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Connect with a Major Movie for a Marketing Bonanza!

maia marketing May 06, 2019

By MAIA Consultant Adam Parman


Learning how to properly market your martial arts school can often be confusing, expensive and frustrating. As small business owners, we are consistently being approached about new advertising opportunities that promise results, but offer no proven track record.

While nothing in life is guaranteed, I’ve found that there are some basic steps to marketing Hollywood movies that can help align your school’s name with larger national brands like major movie franchises and movie theaters. These movie tie-ins are low-cost, potentially high-profit opportunities. Just about every action film, including the mega-budget summer releases, contain plenty of martial arts fight scenes which makes the promo tie-in very credible.

Follow these easy steps to avoid common mistakes and generate new students for your school.

Step #1: Get a Booth

While doing demonstrations in the front lobby of a theater might cause an inquiry or two, it doesn’t guarantee the success of an enrollment. For best results, you must have the opportunity to collect lead information. You need a booth in the lobby of the theater showing the movie, so you can invite patrons to register to attend a “movie-themed” workshop at your martial arts school the following weekend.

To get permission, speak with the manager of the theater and ask what you can do to get approval. Offer to promote the movie to your students in exchange for the theater letting you have a booth during the movie’s opening weekend. Make it clear to the manager that you plan to pack the show in exchange for the booth. Then, plan a day with your interested students to see the film during a matinee.

If it’s a nationally branded theater chain, you may need to pay for the opportunity to have a booth. Keep in mind, to get the best results you sometimes need to be willing to spend the money.

Larger theaters primarily use a company called National CineMedia for all on-screen advertising and weekend marketing booths. Prices for the weekend booths vary depending on the movie, date and location. Make sure to negotiate that you’ll be the only martial arts school present for that date and location. Additionally, if you negotiate multiple weekends at the same time, you can often get a better rate.

Step #2: Make your booth interactive.

Give people a reason to check out your table. While many school owners prefer to use a prize wheel at their booth, I find a photo opportunity works best. It doesn’t leave me an obligation to give away anything.

Dress a mannequin in a costume based on the movie’s wardrobe or use a photo backdrop as the perfect stage to get people to visit your booth. Explain to those passing by about your movie-themed workshop and let them sign up to attend on a clipboard, iPad or tablet.

Step #3: Promote your workshop beyond the movie theater.

I’ve found social media to be a great way to get additional leads to commit to coming to the workshop. Create a social media ad that links to a landing page where people can register for the movie-themed workshop. To create the landing page, contact your website company or use one of the free online form-makers available to small businesses.

Step #4: Confirmation is the key.

You must learn to follow up with your leads to get the desired results. I suggest emailing everyone that registers for the workshop immediately with event details, including directions to your school, and the date and time of the event. Additionally, call to confirm attendance at least two days prior to the event.

On the day of the workshop, send out a second email and text message to all the prospect’s phones to remind them about the event. This will help ensure you generate maximum attendance for the event.

Step #5: Make your workshop generate enrollments.

To get the most out of your marketing, you must learn to convert leads into enrollments. Use your movie-themed workshop to showcase your martial arts, while also selling the parents and spectators on the benefits of your program.

After the workshop ends, announce a group enrollment offer as a call-to-action. Explain that because this is a special group rate, the offer is only good if they sign up today.

Make sure the presentation is clean and simple. The biggest mistake any school owner can make is offering a lot of options during that enrollment announcement. This confuses the buyer, leaving them with the desire to “think it over” and leaving you without an immediate enrollment.

Now that you know the steps to making the most out of your movie theater promotions, get out there and take advantage of any upcoming blockbusters featuring martial arts action. When one hits theaters, flood your school with new members!


Reach Adam Parman for questions or comments at [email protected]

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