Add KarateForums.com
Username:    Password:
Remember Me?    
   I Lost My Password!
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Instructor Central
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 See a User Guidelines violation? Press on the post.
Author Message

DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6137
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:20 pm    Post subject: Strategies to attract adult students Reply with quote

I need some help.

My new school has been up and running for 2, nearly 3, months now. In that time I've signed up 31 paying students and am getting enquiries every week for trial lessons.

My problem is it's all kids so far and I can't seem to attract adults.

I know it's much easier to get the kids (or I should say the parents) hooked and at this point I've maxed out my Monday children's class and am close to maxing out my Friday Children's class. My adult classes however haven't really gained much traction and I have an hour slot on both Monday and Friday I'm barely filling. I've a few students coming (teenagers really) but some weeks the numbers are really low, as little as 2 or 3 students.

Worse is my new Wednesday night slot which I started up as a mixed adults and children family slot. I have 3 families attending, 8 people in total, but tonight only one of the families showed up. Unless I can get some more students on the Wednesday class I might have to cut it altogether as it's not economical to rent the space.

I'm going to give this one last push until February before making a decision but I need some ideas of how to attract adults/ families. With the kids I've been aggressively targeting parents on Facebook with paid ads and slowly refining my target audience. I've tried to build up a few profiles of people I think should be interested in it for a keep fit type exercise or for self defence or for social elements but nothing has hit so far. Part of me thinks that is because all my media on my Facebook page is pictures and videos of my kids classes but I don't have any adults to video or take photos of so it's a little bit of which came first? Chicken or Egg?

So fellow KF school owners, how did you attract your adult students?
_________________
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1714

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps it is the time slots or schedule which might not be optimal. Most adults lead busy lives with time constraints. The better part of their time spent on earning a living or studying full-time.

It might help to conduct a casual survey by asking the adults around the dojo and among acquaintances questions about when and how frequently they’ve time for themselves. Also reasons why they may or may not want to join a martial arts or sports club. Then try attracting adult students based on that info
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2359
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a local college/university nearby? Perhaps try targeting them specifically. Offer discounts to them. Even offer further discounts to them such as if 2 or 3 sign up together. Advertise at the school itself with fliers and the like.

What about the local high school? Not adults, but juniors and seniors are close.

If there’s a big employer nearby, perhaps target that business’s employees in a similar manner.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At my school, we have a deal: Sign your kids up and you can train for free. Now, my school's not in this to make money, so that works for us.

Perhaps having a family package discount could draw a few in?

Some other ideas:

1) Advertise at some local colleges
2) Offer self-defense training seminars for women
3) Offer discounts to local law enforcement/military folks
_________________
5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14329
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do I stuff my 38 years of my owning and operating of my very successful dojos, and of my extensive involvement with the SKKA into this post?? This might be a lengthy post. Here goes...kind of a FAQ post...

First, you've already received some solid advice thus far. Hopefully I can add something of value.

Adults are the most finicky students about the MA than children can ever be.

Can you be honest...really honest with yourself!?!?!? I sincerely believe you can!!

Is your dojang a business or not?? There's no middle ground!!

Is what your dojang offers, is it what adults want??

Are the classes challenging??

Are the classes long enough or too long??

Can you teach adults??

Are you a kids instructor or an adult instructor or both?? If both, then be both equally, otherwise, one will suffer.

Are you teaching exactly what you promised??

Are you utilizing Yard Signs?? Are you utilizing any signs, of any type, meeting local ordinances?? Are your signs, of any type, positive/negative attention getters??

What type of MA schools are around your location and how many?? Visit those schools, if possible. Find out that which they don't have that you DO HAVE, and teach THAT.

Have you reached out to other MA schools, no matter their MA style, to see if you can collaborate an beneficial network that'll increase each others businesses??

Is their a local MA network and/or Governing Body that you can join

Adult males want adult male instructors for the most part!! Sad, but you'll have to change their narrowed minds in a very positive way. So that male students forget that you're a female instructor, and only see you as the CI PERIOD!!

What's the demographics around your dojang??

