34 – Need More Martial Arts Students? These 2 Free Resources Might Help

Get access to a free martial arts business case study and a online workshop to attract the right students.

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION 

Hi, this is George Fourie from martiaartsmedia.com. This week, I have an awesome announcement for you, and it comes with two awesome gifts that are going to help you grow your martial arts business, especially on the internet.

Gift number 1: gift number 1 is an eleven-page case study that I did about a campaign that we ran in December with Paul Veldman, which generated 96 paid trial sign ups, within the two weeks. Now, I said it with caution, because I'm not giving this case study to you with the expectation that you're going to generate that, but there are core components and strategies recorded in this case study that is going to reveal how you can apply these same strategies to campaigns that you are doing and possibly, if you get 20 or 30 or 40 extra sign ups through the process, it will definitely be worth it and it's gold.

Martial Arts Paid Trial - Paul VeldmanIt's free, you can download it right now at martialartsmedia.com/casestudy and this breaks down just different components, different triggers that you can use and how you can structure your campaigns to get good results with your paid trial campaigns. This type of campaign is maybe not something you can run consistently, like an evergreen what we call, an evergreen campaign, meaning it's continuous, so this is really for generating that rush of sign ups.

So there's a lot of good things in there, the great psychology of just the buying process and I put a lot of time into this. It’s not just about Paul's results and experience, I've really explored the topic with a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of martial arts experts through our martial arts media business podcast. And through that, I was able to gather other insights that you can take and contribute to this. So, that's gift number one: martialartsmedia.com/casestudy, you can download that now. That will take you to gift number two, all right?

Gift number two is a live online workshop that we're going to be hosting and this is really to give you that 30,000-foot bird's’ eye view of how the online platforms work and how you can set yourself up for the long run. This is going to teach you how to become the go-to martial arts school, how to position yourself as the authority within the martial arts business space, or I’d rather say not martial arts business space, but martial arts business within your community. And there are certain things that you can apply that is going to help you do that with putting on valuable content and I'm not just talking about running ads, this is way, way behind running ads, OK?

If you're just going to be running ads, you're always just going to be running ads. But if you take on a different approach and you know that you're going to be in business for the long turn, which of course you are, that's why you've taken on this journey, then there are things you can do with content marketing and different strategies that are going to pay off for you right now, but even more in the long run. And this is information I want to give to you, this is my life's work, I've dedicated the past… I wouldn't say life, but the past ten years to learning this type of online stuff and we've helped a lot of martial arts business owners transform their businesses through these methods.

But the one thing I do find, and I see across the internet is, when you're trying to go down this online route, you pick things where you can. You’re in this Facebook group and you grab someone's information – that's cool, I’ll grab on that idea. And you grab something here and you want to go with that. And a lot of times, you've got to be careful with that, because you can hit a win, but you can also go down the wrong track, because sometimes the idea you’re getting is not vetted and the person doesn't really have that much experience, but they are free to give advice and everybody's advice looks equal in a Facebook group.

martial arts business

So it’s that and then, does the actual concept apply to your business and your audience? Yes, it might apply to your martial arts business, but does it apply to your actual audience and how they respond and their buying behaviours on the internet and their perception of martial arts in general in your area. So there's a lot of components that you need to consider.

So this web class is about you discovering what that is, really being able to dig down into your target market, understand how you're going to engage with them, and not just by putting ads in front of them, but by putting strategic content in front of them that's going to attract them now and in the long run and be that go-to martial arts business. If you think of a soda drink you think Coca-Cola – that's how it must be for people, they must be able to have that clear association. If they think martial arts, your brand name is what's going to come clear to mind.

So this is what we’re going to talk about. This is going to be live; it’s going to be interactive. I’m going to answer all your questions, I'm going to help you make a few core transformational decisions on where you should take your business through the internet, not through your training and so forth. Obviously, you've got to have that in place, you've got to be running awesome classes to facilitate that. If you position yourself as the authority, then you've got to be the authority with your classes.

So this is not about the big smoke screen and putting out information that's not true and that doesn't resonate: you've got to have all the ducks in a row. So if you've got those ducks in a row and you are headed that way and all you need is that clarity of a strategy, something that you can take and apply and grow your school through a sophisticated solid online presence, then this workshop is for you.

So, how are you going to get to the workshop? Again, just go down under case study martialartsmedia.com/casestudy and once you've downloaded the case study, it will take you to the online class registration page. You'll get registered and you'll receive a few emails from us to remind you when the date is coming up and we’ll be good to go.

So I hope you enjoy the case study: please leave a comment wherever you downloaded this, whether it’s on Facebook or on our website, let us know what you think about it, how you liked it and I look forward to seeing you on the web class and helping you with your martial arts business.

Thanks, speak to you soon.

martialartsmedia.com/casestudy

 

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

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

31 – 25 Tips For Martial Arts Business Owners From Industry Experts (Part 1)

We’re down to our 31st episode but this isn’t your typical podcast interview. This is a recap of the first 14 episodes, with tips from martial arts experts.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The first step you need to take to go full time in your martial arts business
  • Change this one thing on your website and your conversions will skyrocket
  • What it takes to manage a thriving martial arts business
  • Beginning with the end vision in mind
  • Knowing your market and matching your message to them
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

Hi, this is George Fourie, and welcome to another episode of the Martial Arts Media Business Podcast Episode 31. We are going to do something different today, which is a bit of a recap. And I'm going to split this into two parts. So we are up to number 14. So up to episode number 14, we're doing the recap. And I going to give you the top 25 learnings, findings, gold nuggets, whatever you want to call them from the first 14 episodes. So there are a lot of cool things in this episode.

I actually wanted to do this in one shot but I realized that there's a lot to talk about so

I'm breaking it up into two parts. In the next episode, we’ll probably have about 30 tips. So for now, there's the top 25 tips from the first 14 episodes and a lot of the message you'll see, a lot of things start to overlap, a lot of the message is in sync with some of the previous episodes.

And that's a good thing because when you hear people saying the same things, and these are successful business owners, then you know that this is gospel.

This are things that are working across the board. So pay attention to those things. So as always, the transcripts are available on https://martialartsmedia.com/31, the number 31. And I'm going to jump right into this and start off with number one. Here we go again.

So number one and episodes number 1, 2, and 3 were Phil Britten and Graham McDonnell from the WA Institute of Martial Arts.

1 – At some point you have to burn the bridges.

And what I was referring to, of course, is when you're running a full-time job and you try to build the gym on the side. At some point in time, something is going to have to give go.

Something is going to have to let go and you're going to have to burn the bridges at some point in time.

It's most likely not going to be a smooth transition. Most people take a lot of risks to go from a part-time business owner to a full-time business owner. So there's going to be some risks involved by taking that step but at some point, you're just going to have to cut the ties and just go flat out and say, “Alright! This is it I'm going all in. And when you doing that, you might be struggling for cash. You don't have support. And if you are struggling for cash, why don't you focus on private sessions, part-time sessions, do part-time session training during the day or whenever you have time and filling those gaps to boost the cash flow while you are transitioning to a full-time successful business owner.

2 – If you want to grow your school, stop doing everything yourself.

So invest in the systems and try and start putting the focus on your students and your instructors. That you can get out of the limelight out of your business. So this of course, depends on your model and how you want to structure things. All right, so number three and this sort of goes in with two but…

3 – Before opening your second school, why don't you take a holiday or travel away for a few weeks and see how your systems hold up.

And I know Tim Ferriss talks about becoming redundant and the way he does it is, if he wants to test systems and his business, you'll go away for a couple of months in a place where there's no internet and no nothing. And then he cannot take charge of everything himself. Obviously, you don't have to go something that's that extreme. But when you do an exercise like that you are forced to cut all ties.

So you have to let go. And that really forces you to look into your systems and how your business is set up so that you can take that next step. So valuable exercise to do; take more holidays and see if everything's in one piece when you get back and if it is not, you know where your systems are failing.

All right, point number 4. And this was the black belt story from Phil Britten. The story goes something like that and I'll get to the message right at the end of this but this is about…

4 – The Black Belt Story

“…a mum that spoke about the fee increase for the next level and the instructor said to her, “Look how about I do this for you. What have you invested in the last four years?” And let's just pick a figure say that was ten grand. So you invested $10,000 in the last four years with your child to do martial arts. And now they are a black belt. Now if I was to give you that $10,000 in cash that you would have to take away all the skills and all abilities and all the life lessons that your child has gained over this time, would you take the $10,000? And then the mum thinks and says, Not at all.

