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p00kiethebear
02-08-2005, 07:46 PM
Our dojo, though small has about 8 dedicated students right now in the adult classes. The kids classes have been booming like crazy to the point that we're running out of space to safely train. However me (and the other senpai) have been trying to find a way to attract more adult students (We haven't had a new one come in in almost 5 months) We currently advertise through our local parks district and put up fliers in public places and such and we're also planning more demonstrations.

But does anyone have any great plans or things that they've done in the past to hook more students in? I think to some extent all dojo's struggle with income and ours is no exception. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

thomas_dixon
02-08-2005, 08:29 PM
Demos at other schools (of different styles), having yourself listed in the Phone Book (Yellow Pages), and online in the Yellow Pages might help a little.

Don_Modesto
02-08-2005, 09:26 PM
Demos at other schools (of different styles), having yourself listed in the Phone Book (Yellow Pages), and online in the Yellow Pages might help a little.

A friend of mine who runs a dojo polls incoming students and claims that in the last five years, they've all come from internet searches--none, nada, zippo from the Yellow Pages.

As always, YMMV.

Thom Hansen
02-08-2005, 09:54 PM
Hello Nathan

Definately in Australia i have a Yello Pages add and i still find more interest comes from dojo listings on the internet .....


good luck

Regards Thom

Huker
02-08-2005, 11:21 PM
If there is any type of post-secondary school nearby, you could try posting flyers. Most places have billboards for that sort of thing. If you are close enough to the school, your student gain could be fairly large.

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-08-2005, 11:26 PM
One thing that definitely works is some type of Martial Arts expo for the community. This can be done at a mall, in a park, at a school, etc. Get any three other schools, each focusing on a different art to get together and each do two rounds of 10 to 15 minute demonstrations. In other words, do a morning set where each group demonstrates, take a break to chat with the prospects (bring flyers, cards, hats, free passes for 1 week of training, etc. to give out) and then do the whole thing again just after the break. Right around lunch time can work great for weekend demos. You will certainly build a good relationship with the other schools. The selling point for getting the others involved is very simple - there really isn't any competition. Someone who wants to do Aikido probably wont join a TaeKwonDo Dojang and visa-versa. When a student who is genuinely seeking to begin training has an opportunity to go to one place and compare four arts and four schools in about 90 minutes, how can he pass that up.

Just a thought...

Jeff Sodeman
02-09-2005, 12:10 AM
Internet is the biggest way people find us.

batemanb
02-09-2005, 01:18 AM
We've grown quite a bit over the past year, had at least 20 new members come through the doors (not all still practicing though:)). Aside from 1 or 2 that saw the poster in the window of the community centres, all of them have come to us following internet searches.

Don't just have your own web site, use dojo search engines here and AJ, register with local councils and libraries, they have local sports databases online too.

rgds

Bryan

PeterR
02-09-2005, 01:41 AM
Ditto on the internet and the advice about linking to Dojo search enjines and community sites.

Generally the more links you have the higher your site will be on search engine priority.
I increased traffic on a friends site 150 fold in three months after two years of very little response just by adding meta tags (no not mentioning sex) and asking a few places to add a link.

Peter Seth
02-09-2005, 03:25 AM
Hi Nathan
How about putting on a charity fundraising event, you can select a worthy charity, contact them and arrange maybe a demo, a 'come and try it', or an event with other martial arts involved. Publicise the event for at least a month before in all media, posters, contact other marts clubs/organisations, newspapers, radio, tv etc.
I organise an annual 'Festival of Martial Arts' to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, I am presently organising the 5th event which will involve a full day where around 15 different arts demonstrate their 'stuff' for free. This not only generates funds for the charity but raises the profile of the arts, the charity, builds bridges between the arts and develops interest from the public and therefore new members.
This year so far I have been invited to 3 fundraising events/demo's to raise funds for various charities.
The last one raised around $800 in 2 hours for the tsunami appeal and also a great deal of interest in the arts.
Just an idea, but great fun anyway - a win win situation.
Pete

p00kiethebear
02-09-2005, 06:37 AM
How about putting on a charity fundraising event, you can select a worthy charity, contact them and arrange maybe a demo, a 'come and try it', or an event with other martial arts involved. Publicise the event for at least a month before in all media, posters, contact other marts clubs/organisations, newspapers, radio, tv etc.

Incidently, we're putting on a charity fundraiser for a coastal village in Sumatra that was devastated by the recent tsunami's.

We're having people sponsor the kids to do rolls (most of these kids are pretty hardcore and are doing between 500 and 1000 rolls) That's definitely a chance to push for more students.

ian
02-09-2005, 08:04 AM
Web page, more permanent posters (e.g. in library) can work. Also you can run 'short courses' with a specific objective. Don't forget, people like me started because of wanting to do some weapon work; even though I always enjoyed the taijitsu more. I think the best policy is to get as many people in as possible; IMO the people who stick at aikido are often people who would not normally want to do a martial art.

Word of mouth has ALWAYS been the best recruiter of consistent students in the clubs I have been in. Socialise more and tell your friends!

akiy
02-09-2005, 09:26 AM
Hi folks,

Just a reminder that it's always a good idea to check out your dojo's information in the AikiWeb Dojo Search Engine (http://www.aikiweb.com/search) to make sure it's up-to-date. If the information isn't current or it's "stale" (ie a yellow or red icon indicating its relative staleness), please be encouraged to send in an update using the administrative interface for modifications (http://www.aikiweb.com/search/admin.html). Your updates and additions are very much appreciated by me and by everyone who uses the AikiWeb Dojo Search Engine!

More on-topic, here's a poll I took a few years back:

How did you find your first aikido school? - 11/9/2002
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=138

I wonder if it's time to take another poll with the same question to see if there's been any changes...

