Recruiting new students is something all school owners want to be better at, but it’s a process that takes time and constant work. If you put off the process and only think about it when you actually need new students, you’ll end up scrambling and working harder than you have to. But if you diligently work at it a few hours a week, you’ll have a steady stream of new faces throughout the year.
We pulled together a list of four things you can do to recruit more students.
1). Get Out Into the Community
Being out in the community is one of the keys to bringing in more students. Ideally, you want to get your school’s name in front of as many people as possible. The more people start to recognize your school, the more trust and interest you’ll build.
Here’s a list of things you can do to get your name out there:
- Sponsor a table or booth at a local event. Seasonal festivals and health fairs always need businesses to participate in their events
- Put flyers in your community center and other local hot spots (like an ice cream store or pizza place)
- Sponsor a youth sports team. You can offer discounts for team members who decide to join your dojo, as well as an end of the season party for the team at your school
- Hold special workshops in gyms and other fitness facilities
- Connect with big employers in your area and hold self-defense seminars for their employees
- Teach limited and special programs out of your community center or YMCA
2). Ask For Referrals
Asking your students for referrals will bring in the most valuable type of leads. Referrals usually convert faster, remain students longer, and feel happier about your service overall. The problem is that most martial arts school owners don’t actually come out and ask students for referrals. And because they don’t ask for them, they don’t get very many.
Asking for referrals shows your students and parents that you want them. That’s common sense, right? But asking for them gets your students thinking about whom they know that they can invite. Once your students start thinking about recruiting their friends, you can capitalize on that momentum by passing out “free class” cards. Of course, this whole process is even more effective if you have a formal referral program in place.
3). Work With Local Schools
Working with your local schools gives you access to an unending supply of potential students. Plus, the skills you’re able to give school age students are so valuable they almost sell themselves.
Try these ideas for connecting with local schools:
- Hold free anti-bully seminars
- Talk with teachers so they know about the benefits of martial arts
- Donate memberships for fundraisers
- Pay to advertise in programs and yearbooks
4). Run an After School Program
Running an after school program meets a critical need for working parents and gives you the opportunity to transform new students into students for life. If your dojo is near the school, you or a staff member can walk with the students from their school. Parents can then pick their children up at the end of their workday.
If you’re not within walking distance, you can hire a small shuttle van or bus to transport students to your dojo. You might also be able to host classes in the school gymnasium during the gap between school and work.
These are just a few ideas to help get a steady flow of new students through your door. Stay tuned to the Zen Planner blog, as we’ll have a follow-up post with more ideas to help you develop a solid acquisition strategy next year!
Looking for additional ways to grow your martial arts school? Get your free copy of our Insider’s Guide to Student Recruitment!