How important is the website quality for your school?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by BJJ Coffee Drinker, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. BJJ Coffee Drinker

    BJJ Coffee Drinker Amateur Fighter

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    For any small business or bjj school, having an online presence or a website is essential for growth.

    However, for someone who has never made a website, there are so may options nowadays to get started. Some of my tech friends/students who are pretty business savvy have some great ideas for websites and are helping me out. However, the cost of maintaining the sites seem kind of high to me.

    What I'm saying is the website for a BJJ school seems to require information about the school, features, schedules, and pictures. It is something to be updated but it doesn't seem like something that needs frequent updating, unlike a social media page. It doesn't seem to me a BJJ school website needs to be crazy fancy or anything, or am I being too simple minded about this?

    I think a free website maker and a small fee for hosting the site seems to be enough, or am I skimping out on this?
     
  2. Russky

    Russky Green Belt

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    Unless you are competing with other schools in your area just a basic website with schedule and contact information is all you need. Registering your business on Google and Yelp with reviews are more important, I think.
     
  3. BJJ Coffee Drinker

    BJJ Coffee Drinker Amateur Fighter

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    If I were competing with other schools, as there are lots of other school in my city, what changes would you suggest with the website in that case?
     
  4. lechien

    lechien Gold Belt

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    Plus one for the registering your business on Google as it would show on Google which means on top of Google search page.
     
  5. lechien

    lechien Gold Belt

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    This is what I did.

    I bought a name and develop a blog with it.

    Google owns blogger.

    Google likes new updates and I went to the top of page one on Google after a few months.

    Once could say a blog is not very professional but it seems to work for me.

    The advantages is that the potential customers would read the blog and if they like it, they will to train.

    The commercial generic Bjj website are a bit of hits and misses and usually try to entince people to try out a class for free.

    I write all my program 6 months in advance, write how much I charge and it seems to work.
     
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  6. Russky

    Russky Green Belt

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  7. chubbman

    chubbman Yellow Card

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    Make sure class prices and a timetable are available. Some gyms have websites that look like catalogues with no prices and it’s very off putting. These tend to be the ones that wanna lock you into a contact and bleed you dry.... don’t be that gym.
     
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  8. BJJ Coffee Drinker

    BJJ Coffee Drinker Amateur Fighter

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    Oh, I see. so we're back to putting prices online? I remember a while back, the craze was not putting prices on line and getting people to walk in and check out your school first. I always thought not putting prices online was a great idea, even i though I don't have contracts.

    Genuinely curious, not trying to challenge you on that.
     
  9. 2008

    2008 Green Belt

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    Most important thing: show the pricing!

    I can't stand websites that give you all sort of information except the price.
     
  10. 2008

    2008 Green Belt

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    There is one gym that has everything on their website except the price. Two other gyms show prices. I'm considering joining only the gyms with the price shown.
     
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  11. efficientjudo

    efficientjudo Yellow Belt

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    Having a website is important - but I think for the most part it can be a one pager and doesn't need to be updated regularly. Social media, mainly Facebook will be where most the activity happen, supported by Twitter / Instagram if you're comfortable keeping regular activity on them, but you can live without these.

    I don't think you need a website to talk about the history of the martial art, why people should train, the club facilities etc. Just where, when, how much and who with should be enough, link to FB saying "if you want the latest updates etc check out our Facebook page."

    Putting too much on the website means it will need to be kept up to date and edited more regularly - and the worst thing is if it ends up out of date, e.g. people turning up for classes that have since changed time.
     
  12. Quebec Nick

    Quebec Nick Green Belt

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    Make sure you're somewhere in the first page on google, having a good and active facebook / google + page will help

    As a BJJ practionner, I want the price / conditons, and the full schedule including open mats, if 10 guys come every sunday morning put it in the schedule as an open mat.

    I also want to see photos and videos, recent ones to get an idea of the vibe, the number of people at classes, the number of white, blue, purple belts. It's tougher to update a website, but facebook is a great platform for it.
     
