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5 Proven Strategies To Convert Trial Memberships To Paying Students

March 27, 2019

Converting trial memberships into paying members.

After utilizing our suggestions on how to create a lead-generating website, your website is finally bringing in leads and people are signing up to come in for a free trial membership. Great work! But, the work isn’t over. How do you make sure that people coming in for a free trial actually become monthly paying members?


Many martial arts studios offer drop-ins and class pass options, which is a great way to get people in the door, but it gives them the opportunity to try it out without an ongoing form of payment. The problem with only offering these options up front is that you can’t guarantee a set income each month, and you never know when to expect these students for class.


By moving your free trials and class passes into memberships, you can predict future revenue and take the decision making out of members’ hands.

   1. Make Their First Experience Memorable


A person filled out the lead-generation form on your martial arts website to try a free trial membership — now what? Make sure to follow up with them immediately, either through a phone call or automated email message through your martial arts software system. Get to know them, their family, and why they are interested in your studio.


We know that managing your martial arts business is hectic and you have a lot to do each day, but it’s important to take the time to listen and get to know this potential student. Some of the best reviews martial arts instructors receive say that their students felt valued and cared for from the very beginning. After getting to know them on the phone or in person, invite them to their free trial class on Monday. Make sure your front-staff knows they are attending so that they can welcome them immediately when they enter the studio.


After their free trial class is over, make sure you have time afterward to talk with them about their experience. When you start to talk about pricing options, make sure the monthly recurring membership is the most attractive option for them.


   2. Offer Membership Options


Giving your potential students the membership options helps move them away from drop-in classes or passes. Keep things simple by only offering two to three options at different tiers. Based on what you learned about their life, their schedule, and their goals, you can give them options of one class per week, two classes per week, or an unlimited amount of classes per week. Another simple way to move students from drop-in classes to the monthly membership is to offer them a sign-on discount during the week they had their free-trial. This focuses on the immediacy of the discount and gets them to sign on sooner than later while they’re still excited about their experience.

Membership Options:

  • 1. One class per week
  • 2. Two classes per week
  • 3. Unlimited classes per week


3. Do Away With Class Passes 


In the long term, the best way to ensure converting trial classes to members is to do away with class passes and drop-ins entirely. Many martial arts studios are leaving this model because drop-in or class pass options undermine memberships and put your business at risk for not having ongoing monthly revenue coming in.


4. Use A Martial Arts Software That Includes Automated Billing And Payment Processing 


The only way to guarantee that your students pay their monthly memberships is to guarantee you have a martial arts software system that has payment processing and automated billing in place. Don’t waste time sending out monthly invoices and trying to track down payments from your students. With automated billing and payment processing, you know your members are billed and charged on their credit card automatically. With this feature, you’re able to set it up in your martial arts software system and then essentially forget about it. This gives both you and your members the freedom to continue their membership without having to set up their payment and renew every single month or whenever their class-passes run out.


5. Tuition Collection


As a busy martial arts business owner, we know the last thing you want to do is hunt down payments from your members. At Kicksite, our team developed a custom martial arts software system that integrates with your tuition collection preferences. The tuition collection system we created is simple to use, helps eliminate past-due follow up calls and late fees, and stores all their credit card information securely.

With Kicksite’s tuition collection system you can set up recurring invoices, receive daily reports about transaction summaries, and establish a merchant account with our preferred credit card processing merchant provider, Solupay. We guarantee our system to have the most advanced security and anti-fraud features.

Benefits of Kicksite’s tuition collection software feature:

  • Simple to use
  • Eliminate past-due invoices
  • No more follow up calls
  • Secure credit card storage
  • Recurring invoices
  • Transaction reports
  • Established merchant account



In conclusion, by

1) setting up your lead forms on the website,

2) responding with immediacy and authenticity

3) giving membership options up front

We guarantee you’ll see improvement in converting free trial class participants into paying members.