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If you own a martial arts school then chances are pretty good that you love martial arts. You got into this business to make a difference in the community, and to transfer your passion and knowledge of martial arts on to the next generation. You probably figured that you would be able to make a living doing something you love by opening a martial arts school, and maybe even have something to pass along.

You probably did not get into the industry to be a salesman or marketing guru. Sadly, in the world we live in, you almost have to be a marketing expert to survive in any business, and that is especially true for martial arts schools.

Sure there is plenty to be said about retention and have a great program, and I believe that all of that is essential to maintaining a strong martial arts school. However, a great program alone will not fill your mats with students. Only a good marketing campaign will do it.

And so lies the problem. You love martial arts and you hate marketing. Here’s a list of the top things martial arts school owners hate about marketing their studios…

Wasting Time at Community Events

Don’t get me wrong. Events are a great way to get out of the 4 walls of your studio and interact in the community. You can get some exposure and make some strong connections. The issue we have with events is that they are completely unpredictable. There are so many factors that can affect your results like, weather, attendance, message to market match, visibility, space, placement, etc.

The real problem is the time spent. These events are almost always all-day long, sometimes all weekend. And there is no way to predict what kind of results you’re going to get.

Plate Lickers

I used to own a business in the real estate industry and one of our marketing techniques back then was to invite people out for a free dinner.  The worst leads were the ones who came in for the free dinner and flat out told us that they were not interested at all in what we were selling… and they always finished their meals. We called them “plate-lickers” (behind their backs of course). Now, I am not advocating negative talk about your leads, because that was not good for business, but believe me when I tell you that I completely understand the frustration of freebie-seeker leads.

Maybe you’ve tried to give a free month or week of classes out thinking that once they experience the class they’ll be hooked. So you decide to advertise a freebie to get people in the doors…and it works…kind of… People some out of the woodwork to attend your free classes and you invest time and energy into laying a solid foundation for a couple weeks or a month…

But at the end of the free trial, you find that no one has signed up to be part of the program. What happened? You attracted a bunch of plate-lickers. They weren’t interested in learning martial arts, instead they couldn’t resist the freebie.

Trying to Keep Up with Technology

Seems like every month there’s some new gadget or platform claiming to be the next marketing tool. Chatbots, email marketing, websites, videos, templates, trinkets, and hoo-hahs. The lis tis endless and maybe you’ve tried some of them only to get caught in the weeds and never fully understanding how to make it actually get students in your doors.

Competing with The McDojos 

People’s attention spans are getting shorter, and the martial arts market is getting more and more “corporate” and cookie-cutter. A few big dogs are moving in and systematically taking over territories previously ruled by small dojos. Now there are certainly a handful of large martial arts organizations that are top notch and I am not knocking massive success in general. I’m only taking issue with the organizations who seem to be more interested in selling belts than teaching real world martial arts.

The thing we need to learn from these schools is their seemingly innate ability to enroll droves of students at high rates and keep them for a long time. The problem is that they have huge marketing budgets and for a small mom and pop type studio, how can you compete? (Stay tuned and I will show you.)

Lots of Views and Engagement with No Revenue

Facebook, Instagram and Google have become masters at manipulating their clients into spending money to boost their egos. How many times have you seen a message on Facebook like, “Your post is doing better than all your other posts. Other page admins who boosted a post like this reached 2,000,000 people. Click here to boost for only $5”

Now, this all sounds fine and good, and everyone likes to see their posts reach a lot of people, but at the end of the day views, likes, shares, comments and reactions do not equal revenue. They do boost your ego, and if that’s what you need, feel free to click the “Boost” button, but if you want students, avoid that button like the plague. 

The Good News

The good news is that we’ve been specializing in marketing specifically for martial arts for long enough to have tested all sorts of campaigns all over the US and found a few key strategies that are working like clockwork. We’ve been able to duplicate these strategies for all sorts of different kinds of schools with relatively consistent results. We’ve worked with schools in small towns and schools in big cities. We’ve helped small schools get big and big schools get bigger.

Recently we generated over 300 leads in one month for a school owner and he brought in over $2,500 in PAID trials, PLUS he added 25 NEW students to his program. All by following our proven system for lead generation and enrollments.

If you’re sick of wasting time at community events and kids expos trying to “get your name out there” only to return with a couple names… 

If you’re tired of getting bogged down in all the technical stuff of marketing or trying to “figure it all out” …

If you’re ready to find out how to get a steady flow of new martial arts students in your doors consistently and on autopilot, so that you can focus on what you’re good at (teaching martial arts)….

Then, I want to share with you how we consistently fill the mats at martial arts schools with PAYING students on my Free Case Study Webinar. (CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE FREE CASE STUDY WEBINAR AND SEE FOR YOURSELF)


About the author: Jon Evans is an author, entrepreneur and owner of, a marketing agency that specializes in helping Martial Arts Schools grow.