUR LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ALL LOSSES, DAMAGES, INJURIES, AND CLAIMS OF ANY AND EVERY KIND (WHETHER THE DAMAGES ARE CLAIMED UNDER THE TERMS OF A CONTRACT, OR CLAIMED TO BE CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER WRONGFUL CONDUCT, OR THEY’RE CLAIMED UNDER ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY) WILL NOT BE GREATER THAN THE AMOUNT YOU PAID IF ANYTHING TO ACCESS OUR SITE.

Links to Other Site

We sometimes provide referrals to and links to other World Wide Web sites from our site. Such a link should not be seen as an endorsement, approval or agreement with any information or resources offered at sites you can access through our site. If in doubt, always check the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address provided in your WWW browser to see if you are still in a MartialArtsMedia.com-operated site or have moved to another site. MartialArtsMedia.com is not responsible for the content or practices of third party sites that may be linked to our site. When MartialArtsMedia.com provides links or references to other Web sites, no inference or assumption should be made and no representation should be inferred that MartialArtsMedia.com is connected with, operates or controls these Web sites. Any approved link must not represent in any way, either explicitly or by implication, that you have received the endorsement, sponsorship or support of any MartialArtsMedia.com site or endorsement, sponsorship or support of MartialArtsMedia.com, including its respective employees, agents or directors.

Termination of This Agreement

This agreement is effective until terminated by either party. You may terminate this agreement at any time, by destroying all materials obtained from all MartialArtsMedia.com Web site, along with all related documentation and all copies and installations. MartialArtsMedia.com may terminate this agreement at any time and without notice to you, if, in its sole judgment, you breach any term or condition of this agreement. Upon termination, you must destroy all materials. In addition, by providing material on our Web site, we do not in any way promise that the materials will remain available to you. And MartialArtsMedia.com is entitled to terminate all or any part of any of its Web site without notice to you.

Jurisdiction and Other Points to Consider

If you use our site from locations outside of Australia, you are responsible for compliance with any applicable local laws.

These Terms of Use shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the the State of Western Australia, Australia as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such jurisdiction.

To the extent you have in any manner violated or threatened to violate MartialArtsMedia.com and/or its affiliates’ intellectual property rights, MartialArtsMedia.com and/or its affiliates may seek injunctive or other appropriate relief in any state or federal court in the State of Western Australia, Australia, and you consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in such courts.

Any other disputes will be resolved as follows:

If a dispute arises under this agreement, we agree to first try to resolve it with the help of a mutually agreed-upon mediator in the following location: Perth. Any costs and fees other than attorney fees associated with the mediation will be shared equally by each of us.

If it proves impossible to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution through mediation, we agree to submit the dispute to binding arbitration at the following location: Perth . Judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitration may be entered in any court with jurisdiction to do so.

MartialArtsMedia.com may modify these Terms of Use, and the agreement they create, at any time, simply by updating this posting and without notice to you. This is the ENTIRE agreement regarding all the matters that have been discussed.

The application of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, as amended, is expressly excluded.

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is very important to us. Accordingly, we have developed this policy in order for you to understand how we collect, use, communicate and make use of personal information. The following outlines our privacy policy. When accessing the https://martialartsmedia.com website, will learn certain information about you during your visit. Similar to other commercial websites, our website utilizes a standard technology called “cookies” (see explanation below) and server logs to collect information about how our site is used. Information gathered through cookies and server logs may include the date and time of visits, the pages viewed, time spent at our site, and the websites visited just before and just after our own, as well as your IP address.

Use of Cookies

A cookie is a very small text document, which often includes an anonymous unique identifier. When you visit a website, that site”s computer asks your computer for permission to store this file in a part of your hard drive specifically designated for cookies. Each website can send its own cookie to your browser if your browser”s preferences allow it, but (to protect your privacy) your browser only permits a website to access the cookies it has already sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other sites.

IP Addresses

IP addresses are used by your computer every time you are connected to the Internet. Your IP address is a number that is used by computers on the network to identify your computer. IP addresses are automatically collected by our web server as part of demographic and profile data known as “traffic data” so that data (such as the Web pages you request) can be sent to you.

Email Information

If you choose to correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages together with your email address and our responses. We provide the same protections for these electronic communications that we employ in the maintenance of information received online, mail and telephone. This also applies when you register for our website, sign up through any of our forms using your email address or make a purchase on this site. For further information see the email policies below.