He said well let's double it. I'll give you $20,000. But if I give you twenty thousand dollars, you've got to take away all the life skills, the abilities and all the lessons that your child has learned while he has been learning martial arts and of course, she turns it down.”

So the moral of the story, of course, is put the focus on the value that martial arts delivers and not the cost.

All right, so where are we at. We are at point number 5. Point number 5 was from me and that was,

5 – You should not have prices listed on your martial arts website.

Never a good idea. I'm going to jump back a little bit.

Now, generally speaking if you're a martial arts school and you go in for entry level type, you're focusing on kids and people that are not familiar with martial arts, you should definitely not have your prices on your website because people don't know martial arts. And if people don't know about martial arts and what it's about. Then when you put the price, the only comparison they can make and derive from is the price and not the experience. So now they become price shoppers because that's the comparison point. Whereas when people have experienced the benefits of what it's going to do for them or their child then they might have a different story.

So it's never a good idea to have prices on your website. But, there's a but, let's say you have a different type of job and let's say Justin Sidelle, for example, who has Bali MMA in Bali and they run different type of system because people want to take their holiday In Bali and they still want to come a train for a week or two weeks or so forth. So they have their prices listed on the website. So if you have that type of school where you're providing a service for people that are maybe travelling or you have a high level type of club, which is known among fighters or jiu jitsu practitioners or something that people that are already established in martial arts come and train at, then that could work for you to have the prices up for certain packages and memberships and so forth.

At the end of the day, I would rather say, no don't do it because when you put it there, you gotta know how to place the value on what your training provides (in the wording – copy). And most people don't do that and most people just put the price on strike.

Number 6, Rod Darling.

martial arts school marketing

6 – Talk about the results that people want. Your product is the obstacle.

And what was discussed, we're talking about the benefits especially if you're doing Facebook ads we were talking about Facebook ads, Facebook marketing in this episode. Talk about the results that people are after, the benefits that they're going to get from martial arts and not talk about the training itself. The training is the obstacle. People don’t want to talk about the training but they do want to focus on the results. It's the result that they want. So when you focus on the result, that's something that people are striving for and that's something that they can relate to. So talk about the benefits.

7 – Be specific with your targeting and keep it simple.

With your Facebook ads, be specific. You only need to talk to one person; you can't talk to everyone. If you know that's the common thing at newspapers and flyers, you put a message out there for everyone. You can filter it with your copy and say woman only and so forth. People to talk about the customer Avatar, who's that one person that you're having a conversation with.

And if you can visualize that one person, who they are, it's a mum, she's in her late 30's and her kids are five and eight years old. This is the type of lady that you are talking to. You can structure and customize your marketing message and tailor it to that person. All right, be specific with your targeting and keep it simple.

Number 8. And this is something we preach about website copy.

8 – Don't talk about I and we. Talk about YOU because the person wants to hear about themselves, their wants, their needs, their aspirations.

They don't care about your rank and the gold medal that you won and the tournament that you won. They care about themselves and can you provide value for them or for their kids. Can I lose weight through this? Can I learn self-defense? Can my kid become confident? That's what they want to learn. And Rod said it best, don't be wee’ing all over yourself, meaning don't put the wee’s on your website.

Over to number 9, Michelle Hext. There was a lot of deep value in this. A few things I'm going to draw from here…

Michelle Hext

9 – Have a vision then plan your steps backwards.

Okay, have a clear vision of what you want. There are a lot of great nuggets in there about niche’ing down as well.

And I want to go to Number 10.

10 – Have self-awareness to assess when something is pulling on your self belief.

So, when you have obstacles in your business. Some things don't feel right. Seth Godin talks about being the intruder (Imposter).

Everybody feels like they have that internal dialogue happening like, can I really do this? Can I really be doing this? Is this really me? I think he talks about Barack Obama, being the president does probably the same sort of intruder type of perspective sometimes. He has an internal dialogue, asks himself: “Me? Am I really the president?” Well, not the president anymore.

That conversation of doubt and everybody has that doubt and if you're having that doubt, have self-awareness to assess where something is pulling on yourself. Believe and try and work yourself through that. All right. So that would be on episode six.

And we're moving over to number 11 with Paul Veldman. So first up…

11 – Know your demographic without being everything to everyone.

And on 12…

12 – Grow your students confidence through leadership programs.

So that's confidence within your students, have leadership programs that boost their confidence and take them to the next level.

13 – Market for a season or a reason.

And that is being in sync with what is happening in your community, being the season or a reason. Is there a reason something is happening in your community or is there a season happening. Is it Easter, is it Christmas, is it Valentine's Day. How can you follow, how can you piggyback on that trend that is already happening in your marketplace and attach your marketing message to that.

14 – Spot the quitting signals from your students.

And Paul mentioned:  “We run a rule of three that every student and every class has to be encouraged and acknowledged at least three times. So the first one is, ‘Good day, how are you doing?’ And have a look at the card and they see the training pattern and they can see that at the start of the year, the students are training a lot.

Mid-year, they kind of dropped off. And in the last two months, you can barely see them and address things accordingly. So if you spot the quitting signals then have a talk and have a chat and see where they are at and what is holding them back from their training.”

All right number 15 with Sean Allen. Sean Allen was all about…

15 – Structuring your martial arts business to suit your lifestyle.

So how can your business suit your lifestyle and for him, he's moved down to Margaret River, he surfs every day, some of the best surf, and he runs a small niche school, which he is very passionate about, because number 16…

importance of martial arts in physical education

16 – Use your martial arts school as a vehicle to get the message out about education you value most.

Education about climate change, education and helping empowering kids through his program. And he is always full. He has a waiting list for his small school and is not into growth for growth. He is into living his values and living a good life and teaching his message through martial arts.

Number 17, Brannon Beliso. Brannon is all about service orientation.

17 – Focus on providing a valuable service to your martial arts students. No contracts or upsells, service and care, which leads to retention.

Brannon believes in no contracts, no constant upsells but rather placing value in the service that they offer and treating their students with gold. And by focusing the way that they focus, they try to keep the retention through the value of their service and not being constantly on the sales process of constantly having to upgrade for this and this black belt program and so forth.

martial arts merit badges

So that's the constant message that Brannon Beliso spoke about and also about the way kids and their values and how they are used to just getting things, instant gratification and how martial arts can teach kids discipline through not getting rewarded… or getting their awards but not getting rewarded as if getting a black belt tomorrow when they started today.

All right, number 18. Should you use a Facebook page or profile to promote your business?

18 – Use a Facebook Page to promote your business, not a Facebook Profile.

I'd like to think we've kind of evolved from that conversation and it just shows you, this is early last year and this is the big thing and I still see a lot of people use their of their personal profile to promote their business. But the better way to do it is you've got to have that page because if you don't have a Facebook page, you can't advertise your business.

Advertising on Facebook is a core part of your marketing. It's one of the top places to advertise right now. So if you have a page, why don't you post your content on your page first and then share it to your personal profile because your personal profile in the beginning especially will get a lot more reach because Facebook values their audience and they would rather have pictures of birth of a cousin or something in your news feed than your business.

Well, debatable if your ads are relevant to your audience, but no so much free content. There is a thing called Edgerank where Facebook likes to filter out business-type posts. So you've got to be strategic with that kind of thing. But for the purpose of this point, post things on your Facebook page and share them onto your profile.

That was number 18, over to number 19.

19 – Message to market match. Say the right message to the right person at the right time for them.

So where are they in your buying cycle? That was from me. Where are they in your buying cycle? What have they seen? Have they been exposed to your brand and what message are you going to be putting in front of that person at that point in time.

Number 20 was from episode 13 with Jess Fraser.

20 – If you have ladies training Jiu Jitsu at your gym, get them involved in a ladies community (like the Australian Girls In Gi) to get training support from other ladies and build relationships.

And Jess Fraser has the Australian Girls in GI community and she was talking about how having that type of overlapping community. And it is in overlapping community it seems that ladies are training at multiple gyms and they have this one community as glue if you want to call it that because ladies have different experiences with jiu jitsu and they express different problems and having this community involved that ladies can share their experiences with jiu jitsu keeps it all together.

