Tag Archives: Website Development

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Tools to Grow Your Martial Arts School During Back to School Season

By Member Solutions

back-to-school-413848_960_720How you prepare for Back to School season can dictate the success of your Martial Arts business for the entire year.

For the best results, you need  solid marketing strategies AND the tools and technology to carry out those strategies. The right tools will make your Back to School marketing more effective, your events more profitable and your operations more efficient.

Take a look at our top picks for Back to School tips and tools. Each tip is paired with a list of tools that will help you grow your school. Continue reading

Business-Building-Blog

Help! Should I Have Social Media Icons on My Website? [VIDEO]

By Timothy Sarazen

Many Martial Arts schools and Fitness clubs have social media integrated on their websites. However, some owners are concerned that these links may be distractions.

One school owner commented recently that, “after going to the effort of getting prospects to my site, the last thing I want them doing is clicking back to Facebook, YouTube, etc. and getting sidetracked by all the distractions.”

Is this a reason to remove social media icons from your website? What is the value of keeping these links?

In this video, I share recommendations for how and where you should be using social media icons. More importantly, I explain why using them correctly will make your website more effective and benefit your business. Continue reading

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6 Ways for Struggling Martial Arts School Owners to Find Time and Grow – Steve Giroux

By Steve Giroux

money_watchOwning a business doesn’t have to be a grueling ordeal for it to be successful. In fact, the opposite has proved true and it took me until recently to realize this. Thinking back to the stressful days of trying to do it all myself and having no time for anything else makes me laugh now. I went from having no time at all to having more time than I actually knew what to do with.

In this article, I’ll discuss the things that have been successful for me without breaking the budget. Something to also think about is that it doesn’t have to cost you a full-time salary to remove yourself from the day-to-day operations of your studio. A common misconception is that in order to hire a full-time assistant, you need to pay someone $50,000 per year plus benefits. The reality is that you can outsource the majority of the tasks you need accomplished to run a successful studio. And, by doing so, you won’t have to worry about paying someone to be on Facebook half of the time!

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When Is It Time to Fire Your Web Designer? – Daniella Cippitelli Abruzzo

By Daniella Cippitelli Abruzzo

FCOM helpsiteGone are the days when having a website was a luxury. It is now a necessity to a thriving business. No one is flipping through the Yellow Pages anymore except maybe your grandma, but even she probably has an iPad by now. Your website is your virtual storefront. As the prospects pass by are they going to come in or keep going?

Having a great-looking website that not only ranks high on the SERPs (Geek trivia – SERPs stands for Search Engine Result Pages) but gets new members through your doors is easy; IF you follow some key principles of good website design.

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10 “White Belt” Mistakes to Avoid Making with Your Martial Arts School”s Website – Rob Colasanti

By Member Solutions

An excerpt from “The Martial Arts Business Bible” written by Rob Colasanti

The other day a friend of mine from New York called to say hi and see how I was doing. While on the phone, he mentioned that his school had a new website. So I typed in the URL, said “Uh-oh” and gave him some much needed feedback.

In a few seconds, I noticed that my dear ole’ friend was making the same kinds of mistakes I’ve seen school owners all over the world make when it comes to their schools’ websites. To put it mildly, my friend was quite stunned when he heard what I had to say. He had definitely overlooked some of the basics.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no “master” 10 "White Belt" Mistakes to Avoid Making with Your Martial Arts School''s Websiteof the web. But I certainly do know more than the average bird. So here’s a few “White Belt” mistakes I suggest you avoid:

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Creating a Martial Arts Website That Gets You More Students – Michael Parrella

By Member Solutions

Hey there, it’s Mike Parrella. September’s here and I know a lot of you are beginning to plan out your marketing and events for the upcoming 2012 year. I wanted to share some of my secrets on how to turn your school’s website into the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal before the January rush.

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Mobile Marketing Websites for Your Martial Arts Business – Do I Really Need One? – Mike Dolpies

By Member Solutions

Why have a mobile website? Often the question is: “Do I really need a mobile website?”

The short answer is “yes you do.”

Your main website is not built for the small screen of the average smart phone.

And what do we know? We know that more and more smart phones are going to be in the hot little hands of your best prospects.

The need to be able to match your message to your mobile prospect is the foundation of “Mobile Marketing.”

People often ask, “How does a visitor find my “Mobile Marketing Website”?

One way is through search. Recently Google reported a 400% increase in mobile searches over a two-year period. When a visitor finds your site on their mobile device, special coding on the website detects the mobile browser and serves the mobile version. This is fundamental “Message to Market Match.” (that’s a concept made famous by marketing guru, Dan Kennedy). When you serve up a mobile website, you have matched your audience. Really simple.