-- Jun

thomas_dixon
02-09-2005, 12:10 PM
A friend of mine who runs a dojo polls incoming students and claims that in the last five years, they've all come from internet searches--none, nada, zippo from the Yellow Pages.

As always, YMMV.

http://yellowpages.com

kironin
02-09-2005, 04:52 PM
website / internet / word of mouth would be my experience too.

never the yellow pages.

MM
02-09-2005, 04:59 PM
Hello,
I think one of the main reasons that most people find Aikido dojos on the Internet rather than in the Yellow Pages is because not very many Aikido dojos have advertised in the Yellow Pages. That's usually the first place people looked and I know I looked there in most cities I've been to and I've found a whole lot more Aikido listings on the Internet.
But, as people have said above, Internet search engines, banner ads, here, Aikido Journal. Flyers in the library work as well because people go to the library to find books on Aikido and sometimes check the boards. Flyers on the boards at stores if you can manage that, too. Not that those things work well, but one in a few hundred is better than none in a few hundred. :) Basically, flyers anywhere there is a board to put them on and the place will allow it: library, stores, work, banks, colleges, universities, YMCA, etc.
If you have a web page, make sure it is detailed. Include phone and address, instructors and background, style, dojo history, class schedule and rate. People like to see that so they know whether or not they have the time and money to start. Plus, let them try a week or so for free and mention that. Invite them in to watch a class or two and then try a class or two for free.

Mark

Bronson
02-10-2005, 09:35 AM
Contact the "Neighborhood", "Lifestyle", "Local" or whatever editor of your local newspaper/tv news. They are usually looking for stories and will come out with a crew and take pics/video and do an interview. It's all free and has a wide distribution.

Bronson

Jeanne Shepard
02-10-2005, 02:37 PM
Contact the "Neighborhood", "Lifestyle", "Local" or whatever editor of your local newspaper/tv news. They are usually looking for stories and will come out with a crew and take pics/video and do an interview. It's all free and has a wide distribution.

Bronson

And if they do do a "Lifestyle" segment on TV, make sure they NAME your dojo! They didn't ours!

Jeanne :p

Aikiscott
02-10-2005, 04:40 PM
For what it is worth I keep stats on my advertising for the Kids class I instruct. Though keeping students is hard as we are in a Youth Centre that has 5 martial arts on offer, plus things like circus training.

Word of Mouth has been our biggest source of students at 33%
Yellowpages runs at 20%
Youth club ads 16%
Walk in 13%
Demo's 6%
Web site & Posters & flyers both at 3%
the remaining 6% is listed under other sources, usualy it means they didn't fill in that section on the form.
This year though we are going to try advertising in Local School news letters, as we have 5 primary & 2 High schools within a 5km radius of the Youth Centre.

p00kiethebear
02-11-2005, 12:54 PM
Thanks guys. We'll look in to all of this.

Jack Simpson
02-11-2005, 03:23 PM
As we train in a fitness center, we get a fair number of curious on-lookers and I try to at least put a flyer in their hand when their head pops in. We've also re-done our web site and that has helped alot as now folks can see lots of info about the club (photos and video as well). I do have a question for PeterR: What are "meta tags" and how can I install some?

We do two demos a year and while we have lots of folks watch and give out lots of flyers, we rarely see any of these people on the mat. Although I think demos are important, because people have to know that "aikido" exists to do a web-search for it.

I really think the web is replacing traditional advertisement, so links or advertising (if you can afford it) on local search sites or community web sites are a thought. Good luck and be patient.

Jack :ai:

MaryKaye
02-11-2005, 09:19 PM
We have an arrangement with the local university to offer beginners' classes through their "Experimental College" program. This means they put our class in their on-line and paper publicity, in return for a cut of the dues.

It's been good for getting people in, but not as good for getting them to stay; the retention rate is higher for students who come in via other pathways.

Mary Kaye

thomas_dixon
02-11-2005, 09:23 PM
As we train in a fitness center, we get a fair number of curious on-lookers and I try to at least put a flyer in their hand when their head pops in. We've also re-done our web site and that has helped alot as now folks can see lots of info about the club (photos and video as well). I do have a question for PeterR: What are "meta tags" and how can I install some?

We do two demos a year and while we have lots of folks watch and give out lots of flyers, we rarely see any of these people on the mat. Although I think demos are important, because people have to know that "aikido" exists to do a web-search for it.

I really think the web is replacing traditional advertisement, so links or advertising (if you can afford it) on local search sites or community web sites are a thought. Good luck and be patient.

Jack :ai:

Meta tags are what search engines use to define the contents of a page..for example, AikiWeb's meta tags are:

<META NAME="author" CONTENT="Jun Akiyama">
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="Aikido: AikiWeb Aikido Information">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="aikido, ueshiba, morihei, martial art, aiki, aikidoka, ki, jo, bokken, aikiweb, news, videos, dvd, dvds, books, supplies, akido, forums, aikicards, dojo, hakama">
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="INDEX,FOLLOW">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="EXPIRES" CONTENT="">
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">
<META NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="7 days">

All you really need ot worry about in there is this line:

<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="aikido, ueshiba, morihei, martial art, aiki, aikidoka, ki, jo, bokken, aikiweb, news, videos, dvd, dvds, books, supplies, akido, forums, aikicards, dojo, hakama">

Putting that code in your pages may help it get more traffic..you might also want to submit your URL to google.

Jack Simpson
02-14-2005, 11:08 AM
Thomas,
Thanks for the "meta tags" help. I might also add "free beer!" ;)

Cheers,

Marnen
01-31-2006, 04:35 PM
Also have a look at Google Sitemaps (https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/login). I just now discovered this and will be adding it to my personal site...