And I was talking to Martin Gonzalez from Vanguard BJJ and I had a training session with them one night and they were very hospitable. I went for a burger and a couple of beers with them afterwards and he was telling me that Jess has done amazing things for jiu jitsu for ladies that most people are just not aware of. And he was her instructor right at the beginning and he says he remembers when it was pretty much heard, she was the only lady and she's the 12th female to earn her black belt in Australia.

But at that time, the Australian Girls in GI community was pretty much nothing. It was just her and she was just pushing to get it going. And now, with all the time, and the investment and the commitment, there's a there's a big community of ladies doing jiu jitsu and she is very responsible for that in Australia. So for the ladies, check out Australian Girls in GI.

21, Hakan Manav from Australian Martial Arts Academy. All right, on number 21, firstly, Hakan Manav is an extreme athlete. He is a super smart guy and if you go search for any of his training, videos tutorials on Facebook or YouTube, you'll find tricks and techniques that are just mind-blowing. And he's had big shoes to fill with his dad, Master Ridvan Manav, he's been been in the industry for 35 years. The Australian Martial Arts Academy also recently celebrated their 35th year anniversary. And I got a lot of good things to share.

21 – The skills, discipline and coordination taught in martial arts will help you in all other team sports.

Hakan got first-hand experience and proof that the skills and coordination taught in martial arts benefit other sports. He experienced that when he was taking up soccer.

22 – Invest in your education. A business degree will help you develop the frameworks and systems for business success.

So Hakan got the best degree he could in the top university in Sydney and a lot of the frameworks and systems come from his education and just applying everything he learned into the martial arts school.

23 – Develop a leadership culture where everyone is looked after and make sure that everybody is consistently improving.

So they had the leadership culture and everybody is investing into their education and everybody's always raising the bar. And that's how the Australian Martial Arts Academy run 120 classes, seven days per week!

Number 24, the core difference to know between Google Adwords marketing and Facebook marketing.

24 – The difference between Google Adwords and Facebook Marketing. Google searchers have intent, they are looking. With Facebook, you are generally interrupting the browser. Consider your approach accordingly.

The big difference is Google starts with intent. So you have a person who is already searching for something martial arts-related, something martial arts in their area, something martial arts or different types martial arts and doing comparison. So this is the person that's already on the lookout. With Facebook, you have a very direct targeting. But the person might not have intent. So it's more of an interruption based on how you capture this person's person's attention and work from there.

25 – For both Facebook marketing and Google Adwords. Remarketing / Retargeting can bring your biggest conversions.

Remarketing or retargeting as it's called is a method of attracting people that actually see your ads and have ads show up to them at a later stage. You might see that when you go to a website, to Amazon, eBay or somewhere. And then the next minute, you're seeing an eBay ad on Facebook and that is retargeting. So you can get very strategic with this and all about being relevant with your conversations to people.

And that's it for this episode. We will continue either next week or the week after, depending on the scheduling of a very cool interview that I've got lined up. So depending on that when we will release the other half of this episode. So, still a lot to talk about. Lots of cool tips that we're going to be sharing.

And again, show notes on www.martialartsmedia.com/31, www.martialartsmedia.com/31, the number 31. Thanks! Chat you soon. Cheers.

 

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

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

28 – How To Double Your Martial Arts Business In 2 Years Without Selling Your Soul

Want a successful martial arts business, but don't want to be ‘that guy'? Matt Ball talks about changing your mindset and breaking through barriers.Matt Ball from SMAC with George Fourie
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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Creating a warm environment where people feel welcome
  • How a student tragedy motivated a change of logo and design
  • The power of a 5-week introductory program
  • Why you need how you view success in order to succeed
  • How managing Matt's martial arts school from an iPad in a hospital bed was a blessing in disguise
  • Lessons from traveling to martial arts tournaments
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

It made me change my whole concept, my whole thought concept on it. You can be successful and be a good guy, what I'm doing is I'm basing my ideas of success on the wrong preset.

Hi, this is George Fourie and welcome to another episode of the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 28. I have another awesome guest with me today, who is Matthew Ball from SMAC and SMAC stand for Somerville Martial Arts Center, which is where Matthew is from of course. And we talk about the word SMAC and the possible negative connotation it has to it, but I guess more importantly, the whole change that they went through in branding, from being a hardcore fighter type image, with skulls and skulls on the car and everything and transitioning that to a friendlier, family environment, and how they had to go by changing their branding, their public image. And it’s something that caused them to double their business, in a short span of only two years.

So we talk about that, it was a really fun conversation, especially before and after, but we kept in all the good bits for you. And we also talk about Matthew's first management episode, where he was actually forced to manage, because he was in the hospital on his back, and that was the first time he actually had the whole bird's' eye view about his business and was able to manage it better from that perspective. And we also had some deep discussions about association with success, internal blocks that you might have that don't allow you to succeed, that you almost self-sabotage yourself every time you get to this point of success, because you don't want to be associated with being that guy, that successful guy that everybody hates, and how Matthew had to fight that, work through that to change his association of what it means to be successful and helping others.

Now, I want to jump into a theme that's been happening and I've been talking about it in the last few episodes and it’s all tying together and it’s something I keep on talking about, because it’s something that works, and this is event based marketing. And the more I talk about it, the more I explore it, the more I discover. And the more answers I get and the more I'm doing campaigns for martial arts schools, the more I'm learning about the psychology of why things work and why they may not work and we adjust.

Look: marketing is definitely a journey. We as an agency, we have some great wins right off the bat, and we help clients and they get a flood of new students, and then sometimes we don't. Sometimes we're doing the exact same campaign on just two different pages or two different locations, but the results are vastly different and it just proves a point: that there's no one size fits all with marketing. Your audience could be different, your interaction with your audience could be different, your relationship could be different, the competition you have is different, the type of people could be different – so different messages resonate with different people and how do you get past that? Well, you've got to commit to the journey and the journey means testing.

Testing your marketing strategies, keeping track of what works and what doesn't, because if you can eliminate what's not working, you're getting one step ahead of what is working. And that's where the whole Pareto principle, the 80-20 concept just speaks volumes in direct response type marketing because 20% of your efforts will generate 80% of your results. It’s finding out what that 20% is and that's the journey, that's where the real work is. Look: everybody can put up advertising and do that kind of stuff, but when it’s not working, you've got to know where to find the problem and where to diagnose and how to solve that problem.

So, that's gone a bit off topic on what I wanted to say, but it’s a very important thing that I've been experiencing over the last few weeks. And going a bit further and something that we really spoke about with Matthew is the event based type marketing. I’m not going to give a spoiler, he'll explain the whole process and concept. And after the episode, I will give a few insights, on how I'm seeing the objections and things that come up when we do campaigns and how this psychology really applies to it, so look out for that.

I’m going to jump right into that now. As always: you can find the transcripts and links and everything about this episode on martialartsmedia.com/28, the number 28 and that's it from me for now, I want to get straight into this interview, so please welcome to the show Matthew Ball.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have with me Matt, or Matthew Ball, one of the two.

MATT: Matt Ball is fine.

GEORGE: Matt Ball from SMAC, which stands for…?

MATT: The Somerville Martial Arts Centre.

GEORGE: The Somerville Martial Arts Centre, all right. We're just going to be chatting about a few things, travel within the martial arts industry, a few recent successes and so forth. So – welcome to the show!

MATT: Thank you very much, thanks for coming down and speaking to me.

GEORGE: Awesome. So I guess we're going to start from the beginning – so. Who is Matt Ball?

MATT: I started in the Bob Jones martial arts group, in zen do kai when I was about 13 and I'm now 44. I've continued within the Bob Jones martial arts school throughout that time. In 1996, I decided to go full time and entered into a couple of business writing competitions for the two previous years, Shell corporation and the Rotary club used to do business comps. And it was a really great way to be mentored, it was my first experience with mentors outside of martial arts, that helped me develop my business plans to the point where I thought that I could possibly be successful stepping away from my job, which was in a bank at that stage.

So in 1996, I moved out and my main aim was to teach at high schools during the day and then at night time to run my classes, so from 4:00 till 8:30 at night each day. I had a lot of promises from schools in that first year that they would employ me for the following year, and it looked really great on my business plan. And then when I started calling them up, they informed me that I had to have been booked in a year previously for some of them and it was all requirements and that first year was a little bit rougher than I first anticipated.