When designing your mobile marketing website, keep these two fundamentals in mind:

#1 – Vertical Navigation

Since browsing on a smart phone is done with the thumb mainly (not a mouse), a vertical navigation is essential. I often call it being, “One with The Thumb.” Keep the thumb in mind.

#2 – Keep it Pithy

You have to choose your words carefully for your mobile site. Too much and you risk losing your on-the-go prospect.

Lead with your best info – keep it short and simple – and offer something great. Make process fast and effective.

For more on mobile marketing, read my post: Mobile Marketing Q&A.

Video Blog – The Best Hooks for Your Website – Duane Brumitt

By Member Solutions

Client Question: “I want to offer website visitors something enticing to get them to enter their contact information. What’s the best hook in order to do that?”

This question came in from a Member Solutions client. Below and to the right is the current opt-in box on my website. Take a look at it and you’ll notice I only ask for e-mail address. I know this isn’t a lot but people that are visiting your site aren’t ready to give you all their contact information. You need to start off small with this type of offer and make it as quick and painless as possible for your prospects.

Below is a short video that provides some more tips and ideas for website offers.

Hope the video helps. If you have any questions at all, feel free to shoot me an e-mail or post your question below.

Duane Brumitt is the co-founder and owner of Duane Brumitt’s Tri-Star Martial Arts Academy in Bradley, Illinois. Duane is also a member of the Member Solutions Advisory Team.

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How Many Websites Do I Need for My School? – Michael Parrella

By Member Solutions

This is a question I get asked quite frequently. Here’s my take on the situation and why I think most school websites don’t do what they’re ‘supposed’ to do.

Question: How many websites do I need for my school?
Answer: Two.

[One for your prospective members, and one for your students.]

Almost every school’s site that I ever come across is trying to market to both students and prospects on the same site – to me, that’s absolutely insane!

Think about it like this; a prospective student comes into your office to potentially ‘sign up.’ But before you start telling them how to get started in your school, you do the following;

-Whip out a photo album of last year’s Halloween Party,
-Begin to tell them about your upcoming events,
-Show them a pic of last month’s ‘student of the month’,
-Point to a flyer for this month’s Kids Self Defense Seminar (even though they’re an adult),
-Reference an empty picture frame hanging on the wall (I’ll explain thisone is a minute),

Sounds crazy right? Where are the benefits? Where are the testimonials? What’s in it for them?

We can all agree that this would not be the sales pitch of choice and we’d all, most likely, fire our program directors if they tried to ‘sell’ like this.

But this is exactly what most websites do – they show all this stuff, the stuff that your students would have a connection to, and they throw it right into the prospect’s face when they come to their site.

Your prospective student does not want to know ‘what mountain what master came from’ or the ‘origins and folklore of [insert your style here]’. They want to know what they need to do to take the next step in becoming a student in your school. And they want to be able to find this information within 2-3 seconds of viewing your site’s home page.

97% of all the Martial Arts sites out there don’t even have a clear Call-To-Action on their site. And if they actually do have a button or a link on ‘how to get started’, it’s usually buried in some obscure part of the page, or it’s so small that it’s barely noticeable.

Martial Arts schools should have a ‘Sales’ site for recruiting students. And it needs to be a separate site than the one they need to ‘Communicate’ with their students.

The Sales Site is where 100% of everything that is on it, works towards getting this prospect into your door, plain and simple.
The Student Site is a place for you to post events, pics, videos, sell seminars, merchandise, share history and stories, etc. A ‘blog’ site is the perfect platform for this type of site. Most people, if you’re just a little Internet savvy, can do it all themselves.

For a student site, I recommend going to www.Wordpress.com and picking out a theme that you like and deciding on what functionality suits you best. WordPress has a giant list of all kinds of ‘plug-ins’ (modules or features to add to your site like; password protected areas, calendars, connections to Facebook, etc.)

The cool thing is, it’s totally free! Now, if you want to use your custom domain name for this site, you’ll need to establish an account on www.Wordpress.org.

You can hire a local graphics person (might even be a student) to create a custom header for this site and the rest is fairly easy. And since WordPress is such a popular platform, there are no shortages of people out there that can help you with it.

Okay, now back to the Sales site.

Here are some of the things you need:

1. Clean, Optimized Home / Landing Page
People need to see what programs you have to offer right away. Don’t make it difficult. The back end of the site should be optimized around your towns and your types of Martial Arts. And whether you do TKD, JKD, MMA or BJJ, make sure you use the words ‘Martial Arts’ all over the place. As a search, the word ‘Martial Arts’ is used more than all those other words combined.

“Here is an example of a simple yet effective home / landing page.”

2. Make sure the graphics are not intimidating, offensive or ‘weird’
Don’t have people kicking each other, choking each other or smashing each other in the face. More often than not, the prospect will identify more with the ‘Kick-ee’ than the ‘Kick-er’. Also, don’t choose crazy-hot-over-the-top models. Use ‘better-than-average’ type people that others can relate to. And no kids or guys doing a technique with ‘crazy-eyes’ or ‘blood-thirsty’ snarls. Show people looking ‘normal’ and having some fun.

