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Welland Taekwondo expands its reach with digital marketing

by Andrew Seale   |   March 14, 2024   |   Share this:  

Two decades ago, Kyounghee Nam walked into a Staples and printed 400 flyers for his recently opened Welland Taekwondo.

“Every morning as I was jogging, I’d put the flyers in people’s postboxes,” he says. It would take a few hours but Nam, who’d just moved to Canada from South Korea with his wife, had no community and knew it was the best way to reach potential students in Welland.

But things are different today.

“I just sit in front of my computer, make a post or share a couple of pictures (and) right away, it reaches a couple thousand people,” says Nam. “It’s amazing.”

For the past twenty years, Nam has steadily grown Welland Taekwondo’s reputation, bringing students through the door with his unique approach emphasizing life coaching through martial arts. He’s watched students graduate from the kindergarten classes toward mastery as young adults.

When he safely re-opened in the pandemic, he saw a new kind of student. “A lot of youngsters started losing their focus,” says Nam of the lockdowns that kept kids from going to school and socializing with their peers. “They didn’t realize what they were missing.”

He wanted to find a better way to reach those students who could benefit from the life skills that come with taekwondo. “I love social media but we were just using it to post pictures and maybe some video,” says Nam. He heard about the $2,500 grant and digital training from Digital Main Street, a program combining grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future.

It marked a transition point when Nam started to lean into the digital marketing aspect of the business. “The online training (had) a huge impact on me,” he says. The biggest insight for Nam was how to effectively advertise through social media.

He earmarked a small portion of the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant to buy a device for the studio but the majority of the money was spent on advertising. He started boosting his social media posts to reach wider audiences.

“People responded to me,” he says. “And then I realized, oh, you know what? A lot of people really connect with this kind of advertisement.” He spends a few hundred dollars, a month or every two months on social media advertising. “It reaches at least 20,000 people,” says Nam. “Every month, minimum, 15 to 20 new people join.”

He admits that seeing the direct link between social media advertising and growing his student base is a bit “addicting” but the ability to target his advertisements far exceeds what he was accomplishing when he was running around with a stack of flyers to stuff in mailboxes. Last year, he was able to open a second martial arts studio, this time in the Seaway mall in Welland.

He credits digital marketing.

“That’s how I could make the second club work well,” Nam says. “It brought a lot of people in.”

Check out Welland Taekwondo on social media. (Instagram, Facebook). 

To learn more about how Digital Main Street can support your small business, visit our Ontario programs page here

About Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.

Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.

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