A Quick Marketing Checkup:
Are You Spending Your Martial Arts Ad Dollars Wisely?
By Christopher Caile
There is an old story that goes that most businesses waste 50 percent
of their ad dollars on advertising that isn't effective but that they
can't do anything about it because they don't know which half. Well, here
is a quick check method you can actually use to see if the dollars your
martial arts school spends to recruit new students is actually bringing
you an effective return. It might even tell you that you should change
the very way you recruit. Of course, this assumes your school is actually
successful enough to have a budget of some sort.
First, you want to add up the yearly cost of all the telephone book yellow
page advertising, newspaper advertsing, Value Pack coupons, printing of
flyers, counter displays --everything you use. Second, count up all the
new students who have joined your school for the same time period. Now
divide the second into the first to get the average cost of recruitment
per student. For example, if during a one year period you recruited 50
new students and spent $1000 on advertising (here we are using totally
abstract numbers) your average cost of recruitment per new student would
be $20.00. This isn't bad.
Your ideal cost per student, of course, should be a low as possible,
but realistically it should run between $10.00 and $20.00 and sometimes
as high as $35.00 in larger urban markets. But, if you are spending $8000
dollars a year on advertising and you are only getting 150 new students,
your cost per new student is over $53.00 and that's too high. This should
tell you that you are spending too much money to recruit the average student.
And unless you have a phenomenal retention rate, it might also signal
that your budget is out of whack and that you might be in trouble. This
impacts the viability of your school. It also directly takes money out
of your pocket because every dollar wasted is a dollar that could potentially
be pid to you or used for your school.
Thus if you are paying too much you should carefully examine how and
where you are advertising. Also examine where and how your students are
recruited. These factors can provide some essential clues on how to adjust
your spending to reduce wasted advertising and recruitment dollars.
About The Author
Christopher Caile has been a student of the martial arts for over 40
years, and a teacher for more than 35 years. He has an MA in International
Relations with a specialty in southeast Asia, and has lived and traveled
in Japan, Okinawa and south and southeast Asia. He is 6th degree black
belt in Seido karate under Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura, a long time student
of aikido under Roy Suenaka (Wado-kai aikido), as well as a student of
other martial arts (including daito ryu aikijujutsu, judo, boxing and
several Chinese arts) and Zen. He is also a teacher of qi gong (Chinese
energy medicine), in which he trained under Master Zaiwen Shen and is
Vice-President of the DS International Qi Medicine Association.
In his business career he has been a newspaper journalist and entrepreneur
of several business ventures, and he designed innovative telecommunication
and marine products which were developed in companies he founded. In 1999
he founded FightingArts.com (which went live in August 2000) and its parant
company eCommunities LLC.