Masterclass 3: Digital Marketing

Welcome to the third and last of this Masterclass series. Today we’re going to talk about something really important: Digital Marketing. It’s the third pillar of your business which is essential to organising your academy. Let me just recap on what we’ve already gone over. Our first class was about the Technical Structure, detailing how to separate the levels, and we talked a lot about how the introductory class is linked to the “Life Time Value” of your student. Class 2 was about the Financial Structure, where we explained our objective of turning Jiu Jitsu into a business, and not just a job.

Now we’re going to talk about a new challenge. When we have the methodology, and the financial management in place we have a new challenge — Digital Marketing — which essentially asks the question:

How am I going to bring new students into my academy?

I’m going to tell you a story about how I used to do it. In the old days, when we started to do marketing in Jiu Jitsu we used pamphlets and did demonstrations in colleges, or whatever we could to try and promote Jiu Jitsu, but there wasn’t really a strategy behind those actions. I was at my academy at a time when we had organised the methodology, and the financial structure. Everything was in order, but my student number wasn’t growing. I didn’t have people coming into my academy, so my student number stayed the same.

I did a marketing campaign to hand out pamphlets in my academy in Vila Olympia, a really popular neighbourhood with lots of offices. I organised this pamphleting campaign and I contracted a team to help me. We distributed 15,000 really well-designed pamphlets, explaining exactly what I wanted, giving every detail. What happened? With 1 week of this campaign? 15,000 pamphlets.

How many students?


Zero students. Marketing in that way just didn’t work anymore. What was the take home message? That the consumer’s behaviour had changed. The way people were buying was different, and we were still trying to push content in the old-fashioned way. It was a turning point, where I realised this method of marketing wasn’t going to work anymore. We weren’t getting any results so I started to look for solutions on the internet, and on FaceBook and I found a guy named Junior Crocco. He spoke about marketing in gym academies, and “how to fill your academy year-round,” which was his slogan.

I thought, what is this guy talking about “academies full year-round?”

So, I went to see. Our story together has been really great, we’ve become good friends and have been working together ever since. Last week I was lucky enough to be a speaker at a huge event he hosted for Digital Marketing called FB Live. He takes part in my projects as well and there is a whole class dedicated to him in my online course “Live off Jiu Jitsu,” where he talks about marketing strategies. He’ll also be here during our summit at the end of the year. He’s a great partner, and someone who has dedicated himself entirely to digital marketing of academies.

So coming back to the story, I saw this announcement and I decided to check it out, he was inviting people to take part in a digital marketing event. I went to this event, which was the same one that I spoke at this year. This was 3 years ago — not so long ago. I was experiencing then what probably a lot of you are experiencing now.

Anyway, I arrived at this event, and he started to talk about things which really made a lot of sense to me. I saw there were other businesses within the event and one of these was the management software company that I use today. I returned from the event and phoned the director straight away.

He invited me for a coffee, to tell me exactly what digital marketing was and how I could use it to better structure my business. I started to access the digital marketing tools, and to study the strategies. I’m going to try and show you that path, so you can put together a strategy that makes sense for you. I did various tests, and understood that,

Rule no.1 in Digital Marketing was sharing content. I need to share relevant content with my audience, to attract potential clients, and to become a reference in that area. I didn’t really know what to do, I hadn’t produced much content before, and he said I could just use whatever I wanted but I had no idea what kind of content I could share with the intention of capturing leads. Does everyone know what a “lead” is? It’s someone that’s interested in your topic and gives you his contact information.

So, what did I do?

I had written a book many years ago, which wasn’t circulating in the Jiu Jitsu market anymore but I had it in digital copy. I thought, why don’t I share this with the Jiu Jitsu community. I did this, and in the first week, I had more than 4000 leads. More than 4000 people had downloaded my ebook and had given me their contact information. I asked for: name, email, whether they practiced Jiu Jitsu or not, if so what belt etc. I had a form for them to fill out which was fairly extensive (not actually advised if you want to convert a lead) — the rule of thumb is the shorter the form, the greater the conversion, but because I was giving a product that I believed to have value, I asked for a lot of information, and I received all that information. I had almost 10,000 downloads of this product. This first step that I did showed that there was a lot of potential. Then I did a prize giveaway of an autographed kimono, and again, lots of leads. I started collected these leads, and with this base

I started to create and share my content — things that I thought were interesting for someone that practiced Jiu Jitsu. I wasn’t talking about teachers, I was talking about students. I wanted to convince them Jiu Jitsu was for them, so I spoke about various things. The result of this strategy was that in 8 months, my student number had reached maximum capacity. Do you remember in the first Masterclass where we talked about a calculation for maximum capacity, where 5m2 is the area of tatami that’s comfortable for the student, multiplied by the number of classes you have. Within this calculation I arrived at my maximum capacity of students.

But what now?

From there came the moment to increase the price of my monthly fees. My academy had a waiting list, so it was the perfect time to re-price. There was a natural rotation, some people cancelled their plans, and others entered; the average spend per student started increasing. The difference that I had in monthly fee’s was 30%Every month I exchanged 20 students paying 30% less, for 20 new students paying the new amount, so even with an academy at capacity I could increase the amount coming into my academy. This was my story with digital marketing and for those who might have the notion that conventional marketing still works, or for whoever just relies on word-of-mouth in order to bring students into the academy, I want to show you where to start. Whoever still uses word-of-mouth probably gets to that point very quickly where you get, and lose students, so your academy doesn’t grow. The problem is it’s difficult to reach lots of people in this way. You’ll hear, “word of mouth is my way of advertising….it’s good.” That may very well be, but there’s no room to grow, and if you can’t grow you can’t get results.

Digital marketing needs to start with your Website.

What is a website?

It’s what represents you on the internet, it’s your face on the internet. You could have a beautiful academy, but if someone clicks on your website, and it’s difficult to navigate, or isn’t responsive (doesn’t work well on a mobile phone) you’ll lose them right there. Today, 70% people access sites from their mobile phones, so if your site is completely disfigured on your mobile phone, your potential client won’t be able to find anything. Looking after your website has to be the first step

To be continued….




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