Lean A LOT to your strengths because your strengths attract prospective students, especially adults. You compete quite a lot, in which I'm sure you're nationally and/or internationally ranked, and you've earned a ton of trophy's and medals and the like, and/or you've won a Championship or two or more!?!? IF SO...MARKET that!! You have to bring live and energy to you first, before you can bring any prospective student inside of the dojang.

Get involved with your community much more!! Network your dojang as much as you can in your community, but aim towards the adult demographics.

Reinvent yourself/your dojang often without ceasing and always!! Opening any type of MA school will take a keen marketing savvy, however, the CI better be able to teach with quality or all of the marketing in the world won't attract prospective adult students to your door!!

How good is your phone interview?? How good is your opening/closing sales pitch?? Do you have a opening/closing sales pitch?? You have to sell yourself!! Prospective students are sizing you up and make their decision mere minutes once they meet you.

How strong is your trial lesson(s)?? Do they give the student the unquenchable desire to want to learn from YOU?? Does your trail lesson wet the prospective students palette??

What's the dojang atmosphere like for adults?? Or is the atmosphere more kids oriented?? Will adults turn right around because your dojang projects a preference of teaching kids only??

Perception is reality to THAT person!! You and your dojang have ONE CHANCE to make that ever lasting impression, so you better make it a really strong great one.

Are you enthused?? Is your passion noticeable?? Do you bore the tar out of adult students??

Location, location, location!! Is where your dojang conducive in attracting prospective adult students?? Is the size of your dojang measurable per its square footage per needed adult student??

How many students are needed to make profit?? Of those, how many adult students are needed for profit??

What are you doing for YOUR Brand?? Are you doing anything for YOUR Brand??

Can prospective adult students find your dojang easily??

I'll stop for now...sorry for so much, and these are the scratch of the itch of things to ask oneself. There's quite a lot to consider, for sure.

There's no set formula for any MA school, however, there are set parameter in making ones business profitable.



_________________
**Proof is on the floor!!!


Last edited by sensei8 on Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6137
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow great responses so far guys, thanks for your help. I'll try to address all the questions.

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Perhaps it is the time slots or schedule which might not be optimal. Most adults lead busy lives with time constraints. The better part of their time spent on earning a living or studying full-time.

It might help to conduct a casual survey by asking the adults around the dojo and among acquaintances questions about when and how frequently they’ve time for themselves. Also reasons why they may or may not want to join a martial arts or sports club. Then try attracting adult students based on that info

I offer the following time slots for adults:

Adults only: Monday's and Friday's at 8.15 to 9.15pm
Family (adults + children): Wednesday's at 7.00 to 8.00 pm

By adults around the dojo do you mean people who frequent those locations? This might be difficult as my Monday class is at a cricket clubhouse in the middle of a residential estate and my Weds and Friday class is at a dance school on an industrial estate.
_________________
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6137
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
Is there a local college/university nearby? Perhaps try targeting them specifically. Offer discounts to them. Even offer further discounts to them such as if 2 or 3 sign up together. Advertise at the school itself with fliers and the like.

What about the local high school? Not adults, but juniors and seniors are close.

If there’s a big employer nearby, perhaps target that business’s employees in a similar manner.


There's a couple of local colleges (teaching 16 to 18 yr olds) but not a university for high school. I'd be just as happy with teenagers though I'd have to be mindful that most would disappear off to university and other stuff on hitting 18.

How best to target these people? Market it as a way to get fit? or as self defence? What benefits do you think that age group might be most interested in?
_________________
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6137
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
At my school, we have a deal: Sign your kids up and you can train for free. Now, my school's not in this to make money, so that works for us.

Perhaps having a family package discount could draw a few in?

Some other ideas:

1) Advertise at some local colleges
2) Offer self-defense training seminars for women
3) Offer discounts to local law enforcement/military folks

I have a package in that each additional family member gets a 10% discount.

One of the ideas I'm toying with is to run a 6 week self defense course or a 6 week get-fit martial arts course and use that to draw people in. I think this is an easier concept to market but then I'd have to convert them over to the idea of traditional Taekwon-Do.
_________________
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6137
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow thanks for this Bob. I'll try to address each point separately.

sensei8 wrote:

Is your dojang a business or not?? There's no middle ground!!

