The back-to-school season is a busy one for martial arts schools that teach children. So I know that suggesting something that adds to your already-intense workload isn’t going to be immediately popular. But today’s blog outlines the simple steps you can take to host an event that will not only bring in new students, but also save a few that would otherwise leave to the wide range of other sports and recreational offerings on display for kids during the back-to-school season.
Martial arts business consultant, Mike Massie, explained in his recent blog that dojo owners who aren’t prepared for the back-to-school season miss out on a great opportunity to introduce martial arts to new students. He says that in this “short window of opportunity” dojos and gyms can easily triple their membership base if they prepare for this time of year. That is because parents want to re-establish routines and after-school activities for children, and what can be more compelling than a program that instills self-esteem and positive values in kids?
Likewise, in his blog, “Are Your Ready for Back to School,” industry expert Dave Kovar also talked about the importance of connecting to returning students before they become interested in other activities. One way Dave suggests reactivating the students who took the summer off is by hosting an end of summer party or an open house. Since both of these options are tried and true methods for reconnecting with your students and meeting new prospects, you can’t go wrong in getting either on your schedule now.
However, to expand on this list of back-to-school events you should consider hosting, here’s a simple event plan to follow for a Parent’s Night Out at your gym or Dojo.
The Event: Parent’s Night Out
Cost: Many gyms and dojos find $25 per child, with a discount for multiple children in a family, works well. I also suggest offering an option to waive the fee if a child re-enrolls in your classes for the fall.
6:00- 6:15 pm Parents can drop off children
6:15- 6:45 pm Pizza Dinner
6:45- 7:30 pm Anti-Bullying and basic self-defense workshop
7:30- 8:30 pm Games and prizes
(Ninja Obstacle Course, Sensei Says, Dragon’s Tail, and more)
8:30- 10:00pm Movie & Popcorn
(Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever)
Pre-Event Promotional Work:
- Figure out a day that works for your school, remembering Friday evenings are best for hosting a Parent’s Night Out
- Create promotional flyers and post at your front desk
- Promote your event on social media and your website
- Send an email to current and prior students (for a step by step guide on sending an email in Zen Planner, see this blog)
- Email event information to the Physical Education teachers at schools near you
- Open your event to all family and friends of your current students or lost students.
- Make sure your team regularly promotes the event
- Be prepared to offer an enrollment special if someone enrolls at the event. For example, you could waive the cost of the Parent’s Night Out or offer a new student the first month free if they enroll for a minimum of 6 months.
While events might seem like a lot of work, it is important to remember that most schools average several new student enrollments per event. Using the tips above during the back-to-school season, you can easily double that number with new student acquisitions and reactivate countless others.
Looking for additional ways to grow your school? Get your copy of our free 10-Step Marketing Guide for Martial Arts Schools today!