But once we got through that, that business really took off and in the end, before I sold that part of my business, we were teaching it around about 40 high schools each year, there was 5 or 6 people working for me to assist in that, mainly teaching self-defence, but also some Muay Thai and some boxing for fitness type classes and things as well. So it was good and then, and now we're in 2017 – around about 2003, I moved into a full-time premise. We were at the time operating out of three different halls, within the same area, all within the 5K radius of each other.Somerville Martial Arts Centre - Matt BallSo I decided to take the big leap and try and bring it all into the one place and I felt that I had enough members at that point to do that. So I've been teaching children and obviously adults for a long time, but I decided I want to focus more on the adult and team market at that stage and we dropped right into competition, room fighting for boxing and Muay Thai predominantly. So we went into trying to develop that sort of market, so the imagery that I chose and the logos I chose were turned directly towards that market and we probably left the child market a little bit behind.

And at first I was happy to do that, that was my goal, but after some time, I realized I'd probably swung too far the other way. And we had Dave Kovar from America at our club and I was talking about our member base. And at the time, it wasn't massive, but it was close to 200, around 170 members and 80% was over the age of 15. And he said, Matt, that's great, most people would love to have adult numbers like that, but you do realize that you can still have a lot of kids and still keep those adult members as well? And I went, yeah, I'm an idiot.

So at that time, we sort of changed our logos, we changed around our gym a little bit. People, when they used to walk in, the first thing they would see would be a boxing ring, and then another boxing ring. Often people would be fighting and sparring and the kids have to walk through it. On our wall, we had the Krav Maga gear, so it all looked military, knives and guns and things. And it was amazing when Dave said it to me, I walked outside, I walked back in, and I went, who would bring their kid here?

And then I walked in further and I went, if I was a guy walking in here, I wouldn't feel comfortable training. It was intimidating. I was more surprised that we managed to have as many members as we did in that sort of environment. So even though we really worked hard at being a really encompassing gym and friendly and everything, the facade didn't show that, so that was my first big lesson.

GEORGE: So, backtrack a bit: there was a few question in there. So, you were teaching at multiple schools at the time?

MATT: Yeah, that's right.

GEORGE: Was it a challenge, did you lose members, moving them all to one location?

MATT: I think because we were in such a small area anyways, it ran about a 5K radius, we didn't really lose any members. We probably lost some members, because the fees had to change, the fee structure had to change slightly. So even though we offered them more classes, that isn't what everyone wanted and because our overheads have gone up a little bit, we had to increase it. But the members, by and large, were amazing. The first couple of months of being here, it was half building site – half Dojo, or training gym.

We had the wooden floor finished on the first weekend and that was done by 10-12 members turning up and helping me construct. And then we had to sort of section bits off, and over the months, we could slowly get more of the gym operating and cleaner. And rather than losing members, I think that it actually made us really strong at that period, because everyone had some ownership over the place. Even if they weren't working on it, they were a part of that journey of, let’s do something special together. And it really put a really good community feel, that probably lasted for 5-6 years before the next group sort of came through and didn't know anything about that part.

GEORGE: Well, you did a great job on the environment and I’ll put little pictures with the podcast here, but it’s really got this Melbourne feel. Anybody that's been to Melbourne, there's always graffiti and posters stuck up. And just that in the contrast with the wooden floor, it almost looks like you're in an antique coffee shop almost. Something else is happening here other than the gym, obviously because it’s empty as well, there are no people.

MATT: Yeah, we find that most people when they come in here who have trained at other places will remark on the feel. They'll actually come back out now, whereas, before it was a bit intimidating, they'll come back out to me and actually grab me and say, man, it just feels so comfortable here! I don't know quite how we've done it; I can't say that it was all purposeful. Some of it was, but some of it was being just by osmosis. But yeah, when you hear people who train come up to you and say how they just feel comfortable in your space and how they love it, it’s a really special feeling, it’s great.

GEORGE: Definitely. Now, let’s go back to the transition, because if you were this hardcore fight gym. And Somerville Martial Arts Centre also shortens to the acronym of SMAC, so I can imagine initially when you had the branding, you mentioned earlier the skulls and things, it was really for the hardcore fighting market as such. And then, with the acronym of SMAC, it really goes with that. But now you've changed the branding and you've changed the image that you can accommodate for the appearance, but you've still got SMAC on the T-shirts and so forth?

MATT: A part of it is age as well. When we moved here, 13 years ago, I was just in my early thirties.  Maybe just 30, and I was training with fighters intensely, so all that is inside you and you want to express that part of you and what better way to express it than on a really big building and all over your car and that's the thing: I probably got caught up in the moment and in my age again. And without any professional help from marketers or anything, because there wasn't a lot of money and I think as a martial artist, we tend to think we can do everything on our own – I quickly learned that's not the best way to do it, but that's a whole other story.Somerville Martial Arts Centre - Matthew BallSo that whole feel that we came into was pretty hardcore and like I said, that was actually a purposeful thing. I wanted to aim for that market. Part of the reason I wanted a full-time center because I wanted a ring that we could use all the time. I wanted hanging bags that we could use. Just trying to train people in a hall for a competition – it can be done for sure, but it’s not easy. You can't have people coming outside of work times to get extra training in, and not getting that experience of being in a ring and they’re just not getting the hours of punishment on the bags that you sort of need for that internal discipline that they develop from it.

Not only power and strength, but more that discipline of keeping them going, when they really don't want to be doing it anymore. Yeah, we set that up and my first car that I had when I moved in was a Mazda 6 or something, so it didn't look too bad. Then I got an Alpha Romeo, a little sports type car and I had stickers like several skulls and fading in the background it almost looked like a biking emblem, not an Alpha Romeo. And what I realized pretty quickly, I gave it two years, was that I just alienated the whole new family market. The families that were with us loved us still because the teaching hadn't changed, but we weren't attracting any new families.

When the realization came to me, what am I doing, and this isn't who I am. I’m not that aggressive, nasty guy. I don't look like a bikey or anything, so it was a confusing image I was giving to people, the juxtapositions were too far apart. So yeah, changing the logo – we actually changed the logo using a tragedy that we had. We had one of our young guys commit suicide, who was working full time at the center and was also competing at quite a good level in fights and he met a girl overseas and the relationship had gone south and he, unfortunately, committed suicide. And one of his friends created an image using a boxing image that everyone put on their cars and stickers and things like that from his friend at work and stuff.

So about two or three years after that tragedy was when I was looking for the new logo. And I was trying to be careful, I didn't want to idolize what he'd done, I didn't want other people to feel that that's a good way to get recognized, but also in my heart, I wanted to remember him and I felt that the logo captured what we were going for. So we changed it to a circle with the image of a boxer, someone in a victory stance in the center of it. We came up with a motto of “Commit to excellence” and put a name on it and I feel it’s a much friendlier, much more encompassing. It encompasses not only boxing and Muay Thai, but it also encompasses our martial arts and that striving for excellence.

So I think that the image is more about that. The trouble with running a gym where you teach multiple martial arts is trying to find an image that encompasses them all, and that's been one of my hardest things. So now when I advertise, we advertise each martial art we do separately, even from kinder kids to kids’ karate, we advertise separately and on separate websites and on separate social media advertising, so we can really target the groups. But the umbrella brand is still SMAC and that's still the name at the front of the gym. But the first contact people have with the marketing will be very much just that style that they're looking at like I said, kids' karate or adults' karate, or the Muay Thai kickboxing, will really associate to that. And that's worked really well and I'm hoping that that way of structuring the branding can continue to work as effectively as it has.

GEORGE: I'm kind of just thinking about it because it’s something that I've noticed a lot and I think it’s a difficult thing to do because you've got all these different target markets. You've got this fighting group, and then you've got the mom for the kid, and then maybe that adult that just wants to release stress after work. So you've got to have these different conversations. Like I always saw it, what is in the focus: is the focus actually just one level up and then the value of “Commit to excellence” and that your motto is really, all your emphasis goes back to the value, instead of the actual art that's being used to achieve the same result?