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  13. TheMood

    TheMood Blue Belt

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    The website for a school is very important. People should be able to find out who teaches, what the schedule is, and your location on your website. I was looking for schools for a friend of mine and a lot of places did not have this basic information on it. In this day and age people don't want to call a school to find out the basic information.

    Price is nice but I have not seen it on many sites from what I remember.

    The other things that are important are where you end up on search results and having some form of social media since you are in a competitive market. If people can't find you on Google or Google maps that will be bad for your school. Having a Facebook page or something similar will give you a place to update information on the school easily. Then you will not have to keep messing with your school's main website. Use the social media for current happenings.
     
  14. Balto

    Balto Silver Belt

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    Having the price is very nice for a portion of your customers. It is not so nice for the gym owner however, which is why you see so many schools with it off.

    There has actually been a trend back toward showing the price. It's more of a function of the current meta though because it's an easy way to indicate that you aren't involved in one of the various martial art school marketing scam networks. That alone has legitimate value these days, perhaps enough to outweigh the fundamental concerns of showing it.

    Fundamentally though showing the price is not very helpful to the gym owner. I don't think it matters that your competitor gyms know your price that way because truth is they will know your price whether you post it or not.

    It comes down to the consumer. The majority of your customers won't be all that price sensitive so as long as you are within a reasonable range, it doesn't matter much to them. In that case, posting it is net zero since they will want to check you out anyway. It won't change behavior much, if at all.

    There is a smaller group of customers that are very price sensitive. These customers want the price up front on the website. It will change behavior then. They will not check you out if they think the price is too high. They will also gravitate towards whatever gym is priced the lowest.

    The problem is that unless you are the lowest priced gym around, while you help the customer by posting the price, you aren't exactly helping yourself. If you didn't post the price, there's a greater chance the customer might come to you anyway, thus giving you a chance to show your gym to them.

    Customers will say they are under no obligation to give you additional sales opportunities so you should just post the price. That is fair. But it's also fair to say that the business owner is under no obligation to post the price beforehand. So you end up with this weird pricing disconnect and standoff.

    A super cheap gym tends to have trouble surviving too because it is usually so cheap for a reason. The new students it gets on price either 1) quit within a few months like most or 2) stay and get serious about BJJ. If they fall into the 2) category, they tend to realize within a year or so they aren't at the best place and switch out on their own.

    I understand the frustration, but from a gym owner perspective, it makes quite a bit of sense to not post your price in most cases.
     
  15. 2008

    2008 Green Belt

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    I think having the price shown is a good thing because you'll attract the serious paying student IMO. Before I took an official break from my first and only gym I was a loyal paying member for 6 years. Before I even walk through the door I want to know first whether I can afford the payments. I don't want to be in for a sticker shock.

    Plus I imagine owners rather deal with students who could be steady paying members for a few years vs. dealing with students who will struggle to pay, pay for a few months, can't afford it anymore and leave. Showing the price will help weed this out.
     
  16. 2008

    2008 Green Belt

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    More thoughts on pricing I forgot to mention.

    If the price difference between gym to gym for unlimited training is between $20-$30 that shouldn't be a huge deal breaker for attracting serious students or why your losing students. Most BJJ gyms that are legit and know their worth will not undercut their prices drastically like that. In my area unlimited is 150/month. I can't see any legit gym doing unlimited for 100/month or even 115/month for new students, that would be unheard off. Students looking for the cheapest gym to train at probably won't last long, so why even bother with those types anyway.
     
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  17. Balto

    Balto Silver Belt

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    You're absolutely right that you need people to actually pay on time. This is critical. Chasing down checks every month is a nightmare.

    That being said, the last time I actually saw a gym owner dealing with chasing down checks was in the 90s when I was in high school learning how my Karate school worked. The technology wasn't there back then. But for at least a decade now, it's been there and solved this problem no matter what the payment structure is.