Short answer is yes. I want to turn a profit at the end of the day and the dream would be to have this as my full time income.. However I certainly do not want to sell out.

sensei8 wrote:
Is what your dojang offers, is it what adults want??

I think that's the million dollar question. I teach traditional Taekwon-Do and I know other instructors within my org teach exactly the same curriculem to adults.

My former instructor is also 5 miles away in a neighboring town and he has adults attend his classes.

sensei8 wrote:

Are the classes challenging??

Yes. With the teenagers I have currently the work rate is high but with my family class I do make adjustments and try to offer 2 levels to each exercise we do. And of course they are mentally challenging.

sensei8 wrote:
Are the classes long enough or too long??

1 hour classes each. Would be about the same as any class you might attend at a gym.

sensei8 wrote:
Can you teach adults??

Yes and to be honest I prefer it.

sensei8 wrote:
Are you a kids instructor or an adult instructor or both?? If both, then be both equally, otherwise, one will suffer.

I am both but my kids classes are separate from my adults classes (except for my family class). All of the classes are structured differently and have a different feel. The kids classes are higher pace with more focus on general conditioning and movement. My adults classes are traditional TKD as I was taught but also with more functional strength involved.


sensei8 wrote:
Are you teaching exactly what you promised??

Yes

sensei8 wrote:
Are you utilizing Yard Signs?? Are you utilizing any signs, of any type, meeting local ordinances?? Are your signs, of any type, positive/negative attention getters??

What do you mean about yard signs? Out of the front of my property? At the moment I rent two locations, the Monday night cricket club is down a private driveway in a quiet residential area, and the dance school is on an industrial estate. Functionally I know that both locations are fine as I have a kids class at each which are near capacity and both the dance school and cricket club have people coming and going all the time.

sensei8 wrote:
What type of MA schools are around your location and how many?? Visit those schools, if possible. Find out that which they don't have that you DO HAVE, and teach THAT.

I have a very successful boxing gym and a successful MMA gym in the same town. Less successful schools are a Kung Fu school, a traditional karate style, and also a very small school of the same Taekwondo style. The Taekwondo school I'm not bothered about as I have eclipsed them completely.

sensei8 wrote:
Have you reached out to other MA schools, no matter their MA style, to see if you can collaborate an beneficial network that'll increase each others businesses??

No I haven't. How would you approach this? In my mind they are my competitors and we are all fighting for the same prospective students. The dance school has advertised for me as has the cricket club and I have students from both... but only children at this point.

sensei8 wrote:
Is their a local MA network and/or Governing Body that you can join

I'm a member of all the relevant national bodies but I'm not aware of anything in my target location (town of about 90 000).

sensei8 wrote:
Adult males want adult male instructors for the most part!! Sad, but you'll have to change their narrowed minds in a very positive way. So that male students forget that you're a female instructor, and only see you as the CI PERIOD!!

I figured this for the most part. But I thought the flip side might be that female students would feel more comfortable with me.

sensei8 wrote:
What's the demographics around your dojang??

In the town? Population 90 000 or there abouts. Mostly mid-level education, mix of skilled and unskilled workers. 50% commute elsewhere for work. What else would be useful to know?

sensei8 wrote:
Lean A LOT to your strengths because your strengths attract prospective students, especially adults. You compete quite a lot, in which I'm sure you're nationally and/or internationally ranked, and you've earned a ton of trophy's and medals and the like, and/or you've won a Championship or two or more!?!? IF SO...MARKET that!! You have to bring live and energy to you first, before you can bring any prospective student inside of the dojang.

That is something I'm trying to do, but more in that I'm trying to celebrate my students' successes and show that I taught them how to do it.

sensei8 wrote:
Get involved with your community much more!! Network your dojang as much as you can in your community, but aim towards the adult demographics.

I definitely agree. What ways do you suggest? My school isn't where I live and I confess to not knowing too much about the local area. I've been approached already to get my students to help out with the charity santa sled at Christmas (goes around the housing estates asking for donations for charity).

sensei8 wrote:
Reinvent yourself/your dojang often without ceasing and always!! Opening any type of MA school will take a keen marketing savvy, however, the CI better be able to teach with quality or all of the marketing in the world won't attract prospective adult students to your door!!

