6 Retention Strategies for Martial Arts Schools
Did you know that acquiring a new customer typically costs five times more than retaining an existing one? Apart from that, loyal customers can be your most passionate brand evangelists and, thus, a valuable referral source. According to industry experts, this especially applies to the health and fitness industry, where existing clients are considered the #1 referral source for new members.
Also, it's not easy to win back customers and – in the worst case – they don't talk positively about their experience. Given all these reasons, investing in customer retention should be a no-brainer for any health and fitness business. However, most companies place their primary emphasis on getting new customers into their doors while neglecting to take care of their existing ones. What are you doing to engage your members and to avoid drop-outs?
This article will provide you with strategies on how to retain your members. While the following tips can be applied to most health and fitness businesses, this post will highlight ideas that are especially impactful to retain students and children who attend martial arts classes.
1) Increase retention by understanding student behaviour
Knowing your customers creates the base for all your future marketing efforts. The better you know your clients, the easier it is to engage them. This applies to any form of communication, such as personal communication, social media campaigns, emails, newsletters, blog posts, or website updates. For example, research has shown that targeted emails have higher conversion rates than generic ones.
How can you cluster your existing members?
Obviously, demographic factors are crucial to develop effective marketing activities. However, if you want to (re-)engage clients, targeting them according to their engagement level is key. A major indicator for member engagement is their class attendance level. Based on it, you can do divide customers into 3 groups:
- 1) Regular
- 2) Semi-regular
- 3) Unregular
After segmenting your clients, you can apply the following strategies to maximize retention.
2) Reward students who attend your martial arts class regularly
Everybody loves recognition. It's a strong motivator and will incentivize children to attend more classes, which will probably also lead to better results. The better a child performs, the more it will enjoy the sessions and speak positively about their experience. That way, recognizing attendance can be a first step towards building a "brand ambassador," who will actively recommend your dojo.
And just imagine how proud the parents will be if somebody recognizes the hard work of their child.
FYI: a reward does not have to be a present. An email, a call-out on your website, or social media posts can be as (or more) effective.
3) Create a leaderboard for attendance
If you want to take your reward system to the next level, you can create an attendance leaderboard that you can share on your website, your social media channels, or as part of a monthly newsletter. The side effect of this motivational strategy can include increased website traffic, social media engagement, or open rates of your emails.
4) Seasonal Attendance Competitions
If you can track attendance rates, you can also run attendance competitions. This can be especially helpful during a season that has lower attendance rates, such as the summertime or the end of the year. These competitions can work wonders for member engagement and class attention. The prizes can be as simple as a certificate or gift cards for older students.
Leader boards and attendance competitions can also help to increase the attendance rates of the children that currently fall into the semi-regular category. Some children need a little bit of external motivation to commit to classes. Once their increased attendance leads to improved performance, chances of lifting them into the regular attendance category increase almost naturally.
5) Re-engage your non-regular students
Children that don't attend your classes regularly will probably not advance as quickly as the ones that come in on a regular basis. This can lead to frustration and eventually to drop-outs. Identifying the kids who fall into this category is the first step in avoiding this.
Once you know who is at risk of quitting, you can talk to them and their parents to understand the reasons for their lacking engagement. This will not only help you to find solutions to address their issues but also show their parents how much you care about their children.
6) Use email marketing to re-activate students who dropped out
Segmented email campaigns are another great way to re-engage members. For example, content that highlights the benefits of martial arts can motivate parents to encourage their children to re-join classes. Another good incentive to use in your email series is special offers and discounts to encourage them to sign up for classes again.
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How can you start maximizing engagement and member retention today?
Some of the strategies mentioned above might sound overwhelming at first, but they actually require less workload than you think. The first and – most important – step is to segment your students. Once you have mastered that, you can start talking to parents with children that are at risk of dropping out. This alone can make a tremendous difference to your customer retention.
And whenever you’re ready, you can utilize more scalable and effective marketing activities such as email campaigns.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Get ready to increase engagement, retention, and your bottom line with PerfectMind's dedicated martial arts management software. The martial arts software comes with an integrated intelligent ABC rating attendance-tracking system that proactively monitors cancellation indicators. The software automatically segments your students into group A (regular), B (semi-regular), C (non-regular), or non-active, based on their attendance record. This way, you have insight into which students may drop-out and are able to re-engage them before it's too late.
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