Generating New Students! | ITF Taekwon-Do

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Generating New Students! | ITF Taekwon-Do

My Top 9 Strategies for Attracting New Members!

If you don’t have a steady flow of new members enrolling in your Taekwon-Do school each and every month, your school is slowly dying.

Whether you like it or not, no matter how good you are at what you do, your students are going to quit.  Some move, some get bored, some discover boys or girls, some start other sports, some go off to college and some just quit for seemingly no reason at all.  But the bottom line is that they quit.

Some sooner than others, but it’s probably 1 in 10,000 who start that will become lifelong Taekwon-Do practitioners like you and I.  And I think that’s even a little generous.

The average student lasts around 11 months.  This means that it is imperative to have a system in place that is continuously bringing new members in the door.

Today I’m going to share with you some of the low cost and easy to implement strategies I use for keeping a steady flow of new members coming in the door.  These are all strategies that you can implement in your school without buying expensive traditional advertising (commercials, print ads or radio spots).If you are looking for the magic bullet when it comes to attracting new members, me and my 16yrs of experience (plus my dad’s 30+ yrs of experience) can tell you that it doesn’t exist.  You don’t want to be reliant on only one way to bring in new members anyway.  If something were to happen and you were unable to use that method, you’d be in big trouble.

A mentor of mine, Dan Kennedy, once said, “I don’t have one way to get 72 clients, but I have 72 ways to get one.”

That’s the mindset you want here.  You want a broad base of events and marketing activities, working together, that are actively bringing you new people. 

I will go into some detail with each of these events, but what you want to notice is how everything is geared toward involving friends, introducing them to Taekwon-Do and eventually giving them the opportunity to enroll.

My Top 9 Taekwon-Do Marketing Strategies for Attracting New Members

1. Buddy Night-

Buddy Night is a once a month party we have for our Taekwon-Do kids and we encourage them to bring friends.  We give them invitations to hand out to their friends and on the back is a small form they must fill out to participate, like a permission slip.

The beginning of Buddy Night is almost exactly like what we’d do in an introductory appointment and then there’s a short workout.  This way the new kids learn the rules, get to do some moves, have fun with their friends.  Then we play games eat pizza and at the end they all bow out in front of the parents.

This blows the parents’ minds.  Most of them dropped off a crazy person and are now picking up a respectful future martial artist.

2. Buddy Week-

After each testing, every student gets two passes to give to a friend who would like to attend class with him the following week and try Taekwon-Do.  Similar to the Buddy Night invite in that we ask for their information like a permission slip to participate.

This is the perfect week to do this.  The students are pumped because they just promoted and that first week in class after testing, everything is new so the buddies that join in won’t feel like they are just being left in the dust.

3. Testing-

Your Taekwon-Do testings should be an event!  It should be a big deal when your students work as hard as they do and move up in rank.  Also, they don’t know how big of a deal it is until you tell them and show them.  When it’s a big deal to you, it will be a REALLY big deal to them.

We ask each student to invite their family and friends to come watch, to bring their cameras and to be a part of the celebration.  This is great for retention but also gets prospective students excited about training with us.

4. School Talks

For most of you, the majority of your students are children.  So where is the best place to find all the children in your community?  At school!

Depending on where you live, many public schools will not let anyone who is a “for profit” organization into their schools.  To this date I’ve never had any issues with private or charter schools.  However, this is why we don’t hand out flyers for classes or advertise in the school.

What we do is give a “notice of intent to promote” to the students who are ready and that notice must be signed by their parents and their teacher.  At the bottom of the note we mention the school talks that we do at no cost and ask them if they are interested.  We have several talks about grades, respect for others, self-discipline, etc.  If they are interested then we schedule a time to come speak to the class.

While we are in the classroom we hand out flyers for a free Kid’s Safety Class that they can attend that Saturday.  At the end of that class they have the opportunity to enroll or to schedule an appointment for more information.

5. Online Deals
(Groupon, Living Social, Amazon, Google,etc)

These are tricky.  If they are not done properly you can get overwhelmed with a ton of people who don’t really want to do Taekwon-Do but are just looking for a great deal.  Or you can over price your offer and get nothing at all.

You’ll have to test it, but there is happy medium where the price point isn’t so low that everyone jumps on it, but where those who have a genuine interest will invest in the deal and you will be able to handle the influx of new members.

6. Birthday Parties

These are amazing.  Who comes to a kid’s birthday party?  All his friends and their parents!

The birthday parties are similar to the Buddy Night in that we start them off with some basic Taekwon-Do training so they know what to do and how to act.  We highlight and make a big deal out of the birthday boy or girl, let them help teach, and give them a gift.  Then we open presents, they eat cake and it’s all over!

We say “You set up, We clean up!”


7. Holiday Gift Cards
Every holiday season we give each student a $100 gift card to give to the one person they would love to train with the most.  They usually apply it to their first month’s tuition and it gets many friends in the door!

It makes a great stocking stuffer for Christmas or for whatever else they may be celebrating.


8. Referral Contest

Once a quarter, or every other quarter we’ll do a referral contest.  Students who refer someone who enrolls in our basic program receive $50 in KTKD Cash to use towards anything they choose.  Then they are entered into a larger drawing to win a Grand Prize awarded at the end of the quarter.  Usually the Grand Prize is in the $100-$200 price range.


9. Family Memberships
We pretty much have an open standing offer to all families who train with us which is two free weeks and and a free uniform to try the program.  If only one person initially signs up, we let the parents know about the trial offer.  At that point many use that offer for themselves or another sibling.  This also helps to keep enrollment up in our adult program as well.


Please take these ideas!  Copy them, steal them, improve upon them, but most of all have them make a difference in the performance of your Taekwon-Do business.

One more thing.  As you are executing these marketing strategies be sure to find a way to collect your prospect’s information (Name, number, phone, email, address, birthdate, etc).  This will allow you to keep in touch with those who weren’t ready to sign up now, but may be in the future.

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About the Author:


taekwon-do phoenix, taekwon-do arizona, taekwondo phoenix, Phoenix taekwondo, itf taekwondo, taekwondo itf, tkd phoenix, taekwondo az, taekwondo Arizona, martial arts phoenix, martial arts Arizona, martial arts az, Phoenix Martial Arts, Arizona Martial Arts, Phoenix Karate, arizona taekwondo, karstadt, karstadt taekwondo, ITFJohn Karstadt

Senior Instructor – Karstadt Taekwon-Do

Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt.  He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline,  leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world.  He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do.  He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy.  Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children.  Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at


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