View Full Version : Successful Dojo Advertising?

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02-01-2011, 06:08 AM
Which advertising strategies have been the most successful in attracting people to your dojo? I am interested in hearing which advertising strategies, electronic, web-based & traditional have seen the greatest number of people actually stepping on to your tatami. I accept that once on the mat different forces come in to play. It seems to me that a great number of fantastic instructors have very poor attendance and very few drop ins. Therefore aikido may well benefit from a more professional approach to advertising and client base interaction.

Janet Rosen
02-01-2011, 11:36 AM
Our community has a "recreation guide" it publishes three times yearly that goes to every household. Prospective members can sign up for a limited number of beginner's classes through the city rec dept w/o actually "joining" the dojo and I believe the majority of both our kids and adult new students come via this.

02-02-2011, 01:37 AM
Thank you that is great advice. I will get on to the local community papers to see what process is for placing an advert.

Does that mean you don't get much effect from your website?

Mary Eastland
02-02-2011, 08:31 AM
We ran an ad in the local shoppers guide for years. We also did demos and workshops and taught at local colleges. Our kids class brought in some adults. Flyers are good; cheap and easy to distribute. Now we just use our website and word of mouth.

Janet Rosen
02-02-2011, 09:39 AM
Does that mean you don't get much effect from your website?

Well this is a rural area - when I trained on a big city there were many dojos to chose from and there was a larger pop. of folks accustomed to doing comparison searching online - in that setting the website DID bring folks in.

Zach Trent
02-02-2011, 03:41 PM
one of the cool things i learned at my last dojo was to involve the dojo members in distributing the flyers. We had a list of all the places to bring flyers and people would put their name by the ones they agreed to put flyers up at.

I always enjoyed it because I like having new people come in and see what we are about, so I never felt like I was being taken advantage of or anything- and it wasn't forced on me, merely suggested.

02-02-2011, 04:31 PM
Attracting members is one thing, keeping them quite another. Things I've learnt are different strategies work better in different places - if you can ask around your local network you might save some time. demos, leaflets and local newspaper ads seem to be highly suspectable to location - web seems to be a no brainer and web 2.0 the one to watch

Also the general public are not very discerning, so if your hiding your light under the traditional bush (i.e. being modest and not self promoting) its not what the 'market' responds to.
Retention sees only a small percentage of walk-ins actually stick around long enough to become serious, coping with this churn is difficult.
Critical mass - i.e. enough students on the mat to create a 'vibe' is essential to improving retention.

I have some stats, based on 10yrs of students I published on the forum before - if there is intrest i'll dig out the link


Zach Trent
02-03-2011, 12:44 PM
Hey Dan! I'd love to read your article and learn from your experience.


02-03-2011, 02:10 PM

I'd be very interested to hear your stats.

Richard Stevens
02-03-2011, 02:55 PM
I recall reading Dan's stats before and found them to be a bit disheartening.

02-03-2011, 06:46 PM
Here is the link to some articles/stats maybe of intrest


unfortunately yes the stats are sobering, but they are for a large dojo in a large town with a mobile population (uni students) who choose between lots of activities. Friends that run small dojo in small towns can be a bit different so YMMV - its a bench market of sorts only


02-03-2011, 10:18 PM
We're a university dojo -- the best results we've had have been with flyers posted at the beginning of the fall semester, before students get busy. Demonstrations get people in well, but it's harder to get those organized.

Mary Eastland
02-04-2011, 08:14 AM
Don't let the stats discourage you. We live in a small town in a lightly populated county. There is another Aikido dojo in town. If we listened to stats we wouldn't have bothered. 24 years later we are still here.
"Gorilla marketing" is a great book about how to market on a shoestring budget.

02-04-2011, 09:39 AM
Here's another thought: who are the potential students? I expect it varies a lot from place to place, and thus, the best medium to reach them is going to change too. Also, who are the potential keepers -- and do you really want to bring in students who are just going to raise your churn ratio and who aren't going to be keepers (even in a limited sense, such as university students who will almost certainly be moving on in a few years but who may train with dedication while they're here)?