MATT: I think that there's definitely a part of it. The “Commit to excellence,” not only can I use for that idea of, it’s not going to matter what you come into, we’re going to help you achieve: it also helps me every day. So when I get a little bit lazy or my discipline lacks: for instance, we iron on patches onto our kids’ GIs and a couple of parents were saying, oh, they're peeling off. And I said, we usually just iron it on and then you can stitch it on later on. But then I thought: I've got a sewing machine here – why am I not just sewing them on? It’s not that time consuming for me to do and if I'm committed to excellence, I'm committed to excellence.

So the motto is not only for the students, but it’s also for me. But going back to what you're saying about attracting people is, yeah, I found the most successful clubs that appear as financially successful clubs just focus on one style. And I can understand the desire to do that and if I was saying to someone who wanted to set up a gym, what should I do, that is the line that I would say they should do – but it’s not what I like to do. So what I understand is the best thing to do isn't what I want to do. So this is where this breaking it down really came into its own and it’s really helped, it’s one of the measures that's taken us from about 10 years of staying at 170 members to right at the moment of 540 active members.

And it’s happened over two years and when I said, OK, I'm going to have a separate website for everyone – and they're really just landing pages, basic information about what we do, how to join and just the information on that class and what sort of person it suits. Now when someone rings, most people that ring have an idea of something that they want to do, but probably about 30% don't – they're just, I want to do something. So then we talk about the general benefits of martial arts, but then we try and find out what sort of person they are: are they someone that likes to spend time trying to perfect something before they move on, or are they the sort of person that just likes to keep doing it and as they make mistakes, they'll just try to correct them as they go.

So if they're the sort of person, I just like to get going, man, I don't want to spend time planning stuff out – if I'm talking about an adult, I’ll say that Muay Thai will probably be the best one for you to start in, because we keep it pretty quick, the techniques require skill at a higher level, but they're fast to learn for you to feel like you're getting somewhere. If they're the sort of person that says, I like to plan things out, I like to try and perfect a skill or a technique, Ill practice it over and over until I get it right, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, well then, zen do kai would be the direction I would take those people in.

With the boxing, it’s more often someone will ask about boxing, but they'll say, I don't like kicking, or I haven't got a good stretch, I don't want to move my legs around much, I just want to get into it – what we often find is, once we get people in here, they see the other classes going on, and we’ll probably get 15% who will change around, because the thing we did put them in wasn't the right one, so they'll move on. We've found the best way of doing that is, we've actually been running 5-week beginner programs.

So we find that the 5 weeks gives us a really good time for them to commit, so we know they're serious. So no free classes, they join the 5-week program, they get the uniform or the gloves, so they're set up from the start, and by the end of those 5 weeks, they have a really good understanding of what's going on. They're only stuck with other beginners, so the class is just set up just for them, they're not involved in the whole class, they're not trying to catch up, they're not trying to learn as things are racing too far ahead, the instructor’s not having to divide his time between them and the higher level people.

So we found that that gives them a really good grounding. Then they come into our classes after 5 weeks, like someone used to be after 13 weeks, because they've just been out of getting that basic work is done, so they feel better about it, we feel better about it and they've had a real good chance to see if martial arts is for them, without having to invest a massive amount, but enough to know if they are serious, not just, I'm going to come in and try a class because I'm bored this week.

GEORGE: That's interesting. We do a lot of the whole paid trial type system, and there's a lot of approaches to it: a couple of weeks training, maybe only a few classes, for the purpose obviously, because you obviously want the conversion at the end. It’s interesting that you go that whole dynamic of 5 weeks because you can get a real true assessment. Do you find at the end of 5 weeks that some people they are suited, so they're going to continue this one style, or that you determined that they need to be in a different style, or that you shift them around?MATT: I would say it would only be about 15-20% that at the end of it, we would direct them to another style. So for instance, we’d have someone – and it mainly happens in our boxing group, because our training’s all amateur boxing for competition training. So even though we know that only a small percentage of the group will ever compete, we train everyone as though they're getting ready for competition. A lot of people, because boxing is the in word, come in to do a fitness boxing group and even though we explain that that's not what it is and we actually have a fitness boxing class, most people still cannot understand, until someone is punching back at them, so even though in that 5 weeks they won’t spar, but they'll still do drills, we call them stick and move drills, so where they'll get jabbed at and parried off and move around, so they're getting used to it.

So what we tend to find is that at the end of 5 weeks, we’ll have a few of those people going, I liked it all except, I don't like the sparing, I'm not into that – is there something else I can do? So then fitness boxing might be the thing. Or even we’re finding, often the older guys that feel that way, they think they want to do it, but then they go: I'm 45 or 50 – do I really want to get hit by a 20-year-old? It’s a really good question to ask because I don't think it’s a good thing either. We've found those guys are going into the Krav Maga and same with some of the ladies and it’s been a great release for them, because they're still getting to work hard with someone, they're still getting to push each other around, they're throwing strikes with real force, but it’s in a much safer environment, it’s not in that sparing environment where it’s quite random, it’s more set.

And they'll actually probably end up training harder in the Krav, but it’s a much better fit for them. So that's probably the main one we find that switch and change. With the kids, it’s a little bit between kickboxing and karate, we find that mom felt that their child was this sort of child, but he's actually probably more this sort of child, and he's bored within 2 seconds when we’re talking about breath and balance and stance. But man, you get him hitting a bag, he’ll do it 400 times without wanting to stop. We’re probably a bit more shuffling in that class.

But overall, we find that what they start is probably what they continue to stay in. We have very few that don't finish the 5 weeks, but we don't capture everyone at the end of the 5 weeks. So at the end of the 5 weeks, we have probably about 30% who will say to us, I absolutely loved doing the 5 weeks, but I'm not ready to commit for a longer period of time. So I'm not sure if that's in our sales pitch that we’re getting that wrong, if we’re getting it wrong in our follow up, or if people are just buying it as a 5-week package: man, I’d love to do Krav Maga for 5 weeks and get some basic self-defence: I wouldn't mind doing 5 weeks of boxing, I've never tried it before – and that doesn't matter to us, because we're still making money out of them.

It’s still not a wasted lead for us, they're leaving saying that they loved it, so they're going to tell someone else about is and it hasn't cost us anything. We’re charging $90 for the 5 weeks and they get a set of gloves, which we can get wholesale on a good price, or they get a uniform, again, which we can get at a pretty good price. So by the time I take advertising fees, our instructor fees and the gift that they get, we’re still making a little bit, not much, $10 a student, it averages out at $9-$10, so it’s not much out of the 5 weeks. But then if I can capture 70% of those people to continue on their training, that's when we obviously start to make a bit of the return.

GEORGE: Going back to, because you mentioned that over the last two years your business has doubled and how the changing in branding played a big role in that: what else contributed to that big growth?

MATT: We had a number of things: working with Dave Kovar, release some stuff within me that have been holding me back I think. I found that most of the mentors I worked with up until that point when it came to trying to be financially successful, or successful in a business, it came down to finance. And it came down to, no one ever really said about trying to rip people off, but it always sort of had that feel in the end: lock them in on this, once they're here, never let them leave. It had that feel like, it didn't matter what they're getting out of it, you've got to keep them. And it didn't sit right with me, I don't like that. I don't like being involved in that when it’s happening to me, and I don't like doing it to other people.

So I always felt like there was something stopping me from being successful, because I'm thinking, well, to be successful, I've got to be like them, and I'm not going to be that. So I'm just going to coast along where I'm at. And then, doing the work with Dave and meeting him and seeing the sort of person he was and then going over to America and meeting his team, because I went, this is all really good, but does it really work this way? You know when you're learning off someone and you go, yeah I can get up and say how it should be, but how is it really?

GEORGE: Do you practice what you preach?

MATT: Yeah, do you practice what you preach. And are your guys following the steps that you've put in the process for them, or are they doing something else, and you're out here talking, but they're working something else. So I went over there and watched his club a couple of nights and got to meet him properly, have a relaxed talk and meet all his staff at all the different levels, from the person that does the intros, to the girls and guys at the desk, to the people instructing classes – man, it was impressive. The skills of his students were still good, it wasn't like Mickey Mouse nothing, it was good students.

