How to Generate Martial Arts Website Leads: Organic vs. Paid Traffic

By Indro Dojo Digital | Drive Traffic

Jul 16

Hey there!

One of the most crucial factors that will determine how many leads your website will generate is how much online traffic it receives. Duh! It’s a numbers game, the more visits your website receives, the higher the percentage of leads it will convert.

Let’s say you are in the market for a new car, and you really want a Ford. You are familiar with the Ford dealership downtown. You pass it all the time, you see the billboard, you hear the commercials on the radio, you just can’t escape it, and you know they claim to have the best deals in town.

When it comes time to buy a car, the dealership you are familiar with is going to be the obvious choice that first comes to mind.

You might grab the Sunday paper and look in the classifieds, grab an Auto Trader Magazine, or search “Ford Dealerships in [Your City]” on Google. If you are in luck, you might find that the largest Ford dealership in the state is just a few miles from your usual route. Score!

The moral of the story is that businesses win customers in different ways, and the ones that are more “in your face” than others have an obvious advantage. However, if you can put your offer in front of the right prospect, you just might be able to sway them.

In much the same way, you can have the Rolls Royce of martial arts websites, but if you don’t have website visitors (traffic), then you definitely will not have leads.  

Website traffic sources can be a bit of an abstract subject for some. By sticking to the above example, here is the best analogy I can come up with:

The Downtown Dealership = Organic Traffic (Free)

In much the same way that you might be familiar with the downtown dealership because you drive by it regularly, organic traffic comes free of charge. People might have been referred to your school by someone and searched for it online, or they searched for “martial arts in [Your City]” and you are the first result that popped up. This is mainly awesome because of the most obvious reason – it was FREE! You didn’t have to pay anyone to be seen and your website was immediately visible, much like the downtown dealership that you always drive past.

The Billboard on the Highway = Facebook Ads & Posts (Paid)

That billboard on the highway definitely costs money … probably a bunch of it. Another issue – the dealer can’t really tell exactly who chose to come into the dealership after seeing the billboard. They are banking on the thousands of drivers that see it everyday as being “warmed up” to the dealership name, and take it in real consideration when it comes time to buy a car.

This is very similar to the approach we take on Facebook. We are not necessarily looking to make a sale on the spot – we simply want to familiarize those who are not necessarily in the market for a martial class with our school, so that when when they are ready, they are already “warmed up.”  

Added bonus: we can actually track the Facebook leads.

The Ad in the Sunday Paper Classifieds = Google AdWords (Paid)

The majority of people that would look in the car classifieds or Auto Trader are people in the market for a new car. In a similar fashion, if someone searched for “martial arts in [Your City]” and your paid Google AdWords ad was above your top ranked competitor, you purchased a place to put your offer in front of your prospect.

To recap, if your website is not located in the equivalent of downtown (page 1 of Google), you don’t have a “virtual billboard” presence on Facebook, and you don’t pay for your Sunday paper classified placement by having a Google AdWords campaign, can you really be shocked if your website is not crushing it with lead generation?

For those unfamiliar with the differences between free and paid traffic platforms, I will provide a guide that is simple to follow, so you can start thinking about where your martial arts website needs to improve.

I had originally written this section in a very detailed manner, but then decided that you can simply search “organic vs paid traffic” on Google and get tons of results, which will provide more detailed explanations in this area. I am here to tell you what I personally know about organic vs paid traffic and how each one applies to your martial arts school.

Organic Traffic

As we mentioned, organic traffic is traffic that arrives from search engine searches. It can also come from strangers that find your normal, unpaid posts on your Facebook page, which is rare unless your engagement is high and you have a number of people regularly sharing your content.

A lot of martial arts school owners I talk to often have a false sense of confidence about their website because “it’s at the top of Google.” Of course this is great, as that is one of the goals. However, this is usually for only one search term, such as “martial arts classes in [Your City].” If you live in a small town, you might be really disappointed to find out that there are hardly any searches for the terms you claim top rankings for. A website that is doing well on Google should have top rankings for multiple keywords, and even that might not be enough to have your inbox exploding with leads.

