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The Ultimate Guide To Effectively Communicating To Your Students

May 20, 2020

Communication to Students

Communication is a key factor in any successful business model. Being able to communicate with your students and their families about announcements, alerts, or general information is an important part of being a martial arts gym owner. Kicksite understands the value of being able to stay in touch with families and students who attend your classes, and we want you to be the most successful martial arts gym owner you can be. Determining which communication style is the most relevant (and how to utilize it correctly) will allow you to convey any new information to your students without overwhelming them. 

 


Preferred Methods of Communication and How to Use Them

Text Messaging

Why Use It?

Utilizing text messaging gives martial arts studios and bjj gyms the opportunity to keep in contact with their students outside of class in a quick, timely manner.  Being able to contact your students instantaneously allows them to have constant access to you and the updates of your martial arts studio. Text campaigns are effective when some might not be checking their emails or updating themselves on your social media profiles. However, the first question gym owners must ask themselves is “Is it appropriate to send this message as a text?”. If the message is a general and timely alert or it is a specific message sent to a student regarding absenteeism or a quick update, the answer is yes! If the message is geared towards a more personal matter or has important lengthy information, it’s best to save those for a different method of communication. 

 

  • The Good: 
    • Upcoming class reminder
      • Quick blast to students promotes good attendance 
    • Emergency Alerts 
      • Keeping families and students updated during potential crises, all while saving time in an emergency situation (inclement weather, last minute gym closing, etc.)

 

  • The Bad: 
    • Questions of a personal matter
      • Topics of personal instances are best kept to in person communication
    • How they are doing 
      • Questions such as this could be perceived as inappropriate by parents of students 
    • Long, drawn out updates 
      • Students and families might not retain the information provided

 

How to Utilize Texting Effectively 

The first thing to remember is giving your students and their families the option to Opt-In or Opt-Out to your text messages. This prevents your students from getting overwhelmed or annoyed by continued updates. Staying aware of how the families feel will show that you give them a chance to stay in contact with your martial arts studio or gym and once given the option, students and families are more likely to Opt-In! 

 

Keeping your voice business professional is also important to keep in mind when writing text messages for students. Quick updates can be sent using fast communication and easy to understand language to effectively get your message across. Text messages are read in an average of 5 seconds or less, so keeping your updates short and sweet is important to you and your students. Cutting out useless information from your texts can aid in preventing excess language from clogging the overall point of your text communication. 

 

The Takeaway

Keep your texts short! The less extra and unnecessary information you include, the more effective your texts will be. Overall, making sure your students and their families are connected to your martial arts studio gives both parties a chance to openly communicate. 

 

Email 

Why Use It?

Email marketing is frequently used by business owners to keep their students and families updated. On any given day, user’s inboxes are flooded with a bevy of newsletters and deal promotions from businesses. This makes it pertinent for you to make sure your email communication is visually appealing as well as useful to your students and families. Using an email builder allows you to create and optimize your messaging to fit the brand and flow of your martial arts studio. With email communication, studio owners can include more information that families can go back to later for reference. Utilizing this form of communication can open the door for regular newsletters and gym updates, as well as potential merchandise sales. It’s important to find a specific call-to-action that works best for each message campaign. 

 

  • The Good:  
    • Not time sensitive material
      • Keeping email correspondence to messages that don’t need immediate attention
    • Families of students who are hard to reach
      • Phone communication might not be accessible, but most martial arts studios ask for email addresses upon registration
    • Sending families and students documents
      • Registration for competitions or useful documentation for studio guidelines

 

  • The Bad:  
    • Complicated information that requires person-to-person explanations
      • Personal questions or any instance that needs to be addressed in person should not be held over email communication
    • Confidential information
      • There could be information that is sensitive to parents or students that should not be disclosed via email
    • Information that could be described in a text
      • Information that could be shared in a less formal method of communication 
    • Timely Alerts
      • Stick to text messages when you have to send a communication regarding class cancellations, weather, or other last-minute changes

 

How to Utilize Email Effectively 

The first step in communicating effectively is ensuring that the information provided in the email messages is relevant to your students and families. Differentiating the information provided between newsletters and promotional email formats will allow your students and families to quickly register and understand the messages. Each email sent should have a relevant subject line and go to the correct audience. If some information is more relevant to students, it should be sent to students, and the same information should be applied when it comes to information important to parents. Keeping subject lines short and relevant to the email content helps the visibility of the message. The overall tone of your email campaign should stay professional and on-brand for your martial arts studio. Make sure to begin with a proper subject line and end with a sign-off, signaling the end of the email correspondence. 

 

The Takeaway

Keep all information included in the email formatted in a visually pleasing manner and utilize key topics to enhance readability and retention. Provide emails to correct audiences and know when it is appropriate to use email marketing. 

 

Phone Call

Why Use It?

Communicating over the phone is probably the method least used by martial arts studios and gym owners. In an age of technology, everyone is looking to social and virtual platforms to gain information, but you’ll be surprised how many people still appreciate a phone call when necessary. Knowing when to call a student or their family is the first step in utilizing phone calls. This is to get very important information across when you are not with someone, or need an answer to a question right away. If the reason is for a non-emergency situation, like a discussion about a particular student, keep in mind the schedule of the families or parents involved. Making sure they feel understood and not bothered increases the likelihood of a successful phone call. Phone calls are also great if you want to hear how someone is doing personally and if there is any way you can improve your martial arts studio or gym. 

