Questions & Answers.
Welcome to Go2KarateSites interview with Daniel Longoria, of Longoria’s Black Belt Academy. This is the second installment of the interview with Daniel Longoria so if you missed it go read part 1 now and enjoy!
What do you believe is essential to build and manage a successful martial arts school?
I have gone by the adage – if you do it right, with passion and integrity, the business end will take care of itself and that is because of where I am. By where I am I mean Lincoln, Nebraska. We’re in the Midwest in a very small town. Lincoln, Nebraska is the second largest city in the state of Nebraska and we are not even quite three hundred thousand people. When I say three hundred thousand people in the city, I mean the city is surrounded by corn fields and everything else. It’s not like a city such as Los Angeles, or Burbank, or Glendale and so on. They’re all attached and you can’t tell one from the next. Here in Lincoln, we’re by ourselves. There’s Lincoln and then the closest big city from us is about 50 miles away. That would be Omaha, Nebraska and it’s the largest in Nebraska. Omaha has about 500,000 people in the city of Omaha and then with the surrounding communities around it has about 750,000 total.
So to me, I couldn’t do that high-end kind of slick sales pitch. I just couldn’t get myself to push it that hard. I need to really service the people and focus on the students in the school and I need them to stay. Pretty much the average length of time our students stay and train is three and a half years. I’ve had people that their third generation have their kids and their grandkids coming in to train with me now.
What do you enjoy most about your career as a martial arts school owner?
I would say that the fact that it was a hobby when I started. Then it became this and it’s still a hobby to me. It’s always been a passion, so I never feel like I “go to work”. That is the first thing I enjoy the most. But it is working with the students that I enjoy the most. I am an eighth-degree black so I’ve been doing this a long time as one of the highest ranks in the ATA. But I still teach every class. I still teach every night and I still teach the tiny tigers all the way up to my Krav Maga & MMA teen guys. I just enjoy teaching. I enjoy watching people learn and then progress and try to be the best that they can be. Not that that can’t be frustrating! But at the same time, it’s what I enjoy doing. I just love working with people, watching them improve and get better. With the kids, all the confidence builds. I mean I even enjoy the little ones who are real quiet and shy on up to the ones that come in who are bullies, aggressive and have anger management problems. You know martial arts works many ways. It’s just seeing the kids be better and better and overcome their issues. That is the fun part.
Since joining Go2KarateSites how has your experience been?
It’s been great, I mean you know I’m averaging 5 to 6 inquiries on my website that I answer every day. The traffic is just incredible since we launched our website. Even from day one, it was just like holy smokes what is going on here! I think that first couple week we had I don’t know, it could have been ten or twelve a day. It was ridiculous! I mean it hasn’t slowed down. The leads just come more in spurts, but I’m at least 4 or 5 every day with just inquiries on people trying to get information. So it’s been great.
What kind of effect has Go2KarateSites had with your school?
Well, I’m getting better leads because they [website users] can navigate through it and see what they like. So it’s almost as if they are already sold and 80% of my inquiries are asking “how do I take advantage of this free week special” as opposed to just clicking on it and then nothing. They are literally asking what do I need to do in order to get started. Where before they would call you but you could tell they were just inquiries that would just say to you “well I don’t know anything about karate or what you guys have” and they would hang up. Now I just send them an email and they give me a call back for more information. Then we’ll get them registered for a free week. We get calls every day asking when is your next free week. So I would say that scheduling has been awesome. We are sitting at 82% right now for the people that are coming into the school from the website. So it’s huge!
Do you have anything else at your school going on that you would like to mention?
I’m doing a TV spot here at the end of this month so we’re going to see how that impacts the traffic to the site as well. So we are excited to see how that works together with Go2Karate and marketing that even further.