The instructors were incredible instructors, I don't just mean physically, but they knew what they were doing, and they were young, but he trained them so well. The office staff, everyone, and they all worked as a team, there was no, oh, don't talk to her, or, he doesn't really know what he's doing, you should come and speak to me. They were talking each other up, everything just felt good about it, so it made me change my whole thought concept on it: you can be successful and be a good guy. What I'm doing is, I'm basing my ideas of success on the wrong preset. So that was probably the biggest hurdle. Once I got over that, I was happy to then go back to graphing my student numbers and charting everything. So when I first started…

GEORGE: Can I just stop you there on that? So, the big obstacle you had was your association with success?

MATT: Yes, for sure. And I still find it in other things too. I have done some work, I'm trying to get rid of it, I was seeing a psychologist for a couple of years to help work on that as well and I found that my time with the psychologist was amazing. It was like a business coach at the entry level because it was what I needed at the time. I didn't need work on my finances, and putting my plans into place – what I needed was, one of the hurdles, you've been doing this for a long time now: why are you still bumping up against these same hurdles? And with a psychologist, you get no answers, but it allows you to question yourself on different levels and things and I found that to be fantastic.

My Systema instructor, Alex Kostic, I've been training with him for around 10 years and he's from Serbia and he's studied psychology and he's always talking about how people should go and see a psych. We want to get fitter, so we go see a PT, or we do a martial art. We want to think better, but we don't speak to the professionals on how to do it, we want to deal with our situations in a better way. And it took me about 7 years of him constantly talking to me about it, but when I finally went to see the psychologist, I could go in there thinking, I'm not going here because I've got a problem that needs to be solved, or a mental problem that I'm dealing with: I just wonder how it can be better.

And that was another big breakthrough for me. Maybe turning 40, got me a few breakthroughs. So those couple of things helped me get over those big hurdles, put me back in the mindset of growth and development and then I could put that same mindset back into the business and I could put it back into my martial arts training and how I want to continue to grow. So those things, and then the other things that really helped us grow, a few of our instructors sort of came of age, they got to the point where they were doing really good work and you could really trust them with classes, so then we were able to grow the classes and develop more times and spaces.

Again, that came to me actually giving them feedback and again, it came from a slight tragedy: I had a bad thing with my back, I blew out a few discs and had some badly pinched nerves and was stuck on the ground for about four months before I could get surgery. And it meant that I was managing the gym with my iPad, so watching the classes through the security camera and sending messages on, can we do this, can you do that, when you teach the class tonight, the guy at the front is a little bit messy, clean that up.

And for the first time ever, I was actually managing the staff and managing the instructors and giving them really clear guidelines. So what would normally happen was, I’d turn up, they'd come in to help me with the class and I’d say, take the blue belts. What? No, no, just take them. Or such and such has got a fight coming up, go and work with him, and no real clear instruction, no good feedback. But being stuck on the ground for three months…

GEORGE: Blessing in disguise.

MATT: It was the best thing. It sounds horrible, but it was the best thing ever. Made up Facebook groups working communicators, groups for instructors, smaller groups, and then when I got back, we would talk before class on what they were going to do, I’d give them some other ideas to help with the ideas they had, at the end of the class, we’d give feedback on how the class went and we try to keep that going. So it’s now 2.5 years later, so all these things, they've all accumulated, but that learning to manage properly was a God sent, you know? Being stuck on the ground.

GEORGE: That's some really deep stuff there, I mean, you say just those few things, but just that – yes, you're removed from the gym, but now you actually had the bird's eye view, you can actually see what's going on because you're not in it, so you've removed yourself. And then the mind stuff, I mean, this is something I work on all the time, and I've got my own philosophies about it, but my belief this stuff comes from the way you grow up, the way your parents talk to you about money, that’s expensive, this is this, you can't have this, the whole tall poppy syndrome thing that’s alive and well in Australia – as soon as there's success, let’s pull him down, that whole crab in a bucket thing.

And I think all those things – you talking about, and I’ll re-listen to this, but it was kind of in the sense of, I was doing everything the same, and then I changed my mindset and my thinking and my obstacles, and then everything else changed. And it’s almost like it’s just that internal change, your beliefs. I guess your relationship with money and how you link success because you had this vision, these guys, they're a bit dodgy, they're trying to be sneaky and a bit on the scum side to kind of lock people in and keep their money. And your values just don't agree with that and that’s your only model of success and then, you're kind of like, I'm definitely not going to be that, I don't want to be that guy.

MATT: That's right, and if you haven't got those role models to look up to, it’s hard to create your own role model. But you know, with you talking, well how much difference can one person make? It took a lot of people for it to happen to me, but I was the only person in the end that needed to change for all the other things to change, and then it’s changed for everyone in the gym too, for the better as well. Now there are more people involved in martial arts, so they're getting the benefits of that as well. I had an interesting discussion with one of my higher ranks and we were talking about direction and things. And I was talking about the need for growth and he was dead set against the need for growth, he was telling me that that was a narrow way to be looking at some of the things or at martial arts development.

And I found that it was a little bit of a shock and a little bit hurtful too because the growth is about getting other people to experience what I think is absolutely an amazing journey and has been so helpful for me, that I want other people to be a part of it. His mindset is still in, he's thinking success is what I was thinking success was as a martial artist. And he's thinking that when I'm talking about growth, I'm talking about salesmen and ripping people off or something. It’s like, he needs that paradigm shift to say, that's not what I'm meaning: what I'm meaning is, getting people to love it, getting people involved in it. Giving them what we've had and what we've enjoyed for 30-40 years.

GEORGE: I’m on a completely different level than you are. I started martial arts in my mid-thirties and I can tell you, it changed my life, I know that. Why didn't somebody sell me, 10, 20, 15 years ago, why didn't someone put their foot down and tell me, you need this! This will put you on the right path, you know what I mean?

MATT: A 100%.

GEORGE: There's so much value in martial arts. And you don't want to go down the route of being slimy and locking people in and doing all this funny stuff…

MATT: But you need to get the word out there!

GEORGE: But at the end of the day, you've got to experience it. And if it’s going to change your life, I think martial arts school owners need to do whatever they can to install that message and get people over that obstacle, over those fears that are holding them back of actually just getting started and just get them started.MATT: The third biggest thing that helped change our whole number system around is part of that 5-week program, it was that we then had a date to advertise to. So rather than just advertising for new members all the time, which ended up never happening. So I'll get some flyers out, or I'll put something in the paper, or I'll put something on Facebook – well, there's no date to have to do it by, you know? But when I know that I'm starting my next course on March the 6th and I haven't got anyone in there yet, I know that I've got to be advertising to March the 6th. And there no use me advertising kickboxing if that course is zen do kai.

So I'm only going to advertise zen do kai for that group to get in on March the 6th. So it’s made me invest money in my advertising, it’s made me look at how the advertising campaigns work, it’s made me look at the results of the advertising campaign because they're very obvious. I don't just go at the end of the year; how many people did we have this year? It’s more like, well, how many people did I get to join u that month? Six. OK, so next time we do it, we got 8, what did we do differently? Or next time we do it, it was three – yeah, but it was the middle of winter and most people… so we can start to really look at things for having that date I have to have it done by, and that was another…

GEORGE: I'm so glad you mentioned that because I've spoken about it a few times and I spoke earlier to Darryl Thornton from Shukokai Karate and we were talking about events and deadlines and he just had a huge open day where he signed up 70 people and it was an hour! And there were so many people in the hour, and then 19 came back on Monday. And we were talking about this whole psychology: it’s not 5 hours, where people can come and go when they please. It’s one hour, where they get to spend their one hour of energy. They can only be there 12 to 1, that's the hour and they do something very simple, they run their event, everybody gets to take part, it’s the pride of the school, it’s what all the students are looking up to, they just want to do this one thing…

MATT: It’s coming again!

GEORGE: Yes, we want to do the open day! And they do one offer at the end and it’s not high pressure or anything, but this is the offer for the day and the whole psychology goes back to exactly what we were just talking about, this whole event for your marketing, that it’s not, people can just walk in when they please and join. You can only join in this window; this is when the offer is.

MATT: And we find that people actually appreciate it. Sure, we’ll get a percentage that won’t appreciate it, but the most, when we explain it to them, the reason why we have everyone start on this date is because we find in the past people just needed time to tag along, it’s not a great learning experience. But if we can really sell to them: in this beginners’ program, we go step by step, you're only with other beginners, the instructor can concentrate on you guys and really give you a good platform base –man, I want to do it!