    Contracts or not, just about every school gets you on an auto bill. It can come from a credit card or just a regular bank account. The students who are super reluctant to do this (pretty rare) can just pay a chunk in advance like six months or something. Other than that they are usually just refused. I don't know any gym owners that chase checks month to month anymore.

    Oddly enough, I've seen the cheapest school attract the most reluctant to pay students. That is because they have a price in their head ($0 or close to it) and the cheapest school is closest. The owner of the cheapest school in our area is a friend of mine, and he is constantly dealing with this problem. People just simply do not want to pay even though he's the cheapest.

    It causes a lot of problems within the school actually and ends up driving a lot of his former students over to our gym. He has a successful business other than his gym which is his main source of income, so he is fine with this. He will probably always run a gym whether he makes any money off of it or not.

    It is interesting to watch the dynamic though since it's counterintuitive. You'd think people would be most willing to pay at the cheapest gym (the fees there are VERY low), but it's exactly the opposite. I believe the only reasonable explanation is that there is a strong self-selection bias at work, and people who don't want to pay naturally gravitate to the cheapest possible option (and then attempt to skirt payment there as much as they can).
     
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  18. EGDM

    EGDM Blue Belt

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    Gyms should post their prices for both sets of considerations that Balto mentions. Yes, you'll chase off the price-sensitive students - but that's probably a good thing because they were going to be a financial pain in the ass anyway. On the flip side, I have personally written off multiple gyms because they refused to tell me their price online or over the phone. I have plenty of disposable income to support BJJ, but not nearly enough time to show up in person and put up with that kind of secretive bullshit. If you act like you're hiding something, I assume you are and will move on.

    And don't get me started on schools that won't post the schedule because "it's too much trouble to keep it up-to-date".
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  19. Balto

    Balto Silver Belt

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    The problem is that the assumption that price sensitive students never change doesn't really hold. A lot of them start that way but will change after they see things up front for a bit. Sometimes that happens while they're checking out gyms; sometimes that only happens after they've tired of the cut rate gym for a while.

    Not posting also chases them off if they are still in the second category. It's not like the price gets magically lower. So unless they change, they will leave you alone anyway.

    The danger of getting written off you mention is very real and is part of the meta these days. That's why price posting is coming back to an extent.

    The thing is I'm not entirely convinced that gyms actually get written off permanently that frequently. I think experienced guys (the ones who would know the meta enough to write it off this way in the first place) tend to pick their gyms based on what's best for them regardless of whether price is posted.

    One real world example I saw of this first hand was a friend who opened his own gym in an area where nobody posted prices. He posted prices for his new gym and was pretty much the only one in town who did it. He made a big deal about it, and it was part of his marketing. He attracted a chunk of students, and they all swore that it was so much better to do things this way. Never would they go back to a school that didn't post prices openly.

    Well a few years later, one of his instructors split off and took many students with him. At that new gym, there were no prices posted. Quite a few of the students who swore that they would never do this had no problem switching over. They switched immediately, permanently, and really had no qualms about it whatsoever.

    My takeaway from that is that they had intimate knowledge of the different instruction styles/gym vibes and made their decision based primarily on that. I am sure they would have preferred more up front pricing but at the end of the day, it apparently just was not a primary factor. This was in contradiction with prior statements but that happens all the time in business.

    Nowadays I could really see going either way with the prices. I don't own a gym (just help my friend teach at one and with some of the operational stuff), but he doesn't post his prices. I would advise him to keep it that way too if he asked, although I'm much softer on that recommendation than I used to be.
     
  20. Auspex

    Auspex Brown Belt

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    We don't put prices online, nor will we just give out our price over the phone. Our facility is quite a bit bigger with more amenities and options for training - Our price definitely reflects that. If you are just price shopping then you will not understand our prices. We will tell you the cost once we've showed you what makes us better.

    We understand both aspects, but we are thriving and have a great relationship with all of our students - it's working for us. :)
     

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