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:-

Graham Butcher (right)

There might have been a slight case of ‘cart before the horse’ in that the previous article was about how to to talk to someone who has made contact with you. This article is about how to establish that contact in the first place. Never mind, it is all part of the same process. We know that we need to create leaflets, posters, web pages and adverts for publications but what should we put on them that will get the attention we want?

Obviously the exact content depends upon your needs but there is a basic formula which is always worth keeping in mind when creating any publicity material. You can remember the format with the acronym AIDA.

A is for attention, this usually means the headline so it is well worth giving a lot of thought to the heading. Spend some time studying newspapers and how they construct their headlines for the front page and for individual stories. We tend to take these headings for granted but in fact a great deal of thought and experience goes into creating them.

I is for interest, the first sentence or subheading needs to build interest. A question often works well here such as. “Would you know what to do if you had to to defend yourself or a loved one?” Again study newspapers and see how the first line or two of the copy ensures that your interest is further developed.

D is for desire, this will probably be the longest part of the copy. This is where you show how they can get something of value to them by training with you, more confidence, greater fitness, self-mastery etc.

A is for action. Often very good copy and layout finishes without a clear call to action. The best action is something which gives them something for free but enables you to capture their contact details. So it could be an invitation to visit an opt-in page on your website and download a booklet on the history of your style. Through opting in you get their email address and name. Or you could suggest they telephone you to register for a place on a free introductory class. Or simply invite them to their first class for free if you can accommodate that. Just make sure you tell them to do something.

If you include an illustration then it is probably best to put it towards the top right of your layout and don’t forget to include a caption. Be willing to test several variations in your design content and layout. The AIDA basic structure usually provides a good foundation but it is up to you to develop the details.

Final point to consider. Remember that your potential students are interested in what your club and classes can do for them. Your grading, how long you have been training, who you trained with and how many people attend your classes are not of primary interest to them. So get attention and build interest by stating how your club can benefit them. Keep instructor grades and similar information for the desire building section and even then be careful to stress the benefits of having a 6th dan instructor and bear in mind that many people new to martial arts may have no idea what ‘dan’ means or if they do they may be intimidated by the prospect of being instructed by such a being.

Good copy writing to create really effective adverts in any medium is more of an art than a science. It needs a lot of attention to detail and a willingness to test responses. Examine carefully as many different examples as you can and learn from them. Then have a go, create something and get it where people can see it. Remember, even a really mediocre advert that is on display is going to have infinitely greater effect than a masterpiece which is never actually finished and seen by anyone.

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.