Dear Martial Arts School Owner,
Welcome to the Website Dojo 10 Point Checklist to Improve Your Website Performance & Rankings.
I want to add a subtitle to elaborate: “An Easy To Understand Article That (Mostly) Doesn’t Require Technical Knowledge”. You can easily do a Google Search for “Ways to Improve Your SEO” and you will come up with months worth of reading material, but we are in the martial arts industry, you likely have a martial arts school if you are reading this, so i’ll keep this simple and straight to the point.
Make Sure Your Website Has a Call To Action On Every Page.
When a visitor lands on your page, they should immediately understand what action it is that you want them to take. We are trying to get students, so your website should exist for the sole purpose of generating leads. A button on the top right of the navigation menu is what is widely reccommended as a CTA (Call To Action) Button. This should say something along the lines of “Try a Free Class” or “Trial Offer”. See #2 for what should happen next.
Allow visitors to take advantage of a Trial Offer.
At the most basic level, your CTA button should link to at least a form. Make sure your offer is clear, and unless you have the ability to collect payment on your website, make the offer free. Ask for the least information necessary, such as name, email & phone number. In an ideal situation, you have the ability to accept payments directly on your website. Make sure that if you do you can do so securely, so your visitors’ data is safe and they can see your website is trustworthy.
If accepting payments online, have a LOW PRICED OFFER.
When a prospect visits your website, the majority of the time they are just learning about your business. Offering a high priced trial is like asking someone to marry you on the first date, it is unlikely to be effective.
The purpose of a Paid Trial on your website should only be to make the lead more qualified, so that they can make a small commitment to act on your offer and actually show up for a class.
Keep the value high, and the price low. Standard online marketing protocol suggests an ideal low price offer is $7, however anything under $19 is pretty standard and if you can swing it, offer a free uniform or some kind of free gift to add value to the offer, that is key. You can have all your web design & online marketing ducks in a row, but if your offer is of no value, your competitors will likely have a better offer so the prospect will leave your website and move on.
Have a follow up process in place.
What happens when a visitor fills out a form on your website? At the very least present them with an email auto responder, and outline what will happen next both in the auto-responder email as well as the “Thank You” confirmation page on your website.
If both these things are in place, and the message is “a representative will call you back to schedule your first class”, well, make sure someone calls. If you don’t get the person on the phone, send an email letting them know you attempted to reach them, and begin a conversation, almost assuming that it is the last chance you have to get them on the hook.
Don’t just stay “Left you a message, call back the school” but rather ask what days are they available to come in, give them some information about what to expect on their first class, and be friendly.
Some school owners will also send a text message to the prospect’s phone number, some people may feel like this is a bit intrusive, however the majority of people actually prefer to not speak to anyone and find this easier. Use your own discretion, and maybe put a line in the auto responder about ways you will attempt to contact them if you don’t hear back within a certain amount of time. In an ideal situation, your leads receive multiple email sequences, eventually leading to an upsell of the trial.
Have a customer centric message on your website copy.
The most common mistake the majority of businesseses make when communicating their marketing message is to not have a clear statement about how they can help the customer overcome their problems. As a business owner you are often way too involved with your martial arts school to be able to simplify your message. Things such as your belt rank, who you studied under, the particular discipline that differentiates your school from others, the equipment you use, while they matter, they don’t matter enough to base your marketing message around.
The companies that win online are the ones that have a simplified message that speaks to the results of the client taking action.
Story focused marketing is one of the current trends in the digital marketing space, and the very basic message is that every story has a “hero / main character”, who has a problem, who finds a guide, that gives them a plan and calls them to action, resulting in success or failure.
It is important to realize that you are not the hero of the story, your customer is. The business is the
“Guide, who has a plan”. You are Yoda, not Luke Skywalker. Identify your prospects’ pain points and speak to them with a solution. You want them to feel like you read their mind, you know what they are going through, and how to help them achieve their goals.
Make sure every page on your website code has a Title Tag and a Meta Description.
This becomes a little more technical, but it is very important. The title of your page should contain your school name, and a short, keyword rich (don’t overdo it) description. For example: Martial Arts Classes in (Your City) | School Name. This is the first thing that tells Google and Search Engines what your website pages are about, so that it knows it is directing traffic to the right place. If you are not certain of your page title, here is a quick way to do so using the Chrome Browser by Google. If you are not currently using Chrome, download it here.
