Your School’s Exterior: What Does it Say About You?
What message do potential students get as they walk up to your school, even before they open the door? Is the message that they are about to enter a clean, professional, friendly martial arts school or that they may be in for a visit to the “Dungeon Dojo?”
In the next few lessons, we’re going to break down the areas of your school into “zones” that contribute to the perception and atmosphere of what your school is like as your students will experience it.
In addition, you can think of these as “marketing zones” that when utilized properly can increase your enrollments, revenue, and retention by using specific promotional messages or visuals in each zone.
Let’s start with the exterior of your school.
Make sure the exterior paint on your building looks fresh and isn’t peeling, cracking and is clean. If someone walks up to a martial arts school that needs to be painted or looks as if it hasn’t been pressure washed in years, they’ll expect the inside of the building to be the same and may not venture in.
Be sure that all trash is picked up and removed from your exterior. Even if there is a night crew that takes care of it on a daily basis, you can’t afford to make a bad impression by having a dirty exterior.
If you have windows, be sure they are clean and sparkle.
Any signage that you have is clean and up-to-date. A faded sign, or a channel-letter sign with broken letters thanks to local vandals needs to be replaced and refreshed to maintain your image.
Marketing with your Buildings Exterior
From the outside of your school, make sure it’s easy to see inside your school and that it’s well lit with professionally painted lettering on the doors and windows. You could also use static cling graphics or lettering.
Many schools hire an artist to change the look of the window display or rotate their new student special every month with colorful tempera paint.
Make sure your school front is inviting and clearly states that “Beginners are welcome” or “Visitors are welcome, please come in.”
If you choose to post any student testimonials, promotional posters, etc; make sure they are matted, framed and look professional.
Post your hours on the door so if someone drops by when you’re closed, they’ll know when to return.
Have a display box of brochures outside the door that people can take when you’re closed. Be sure these are in excellent condition and that you refill them before you leave for the night. During business hours, keep the display empty to encourage people to come inside.
Action Steps: What to do now
Inspect the exterior of your building and make a list of anything that you would like done to improve the overall appearance or that needs to be updated.
Review the exterior once again like a marketer. What can you add or tweak to help you enroll more students?
Combine your list of appearance improvements and marketing improvements for your exterior and set deadlines for having the items completed.