Case Study - Tim Morehouse Fencing Club

The Only NYC Fencing Club Taught By Olympic Medalists


New York City is the capital of fencing in the United States. The best clubs in the entire nation, and debatably in the world, can be found in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The market is heavily entrenched and there are so many good clubs that it can be hard to differentiate. Tim Morehouse Fencing Club (TMFC), founded by ’08 Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse, had everything it needed to succeed except online visibility and a unique selling proposition. SPECTRE identified a need for social proof, local citations, and a more aggressive paid strategy. SPECTRE’s guidance on website optimization and brand-building plus its aggressive visibility strategy paid in dividends. TMFC is receiving more trial signups for its classes and summer camps than ever. It is even expanding locations and taking on new coaches.

Our Role

  • Overall Strategy
  • Content Creation and Distribution
  • Search Engine Optimization (On and off-page)
  • Reputation Management
  • Digital Ad Management
  • Analytics Management

The Objectives

Every SPECTRE client works with us to determine their key performance indicators (KPIs) before a project is initiated. In the case of Tim Morehouse Fencing Club (TMFC), we chose to focus on trial signups as the main driver of growth and new members of the club. The second indicator would be summer camp signups as a way to engage the best fencers and help them train for top competitions. What gets measured, gets done.

Increasing Search Visibility

The Challenge: TMFC had decent search rankings. The club tended to rank on the bottom of the first page, or on the second page. In most markets, this might not be a terrible spot to be in. However, we must remember that there are many world-class fencing clubs in NYC.  Most searchers would likely be satisfied upon clicking on the first or second link and sign up themselves or their kids. This meant that getting a better spot was critical to increasing trial and summer camp signups. TMFC’s position on the map pack (the top three reviewed local businesses for any given local search query) tended to be quite poor.

Accomplishments: TMFC went from the third spot on the map pack to number one thanks to reviews, and from the bottom to the top 1-3 spots on major search keywords. Using our SERP Domination Strategy, we saw TMFC in up to 5 spots in search: Text Ads, Map Ads, Map Pack, Yelp, and Organic Results.

We also got to work on their Adwords campaigns. Within a month, we’d reduced costs by over half. Now, we are acquiring three trial signups at the cost of what it used to take them to acquire one new trial signup. That is a major win for the club.

Social Proof

The Challenge:

Reviews are one of the largest drivers of purchases in this day and age. What’s even more fascinating is that it is purely the number of reviews, not just the rating. People are more likely to trust a company rated 4.2/5 with 10,000 reviews than a company rated 4.9/5 with 100 reviews.

Because New York is such a legacy market, TMFC had to come up against other clubs that had 20-30 reviews each. Before signing on SPECTRE, the club only had about 8reviews. It was clear there was some work to do!


We visited the main club in Portchester and spoke with the coaches. As a side note, we strongly believe in visiting every client to really take in what they’re all about. After speaking with the coaches, we engaged them in an action plan to get more reviews. As of writing, TMFC has 39 five-star reviews, far more than any other competing club.

In addition, the club has many strong competitive fencers, and SPECTRE developed press releases that detailed the rankings and medal counts of its fencers.

SPECTRE also updated the Wikipedia pages of Tim Morehouse and his fencing club to reflect changes as they happened.

Website Optimization

The Challenge:

TMFC serves a lot of different clients with a lot of different needs, and its home page can attest to that. However, this resulted in unclear CTA’s – calls to action. New users would frequently exit after the first page because there was so much going on. Just as worrying, there wasn’t a clear unique selling proposition for the club. We settled on this: The Only NYC Fencing Club Taught By Olympians. There are not too many clubs that are taught by Olympic Medalists, and we wanted that front and center as a means of encouraging prospects to sign up. Also, by optimizing the site, it would rank better in search.

The Accomplishment: For ads and search, we built out a separate funnel page to direct new users to trial signups immediately. We also optimized images and text on the home page to decrease its page size and speed. This would also help with keeping users on the site. Page size and usability increased by over 30%.


Tim Morehouse Fencing Club has increased its trial signups by over 100%. It has been adding new coaches to take in the new members. Its summer camp participants increased by over 45%.

Want to establish a powerful online presence and start getting highly qualified organic business? Contact us today!

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