How Do We Use the Information That You Provide to Us?

Broadly speaking, we use personal information for purposes of administering our business activities, providing customer service and making available other items and services to our customers and prospective customers.

will not obtain personally-identifying information about you when you visit our site, unless you choose to provide such information to us, nor will such information be sold or otherwise transferred to unaffiliated third parties without the approval of the user at the time of collection.

We may disclose information when legally compelled to do so, in other words, when we, in good faith, believe that the law requires it or for the protection of our legal rights.

Email Policies

We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our subscription lists to third parties, and we will not provide your personal information to any third party individual, government agency, or company at any time unless strictly compelled to do so by law.

We will use your e-mail address solely to provide timely information about .

We will maintain the information you send via e-mail in accordance with applicable federal law.

CAN-SPAM Compliance

Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from us and our partners by reading the unsubscribe instructions located at the bottom of any e-mail they receive from us at anytime.

Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter or promotional materials may opt-out of receiving these communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Choice/Opt-Out

Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from us and our partners by reading the unsubscribe instructions located at the bottom of any e-mail they receive from us at anytime. Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter or promotional materials may opt-out of receiving these communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Use of External Links

All copyrights, trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights in and on our website and all content and software located on the site shall remain the sole property of or its licensors. The use of our trademarks, content and intellectual property is forbidden without the express written consent from .

You must not:

Acceptable Use

You agree to use our website only for lawful purposes, and in a way that does not infringe the rights of, restrict or inhibit anyone else”s use and enjoyment of the website. Prohibited behavior includes harassing or causing distress or inconvenience to any other user, transmitting obscene or offensive content or disrupting the normal flow of dialogue within our website.

You must not use our website to send unsolicited commercial communications. You must not use the content on our website for any marketing related purpose without our express written consent.

Restricted Access

We may in the future need to restrict access to parts (or all) of our website and reserve full rights to do so. If, at any point, we provide you with a username and password for you to access restricted areas of our website, you must ensure that both your username and password are kept confidential.

Use of Testimonials

In accordance to with the FTC guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, please be aware of the following:

Testimonials that appear on this site are actually received via text, audio or video submission. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who have used our products and/or services in some way. They are individual results and results do vary. We do not claim that they are typical results. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who will use our products and/or services.

The testimonials displayed in any form on this site (text, audio, video or other) are reproduced verbatim, except for correction of grammatical or typing errors. Some may have been shortened. In other words, not the whole message received by the testimonial writer is displayed when it seems too lengthy or not the whole statement seems relevant for the general public.

is not responsible for any of the opinions or comments posted on https://martialartsmedia.com. is not a forum for testimonials, however provides testimonials as a means for customers to share their experiences with one another. To protect against abuse, all testimonials appear after they have been reviewed by management of . doe not share the opinions, views or commentary of any testimonials on https://martialartsmedia.com – the opinions are strictly the views of the testimonial source.

The testimonials are never intended to make claims that our products and/or services can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. Any such claims, implicit or explicit, in any shape or form, have not been clinically tested or evaluated.

How Do We Protect Your Information and Secure Information Transmissions?

Email is not recognized as a secure medium of communication. For this reason, we request that you do not send private information to us by email. However, doing so is allowed, but at your own risk. Some of the information you may enter on our website may be transmitted securely via a secure medium known as Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. Credit Card information and other sensitive information is never transmitted via email.

may use software programs to create summary statistics, which are used for such purposes as assessing the number of visitors to the different sections of our site, what information is of most and least interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy, currency or completeness of the content contain on this website or any sites linked to this site.

All the materials on this site are provided “as is” without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of merchantability, noninfringement of intellectual property or fitness for any particular purpose. In no event shall or its agents or associates be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, business interruption, loss of information, injury or death) arising out of the use of or inability to use the materials, even if has been advised of the possibility of such loss or damages.

Policy Changes

We reserve the right to amend this privacy policy at any time with or without notice. However, please be assured that if the privacy policy changes in the future, we will not use the personal information you have submitted to us under this privacy policy in a manner that is materially inconsistent with this privacy policy, without your prior consent.

We are committed to conducting our business in accordance with these principles in order to ensure that the confidentiality of personal information is protected and maintained.

Contact

If you have any questions regarding this policy, or your dealings with our website, please contact us here:

Martial Arts Media™
Suite 218
5/115 Grand Boulevard
Joondalup WA
6027
Australia

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

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