Pro Retention Strategies for Martial Arts Schools

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For a martial arts school owner, it is common goal to change as many lives as possible. In order to succeed in this regard, it is important to monitor the retention rate for students new to your school. Before newly acquired students can commit to training consistently for continuous improvement, it is crucial that they continue training at all.

As an athlete myself who once balanced class, homework, a job and training during my early martial arts years, I can relate to students early in their journeys that are too busy or not yet committed enough to be extremely consistent with training. However, with the proper encouragement, these students can grow into committed martial artists; it just takes some extra effort on the retention front.

Did you know it costs 10 times more to acquire a new student than it does to retain a current one? One key method with which overall retention can be increased is by paying close attention to the following three metrics:

  • Churn rate
  • Retention rate
  • Cost of acquisition
Get your free copy of our guide, 4 Essential Strategies for Student Retention
Churn Rate

Churn rate is expressed as a percentage. A high churn rate indicates your students are unhappy with some aspect of your school or their experience. Looking at the monthly churn rate compared to previous months can help you identify trends. Of course, you’ll have seasonal variations in churn, so it is often helpful to compare a specific month, season or period with the same period from previous years.

Retention Rate

Unlike churn rate, you want a high student retention rate. Both of these metrics tell the same story, but look at it from a different angle. High retention is an indicator that your school is performing well, and your students are happy with your services.

Cost of Acquisition

Another helpful metric is your cost of acquisition, or CAC. This shows you how must it costs to gain one new student. To calculate this, select a specific period of time and divide the total marketing/advertising costs by the total number of new students gained. It’s important for school owners to consider everything they spend money on in an effort to get new students. This includes their referral program (reward costs for both the current student and their referral), Facebook ads, PPC ads, marketing intern/help, marketing tools (i.e. Infusionsoft), direct mailers and any other promotional items.

Beyond the nitty gritty numbers you can leverage to maximize retention, it is important to pay attention to your school culture. You can do this by:

  • Having a beginner program and a school culture in which more experienced students assist in developing the interest and skills of new students is invaluable.
  • Ensuring your instructors focus on making new students feel welcome is a solid top-down strategy to create this kind of culture.
  • Working attendance metrics into your school’s culture by incentivizing and perhaps even publicly recognizing consistency.
  • Making it easier for new students to stay in training by providing student self-service functionality and automated billing and payments through a student management software like Zen Planner.

In the end, it is our goal to provide you, as school owner, with the resources to maximize productive growth within your school, and minimize wasted potential from losing new students. The more students you can retain, the better your school will function, and the more lives you can change sharing your passion.


Interested in learning more about how you can keep students loyal to your school? Get your free copy of our guide, 4 Essential Strategies for Student Retention.

student retention guide

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