When I'm telling other people about it, I’m going, I wish I started like that. My first class, I got winded five times. I started in stretch jeans and had to do squats with someone on my shoulders. Why did I keep coming back? I have no idea, but I don't need to give that same experience to someone else, I can give them a much better experience than what my first experience was.

GEORGE: That's awesome. I've got one more question for you, because I know you do a lot of traveling and so you've got a lot of people on board, within the fight arena and the fight scene –  what's been your biggest learning curves, from traveling abroad with martial arts and the fight shows and so forth?

MATT: I think the biggest learning curve, there's probably been two. The first one is probably just a funny one, but a lot of guys don't do much for themselves and you learn that when you go away with them, and they ask how they're going to get their underpants cleaned, every little thing – oh my God, this guy has gone from mom to his wife, and there's been nothing in between. The girls are much better, the girls tend to be self-sufficient, but the guys can be pretty hopeless, so you end up being a bit of an everything to them on those trips. But the main thing I've found is that martial artists are martial artists.

When I first started traveling, I was really quite nervous going into another gym, or a studio, or a seminar, because you didn't know what quite was to be expected, and you were representative of everyone from your system – you're not, but you felt that. You sort of go, if I'm the only guy these guys will ever meet from our system and I'm an idiot, if I don't do well, then it’s not going to look good on my whole system. What I've found is, if you just get in there and have a go and laugh with them a bit and enjoy the session, everyone takes you under their wing and then because you've got something in common, they want to show you around, they want to take you out for dinner. They will help you get to places that you would never get to when you travel.

So most of my trips, a vast majority of my trips are around martial arts. So it’s either learning or further competitions stuff. With the competition stuff, the main thing that I've found is that Australia is way up there on our levels of professionalism in the way that we were in or shows and competitions, but also on our levels of competitors. And I've also found that, particularly in the Muay Thai, that everyone's there to help each other, so we’re in the change rooms – there's no animosity generally in the change rooms. It’s generally very, very friendly. If I've traveled away and I haven't been able to bring a bucket because there was no room, someone in the change room is going to give me a bucket.

The last fights, we were at world title fights, on a line fight, we were stuck in a place called Connecticut, we were in the Indian reserve in the middle of nowhere – apparently, it’s the biggest casino in America under one roof, but that didn't mean much. There was no way to buy anything, the next town was 40 minutes away, we had no cars. Guys helped us out with pretty much everything, even down to adrenaline for stopping cuts, which we needed. So yeah, I find that martial artists in general, through my vast experience with them, the vast majority are decent, good people. Sure, there's going to be that guy that wants to test you a little bit more, that's had a bad day, but that's everywhere. That's in the supermarket, or in my own club from time to time, but man, I just love traveling and meeting martial artists, it’s just the best thing ever.

GEORGE: Awesome. Matthew, that was awesome.

MATT: Thank you very much.

GEORGE: Glad to have you on this show and maybe we’re going to have you do around two for the fight stuff and chat a bit more about that.

MATT: Thanks very much for letting me talk and I've been loving all the podcasts. I've learned so much off all the different people you've had on. In fact, some of the ideas that helped turn me around are from different martial arts podcasts and things that I've listened to.

GEORGE: That's excellent. And before we go, if people want to find out more about you, where should they go?

MATT: They could have a look at www.smac.net.au.

GEORGE: smac.net.au.

MATT: Yep.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. Cool, thanks, Matthew, cheers!

And there you have it – thank you, Matthew, for a great interview, it was good fun. Learned a lot, like always and touching back on what I mentioned about event based marketing: if you look at the whole psychology of that, just putting a dead end to the purchase, the big thing with martial arts is the long term commitment and people fear long-term commitment, it’s just something that you've got to process. And as I spoke with Paul Veldman about the different stages of the conversion: somebody comes in for the paid trial, that's that. Now there's a whole new conversation because there's a whole new state of mind and there’s a whole new person really, because they've experienced what martial arts can do for them, or not.

That conversation is going to be completely different and you've got to think of it as these little baby steps that are climbing up this ladder to get to the ultimate conversion at the end of the day. And the psychology of putting that whole deadline in place, there's a lot of things here: there's the psychology of the deadline again – I know I repeat myself often, but the deadline of, it’s a 5-week program, so people know that that's what they're committing to, 5 weeks, and it’s actually nice for a student knowing that, hey I can actually sign up to this, and in 5 weeks, I've accomplished something.

In my mind, I can feel that I've done something worthwhile, and this comes back to an objection that I see coming up with the whole paid trial system, is a lot of people say that, even though the paid trial is so good, they don't want to disappoint their child, because they don't want to put the child through this whole process of enjoying the martial arts journey and now the parent has got to say, sorry, we just can’t do it, we can't afford it, it’s not going to work. And having that deadline, having that package deal with someone – maybe you don't even have to do anything different: what Matthew does is put something in a 5-week program and if you can package it as in something that really delivers a result that people aren't scared to commit, because they know for the 5 weeks, they're going to walk away with something and certain skills, that is a great way to frame things.

And look, obviously your intention is to keep them as a long term member, but removing that fear, that risk, that risk of commitment, risk reversal – we talk about it a lot in our copywriting stuff, risk reversal: how can you remove the risk completely and take on the risk, the risk is all on you as the school owner. So how can you do that, how can you take all the risk, eliminate it all from the person that's contemplating whether martial arts is going to work for them or not? So remove all barriers, make it easy for people, get them on the floor, get them trying things out and then into the next step of the conversion.

Alright, that's it from me, just a few insights, a few things that I've come up with. For next week, we've got another awesome interview for you and that's it. Show notes and all links and everything are on martialartsmedia.com/28 and I will speak to you next week. Have a good week, chat soon – cheers!

 

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25 – Your Martial Arts Audience Ignoring You? This Might Help

If you're not getting interaction from your martial arts audience, chances are your message isn't relevant right now. Learn more.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The importance of targeting the right audience at the right time
  • Why you should take a unique approach to reaching each audience
  • Running multiple Facebook pages for different age groups? Try this instead
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

If your marketing messages are being ignored and you’re not getting responses or any activity, this might be the answer – this might help.

Hi, this is George Fourie and today, we're going to be talking about relevance – relevance in your marketing: is it spot on, is it targeted at the right person and being received at the right time? And this conversation came up while I was chatting to Professor Brannon Beliso from One Martial Arts in San Francisco. And we did an email campaign for them and we were looking at different emails going out and we spotted an email that was being sent that was not targeted at the right audience and it wasn't framed right for the right segment in that list. And we had a bit of a chat about relevance and so forth, and I'm going to give you a few insights on what we’ve gathered from that conversation.

Firstly, when you look at your own marketing as such: it’s so easy to look at your Facebook page as one Facebook page, or if you have an email list and you’re doing that type of marketing, you just look at the one email list, our list as a single – plural as such. But when you look at your Facebook page, it consists of individual people. Individual people, different ages, different lifestyles, different interests, different everything – there's different people all over this page, same as your email list. Look at your membership base – these are all individual people. Yes, they have one common interest of martial arts, but they have different interests in life and they come from different backgrounds and different cultures and all these types of things.

So you've got to be very conscious of how you send your message, is it relevant to this person, and is it also relevant at the right time, because there's a message of, “Hey, do you want to join our club,” which is not really a conversation opener, it’s not the first thing you'd say to someone. It would be, “Hey, how are you, how are you doing, how can we help you, what are you looking for” – it would be a different type of conversation, so you've got to think of, where is your message? Is it relevant to the person, first and foremost, and then is it relevant at the right time?

This is obviously easy to do in a face to face conversation: when you're talking to someone, you can do all these things. You can assess who is this person, you can ask a few questions and you can gather enough information that you can shape your conversation further. But when doing marketing, you've got to be conscious of these things, of how you put the message out and of how it’s going to be relevant to a person.

So, always bear in mind, first and foremost, one key fact that is: one person is always looking at your marketing message. I see sometimes people write an email message and it's, “Hey you guys,” “You guys,” “Team,” or something, but there's no team watching that, and there's no “you guys” listening: there's one person listening. It’s a conversation between you and someone else, or your brand and someone else. So bear that in mind: there's always one person listening and absorbing your information. So speak to that one person directly.

