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Old 09-18-2007, 10:57 AM   #1
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,832
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Open house?

Here I am, back with another question. I train at a small dojo that's trying to grow. One thing we hear a lot when people join is, "I didn't know you were here," or "I'd never heard of aikido/had no idea what it was about". So, we're thinking about having an open house to try and increase our membership, and I have some questions:

- Is an open house the right way to go about this (in conjunction with flyering)?

- If not, what's the best method of outreach?

- If so, how would you structure it? Ongoing demos, a very basic class that droppers-in could participate in, what?

Thanks for any thoughts,

Mary
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:39 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,724
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Re: Open house?

IMHO, there are lots of ways to become a visible and available resource to your community. Open house, flyers, demonstrations, participation in community events, and press releases are a few.

IMHO, go to the public library and check out the books on running and marketing a small business for valuable insight and information.

Good luck to you.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:17 PM   #3
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Dojo: Ikashi Dojo, Port au Prince
Location: Port au Prince
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Re: Open house?

Our school is doing exactly the same thing. We are located way in the end of a dead end, in a not very populated neighborhood. Sensei tried to organize a seminar two months ago, and he hanged a sign at the entrance of the street. Not a lot of people attended the seminar, but the sign is definitely working. People come to ask informations and watch classes and enroll much more often.
Now, do you have kids training with you? If not, I am sure that some of you training have children. Give them flyers to give at school. People often enroll in a martial arts school after enrolling their kid, and after watching them train.
Thank you for opening this thread, because I too would like to have some ideas.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:28 PM   #4
crbateman
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Re: Open house?

A public demonstration in some place like a shopping mall can be very compelling. Just have flyers or business cards on a table, and have the instructors and seniors hang around between demo sessions to answer questions. Many malls will let you do this, provided you don't put spectators on the mat, and sign a waiver for your own people. Big flea markets and county fairs are also a possibility. A website is also a good thing to have.
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:28 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Re: Open house?

Definitely have a website and get it listed in the AikiWeb and Aikido Journal dojo directories. If you go Google "aikido information" AikiWeb is the 2nd entry and the rest of the top entries will link you to AikiWeb and/or Aikido Journal.

Along with the website our best advertising is word of mouth. Get your people talking about the dojo and what the training is like. We have had open houses and done demonstrations but they rarely bring any significant number of students. We still do them because they're fun and we feel we should still make our presence known but we've stopped expecting or hoping for an increase of students from them.

You could also contact the local newspaper and get in touch with their "lifestyles", "local happenings" (or whatever they call it) editor and see if they'd be interested in doing a story on you, especially if you have some type of anniversary or other milestone coming up. If you have a local TV station you can contact them also. It's a good (free) way to get your presence known to a large portion of the community.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:55 PM   #6
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,832
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Re: Open house?

Thanks for the suggestions, y'all. We do have a website and are listed on aikiweb; otoh, while aikiweb works great for people who are looking for an aikido dojo, it doesn't do much for people who don't know that there's this aikido thing and there's a dojo in their town. We need to jazz up our flyers a bit and get them out there more, and I'm thinking we could get something in the paper for New Year's training this year (since that will be well-timed with the post-holiday "I gotta get in shape" guilt). Hopefully it'll get some more people coming in...
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