Once you have Chrome installed, click this link to install the extension SHOW TITLE TAG
The installation requires one button press, and the title will show up at the bottom of your browser page. Any text showing in red means its beyond the reccommended lenght, although it has no real negative consequences other then showing your page titles on search engine truncated (cut short).
If your page titles need attention, you will need to access your website page code, so if you are not the web designer of your site (HOPEFULLY YOU ARE NOT!), contact your web design company.
Meta Descriptions are the descriptions that appear under your title tag on Google and Search Engines. They don’t actually improve your rankings, however they tell people what to expect when they click your search engine result. Keep it short and sweet, the reccommended character limit to show your entire description is 160 characters, use a site like wordcounter.net to make sure you don’t go over.
Have a properly setup Google My Business Page.
Google My Business is , you guessed it, Google’s Business Listing directory. Proper setup of this page will send strong signals to Google about your business relevance to the related searches, allow your business to show up in maps, and show an extra listing on the side of the web results. It is also very important to have because it is one of the main factors determining if your result shows in the Google Maps pack, the 3 results under the Map that show first. These are above the organic results, so if you set this up properly, and your competitor does not, you have a higher chance of outranking them.
Have a strong Local Citations Profile.
Any time your business is mentioned on the web, in any combination of Company Name, Phone Number, Address, Zip and Website address, that is considered a Citation. A common place where this might happen is local business directories. However, the vast majority of the websites we see have a common problem: Inconsistent listings. This may mean that the school is listed under one name on one listing, and under a slight variation on another (Martial Arts vs Karate for example), sometimes caused by rebranding or address inconsistencies due to relocations. These inconsistencies can confuse search engines and affect your rankings especially on Google Maps. There are services that fix this like Yext, however we do not reccommend them as they are expensive and they often have an algorhythm that defaults your listings to their orignal state if you cancel services. Also stay away from Fiverr.com or non-reputable companies that do not specialize in this. A great place we reccommend our clients to start with to fix any listing inconsistencies is a service called Moz Local (https://moz.com/local) . You can enter your business information there and see any listing issues. Their fee is $110 a year which is very reasonable. Note that it can take a few months for the changes to push through.
Collect as many Google Reviews as possible.
This is one of the easiest, most overlooked ways to improve your rankings and your school’s listings on Google. Aside from letting your prospects know that your school is reputable by reading other people’s experience with your business, this is one of the major factors to get your Google Listing placed in the Maps 3 pack, and get all those nice stars that will make people click your listing.
Create a link for curstomers to write reviews by following Google’s directions on THIS LINK
Go to Goo.gl to create a shorter URL to use in email blasts, social media, and also create an easy to find link on your website like your contact page, and make sure that link is available there;
You are possibly cringing a little bit about the prospect of writing content for your website, but nonetheless it is the kind of thing that can give you an edge both as far as rankings (Google rewards content rich websites), but also give you a way to advertise on Facebook that will be much more effective then just the occasional “SPECIAL SALE OFFER” that many businesses attempt before giving up on Facebook ads. People on Facebook are not there to be sold things, they are there to chat with their friends, read articles of interest, share things that they think their peers will enjoy. You are a martial artist, a community leader, and hopefully the reason you think people should join your martial arts school is because you think you have something of value to offer prospects. There are hundreds of things you could talk about, for example, if Back to School season is approaching, why not have a blog article about some “Safety tips every parent should teach their child before the school season starts”? This is the stuff you teach in your school, so you should be able to talk about it with ease. Not much of a writer, or do not have the time? Understandable, but that is why you downloaded this guide, so here are a few easy steps:
If you never did anything other then the 10 things listed above, I guarantee you would likely find yourself in a winning position in your local martial arts market. I have to stress however that if you are a martial arts school owner running a successful business, you really should not have the time or the desire to handle all the above tasks yourself. You really want to put a staff member in charge, and hopefully you are not running your own website but are working with a reputable Martial Arts Website Company such as Website Dojo, so that you can have them handle the tech side of things.
With Website Dojo, all the website issues addressed above are already taken care of, the site comes with:
Properly coded pages
Calls to action on every page
Paid and free trial modules
Email follow ups and notifications
An easy to use marketing blog
… and much more, including a Student Section.
If you are ready to dominate your local market, your website is the first step towards achieving online marketing success. Request a Website Dojo Demo by inputting your email below, and let Website Dojo help you reach your goals!