Martial artists change lives. It’s what we do as teachers and school owners. That’s exactly why we created Spark, the industry-leading software for running and automating your school. And it’s why the martial arts industry will always be our home.
But there are parts of running a school that are soul-sucking and daunting. At times, they can even make you want to quit.
It makes total sense. We’re guessing that you became an instructor for the same reasons we did: You have a passion for spreading the martial arts – a passion for changing lives. You love to see the look on a parent’s face when a child finally shows respect. You’re ecstatic when you see an adult feel confident for the first time in his or her life.
We’re going to take another guess and say things like seeing to administrative tasks and transmitting emails and SMS follow-ups aren’t exactly what you feel excited to do when you wake up in the morning. “I can’t wait to do admin work, then send some emails and texts to yesterday’s no-shows,” said no one ever.
So most school owners do what any of us would do in such a situation: They delegate all that to their staff. That fixes the problem, right?
Maybe, but it’s not a real solution because your staff hates doing those things, too. Their reason is the same as yours: They became instructors because they want to help others. They feel the passion to change lives. No one became an instructor to cold-call leads and speak to angry people on the other end of the phone in an effort to get them in the door.
Over time, such duties can burn out even the best employees. Another negative is that there’s usually more work to be done than your staff can handle. That results in people slipping through the cracks and money being left on the table.
Now, what if all that soul-sucking, mind-numbing work just disappeared? Enter Spark. Our mission is to help school owners — we’ve assisted 1,700 so far — get away from the chores and get back to just changing lives.
Fact! Spark has been shown to save schools an average of 10 to 12 hours per week, and that’s if they use just basic features. A school that makes use of all the features that are available can save 20 or more hours per week. Some facilities have even been able to eliminate the need for front-desk personnel.
We would like to share how three schools from three different regions of the United States are using Spark to improve their efficiency. The first two highlight features we implemented before the COVID-19 pandemic, features that are even more important now. The last one is the story of a school (one of many) that was literally saved by the new features and resources we created after the disaster hit.
By the way, you’ll get a lot out of these stories even if you never use Spark. However, we hope you’ll give us a try because we know you’ll love our product.
Case Study No. 1
“Finally Breaking My 120-Student Ceiling and Hitting 200 Students”
Francois Daneau’s martial arts school has been in business for 25 years. As hard as he tried, though, breaking that 120-student count was impossible for him. And he did try — Daneau is a hard worker and a passionate instructor.
It turned out that his big problem was letting communications slip through the cracks. And who can blame him? When you’re giving your all to make classes the best they can be, it’s hard to stay on top of follow-ups for prospects, trials, leads and members.
But as Grandmaster Cheong Park, owner of seven thriving martial arts training centers, likes to say, “The difference between successful and unsuccessful schools is follow-up.” If you enter your info on any of Park’s websites, you’ll see what he means. For months, his staff will call you, email you and text you to get you to come in.
Using a combination of messaging automation, online calendars and online checkouts‚ Daneau’s school suddenly ran with more efficiency than ever. It was like he’d added a fleet of full-time marketers to his staff — but all he did was add Spark.
He no longer had to remember to follow up with leads. It happened while he slept. He didn’t need to chase down no-shows‚ expiring credit cards‚ membership renewals‚ testing fees‚ birthday reminders or anything else.
Online calendars meant no more manual scheduling. Automated reminders via SMS and email improved his show rate dramatically. Online checkouts meant no more manual payments for trials. And automated messaging nurtured trials into memberships.
Listen: We know that most martial arts schools are small businesses. Not everyone can afford to hire a full staff. That’s why we created Spark — to do it for you.
Case Study No. 2
“35 New Paid Trials and 200 Positive Replies in Under 24 Hours”
Dan Heart ran a kids program that, although it was less than a year old, was gaining traction fast. However, his messages to leads weren’t converting like they should.
That’s when he activated Ignite‚ our new done-for-you follow-up engine that we co-created with the industry’s most successful copywriter David Tendrich. Tendrich crafted Ignite’s automated emails and SMS messages after helping thousands of schools shatter sales records and assisting e-commerce companies scale as high as $50 million a year.
Ignite runs on our new One Goal System and has been described as a work of genius. If someone enters his or her info on your website but doesn’t register for a trial‚ Ignite has one goal: to get the person to register for a trial. If the person registers for a trial but doesn’t follow up to schedule an intro, Ignite’s goal becomes – you guessed it – to get them to schedule an intro.
Ignite focuses on goals like those that pertain to all phases of membership, even starting the conversation around upgrades.
Another revolutionary feature of Ignite is activated whenever you turn it on. It “auto-magically” starts working your existing lead database. It’s not uncommon for schools to get flooded with responses when this happens. Mike Nebgen got 50 trials per month two months in a row because of this. David Rosenberg achieved similar results. So did Dan Heart. He got 200 positive SMS and email replies and 35 trials in a day. Not bad, right? Sometimes a school can be sitting on a big old pile of kindling‚ and all you need is a match. Ignite provides the match.
(By the way‚ Ignite already has emails, SMS messages, landing pages, Facebook Ads and checkouts for virtual online classes. This explains why schools see such tremendous growth.)
Case Study No. 3
“Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic and Generating More Leads and Attendance Than Ever”
Alana Johnson’s school, like so many others, was hit hard by COVID-19. Cancel requests filled her inbox as families were laid off. While schools like hers were coping with this terrible time, we got to work.
Some Spark staff members didn’t sleep more than three hours a night during the first two weeks of the pandemic. They were coding 15 to 20 hours a day, in some cases. That dedication enabled the company to roll out powerful new features to help people like Johnson and all of our Sparktans — the term we use to refer to Spark members because they’re warriors, like Spartans.
First, we deployed the Coronavirus Rescue Kit‚ created by David Tendrich and Logan Snyder, a Facebook Ads expert we discovered last year. The kit contains emails, SMS messages, done-for-you checkouts and Facebook Ads. Schools that have started using this kit are seeing incredible results. One such school is Mika’s Family Martial Arts. Kaleb Pushard said it generated more than 1,000 leads in less than a week using only our Facebook Ads and done-for-you checkout pages. You read that right: More than 1,000 new trial members for virtual online training.
Spark has also deployed new technology that pairs with Zoom and other streaming services. Our Roster System allows for mass virtual introductory lessons and automated class reminders. Schools that have enabled automated virtual attendance tracking enjoy the results that come when no follow-up is missed and students are funneled into virtual classes.
More than ever, the coronavirus has made it clear that follow-up is key. That’s why we did everything we could to make it easy and automatic. In fact, it’s common for Sparktans to see 50 to 100 members in a single class — and even more in a single intro class.
Alana Johnson wrote us a heartfelt note, saying these initiatives literally saved her business. She was one of dozens of school owners to send similar messages. Those success stories are what keep the Spark team motivated to remain on the forefront of innovation.
So What’s the Takeaway From These Case Studies?
Do you need powerful tools to be more successful with your business? Will you fail without them? No. Hard work and diligence are key, and no tool will ever replace them.
What we’re hoping to get across is that the right tools amplify hard work and diligence, and when they’re coupled with passion and persistence, they can enable you to multiply your efforts without lifting a finger.
That’s why we created Spark. That’s the mission we wake up with every day and get to work on every morning. That’s why we have all been sleeping less and working more during this pandemic.
You see, teaching martial arts is too important a mission to fail. The world needs what our classes offer, now more than ever. As martial artists, we must do everything we can to help our students and our communities. That’s our core mission here at Spark Membership.
For more information, visit SparkMembership.com
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