By Robby Beard
Summer is quickly approaching, and we need a plan! As most of us know, summer can be a challenging time to acquire new members. You’ll be competing with all kinds of activities, such as swimming, vacations, camping, and countless other outdoor pursuits. The key is to start planning now!
Parents are looking for something for their children to get into during the summer, so be sure that you have a summer special to offer. I like to do a six-week program. The goal is for the trial membership to run out before academic school starts back, not when it starts. You don’t want to hear the objection: “We want to wait and find out their school schedule before we sign up.”
Now that you have a program to sell, let’s get busy!
First, get some flyers and ad cards made. Set a goal to get out 200 flyers per week leading up to the summer. Hit shopping centers and parks, and make door hanger for neighborhoods. Place the ad cards in 100 businesses around your school.
Don’t forget about lead boxes. Set a goal to distribute 25 or more with your summer special offer on them.
Next, have a banner made. I like a yellow banner with black text because it stands out. It should read: “Now enrolling for summer! Call now about our special.” Add your website address and phone number.
If your community allows you to put up snipe signs, or bandit signs (small signs you put on every corner), I recommend using those. They work well. You may want to check with your local government or code-enforcement office first.
The next couple of things I do is send an email blast to all my prospects, telling them about my summer special, and call everyone who has come into the school over the last six months and didn’t enroll.
The week before school lets out, we host a “School’s Out Party.” We give each student 25 passes and tell him/her to invite their friends.
A word of caution here: Be prepared for hundreds of kids to show up. Last year, we had over 300 kids at this one event!
All the above marketing should be done before academic school ends for summer vacation.
Once school is out, let’s keep the momentum rolling.
I have what’s called the “Ten Weeks of Summer.” This is where I pack each week with super-fun activities that the students can bring friends to. Keep in mind that your school must be an exciting place to be before anyone will be excited to be there! We host events like Karate in the Park, Water Fight Night, Ice Cream Day, Dunk Tank, Flying Kicks, Nerf Wars, and so much more.
Other marketing events that should be done to insure a successful summer are Mother’s Day and Father’s Day classes. Also, be sure to pass out flyers at your local fireworks shows and even at the fireworks stands themselves before the Fourth of July.
The most important thing to remember is that most martial arts school owners take a break in summer, because they believe that the business slows down. I would agree that you might have a challenging month along the way. But this is even more reason to implement a strong marketing plan, so that when it’s time to hit the back-to-school rush, you’ll have a huge advantage.
As we all know, failing to plan is planning to fail. So, grab a calendar this month and map out your summer strategy. Include your marketing plans and your summer-retention plans and make this the best summer you’ve ever had.
I look forward to seeing you at the Martial Arts SuperShow in Vegas this June and July!
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