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4 Ways to Market on a Tight Budget

marketing Jul 14, 2019

By MAIA Consultant Mike Metzger


A frequent question I’m asked is, “How can I market my school if I don’t have the money to market?”

You first have to understand that there are two categories in marketing, internal and external.

“External marketing” requires either dollars or sweat equity — meaning, you place flyers, access academic schools and daycares, network with businesses, etc.

“Internal marketing” is very effective, but doesn’t take as much effort. Here are four internal marketing promotions that you can do to get new prospects into your school, for summer and throughout the year.


1. Know How to Do a Buddy Day

Many schools promote a Buddy Day, where they allow their students to bring a friend to class with them. The key to making this successful is in how you present it. When promoting this, make it exciting! Instead of just announcing a Buddy Day, let your students know that you’re going to have a contest next week between the students and their buddies.

Ask your students if they think they are faster, more powerful and have better endurance than a non-martial arts friend of theirs. Then say, “We’ll find out next week when everyone can bring a friend to class and we’ll have some fun contests.”

Give all your students a “VIP Pass” to invite their friends to join them in that class. This is an example of how to create a little more excitement and get more students to bring buddies to class with them.


2. Win a Free Martial Arts Pizza Party

Another easy way to get prospects into your school is to award current students every time they attend class. Let your students know that, for an entire month, every time they come to class they will get a ticket. Then tell them to put the ticket in your prize box (any box in front of your lobby). At the end of the month, you’ll pick five winners who will win a Free Martial Arts Pizza Party for them and up to 10 friends.

Pick a time and date for the pizza party. When you pick the five winners, give all of them 10 invitations each to invite up to 10 friends to this party. Even if each of them only brings three friends to the party, that’s still 15 prospects you brought into your school for minimal effort.


3. Marital Arts Birthday Parties

Birthday parties held at your school are another great way to get prospects into your business. The best way to get new prospects is to make a list of all of your beginner students and give them a discount if they book a birthday party with you to hold within the next three months.

Beginners typically won’t have a lot of existing martial arts students attend their birthday parties since they are new and don’t know as many people in your school like an advanced student would.

You can also offer every new student a discount if they book a birthday party with you on the day they enroll, regardless of when it is. This will keep a consistent stream of birthday parties in your school so you can capitalize on all the exposure it brings to your school.


4. Instructor for a Day

Ask all of your students how many of them would like to be the instructor for one day at your school. Let them know that they can have that opportunity for one particular day class, which can be held on a Saturday for two hours. Don’t charge for this event and limit it to no more than 20 students. This will create urgency for sign-ups.

Tell your students that they can bring one to three friends, and those friends will be their students. One of your staff instructors will teach the “student-instructors” a combination that they will then have to teach their friends. Then, the staff instructor, along with the student-instructors, will test the friends on that combination.

 If the friends pass the test, their student-instructors will award the friends with a white belt. You will award the student-instructors with a certificate that states they were an “Instructor for a Day.” This will not only bring in prospects, but also aid in retention.

These are just some of the ideas to get prospects into your school with very little money and very little work. Once you have the prospects, though, you must have a system in place to convert them into students, which is a whole different topic.


For questions or comments, contact Mike Metzger via email at [email protected] or call the Martial Arts Industry Association at (866) 626-6226.


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