As the colder weather is forecast to set in over the next couple of weeks, martial arts schools in the UK might face the challenge of retaining existing students and attracting new sign-ups. Many students tend to skip classes during the cold weather, which can lead to decreased revenue and lower retention rates. Which is something to consider for your Q1 budget/forecast.
Cold weather can make it more difficult for students and instructors to travel to and from their school, especially in areas with significant snow and ice. This can lead to cancellations or a decrease in attendance, which can impact the overall progress of students and the financial stability of the school.
Plus, low temperatures can make it difficult to maintain adequate warmth during training sessions. This can be particularly challenging for martial arts styles that require students to practice in lightweight or thin clothing, such as karate or taekwondo. Cold weather can also increase the risk of injury, as cold muscles are more prone to strains and sprains. Which is important to bear in mind when planning your sessions.
To mitigate the effects of cold weather, martial arts schools can take steps such as providing adequate heating, encouraging students to wear appropriate clothing, and adjusting training schedules to avoid the coldest parts of the day. It’s also important to communicate clearly with students about any changes to the schedule or training routines due to cold weather. This is easier with NEST’s Student App and mass communication SMS options. With some careful planning and implementation of effective marketing strategies, martial arts school owners can overcome these challenges and grow their student base throughout the year.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips, tactics and strategies for school owners can use to improve retention and attract new sign-ups during the colder weather.
Offer Seasonal Promotions
Creating seasonal promotions or discounts for students who attend classes during the colder months can be an effective way to incentivise attendance. These promotions could include discounts on merchandise, free training sessions or workshops, or other special offers that make it more appealing for students to attend class.
TIP: You could consider offering new students discounted introductory classes or sign-up bonuses.
NEST clients can utilise our premade promotional templates with the option to edit, add logos and amend copy to suit their own school’s brand onto seasonal promotional material and social media assets.
Create a Sense of Community
Creating a sense of community among students can massively improve retention. This can be achieved by hosting social events and creating opportunities for students to connect with each other outside of class. For example, schools could organise social events like a movie night or a game night, which can help build camaraderie and strengthen the bond between students and instructors.
TIP: You could create online communities, such as Facebook groups, where students can connect and share information and experiences.
Provide Extra Value
Providing extra value to students can help keep your students happy and attract new sign-ups. This could include additional training sessions, exclusive workshops, or seminars, and free or discounted merchandise. Providing extra value not only improves the overall experience for students, but it also demonstrates the school’s commitment to their health and well-being.
TIP: You could also consider providing students with nutritional guidance or access to other wellness-related services, such as massage therapy or chiropractic services.
NEST clients have the option to add online classes onto their own Members website which is also integrated with ZOOM for ease of use.
Leverage Digital Marketing
Utilising digital marketing, such as Facebook ads and PPC campaigns, can be an effective way to attract new sign-ups and improve retention rates. By targeting specific audiences and creating engaging and informative ads, martial arts owners can increase visibility and reach potential new students. This can be especially effective when combined with seasonal promotions or other special offers.
TIP: You should ensure that their website is up-to-date and optimised for search engines, making it easier for potential new students to find them online.
Keep Students Engaged
Schools could consider adding new classes or workshops during the colder months or offering more flexible schedules to accommodate students who may have other commitments.
TIP: You could provide regular updates and information about upcoming events, training sessions, and other school-related news.
NEST clients can use our Student App option to keep their members up to date on training sessions and communicate to all students at the same time through SMS and email options.
To help you kick start, here are some strategies that you can use to make your classes more accessible and comfortable for your students during the colder weeks:
Keep the facility warm: Make sure that the training area is heated to a comfortable temperature, and that there are no drafts or cold spots in the room. If the school has a large training area, consider using space heaters or radiant heating systems to ensure that the entire space is adequately warmed.
Encourage appropriate clothing: Remind students to wear appropriate clothing for the colder weather, such as layers, hats, gloves, and warm-up suits. Martial arts uniforms are typically lightweight and may not provide enough warmth, so encourage students to bring extra layers or wear warmer clothes to and from class.
Adjust training schedules: If possible, adjust class schedules to avoid the coldest parts of the day. This might mean scheduling classes later in the morning or earlier in the afternoon, when temperatures are a bit warmer.
Offer online classes: Consider offering online classes for students who are unable or uncomfortable attending in-person classes during the colder weeks. This can be a great way to keep students engaged and active even when they can’t make it to the physical school.
And if you are looking for additional inspo, here are some marketing activities you can use to encourage your students to attend their classes during the colder weather:
Highlight the benefits of training during colder weather: Emphasise the physical and mental benefits of training during the colder weeks, such as increased fitness, strength, and immunity, as well as improved focus and discipline.
Host special events: Host special events or seminars that coincide with the colder weather, such as self-defence workshops, fitness challenges, or other activities that appeal to students during this time of year.
Share success stories: Share success stories from current students who have trained through the colder weeks and experienced positive results. This can help inspire and motivate other students to attend class even when the weather is cold.
Leverage social media: Use social media to share updates, photos, and videos of students training during these cold spells. This can help create a sense of community and support among students, and showcase the benefits of training all year-round.
Retaining existing students and attracting new sign-ups can be challenging for martial arts schools in the UK, especially during the colder seasons. However, by implementing the tips, tactics and strategies outlined in this blog, martial arts school owners can improve their chances of success, even during the colder seasons.