Your Sign and Its Role in Marketing your Martial Arts School

Not only do you want to know what zoning limits you have on signage, you have to know what rules the landlord may have for signs in his plaza. Being in a great location is not good if you can’t let people know about it.

Your school sign does more than alert traffic that your school exists. Your sign may attract potential students and give them an indication of what to expect. Deciding on what kind of sign and its design is a process as important as deciding on the interior design of your school. This is especially true for a new school seeking to make that critical first impression. Many established schools we see have old, worn signs that give the impression of a tired, worn-out school. The sign has lost its vibrancy and excitement. An old pub may be able to get away with a tired old sign, but a martial arts school thrives on excitement and energy.

Some new schools make do with a large vinyl banner, which clearly indicates the school is not only unestablished but also not too sure it will even make it.

A sign is an advertisement, but it’s more than that. A sign creates expectations in a student or family. What expectations might a student create with an old, faded, or broken sign, compared to the expectations of someone seeing your clean, professional, well-kept sign?

A Worn Sign Signals

Low tuition (as in “low rent”)

Lack of pride in the school

Owner does not care about image

School is outdated

School may be dangerous

School is unprofessional

A Professional Sign Signals

Higher tuition (professional fees for professional service)

Pride in the school

Owner cares about image

School is up to date

School is probably safer

School is professional

How to Choose a Good Sign

Step one is finding out what your local ordinances are regarding signs, then what your landlord allows. You do not want to make an investment in a big sign, only to have to take it down or pay a fine. Size, number of signs, lighting, colors, mounting, and the location are all subject to ordinance and landlord restrictions. The local sign-makers are usually on top of those issues; check with them.

How Long Should Your Sign Last?

As long as possible? Probably not. How long is your lease? If you move, can you move the sign with you? What if you are strapped for cash at the start-up stage and can’t afford the sign you want? You may just need a good sign to get by until you can upgrade.

Universal Truths About Signs

Less is Best

Resist the urge to put too much information on your sign. What about a phone number and/or website? They can work, just make sure they fit into the design of the sign.

Bigger is Not Always Better

Not only are large signs harder to get approved, but they may also not be as attractive to the eye or, worse, could scream COMMERCIAL to the potential clients. Compare the golden arches of McDonalds to a local cafe. Who has the bigger sign, and what does it convey?

Good Signs Cost More for a Reason

Unlike much of your advertising, a good sign is a one-time investment. Don’t go cheap. To get the best return on your investment on your sign, take the time, money, and effort to make it a memorable one.

Widely recognized as the man who revolutionized the martial arts industry, John Graden launched organizations such as NAPMA (National Association of Professional Martial Artists), ACMA (American Council on Martial Arts), and MATA (Martial Arts Teachers Association). Graden also introduced the first trade magazine for the martial arts business, Martial Arts Professional.John Graden’s latest book, The Truth about the Martial Arts Business looks into key strategies involved in launching a martial arts business and includes Graden’s own experience as a student, a leader and a business owner.Graden is the author of six books including The Truth about the Martial Arts Business, The Impostor Syndrome: How to Replace Self-Doubt with Self-Confidence and Train Your Brain for Success, Mr. Graden has been profiled by hundreds of international publications including over 20 magazine cover stories and a comprehensive profile in the Wall Street Journal.Presentations include: The Impostor Syndrome, Black Belt Leadership, The Secret to Self Confidence, and How to Create a Life Instead of Making a Living, John has taught his proven and unique principles of success to thousands of people on three continents since 1987.From keynote presentations for thousands to one-on-one coaching sessions, John Graden is a dynamic speaker, teacher, and media personality who brings passion and entertainment to his presentations.

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