Monday, May 2, 2011

[Karate] Five Star Martial Arts 2.0!

For the last month, I've been intensely focused on helping my good friends at Five Star Martial Arts take their business to the next level. It's incredible how much we've gotten done in just a few short weeks, and today is the official launch of Phase Two of their awesome Karate and fitness school.

One key component of Five Star 2.0 is that they now have an official website! They've wanted one for a long time, but getting the right team in place to create it and developing a cohesive vision that really captured their desire for a centralized web presence can be a little tricky. In the end, my lovely wife developed the site from soup to nuts, based only on a static mock-up in Photoshop, including some graphic design, photo editing, CSS, PHP scripting, server administration, and HTML. I had the job of writing all the copy. Luckily for us, we both had some solid background in our respective tasks, though it was the first time we'd worked together to build a commercial site from the ground up without a team of IT and Marketing departments at our backs. It was pretty cool, and everybody's super-happy with how it turned out!

Another aspect of Five Star 2.0 is the addition of two new fitness programs. Five Star now offers both Hatha Yoga as well as the ONLY Certified Russian Kettlebell classes in the whole Central New York region! Again, this took a while to pull together. We started reaching out to and interviewing Yoga instructors months ago, but it took time to find just the right fit. Meanwhile, I was contacting instructors in other fitness styles, and had the great good fortune to connect with the ONLY HKC-Certified Russian Kettlebell instructor within 40 miles! Russian Kettlebell is a hit all over the world for a fast, intense workout that combines strength-training and cardio in one workout. Plus, my wife loves it so I've gotten to see first-hand how quickly you can see the benefits.

On top of that, there's been a ton of search-engine optimization (more to come), Facebook improvements (we now have all the features of a "Place" page right on our Facebook "Business" page, including a check-in deal!), an active Twitter account that's already over 30 followers in just a couple weeks (not so hot if you're a bigtime Hollywood celebrity, but not bad for a little dojo in North Syracuse!!), and so much more I can't remember it all.

Plus, I set up our domain, including web-hosting and various email addresses, meaning that Five Star's owners and employees can finally have their own custom email addresses. It's not really a big deal, but it's not something anybody had even told them was possible and one more item on a fairly lengthy checklist for the month of April.

On top of all of that, we've got our first LivingSocial deal going live today, too! After the way our Groupon deal went completely ballistic, it'll be interesting to see what happens with this one. It's sure to be a smaller response, but we're anxious to see it. It's also one of the first (possibly THE first) LivingSocial Family deals offered in Syracuse.

Next up - Seminars! I'm making arrangements to bring some fantastic seminars to our dojo this summer and fall and I can't wait to announce them. I'm very much hoping to connect our school to the rest of the CNY martial arts community, make some great friendships, and share some knowledge.

I'm frankly amazed at how much we've accomplished so quickly. Of course, I've hardly seen my wife this month, but it's going to be an awesome thing when we start seeing the response. If you haven't already, definitely pop over to Five Star Martial Arts and let me know what you think. The "News and Events" page goes into more detail about some of what we're rolling out.

Now, off to work on more great stuff!

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