Ok... so, I've spent A LOT of money in print marketing to get a VERY small ROI. Almost to the point where I would have to keep students for the life of their agreement to make a reasonable return.
Now, that is a horrible way to run a business. But, since The Dojo of Karate is soooo new, I can't just negate print marketing and say it does not work too soon. You have to test the waters before making a decision on whether a business investment is worth it.
At the same time, you need to know when to walk away, swallow your pride, and say: "that was dumb on my behalf".
Well, I think I've swallowed my pride quite a bit recently with print marketing.
Now, I'm a pretty bright guy that is quick to learning the ropes... And, I thought I would do GREAT at advertising. Not so much. I've struggled more with print advertising than I've ever thought before... And, it doesn't help when marketing experts say B-2-C advertising is VERY difficult to nail. Tell me about it!
And, the area where I thought I would have my issues the most was selling. Definitely not the case at our school. Not to brag, but I'm a pretty solid sales guys that stands behind his words and is just honest & authentic with all of my clients. I have a really hight close rate, and it could be higher, had the economy not bottomed out. Now, I'm just hapy to be staying afloat.
Since I've been struggling with my Marketing ideas, I decided to change it up and invest my time and money in what has been successful so far...
- Walk-In's / Drive-By Traffic
- Website Leads
I get more foot traffic due to my location. The Dojo of Karate is located in a Safeway shopping center, making it VERY convenient for parents to go to the store and pick up some milk & eggs. Plus, I'm in a neighborhood where several people are walking to the store, and "happen" to see us.
As for referrals, I had a program setup, but I never really pushed it. So, this time I'm pushing this to my parents and students, and encouraging students to refer their friends because they can win prizes.
And, to push this new program to the school, i've printed posters and placed them thru out the school to remind everyone what they can win if they refer their friends. Check out the poster!
The Dojo of Karate Referral Program
I designed it myself with the Apple Software -- Pages, which by the way is pretty sweet.
I also created some for families to place them on their refridgerators, to help remind them about the prizes, and overall goal.
Basically, I told the families that we are looking to grow The Dojo of Karate to 100 students by the end of 2009. Currently, our school is at 60 plus students, which isn't too bad, given the economy.
So, if students refer a friend to come and try Karate lessons, they get a FREE Movie Pass. If that prospect decides to take Karate lessons, than the student will also receive a FREE $25 Gift Card to the store of their choice. I've decided to make this an ongoing program and not stop it anytime soon. This way, kids get rewarded on both sides of the deal.
Now that we've got this program going, I can't wait to start signing up more kids!!!