Tag Archives: Marketing

The Web is not a Panacea

While there is some truth in this statement…. “Most people that look for something on the Internet use search engines like Google or Yahoo. If your site is one of the first that pops up when they enter “flight instruction salt lake city,” for example, you’re more likely to have the person visit your website, and give you a call if they like what they see.” The same could be said years ago for naming yourself AAA flight instruction to be first in the phone book, or having a large phone book ad etc…

A form of marketing such as the above is better than just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, or someone to walk in the door… but only a tiny tiny bit better. Its the same deal with having a twitter or a facebook page, its just a tiny bit better than doing nothing, even though social media gurus likely would suggest otherwise.

Marketing takes work, short cuts dont cut it, no matter how new, or how well they are sold. Marketing also takes risk. Folks fail to see the risk of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, the door to open, the facebook to get commented, or to be retweeted. Sitting around is perhaps the biggest risk, and one of the biggest reason flight schools dont have students… and also why aviation is so darn expensive.

This is not to say a flight instructor should not be available at the flight school, nor that one shouldnt use social media, nor have an entry in the phone book… but that simply doing the absolute minimum possible, and going back to sitting around and expecting results doesnt work out too well. I’ll go a bit further and say one should not dilute their efforts too much either. I’ve seen twitter profiles with 50 tweets abandoned, facebook pages with a month of entries, and no more, and blogs with 5 entries from 2 years ago. Such ends up a lot like that 4″ 2 column yellow pages ad… Its better than nothing, but its not going to bring in a ton of new customers either.

Consistent effort over the long haul is the answer, albeit testing and followup to see what works is critical. Just as one would not run 5 years of tv ads if they dont bring in business, neither should one pursue other marketing approaches if they cost more in time and effort than the customers they bring in the door.

Podcasting as a marketng and instructional tool

Podcasting is a tool a CFI can use to increase instructional efficiency, build business, and potentially provide an additional revenue stream.

First a definition. Podcasting , in its simplest terms is prerecorded and subscribable audio programs that can de downloaded from the internet and played on an Ipod, MP3 player, or even on ones pc through windows media player or numerous other programs. The subscription process is perhaps one of the big advantages that podcast provides, as contrasted with just a link to an audio file. The result for the user, is that new podcasts get loaded to their player device as they are published.

A great example of a CFI using a podcast is at The Finer Points . Jason Miller uses podcasting as a marketing, and an instructional tool. Per his web site, in less than 6 months, he has over 20,000 subscribers, and is expecting to reach 50,000 fans by the end of 2006. And unlike radio, and other media, podcasting is customer pull, as only people that want to hear your message will sign up for it. In addition, in perusing his forum, he has listeners all over the world.

As an instructional tool, one could augment a ground school course with a review of the prior lesson via podcasting. Repetition, one of the laws of learning is often difficult in ground school courses, due to time constraints, and the individual needs of ones students. With a podcast of the material covered, a student that is having difficulty trying to comprehend the material has yet another avenue for review, perhaps even while they are exercising, or driving to work. In addition, topics to be covered in a flight lesson or ground school could be introduced via podcast as well. Now, this does not replace the pre-lesson briefing, but by having a student listen to a podcast prior to a lesson, they may have time to formulate some questions during the pre-lesson briefing.

In addition, ones skills as an orator will no doubt improve as you create podcasts. Listening to yourself while editing a podcast can be an incredibly humbling experience, and as a result, one will make improvements to ones technique.

As a side benefit, podcasts can be a marketing tool. Adverstising in the traditional sense is a major pig in a poke, and it can become incredibly expensive. Podcasting is extremely low cost, other than some nominal fees for hosting, and the time commitment needed to create them. Pocasting also allows you to control the frequency of exposure. One is free to podcast as frequently, or infrequently as ones desire, which is impossible in traditional advertising. It also is highly focused, being that podcasts are customer pull, vs company pushed. Thus out of one’s subscriber base, excluding user error, and people who unsubscribe after a single podcast, all subscribers are interested in what you have to say. Talk about highly targted marketing! In addition, ones podcast focus can be on education, and the marketing benefits come along for a free ride.

Podcasting can also be used as an additional revenue stream, although monetization in this arena is still up in the air. One can charge others for short sections of commercial content, or one could even create a premium podcast offering focused on a specific niche for a fee.