In more populated areas, for obvious reasons, traffic will be higher and so will the leads. However, it is rare that a local martial arts website can rely solely on organic traffic. Just like the dealership downtown cannot rely on their visibility alone, they must advertise to bring people into their location. As you probably already know, it is very important that you supplement additional traffic to your website. That is where your paid traffic options will come into play.

Paid Traffic 101

Paid traffic costs money. I KNOW. I just blew your mind with my digital marketing knowledge, right? You are welcome Sensei.

Now that you learned that nugget, I’ll tell you that the primary platforms you should be focusing on for your martial arts school are Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, although I’m currently exploring Bing Ads which seem effective and even cheaper. I’ll report more on this in a future article.  

There are other platforms and local listings services such as Yext that have not produced any results for our 5 martial arts schools when we used them, so I would suggest you don’t waste money on power listing services etc. Although having correct listings on the web is important, I will provide you with a much cheaper resource for that in another article, so make sure you stay connected to our email newsletter.

Here is how AdWords works. Let’s say you have a brand new Krav Maga program, that has never been mentioned on your website before. You are not going to be on Google, at least not for a long time. You might actually never be anywhere to be found on Google if you have enough competition.

This is where AdWords can be a huge asset. You can purchase an ad that will trigger when a user searches for a variety of keywords, such as “Self Defense Classes.” 

Your ad will be shown multiple times but you will only be charged when someone clicks it.  You get to determine the most amount you are willing to pay for a click, and the most you are willing to spend per day. If you have no competition, great! But if multiple advertisers are competing for the same keywords, the one with the highest budget per click will be shown first.  If the top advertiser runs out of daily budget, your ad might take the top spot.  This is a very simplified explanation, purposely so.

You can expect to pay anywhere from 50 cents to $5 on average per click, although most will cost in the $1-2 range depending on the keyword for martial arts related keywords.

AdWords also allows you to create some traffic for non martial arts keywords. Generally, gym and general fitness keywords will have a much higher search volume than Martial Arts. Therefore, you could actually compete for an ad with your local gym by using their keywords and creating an ad that says something like “Bored of The Gym? Try Kickboxing.” This is a great strategy when martial arts search terms are scarce.

Facebook Ads works in a similar fashion, but offers a wide variety of different ad types that we will cover on another post.

One thing to really understand is that the psychology of social media marketing (i.e. Facebook) is completely different than search marketing (i.e. Google, Bing). Similar to how the billboard and Auto Trader ads serve different purposes in marketing, it is important to understand that people on Google are searching for solutions and answers to their needs and problems, whereas users on Facebook may not even be aware they have a problem or a need for your services. As a matter of fact, they might be really annoyed if you try to sell them anything!  

To understand the psychology behind search vs social media marketing, please jump to the “Understanding Traffic Temperatures” article by following THIS LINK.

Conclusion:

We have barely scratched the surface of these website traffic marketing concepts, but I hope that your one big takeaway is that you cannot just have a website sit without having some kind of strategy in place to drive users to it.

We did not cover essential factors such as having a well coded and designed website with a sales process in place, or linking paid ads to a landing page rather than your website, but we will! Please make sure we stay connected by signing up for our newsletter. You know the deal, I’ll never spam you, I’ll never share your contact info, I promise to be a welcome guest in your inbox, yadi yadi yada …

Here are some useful links that you should check out to dig deeper into how you can maximize your website performance and your marketing in general:

Defining Your Customer Avatar
Understanding Traffic Temperatures
Organic Vs. Paid Traffic

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About the Author

I’m the founder of Printing Dojo and Website Dojo. We have designed hundreds of martial arts websites and I am sharing my digital marketing knowledge on this blog.