 

  • The Good:  
    • Emergencies 
      • A student could have gotten hurt during practice or at a competition, using a phone call to alert a parent is the quickest way to let them know of the situation. 
    • A discussion regarding a student 
      • Some students might need extra attention or discussion outside of the studio. Having parents schedule a phone call with you allows you to convey your concerns and potential next steps away from the student. 
    • Address student absenteeism 
      • If a student has been absent for a few weeks, it may be time for a phone call to check in with the family to see what is going on. A phone call shows that you notice and that you care. It will also help with customer retention.

 

  • The Bad: 
    • Quick information that could be disclosed in an email or text message
      • Some parents or students could be too busy to be on a phone call for long. 
    • Informal conversations
      • Sometimes these types of conversations are not welcome outside of the studio. Making sure you retain a level of professionalism is important when making phone calls to studio members. 

 

How to Utilize Phone Calls Effectively

Knowing when to make a phone call to a student or family member is important for retention and growth of your martial arts business. Gym owners might not need to make phone calls often, so when a phone call is being used, it’s best to keep it to important matters, especially if it is regarding the health and well-being of your student or their family. Make sure you are in a quiet space to talk, and listen fully to their responses, as this form of communication is especially reliant on two-way communication. Making a phone call to your students shows that what you are telling them is important, and also that you care. 

 

The Takeaway

Using a phone call as a form of communication holds a lot of responsibility. It is no longer the traditional way to contact a family member of a student or a student in your dojo, so knowing when to make a call is something to keep in mind. 

 

Social Media 

Why Use It?

Social media is something almost everyone uses on a daily basis. A new study shows that half of Americans open social media apps on their phones at least ten times a day, and reports that each user spends about 10 to 20 minutes on the app after opening. This means that having an active social media presence for your martial arts studio is important to remain visible to your students and their families. Taking your time to craft social media posts that keep information relevant to your students is a great way to stay connected. Kids are constantly checking and updating their social media profiles, so why shouldn’t you? Involving your students on social media can also be a fun way of getting their input on the day to day operations of your studio. 

 

  • The Good: 
    • Fun social media posts
      • These can range from student highlights and shoutouts to polls students can take to involve them in studio activities
    • Posts of the week 
      • Highlighting competition winners and studio achievements is the perfect way to showcase your students
    • General martial arts studio updates
      • These updates can also be an incentive for prospective students to be more inclined to join your studio

 

  • The Bad:  
    • Negative feedback for students 
      • Don’t post anything that could be construed as negative or inflammatory on your gym’s social media, this could rub your students the wrong way
    • Posts that are not relevant to studio updates
      • Anything that is outrightly personal should be kept to personal profiles or in communication with those outside of the studio! Your students don’t need to be updated on that 

 

How to Utilize Social Media Effectively 

Staying visible on multiple social media platforms allows your students and their families to keep up with your studio updates with ease. This level of connectivity shows how in touch you are with your students and how much you want them to be involved with your studio. Make a checklist to go over when you are writing social media posts. Are they relevant to martial arts? Is it too personal? Is the language being used fun and also professional? Am I posting something that is easy to engage with? Asking yourself these questions before posting can allow your social media to be optimized to generate the best results for your studio. Promoting an event or a new technique is a great way to get your students involved. 

 

The Takeaway

Keep your social media content engaging. Your students want to like and share their accomplishments with their friends too! Not only that, but social media opens the door to many prospective students, so making sure your language used on social media is inviting and engaging incentivises new students. 

Video 

Why Use It?

Right now, businesses are still using video calls in a time of COVID-19. This is something that you may have to keep in mind during the coming months. Many martial arts studio owners have been utilizing live or prerecorded video classes to keep students active in their lessons. Making sure this form of communication stays viable in your business plan can increase the effectiveness of your studio. Soon, we will be able to open back up and restart in-person classes, but for now, it’s important to remember that some students and parents might not feel comfortable heading back into shared spaces, especially ones with high-touch surfaces like martial arts studios. Continuing the use of video recordings and virtual classes means keeping in touch with your students and holding your students accountable to their lesson plans. Hosting calls with the same decorum will also increase the overall effectiveness of your communication plan. 

 

  • The Good:  
    • Hosting virtual lessons for students 
      • Parents might not want to send their students back into the studio just yet, keeping this option available shows that you care about your students and their health
    • Family check-ins
      • While some might not want to come in, you can always use the video calls as a way to check in on your students and their families to see how they are doing. Being able to see your face and your reactions creates a virtual bond that is important for communicating

 

  • The Bad: 
    •  Calls at random
      • Keeping the video calls on a strict schedule shows students and families that you respect their time and their existing schedule 
    • Unwelcome personal calls
      • Always make sure that your students and their families have communicated to you that they want private lessons or personal attention from you or their instructors

 

How to Utilize Video Effectively 

Find which app is the most convenient for you and your students, or use the Kicksite Video library feature. Hosting virtual lessons for everyone shows all of your students that you are there for them when they need it, and are accessible throughout the day. This is important because some families might not have access to one platform while others do. Finding which options are available shows that you care about your students and their progress. Video call etiquette should stay the same, being professional and sticking to lesson plans increase the productivity of your students and allow parents to see your level of dedication. 

 

The Takeaway

If you have been able to utilize virtual classes during the quarantine period, you should be able to continue this method of communication successfully. Navigating in the time of COVID-19 should be handled respectfully and responsibly, so remember that some students may need or want more time at home. Continuing to offer that method of communication to them proves that you will continue to be present in their training. 

 

Conclusion

Keeping the lines of communication open is always important, especially during times of uncertainty like COVID-19. Being able to effectively communicate allows you to keep the relationship strong with both students and parents alike, and gives your martial arts studio a sense of accessibility. Not only that but making sure your messages are relevant prevents oversight in delivery and won’t frustrate your students.

 

Ultimately, Kicksite hopes this guide to communicate will allow your business to thrive and set best practices moving forward.