Back to School Marketing: Don’t Miss the Biggest Opportunity of the Year!

In no time at all the kids will go back to school, are you prepared? Have you got your marketing plan sorted?

Now’s the time to get going so that you don’t miss one of the biggest opportunities of the year.

In the run up to the new school year parents are focussed on getting organised and preparing for the new term, make sure enrolling them in a martial arts class is on their list of things to do.


You’re not just competing against other martial arts schools in your area, parents will be considering, and seeing marketing from, all sorts of different activities and clubs so make sure yours stands out.

There’s a great parallel between the skills and attributes that martial arts teaches and those needed for a successful and enjoyable school life, confidence, discipline, respect, and dedication. Make sure you’re showing this in your advertising and when you speak to prospects as this could be what gives you the competitive edge.


Offers and incentives

September is a key time of year where a specific offer or incentive can have a real impact on your sign-up rates and in turn your revenue generation. More students = more revenue long-term.

Create a ‘limited number’ offer (the numbers don’t actually have to be limited!) to give the impression of scarcity to your prospects. If they sign up at a specific time can you offer them an extra incentive, a free uniform, some merchandise or a cheaper/no joining fee for instance. To get them locked in early you could decrease the value of the offer the longer it takes them to sign up.

Another thing to think about here is your price, if you’re going to be enrolling a number of new students could now be a good time to raise your prices for these new students? Even just a small price rise could give your revenue a huge boost. If you enrol an extra 30 students in September at £3 more a month than your current rate, that’s over £1000 a year bonus on what you’d be getting if you enrolled them at your current price.


Don’t forget your current students

Retention is just as important as gaining new students and is a whole lot cheaper as well! Your school can’t grow if you’re losing students as fast as you’re gaining them.

Implement a back-to-school referral programme, incentivise you current students so they’re not feeling left out, it’s bonus marketing for you and hopefully results in a growth in student numbers as well.

Keeping current students engaged at a time of year filled with distractions is really important. Make their martial arts lessons something which runs consistently into the new school year. Ahead of the back-to-school rush make sure you’re checking in with current students and engaging with parents to ensure they’re meeting their goals and feel engaged and cared for.

Why not start a September challenge with a record card to complete of back-to-school themed tasks, once they complete it they get a small prize or badge.

Don’t forget offers and discounts for your current students, they can be a great way to boost revenue along with engagement. Give them exclusive member discounts on kit, event, merchandise or courses.


Reviews and testimonials

Now is the time to gather them so that you can use them in your marketing materials for September. Parents trust other parents so make sure you’re pushing out positive reviews and testimonials to your prospects. Even better if these can have a school-based twist such as a student who has overcome bullying since starting martial arts or someone who’s confidence and behaviour has come on leaps and bounds.


Get a specific boost with a mass intro or open day

Holding an event can be hugely successful in boosting your student numbers quickly but to really encourage good attendance give your prospects additional reasons to get involved. You could theme the event around an ‘anti-bullying’ or ‘get better grades’ workshop and invite both current and prospective students. A novel idea is to set up a school uniform swap, these are becoming increasingly popular with parents looking to save money during the back-to-school period. Add in some games and arts and crafts alongside trial lessons and you’ve got something for all the family.


School relationships

Now is the time to build relationships with schools so that they prove fruitful throughout the year. Often schools have back to school events or special assemblies, offer to get involved. Could you run an after school club as part as their extracurricular activities? They can be good revenue generators on their own and can lead to sign up from pupils who attend.


Facebook advertising – Top tips for back-to-school

Make sure you have your targeting right. There are ‘Parent’ categories that you can use to target your ads, just search for parents in the targeting section and you’ll get options for all age groups. Location targeting has changed so that it target anyone who lives in or has recently been in the area rather than you having to choose between the two. Make sure your targeting covers the schools where your pupils attend so that you’re targeting the parents that are there at pick up and drop off times

Retargeting ads are a great way to encourage people who have shown some interest to take the next stage and book a trial, use this feature along with a specific offer to push the back-to-school mindset and get them over the next hurdle and into your school.


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