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Old 09-07-2009, 09:18 AM   #51
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Question #1:

I am not sure you can answer this globally.

It is not like "Aikido" is one big organization that is syndicated.

There will be some organizations and clubs that will definitely benefit from the publicity of Aikido in the Popular media. Others, it won't make much difference.

Alot of long term success it has to do with Location, Location, Location. Especially here in the Northern Va area as you know!

Sure, you may get alot of newbs in the door to try it out and watch a class or maybe try it out for a while. It may tilt the guy that just has never gotten motivated to come in....but long term, how many folks do you think will stay in the dojo based on a TV show?

I still think anything that brings positive awareness to the art is good. Positive meaning folks come in cause they like what they see...not meaning that YOU the already Aikidoka see. Remember, it ain't you that needs to be attracted and marketed to.

#2

Well my aikido dojo and my BJJ dojo, neither of us do much to market and recruit really. We just train and get word of mouth, and walk-ins. That seems to keep us in business.

The Aikido dojo, probably our best feature is our location in Arlington. We are right across from the metro station, and we are on a main street. So we get alot of walk-ins and folks always need the Metro to get to class. I bet that determines alot about who chooses our dojo over others. Location.

I also think our Website probably helps some too. That is, folks looking for Aikido doing the research can find our basic info and then come by.

The main marketing tool I think is once you get them in the door, they like what they see on the mat. I think this is the most important thing.

in the Insurance business I learned "10, 3, 1". For every 10 people that get exposed to our advertising or check out the dojo, 3 will actually train, and 1 will stick with it. I think that is about right.

What I think we could do better is to try and keep the 3 folks we get on the mat training and maybe turn that 1 into a 2. That would DOUBLE our long term membership by decreasing our drop out rate. I think this is where effort may make a signifcant improvement. Keeping the folks that you already have!

I have no numbers, but as with most martial arts the 1 year drop our rate is very high, especially with Budo.

Alot of the talk on Aikiweb comes from the frustration of reduced standards of training and how to balance good hard, long term training with keeping students interested.

It depends on what you want to do with your dojo. Lots of different strategies.

Most dojos I think, aren't really about making money, but making ends meet and keeping the doors open so we have a place to train. If we can do that, then I think all is good! We do that and so it seems to work.

Dojos also change over time with personalities and shifts in membership levels.

Sometimes you have all white belts and a couple black. Sometimes you have lots of black belts and a few white belts.

Question #3.

Well I am personally working on social media, web 2.0 stuff for "the next generation". I have a blog, but frankly I haven't kept it up lately. I find Facebook very, very useful in keeping in touch with my friends and fellow budoka around the world that I know. I wouldn't call in marketing, but communication, which helps alot.

I think the Social Media and Internet as a whole has done alot to improve and draw folks together. ALOT!

It can help with Seminar marketing and knowledge sharing and increasing good will etc.

However, I think that is more useful on long term folks and as a peer based thing vice attracting new students.

Social Media marketing is a little different than advertising of the past. It is really about getting to know people and building trust and goodwill. Any growth or "profit" that comes out of it is based on second third order effects and not necessarily direct as in attracting new students to the dojo.

AIkido is a tough sale, but we want it that way. Folks have to really want it in order to get on the path. Sure you could bring folks in the door pretty easily by making it entertaining, fun, or selling the hype, but don't you think that would probably be short lived once folks figured it out?

I think the best we can hope for is an increase awareness that might cause folks to check out websites, learn a little more about the art and what we do, and that is good. If a million folks watch the show and 1 percent of them actually ponder Aikido for a few minutes and a few of them who never knew anything about it actually find the path and get on it...then I think we can call it a success!

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