Recently I executed a quite successful marketing campaign for my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym. Because the results were so good, I decided to share my method here on my blog. There is some nitty gritty technical stuff involved, but you can easily find people to do these tasks from various places.

How to market Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for beginners

I focused my marketing efforts mainly on Facebook advertising. There were two reasons for this:

  1. The search volume for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (or related terms) in is so low, that I don’t believe I would have been able to drive the same amount of traffic to my website using Adwords.
  2. I’ve never done paid ads on Facebook, but there seems to be a buzz around it, so I decided to give it a go.

The reason for the beginner’s course was the fact that we’re starting to have skill gap. The guys who started training with us in the last 4 months are not beginners anymore, they are grasping the basics quite well.

In order to cater all the skill levels, the idea of the beginner’s course is just to bring new Jiu Jitsukas on a level where they can execute basic techniques.

In other words, I don’t want to scare new members by throwing them into the deep end of the pool right away.

Getting started with Facebook ads

First things first,
I installed the facebook pixel on my site. I wanted to start to gather a custom audience for my site. Since the site has been built with WordPress, I found a quite a handy plugin to install the pixel to my site.

The plugin is called: Facebook Pixel by PixelYourSite

The pixel, of course, gathers audience data constantly, so I can use the audience in the future campaigns as well.


I’ve been using an app called Ripl to create graphics for the advertising campaign. One of my creations got featured in Ripl’s Facebook page.

What does the pixel do?


How many times Facebook pixel has been “fired” on my site in the past 2 weeks.

Facebook pixel is a cookie, which tags your visitors. This leaves the guessing out on who you should be advertising. Because you have a custom audience, it makes A/B -testing of ads so much more effective. You can also create custom conversions.

Read more about the pixel

The beginners guide to the new Facebook pixel by Shopify

Here’s how I marketed the course:

  • My target was to get 15 sign up’s for the course.
  • The price for the course was originally 50€, but I ended up dropping the price to 40€.
    • Looking at it now, it might have been a mistake to drop the price, as the majority of the sign-ups came in the last week of the campaign. But hey, you try and you learn 🙂
  • I published a blog post on our website. Post explained in depth what the course is about.
    • The purpose of this post was to push people to go the actual sign-up -page.
      • I used 2 different versions of the landing page, and the latter one ended up bringing majority of the results
      • Let’s just say that, the first version of the landing page was maybe bit too “complex”
  • I shared the facebook post in about 10 different local facebook groups.
  • I re-posted the course advertising on the Facebook page and in Instagram 3 times/week.
    • Based on the analytics in Bitly, facebook was the clear winner when it comes to clicks on organic postings.
    • However, Instagram posts got lot more engagement, but this is due to excessive use of hashtags 😉
      • I started the gyms Instagram account 2,5 weeks ago and we already have 200 (non-paid) followers.

Challenge of using PayPal as payment method

I think the fact, that I had to use PayPal as accepted payment method decreased the conversions quite a lot. I already contacted Stripe to get a quote from them for the future. I want to have the checkout happening on my site. When the payment has to be done somewhere else then in your site, it will always have a negative affect on conversions.

Enter the email marketing and automation


There was another reason why I wanted to people to sign up via Website – I wanted their email address.

I used Zapier to create an automation on this. When a person pays the course fee via PayPal, their email address is automatically imported to a specific mailing list. They will receive a weekly mail. The mail has 3 purposes

  1. To collect feedback from people. Ensure that they are happy about the content of the course.
  2. Get more affiliate sales – People will need specific gear BJJ, and I can recommend them products that I found good.
  3. Get people to renew their membership on the last week of the course – I will make them an offer that they can’t refuse 😀

MailChimp – Email marketing made easy


For a number of subscribers I generated, I bought prepaid credits from MailChimp. With these credits, I can create automated marketing emails. I really like Mailchimp, user interface is very clear and you they have very good knowledge base

Mailchimp offers ready-made templates for your emails,  but it might be a good idea to make your emails look like your brand does. You can custom email templates from Fiverr around 50€. This includes setting up the template in your MailChimp account. The only thing you have to do is to start writing the emails. Trust me, 50€ for email template is not a lot, especially considering the time you save by not learning how to create mobile friendly email templates…It’s hard.

IFTTT – Automation made easy and fun


I also set up another automation. I wanted to get all the names of the people who signed up for the course in a Google Spreadsheet. For this purpose, I used a recipe from (If This Then That, it is absolutely brilliant and requires zero programming knowledge and it is FREEEEE).

Here’s direct link to that particular Applet

Don’t overlook email marketing, The ROI in email marketing is extremely high, you can reach your followers directly without spending any money on advertising. Give people something for free (maybe a trial class?), so they have reason to sign up on your mailing list.

Return on Investment – the hard numbers

It is important to crunch the numbers to see was the campaign profitable.

I was very pleased with the results and the fact that demographic targeting in this campaign was spot on! Not only we got the desired result, but we got people signing up, whom I believe will stick around longer than just the beginner’s course. Below you can see the breakdown of expenses and the results.


  • Paid advertising: 25€
  • Flyers 5€ (made with Canva)
  • Prepaid credits for Mail 20€

Total investment: 50€

And that’s it! Of course, there was tons of time spent on researching, brainstorming and creating content. At the moment, I don’t have the luxury of outsourcing all tiny tasks. But that day is coming sooner than later 😉


I ended up getting a total number of 17 people signing up for the course.
Each sign up is worth 40€

Gross profit: 680€ – 50€ = 630€

Return on Investment: 1260%

One might say, that this campaign was quite successful. I’m definitely going to use Facebook Ads later on in other projects, as it seems to be a very robust way of driving traffic to a website. The challenge of Facebook ads is the targeting, you need to know your customer personas.


All and over I am very happy with the results that campaign produced. There was so much work involved in this campaign, so many things to learn that It is better not to think about the hours I’ve spent working on this. Also, I designed the whole program for the beginner’s course by myself.

17 people may not sound a lot, but it is worth mentioning that Malta is very small country and jiu-jitsu is practically non-existent here. Rather than marketing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for people, I have to educate people on what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu actually is.

If you have a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym and you’re looking into getting new customers, I highly recommend using Facebook ads and trying to maximize the profits with email marketing.

The gym is starting to get to a point, where I have to start looking for a bigger space. In other words, we are soon going to outgrow our current venue. I have a very clear image in my head, how the gym would look like and if I have to move out, I want to make the place look nice from the beginning.


I also won the gold medal last weekend in Torino. It was first ever medal in NoGi 🙂