All right, and then the other factor, of course, is timing. So your timing of that message is it coming at the right time. Now, this can be easier said than done, because if you've got a Facebook page, there's a lot of audiences, there's a lot of different people, so you want to word things sometimes when you're talking to everybody, you're trying to get a certain person's attention. You might want to phrase it in a way: “If this is who you are,” or “If this is what you're interested in, and then listen, this might apply” type of thing.

Now, some people take a different approach to this and they say, all right: if I've got all these different people in my club, I'm going to create a separate Facebook page for every single audience. Now, honestly, to me, unless you've got a whole string of staff doing this stuff and loves technology – which the majority of people just don't, the majority of school owners don't and you don't have lots of time, the majority of school owners don't, I think this is a terrible idea. A terrible idea is to be building the front end of your brand and then segmenting it into all these little audiences. It sounds like a lot of hard work to me, I'm finding it hard enough to manage one page, I can't imagine having to manage five different pages for five different audiences.

So, does this mean you shouldn't be segmenting? No, of course, and this is what this relevance topic is all about, but are you segmenting at the right place? Social media is a way for you to get traffic to your offer and to your website. Yes, it’s about creating a conversation and having engagement and providing value to your audience, but at the end of the day, they don't join on Facebook: they join when they go to your website and send an online inquiry, or buy a paid trial offer. Yes, they might send a message through Messenger, but the conversation always goes off, either onto a website where they join something or on a one-to-one basis, before that happens.

So yes, use social media, use all these social platforms to gather an audience, to create that one-on-one conversation, or get traffic to your website. Once they are at your website and once they are in your database, meaning in your internal system, your CRM type software system or you have an email database, then make sure that they are segmented properly and that you know: this person is interested in kid's martial arts, this one is in fitness kickboxing, this one in jiu-jitsu and you can segment people accordingly and that way you can have those relevant conversations with people at the right time.

I hope that helps – keep things relevant, make sure and just be aware of when you are talking to people, is it at what time and what stage of the relationship and is it relevant to this person, their culture, their beliefs, their viewpoint on life and all the rest.

If you need any help with any of this type of stuff, get in touch with us on martialartsmedia.com – I will see you in the next episode. Thank you!

 

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21 – Double Your Martial Arts Paid Trial Conversions With Festive Season and Back To School Promotions

If you're doing paid trials for your martial arts business, this simple tweak will double your signup rate.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The system that lead to 86 paid trial signups in 2 weeks
  • How to match your marketing message to festive season celebrations
  • What a paid trial is and how it works
  • The missing factor in most paid trial promotions that robs your success
  • Why Facebook Marketing is not enough
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com. Today, I'm going to be talking about paid trials, how they can help boost your sign up rates for your martial arts school or your martial arts gym, how you and use this festive season and back to school and all these events to really amplify your results, and I'm going to be talking about the one key factor that everybody is not doing with paid trials that is literally robbing you of your success.

In the last few weeks, we've been helping one of our clients with their paid trial offer. We've been helping them optimizing and tweaking it and really adding a few elements to skyrocket their results, and that's really what happened. We managed to help them generate 86 paid signups within two weeks – that's 86, 86 paid signups within two weeks. And just last week, I was interviewing somebody else on the Martial Arts Media business podcast, who's really taken this paid trial concept and they've restructured their whole process of enrolling people that actually eliminated everything free and everything goes through the paid trial feature, which in a way helps them not to focus on selling, because that's just what it is. If you want to start training, here it is, you join, pay the trial and you train with us and you assess it from there and you walk away with value either way.

Having this in place eliminates a lot of the time wasters and there are so many benefits to it, and I want to get into that because there are a few things that I'm going to be talking about here, that you can do right now to your offers to optimize your results and this can be done during the right season. At the time of recording this, there'll be the whole back to school trend coming up – there's always going to be a reason to market, so you can adjust your offers to match what is happening in the environment. Right now, it will be Christmas, that's almost over, but there's always things like back to school and New Year's and New Year's resolutions and so many things happening.

So, first and foremost, 86 paid trial sign-ups in two weeks. Now, taking a step back: if you're not familiar with the paid trial, to explain the basics of it, it is basically having a front end offer, something that's very cheap, whether it's 30, 50, a 100, but something that is affordable for anyone to take and then providing a free training trial, which can be two weeks, three weeks, four weeks or a few classes, or whatever suits your establishment and it's something that you've got to test.

Ideally, try to give away something physical as well, maybe a set of gloves for kickboxing or a uniform. Putting that in place is a lot easier for people to decide, because even if they might get a free trial they think, “Well, free: I'm going to come in and they're going to try and sell me something,” whereas, when you're just paying a once off amount, a small amount, you can justify it and you're getting something that you can keep, physical, gloves or a uniform or something and you're getting some training. In a way and strangely enough, you put an offer like that in the front and now you are eliminating a lot of your sales headaches because that's just what it is: you buy it for $50 and this is what you get or whatever the offer is.

So, how did we take this type of concept and how did we get to 86 sign ups within two weeks? There were a few components that were in play. Now, I can't stand here and tell you “Do this and you're going to get 86 sign ups,” because there are a lot of components in play. And a lot of this also depends on what type of marketing you have been doing, how familiar people are with your brand, what time of the year it is and how the offer applies to that as well.

So always be thinking touch points: if you aren't out there marketing, how many times have people interacted with your brand? What have they seen, what have they seen on social media, have you provided value to them and content or something, or do they just keep seeing the same offer? Because if they keep seeing the same offer, there is no urgency to take up that offer. They know that they can contact you at any given time and take up that offer. So when you want to create a rush of people, then it's key to do a few things.

One, you want to set a deadline that you can only get it within this time frame, and that means obviously that if you are running a paid trial offer, that you've got to change it up, you've got to provide something different from value. There are a few ways that you can go about this. You can for one, just have that one offer, but create maybe something different, like a waiting list, and only open up at certain times.

I know that sounds crazy to a lot of people, but you can do that because you create a rush of buyers, because there is a deadline on when people can get in and they know that there is a chance that they are going to miss out. Or just go ahead and if you want to go on a craze or something like what's happening now at Christmas time, or it's Easter, or whether it's back to school, tie your marketing to that message and put a strict deadline to it. So a deadline that people can only take at this point in time and that's it.

Now, the marketing components we used for that was Facebook, they were doing a lot of Facebook marketing. Basically, targeting different audiences and their fan page. Now again: if you've got a good following, this is going to help, because you're going to have all these people that are familiar with your brand that are going to take you up on your offer, if the offer is a good match for them. Then we also did strategic email campaigns and we really drove to the deadline of when the cut off is and when they have to take up the offer and when it was five o'clock the cutoff, we took the page down, so people could literally not by at that time anymore.

So you also can't be fake and false scarcity, people see through that and your local business and you don't want to go down that track of creating false scarcity and people can just get it at any time, because you lose credibility instantly and it just takes those few people to know and spread bad rumours about you, so you don't want to do that. You want to be genuine and authentic in how you do it. So, email marketing, Facebook marketing, direct marketing and putting a direct deadline on that.

Now, one thing that we also did that was the icing on the cake is, we managed to put a system in place where people could double up on their order at the end and this was quite an advanced sort of process that we took with the shopping cart that really, really elevated the results. But those are the basics, if there is one thing that you can take away is put that deadline in place and create something that gives a bit of a wow factor that people can really, really benefit from.

If you want to do something similar and you want to take up a campaign like that, you can get in touch with us, this is the kind of stuff that we do on a day-to-day basis, is put these types of systems in place. We handle all the tech side, we create sales copy for your offer that really supports it and goes with the trend and put strategic things in place that drives people to that deadline.

So if you want to take advantage of something like that, you can just get a hold of us on martialartsmedia.com. Get in touch with us and ask us how we can create a strategic offer for you that drives people to a strict deadline and hopefully, you can skyrocket your results. And hey, if it's not 86 paid member sign ups, I know a lot of school owners that would be happy with 10, 20, 30, 40, whatever the number is. So results will obviously vary, but it's something that can be put in place for your marketing and it's something that we can reuse all the time for different offers and I can explain that more to you.

So if that's of interest to you, get a hold of us on martialartsmedia.com – thanks for watching, I hope you got great value from this and I'll speak to you soon. Cheers!

 

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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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