The Rise Of The McDojo

For anybody not familiar with the phrase, a McDojo is a school that teaches a watered-down and impractical form of martial arts in the name of making money.  The “Mc” is taken from “McDonald’s”, as in mass produced – low quality!  They usually have all the expensive designer gear too, which you have to buy from them of course.

Many real martial artists complain about the rise of the McDojo (myself included). Many martial artists complain that those who train with McDojo’s do so because they want to get easy belts without working hard! I don’t think that’s the case as those people don’t know any better, many of them haven’t seen proper martial arts before so don’t have anything to compare with!  In fairness, many of McDojo’s give a good physical workout and are fairly strict on the discipline; it’s just the martial content that is lacking.  And I’m not even talking about sport martial art here, as serious sport martial artists can really move with speed, accuracy and good technique.

Continue reading “The Rise Of The McDojo”

Martial Arts Advertising: Advertising with AIDA by Graham Butcher

In his last article, Graham Butcher, Author, International Stav Teacher & Master, explained how to talk to somebody who shows and interest in your club.  In this article, he talks about creating that interest in the first place.   Over to Graham:- Continue reading “Martial Arts Advertising: Advertising with AIDA by Graham Butcher”

The Five Steps of Selling – by Graham Butcher

After a bit of a break, here is the 3rd article by Graham Butcher, Author, International Stav Teacher & Master, to help you market your club.  Although we may think of ourselves as above “selling our classes”, any interaction with a prospective student does really include a sales process.  Graham gives you guidance below to help you to be more effective at this.

At the end of this article, you will find a link to an interview that I did with Graham back in March 2012.  Well over to Graham for his article: Continue reading “The Five Steps of Selling – by Graham Butcher”

Martial Arts Marketing – Making More of Your Club Website By Graham Butcher

This is the second article kindly submitted by Graham Butcher, author and one of the World’s leading authority’s on Stav on Martial arts Marketing, designed to help you to promote your club.  This article looks at the use of websites.

I will shortly being doing an interview with Graham, so you can find out more about him soon!  Anyway, over to Graham:-

Everyone seems to have a website these days and it is a good idea to have one for your club if possible. However many instructors get a mate to register a domain for them, put up a couple of pages with details of where and when they train, a bit about the instructor and how many Dan grades he/she has and how many competitions they have won and then wonder why it really makes no difference at all.  The fact is that just putting up a website, however nicely presented it is and however many pretty pictures will have no perceptible benefit unless you make it work for you.

Now I know that optimising a website as a serious business tool is an arcane science and mysterious art so I am not going into SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay Per Click) or the difference between long and short tail key words (I think the long tail ones can swim better). I am just suggesting three things to think about which will make the difference between a local club website being useful and effective rather than being a waste of time and money.  Although we are talking small scale here these three principles are the basis of success for a large commercial site too, so if you get them right at the local club level you will have a head start should you decide to become more ambitious.

The three principles are:
• Traffic, does anyone actually visit your site?
• Content, is there anything worth looking at when they get there?
• Follow up, are you maintaining contact with people who have visited?

Firstly traffic, how do you get people to visit your site? If yours is a local karate club then you need to put the domain name in front of as many people as possible and try and add a reason why visiting it may be worth their while. There is a great deal to be said for doing this on paper in one form or another, leaflets, posters, your business cards, small ads in the local paper and parish magazine. I am not saying no one will find you from a Google search for martial arts clubs in your area but if there is another club with a longer established site with more links then that is the one that will probably be found first. So my recommendation is that you concentrate first on getting attention from offline sources.

Secondly, make the effort to maintain up to date content. At least once a month add something new and archive the previous material so the size of the site starts to grow.  If you use WordPress you can easily add items as blog postings. Why not post self defence or fitness tips regularly and then your offline adverts can give reading these as a reason to visit the site? It is amazing how often sites are put up with several pages of reasonably interesting content but never updated again. It is probably better to put up three pages, a title page, one links and one of content and then add an extra page of content weekly or even monthly so long as you do it regularly. Then make something of it, tell your students at the end of class that there is a new article on your site that they should read, tell your  Facebook friends, mention it in the next advert you place or leaflet you deliver. Think of your self as a publisher even if it is only a picture taken on your mobile phone and 200 words of text that you add each month, it is still a lot more than most people manage.

