Joey Nitti wrote:yeah that's probably the tough part: getting people to stick.
Since I started, there's been maybe 6-7 new people (maybe more, I'm only there on saturdays) who have shown up. Most of these new people came because my instructor ran a deal through LivingSocial.com, which got a decent amount of attention. Problem is, I don't know if any of them are "hooked". I mean, I have a feeling they're not..........I hope they are, but.....
My attitude is that, well, HEMA isn't a hobby for everyone, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's expensive, hard on the body, a big commitment and requires a lot from you to get 'good' at it. Running a group you're going to have a fairly high turn-over no matter how guided your advertising is. Equally though you might get an email out of the blue from someone that knows about HEMA, knows it's right for them and wants to train with you.
That said, I don't think that high attrition is a reason not to try your best to get new people involved. Sometimes people have an attitude of 'We'll just make the new guys do the basics (for HEMA something like learn the guards and the names of cuts). If they keep coming back after a bit then we'll get to know them and introduce them to the fun bits.' This isn't HEMA specific mind you - my archery club's introductory course is enough to make me think about quitting... I try and do the opposite, and spend the first session one on one with new people, normally guiding them towards discovering a technique for themselves (for example covering themselves with a cut), and then have a bit of free-play. Even if they don't come back for a second session then fair enough - hopefully they've had a fun time, a cool experience and might tell their friends about it.
As for advertising - I find that having a website that's open and honest about what you get up to is best. Cool pictures from the manuscripts are nice, but I'll echo the suggestion that pictures from classes, sessions or sparring are more likely to have people tempted to get in touch. Personally I also prefer receiving business cards over paper fliers. I think people are more likely to keep hold of them, and I find word-of-mouth advertising to be the most effective anyway. I found one of LSDC's
in my wallet the other day and realised quite how useful some would have been.
Also, the ungrateful public can use them as cigarette roach.