3 Key Tips for Recruiting More Martial Arts Students

4 min read


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If martial arts schools have anything in common, it’s that they’re all unique, and your approach to student recruitment will be, too. There are some things successful martial arts schools have in common when it comes to having a consistent stream of new students on your roster.

In the years Zen Planner has been in the martial arts space – it’s where we started, after all – we’ve spoken with innumerable martial arts school owners, and the majority have three key reasons why they do what they do:

  • To teach their art
  • Help make students successful
  • Give back to their communities

To be successful, you first need a recruitment program that reliably brings white belts in the door, while reducing attrition. Time and time again, we see that schools who achieve this have a key thing in common: a mission-based recruitment plan they are committed to, which they execute with a level of discipline martial arts is known for.

In our martial arts Insiders Guide to Getting More Students, we take a deep dive into what this means on a practical level, with specific advice and actions schools can take to customize their own mission-based student recruitment plan.

We take into account challenges like seasonal fluctuations and busy students, and find that generating awareness often starts with a few points of action. Here is a high-level look at three of them.

1). Get out and engage with your community

When the student population is your market, you’re limited by how far their parents want to drive them. Being physically present at nearby schools and events with your target market will increase the exposure of your school – and its expertise – directly to your target audience. You can have a booth at an event, host an introductory class during gym period, speak at a school assembly or volunteer in your community. A strategically planned presence and engaging with your community can help you connect with your strongest prospects.

2). Motivate your staff

Generating an all-hands-on-deck enthusiasm for student recruitment can take a number of forms, from incentivizing your teachers to promoting a referral program to hiring a marketing intern to hand out fliers. No matter which recruiting tactics your staff tries, get everyone involved and have them report results back to the team. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will help you optimize your team’s efforts.

3). Keep new students engaged

Once you’ve gotten a student to attend their first class, transition them in your school’s community. Welcome packets that outline your philosophy, promote events and include free class passes for friends can help them engage and feel valued. To make the student feel comfortable, make introductions and encourage connections and friendships between students. As a student progresses, watch for signs that their motivation or interest is waning. Bring them back into the fold by acknowledging their progress and keeping them challenged.

Lastly, don’t think of your recruitment plan as a business obligation. Think of it as natural and necessary part of fulfilling your school’s mission – one that places value on building relationships, tackling challenges and celebrating achievements among a people with shared passion for your art.

Get your copy of our Insider’s Guide to Student Recruitment today!

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