Recruitment 101: How to Find Your Ideal Students

By Kevin

The root of a successful new student acquisition (NSA) process, and in fact, success at anything you do is to start with your why. Simon Sinek has an excellent TED Talk on how to do this.

Not only do you want to define who it is you’d like to impact through martial arts training, but how you want to influence their lives. At the core of this is a very personal reason for why you want to devote your life to these things. When that is clear to you, everything you do to promote your business will become much easier.

Over 35 years ago I decided that I wanted to dedicate myself to delivering life skills to children and families, and that the best way for me to do that was through martial arts. Your reasoning and your target audience may be different from mine, but make sure it is clear to you.

After you’ve defined your why, you’ll need to dig deeper about who your student body consists of, and whether your surrounding community can support your continued growth in that demographic area.

At our schools, we periodically evaluate:

Our pricing and whether it is achievable to the average family income level within a three mile radius of our school.
How many women between the ages of 23 and 49 live within a three mile radius. This because our target students are children, and mothers are the primary decision makers as to whether or not children enroll in our program.
How many children between the ages of 4 and 11 years old live within a three mile radius.
In terms of population density, how many homes are located within a 3 mile radius, and are new homes or schools being built.
How many competitors have moved into the area, beginning with martial arts schools who teach the same style to the same student type.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to be aware of when setting up an NSA process within your school.

We’ve found that it’s easy to find the demographic information by asking commercial real estate agents or ordering data from Nielsen. Typically the commercial real estate agents are happy to provide data for free.

When evaluating your student body, think about the types of students who make it all the way to black belt. At what age do they begin training? Are they typically part of a family who is training or are they on their own? Do they balance martial arts with additional activities or is it their primary extra-curricular activity?

Look for patterns to help you define the ideal student type, and this will help you to refine your NSA process to attract the types of students most likely to stay with you for the long haul.

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