3. Have Sales Pages for Each Program You Have
If you sell Kids memberships, make sure there is a page that gives them everything they need to know to get their kid started. Have an offer that they can purchase – now! If you don’t, the odds of them remembering to call you the next day are slim.
Here’s what you don’t Need:

1. Flash
Forget Flash. You don’t need your prospect to stare at a bunch of images that keep rotating every 3 seconds. It’s an annoyance. Plus, Flash doesn’t show up on iPhones and iPads – so clearly it means that anyone who is ‘cool’ will not be able to see it. Additionally, with Google’s recent search changes, sites with flash don’t display correctly. They’ll just be big blank gaps that’ll make your site look like it’s unfinished.

“A Flash Website like this one will not show up very ‘readable’ in Google’s new ‘Caffeine’ Search.

2. Photo albums
These are great for students who are actually in the photo or know people who are – not for prospects. And if they really dig looking at pics of strangers, they might NOT be the type of people you actually want in your school anyway, LOL.

3. Detailed History about you or your style
I’m sorry if this hurts anyone’s feelings, but 99% of the time, people aren’t concerned about you and what you’ve done until they’ve actually joined. They’re concerned about their favorite radio station – WIIFM. What’s IIFor Me!

3. Do not have Dead Links!
This is from the blank picture frame reference I made before. There is nothing worse for your site than clicking on a page and getting that “404 Page Not FoundError.” It’ll get the prospect’s confidence in your site to plummet faster than Mel Gibson’s Movie Career.

I hope this info helps and gives you a little insight as to why your site is not doing everything that it can be doing for your school.

My advice? Convert your current site into a student site, since it’s 60% there already and get yourself a bad-@ss Sales site for your Martial Arts school. This way you can start getting the number of new students each month that you actually deserve! Believe me, the people are out there just waiting to join your program. Are you going to have a website good enough to get them in your doors?

BTW, this is exactly what my company http://FullContactOnlineMarketing.comdoes, so if you need help or want to find out more about the site we can build for you, give us a call at 516-543-0041 or email me at

Business-Building-Blog-Martial-Arts-Business

Nobody Wants This – Stop Trying to Give it to Them – Mike Dolpies

By Member Solutions

It’s your lucky day. Someone made it to your school’s website: a prospect who is interested in your program. Now don’t get too excited because this prospect is not “totally hot.” They’re not ready to whip out their wallet and make a purchase or call you to arrange a meeting. The reality is this prospect is still not sure if they want to train with you or not. Your prospect is still “gathering information.” Keep the gathering information thing in mind as you read the rest of the article.

Transition…

Before we get back to your fictional prospect, we have to cover something that’s so important it can make the difference between success and failure… between steady movement toward your business goals and being stuck on a treadmill.

In my day-to-day adventures, I come across a lot of websites. School owners often reach out because they know there’s some untapped potential buried in their website. There are two very common mistakes that doom a school’s website to mediocrity.

Mistake #1…
• The first and very common mistake made on Martial Arts school websites is the total absence of any form of lead capture. We’ll talk about lead capture in a second.

Mistake #2…
• If there is a “lead capture” mechanism present, it’s usually dull, boring, lame, has no urgency and gives no compelling reasons why someone should exchange their name, e-mail and other information for it. This is the mistake of offering your “newsletter” as a lead capture mechanism. Here’s a news flash  …

Nobody Wants Your “Newsletter,” Get Over It!

Do you see where this is going?

First: You need a lead capture mechanism to fill your funnel with prospects.

Second: The lead capture mechanism needs to be exciting, fun, interesting and have a little sense of urgency.

So where to begin?

Remember we said up top that your fictional prospect is in “information gathering mode.” The place to start is with “information.”The question to ask at your next marketing meeting is simple: “What sort of information can we package up for our prospects and give them in exchange for their contact info?” Take it further by making sure the information you are packaging up has real value.

Step it up a notch…

You’ve decided on the valuable information but that’s not enough. To get your prospect to act you must offer some sort of immediate gratification. You do this by making sure your information will deliver an immediate benefit, give them something to look forward to, (in some cases sending your prospects information in the mail works great!) or help them begin to solve a problem they have.

Here’s where your newsletter comes in…

After you’ve helped your prospect take one step closer to becoming a client or customer, then you can introduce your “newsletter” as an added benefit and way to stay in touch.

So the message…

Be sure you are employing “lead capture” on your site. More importantly, make sure your lead capture will stop your prospect in their tracks and make them respond to your offer.
Mike Dolpies is a long time Martial Arts business veteran and well-known consultant, author and marketing strategist.