Got to invent myself first.

sensei8 wrote:
How good is your phone interview?? How good is your opening/closing sales pitch?? Do you have a opening/closing sales pitch?? You have to sell yourself!! Prospective students are sizing you up and make their decision mere minutes once they meet you.

I'd like to think I have this down as I work in sales for a living.

sensei8 wrote:
How strong is your trial lesson(s)?? Do they give the student the unquenchable desire to want to learn from YOU?? Does your trail lesson wet the prospective students palette

They get 2 trial lessons and I follow up consistently. To be fair I have signed up 90% of adults coming through the door. My issue is in getting them through the door in the first place.

sensei8 wrote:
What's the dojang atmosphere like for adults?? Or is the atmosphere more kids oriented?? Will adults turn right around because your dojang projects

All classes are in a rented space. The kids class is separate to the adults and kids class is more fun, adults class still lighthearted but more serious. Again my problem isn't getting them to stay, it's getting them in the first place.

sensei8 wrote:
Perception is reality to THAT person!! You and your dojang have ONE CHANCE to make that ever lasting impression, so you better make it a really strong great one.

Agreed

sensei8 wrote:
Are you enthused?? Is your passion noticeable?? Do you bore the tar out of adult students??

I'd say so

sensei8 wrote:
Location, location, location!! Is where your dojang conducive in attracting prospective adult students?? Is the size of your dojang measurable per its square footage per needed adult student??

That is what I'm trying to determine

sensei8 wrote:
How many students are needed to make profit?? Of those, how many adult students are needed for profit??

My kids classes are maxed out so I'm turning a profit already. I don't need adults but I would like to fill my class up. I'm trying to decide whether to drop the family class as it's costing me more than it makes me.

sensei8 wrote:
What are you doing for YOUR Brand?? Are you doing anything for YOUR Brand??

I'm trying very hard to create a brand. You can see what stage I'm at on my website: https://www.nuneatontkd.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NuneatonTKD or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/NuneatonTKD/

I've been working hard on the website and I now come up as the first result when you Google "Nuneaton (the town) Taekwondo" and all the various ways to spell this. I also currently come up as number 4 for "Nuneaton Martial Arts" and rank top 15 for "Nuneaton self defense / defence". I'm listed on all the various directories including number one listing on the Yellow Pages online.

sensei8 wrote:
Can prospective adult students find your dojang easily??

As above


As I've said, I don't think my issue is in getting people to stay once they try my class. It's in getting them to my class in the first place. I've now introduced a waiting list for my Monday kids class as we're at capacity and my Friday class will soon be the same. I can market to kids (or their parents) but I'm struggling to hit on the winning formula for adults.
_________________
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1714

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DWx wrote:
Wow great responses so far guys, thanks for your help. I'll try to address all the questions.

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Perhaps it is the time slots or schedule which might not be optimal. Most adults lead busy lives with time constraints. The better part of their time spent on earning a living or studying full-time.

It might help to conduct a casual survey by asking the adults around the dojo and among acquaintances questions about when and how frequently they’ve time for themselves. Also reasons why they may or may not want to join a martial arts or sports club. Then try attracting adult students based on that info

I offer the following time slots for adults:

Adults only: Monday's and Friday's at 8.15 to 9.15pm
Family (adults + children): Wednesday's at 7.00 to 8.00 pm

By adults around the dojo do you mean people who frequent those locations? This might be difficult as my Monday class is at a cricket clubhouse in the middle of a residential estate and my Weds and Friday class is at a dance school on an industrial estate.


The adults around the dojo are those who are already students. Hand them an anonymous(no names required) form to fill in asking specifically why they chose your dojo(what they like about it) over whatever else is available in and around town. Also ask the adult parents/guardians of the youths/children the same questions. There will certainly be some useful information from that.

Essentially, a customer/client survey like any other type of service oriented business might do to improve their customer relations and experience. Ask them directly and to the point what THEY think would bring in more people.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Instructor Central All times are GMT - 6 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


< Advertising - Contact - Disclosure Policy - Staff - User Guidelines >