Running a flight school can be a very time-consuming enterprise that requires an owner-manager to focus a great deal of attention on day-to-day activities. It can be very difficult to keep classrooms filled with enough students to keep the business profitable, and if classrooms are full, they must all be monitored. In smaller schools the owner-manager is often personally involved in the ongoing education of students, for both academic and hands-on instruction. When classes are over, there are calls or visits from students who require extra attention, and there are calls from vendors who will transform your school into a national airline if you buy their products.
Equipment problems need to be solved immediately to keep planes in the air, student problems need to be solved to keep students in class, and accounting problems need to be solved to keep the business in the black. With all this going on, it is no wonder that a flight school owner-manager has precious little time to look ahead and actually plan for the future of the business. That being the case, here are a few ways that might help transform your flight school business into a more smoothly functioning one, even if you're overwhelmed by day-to-day details.
Fill classrooms by online marketing
Prospective flight school students these days will search online for the school they wish to attend, and that means your flight school must have an online presence in order to be found in those searches. You need an appealing website that will speak to the goals of most students, and the content of the site must be SEO optimized in order to appear high in the rankings of search engines. When your website pops up on the first page of search results, and is sufficiently interesting to engage prospective students, those leads for new students will start rolling in.
Build a sales funnel
A 'sales funnel' refers to a kind of inverted pyramid whose bottom tip leads directly to your business, with the upper and middle sections of the funnel being comprised of online components that direct a user to your business. At the broader top of the funnel, are blogs, press releases, and web pages containing your sales message. At the next lower level, are things like newsletters and how-to videos, followed by case studies, webinars, and e-books. The lowest level of the funnel includes brochures, testimonials, and ROI data. Altogether, these components function to direct potential customers to you, and build your business.
Establish scale for your school
The results of the first two recommendations above should help you to scale your business - to gain some understanding of just how much and how quickly your business will be able to grow. As your online presence increases your visibility on the Internet, and your sales funnel begins steadily supplying you with leads, you will be able to plan for the future more clearly and easily. The frantic life of the flight school owner can thus be simplified.
The successful flight school today must be operated and supported by modern marketing tools and techniques in order to survive against competitors. The shopping habits of buyers for all products and services - including flight training - now are tremendously influenced by online marketing and sales processes, so in order to transform your business into one that is competitive in today's market, these are techniques you should enthusiastically embrace.
photo credit: 2013 The Year Ahead via photopin (license)