Which brings us to the third principle which is follow-up. There is a system called an auto responder which provides an opt in system and enables you to mail a large list of people on a regular basis. If you are receiving Charlie’s newsletter then you signed up to one of these, I have one on my website too. I will go into more detail on how to set one up another time although if you visit www.aweber.com you can find out more there. There is a modest cost. The other alternative is to create a Facebook group for your club and invite people to join it from your website. As members of the group they will be easy to keep in touch with. Making the most of Facebook is another vast subject which I will look at another time. Just having people’s email addresses is obviously good but be careful of just creating a mass email and sending it out. This creates two possible problems, one is that it will probably fall foul of spam filters and your messages will not get delivered and secondly some people get jumpy about having their email addresses distributed too freely. You can always BCC each message but if you are emailing to large numbers of people an auto responder is going to be worth the money.

Vast subject, short article but hopefully something to think about. Make the effort to drive traffic, especially from offline sources, regularly maintain and develop your content and find ways of maintaining contact with those who have made contact with you through the site. Make an effort with these three principles and your website will be a real help in growing your club.

For more information about Graham, please visit:  www.iceandfire.org.  If you would like to add your own thoughts/experience to help others promote their clubs, please leave your comments below.

Martial Arts Marketing: How to grow your business By Graham Butcher

Graham Butcher

I asked in my Newsletter and Facebook page if people would like another category on this website for information on marketing their martial arts clubs.  Several people replied that this would in deed be useful.  My friend, Graham Butcher, author and one of the World’s leading authority’s on Stav has taken the initiative to write the first article for which I am very grateful.  So below is Graham’s submission, I hope you find it useful.


When Charlie said that he wanted to include a section on Marketing into his newsletter I decided to offer to contribute to it. Why should you be interested in anything I have to say about marketing? Three reasons.  Firstly my day job is running a Handyman business with my partner and we do okay and have plenty of clients so we must be doing something right. Secondly I have been studying marketing with Chris Cardell and Jon McCulloch for the past couple of years and I will be happy to
share some of the principles that they teach. Thirdly, for the past 19 years I have been teaching and trying to develop interest in Stav.  Many of you will know how hard it is to get people interested in well known Martial training systems such as Karate and Aikido. So you can imagine its rather harder promoting something as unknown and frankly improbable as a Norwegian martial training system brought to the UK by a Scandinavian nobleman with Viking ancestry and a profound knowledge of the runes and Norse mythology. I think you see the problem.

So this September I am launching a new class in Crewkerne (the Somerset town where I live) and I intend to make a success of it by throwing every marketing trick I know at the good people of Crewkerne including having leaflets and website critiqued by Jon McCulloch before the public sees them. I will be happy to share the process with you over the next few months and let you know what works and what doesn’t.

This month’s tip, Chris Cardell’s three principles for growing a business. Don’t object that yours is a club not a business. If you are taking money in return for a a service (providing martial arts training) then you are running a business. Even if the club is run on a cooperative basis and no one actually takes any money out of it personally the organisation still needs an income to pay its bills. If you can increase that income you may be able to rent a better hall, bring in guest instructors or purchase better training equipment.

So in order to grow the business you need:
• More customers (students)
• More transactions with your customers/students
• More value from each transaction

And you need to combine all three because there is a level at which customers/students actually cost you much more than they give you in return. If you offer a free lesson as a taster then every week you might have five more students coming for just that free lesson. Well your marketing must be working well on one level in that it is bringing them in, but they aren’t giving you anything in return and will be drawing a lot of attention away from your regular students. So yes, you want to be increasing the number of students at your club but look at this. If you just increase the number of students by 10% (and they are actually paying for the class) then the income increases by 10% and that is good but if you have say, 10 students paying £5 for one class per week over a 10 week period that is an income of £500 (I will keep to nice round figures for simplicity).

There are three things you can do to increase income by 10%, one more student raises income to £550. On the other hand if you put in an extra class every ten weeks, say a Saturday morning special technique class that would add that extra £50 or you could raise the price of classes by 50p and that would be worth £50 over ten weeks. Now combine those and see what happens:
11 students x 11 classes = 121 at £5.50 each is £655 or an increase of over 30%.

Something to think about and remember that if you are making a better return you can provide a better service.

For more information about Graham, please visit:  www.iceandfire.org.  If you found this useful and would like more similar information, please click the “Like” button and leave your comments below.