Re: Dojo survival in tough economic times
It seems strange, but I know a lot of people base where they go to check things out based on the internet. Do you have a website, facebook or myspace page? Our dojo has a website, but we are in the beginning stages of re-vamping it and we are getting a facebook page up. Media (photo and video mainly) seems to peak people's interest as well.
Public outreach, such as open houses or demonstrations can be helpful depending on the locale. I hear demo's don't really draw people into our dojo where we are, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work for you.
If there are multiple aikido dojo's (or any successful dojo for that matter) around you, go take a look at their sites, the way they advertise and check out their dojo to see how things are. There is another aikido dojo near us that has a rather large student base. The difference lies in the training atmosphere. They have a more laid back social atmosphere (so I hear, I haven't been to watch) where ours is more of a "no talking, train" type of dojo.