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Author Archives: Greg Shula

About Greg Shula

Greg has spent a decade analyzing business and marketing performance metrics of the companies he has worked with. He uses his analytical mind and investigative skills to find trends and simple answers from complicated data sets. Greg is also an amateur photographer who loves to capture nature from new perspectives.
  1. CourseStorm vs. Regpack: Which Is the Best Fit for Your Program?

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    If you’re offering classes, Regpack is one of the dozens of tools that will let you take online registrations and payments. Yet, collecting registrations and taking payments are just the first steps. Successful education programs also build long-term student relationships and manage courses effectively. You need an online registration system that lets you do it all, while keeping the process simple.

    As a general registration software solution, Regpack does some of this well. Yet a savvy program director may wonder whether software serving half a dozen industries can compare to one specialized for education. To answer that question, we’ll compare Regpack head-to-head with CourseStorm’s course registration software.

    Who Uses Regpack?

    Some course providers use Regpack. So do some event planners, travel agents, and online service providers. Regpack is a diverse tool that offers registration services to all of these industries and more. The company has built software solutions for each industry based on the same framework.

    Regpack does offer course registration tools. They also offer registration services for group travel, conferences, and general online services, among other things. Presumably, they’ve customized the different solutions for each service area. As we’ve mentioned before, course registrations are different from event registrations, and the software should be too. 

    A general tool like Regpack, offering registration for group travel, events, and other online services, is missing some key features of a dedicated course registration tool like CourseStorm.

    You can see the impact by reading the language on their site. Sitewide language talks about clients and applicants rather than students. Because Regpack is a more general tool, it’s missing some useful features course providers might want, like a student portal or class pages.

    To be clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong with offering multiple services for different audiences. It’s certainly possible to learn enough about each industry to offer a relevant solution. If you want specialized services, would you rather work with an acting coach, or a generalist who offers business coaching and soccer coaching as well?

    What Does Regpack Cost?

    Plans start at $125 per month per admin plus a 2.1% payment processing fee. This monthly fee-based model is a common one. It includes unlimited team use, projects, and users, although you’ll pay extra if you need additional administrators.

    Regpack’s monthly fees make sense only if you offer courses year-round. By contrast, CourseStorm users only pay when a student actually enrolls.

    Regpack’s pricing makes sense only if you offer courses year-round. Unfortunately, if your education program is seasonal, you’ll still need to pay for the months you’re not actively registering students. 

    By contrast, CourseStorm users only pay when a student actually enrolls. We don’t collect monthly fees or lock you into long-term commitments. Yet, you still get all the latest updates and unlimited support.

    Is Regpack Easy to Use?

    Regpack customers can’t agree on whether the software is easy to use. Some say it is intuitive, and others find it confusing or difficult to work with. Several reviews mention website glitches that result in lost information or user confusion.

    We have heard some concerns about customer service. Customers on review sites have said the service tends to be slow and is only available via email.

    The best way to settle this may be to look at a specific function that Regpack offers. The software includes some useful email tools. It lets you create custom emails to communicate with customers and guide them through the registration process. That’s great for managing the registration transaction, but less useful for keeping learners engaged over the long-term. 

    CourseStorm offers automatic email marketing, SMS messaging, and our new waiting list invite feature.

    CourseStorm offers all of those transactional emails plus automatic email marketing. Our system will keep track of the classes students have taken and email them with recommendations for upcoming classes of interest. It also automatically notifies students when a class is in danger of cancellation due to low enrollment. Integrated email and SMS messaging give you everything you need to manage student relationships during and after the transaction.

    CourseStorm vs. Regpack

    Regpack is web-based and offers plenty of registration tools including customized forms, group registration, and waiting lists. Yet it lacks some functions that are especially useful for education programs. A student portal, unlisted classes, and class pages are missing.

    Regpack vs. CourseStorm features comparedWe couldn’t list every feature that each program offers, so we chose the ones that seem most relevant to education programs. Our focus on education programs specifically means that CourseStorm offers all the features you need most. And, we’re always adding new ones: our new waiting list feature allows you to invite students to register with a link when a spot opens up in a class.

    Should You Choose Regpack or CourseStorm?

    Choosing the right software is about more than registration forms and payment processing. It comes down to the experience you want to create for your students. Instead of a one-size-fits-all solution, you’re looking for the best fit for your program. Here are a few things that can help simplify your search.

    • Consider the full student experience. Registration is just part of a long-term relationship with a learner. Think through each step of the learner journey and what you want their experience to be like. Then look for a solution that supports those goals.

    • List your must-have features. Make a list of the features that could support your program goals. Organize these into two buckets: must-have and nice-to-have. Any solution that doesn’t offer all of your must-haves really isn’t a solution at all.

    • Consider return-on-investment. Will you be charged per month, or per student? How does that pricing affect your bottom line, especially if your program is seasonal? Make sure to consider the value of any built-in tools as well.

    • Read reviews. Before you commit to a registration solution, look for reviews from real customers. Reviewer concerns and complaints can help you ask the right questions when talking to salespeople. If you can find another organization in your community that uses the software, that’s even better.

    Trying each solution for yourself may be the best way to decide. Both Regpack and CourseStorm offer free trials so you can test out setup and see what your students will experience. And if you’re considering Sawyer, see how CourseStorm compares to their features. Set up your free trial of CourseStorm today to see for yourself.

  2. How a Clear Refund Policy Can Encourage More Registrations

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    No class provider wants to issue a refund to students. You want your classes to happen as scheduled and for students to be satisfied with the experience. But when weather, illness, or other circumstances disrupt the best-laid plans, it’s smart to have a clear refund policy. It lets both students and staff know what to expect. 

    We’ll show you how to write a clear policy that improves the student experience and makes life easier for your staff at the same time. We’ve even created an example refund policy that you can copy and customize to fit your needs.

    Why You Need a Clear Refund Policy

    Well-written refund policies are vital for any business providing services to the public, that includes course providers. A refund policy establishes expectations for both your business and customers and can protect you from potential financial losses and liability. 

    A clear refund policy lets students know what to expect if they need to cancel a registration and can protect you from financial losses and liability.

    Your policy lets registrants know what to expect if they need to cancel a registration. Having a signed or virtually acknowledged refund policy can also help you win a credit card dispute known as a chargeback. When your policy is clear, students and registrants can work with you directly without getting credit card companies involved.

    Example of a Clear Refund Policy

    Let’s start with a solid example of a clear refund policy. This example covers the common reasons you might cancel classes, as well as reasons students might need to cancel. It explains common situations and how you’ll handle refund requests. 

    Note that we are registration software providers, not lawyers, so this isn’t legal advice. It’s just an example of a clear policy you might use as a starting point.

    Example Refund Policy

    This refund policy covers class cancellations and refunds for registered students. By registering for classes, you indicate that you have read and understand this policy. 

    1. Weather-Related Cancellations:

    We may sometimes choose to cancel classes if severe weather makes attendance unsafe for students or instructors. If this happens, we will notify you by phone or email. You will receive a full refund or credit toward an upcoming class if we cancel due to weather. 

    1. Illness and Health-Related Cancellations:

    If an instructor is ill and unable to teach as scheduled, we may bring in a substitute or cancel the class. If a class is canceled due to instructor illness, we will notify you by phone or email. You may choose to receive a refund or credit toward an upcoming class if we cancel due to instructor illness.  

    1. Insufficient Enrollment:

    If a class does not meet the minimum enrollment required to run effectively, we may have to cancel or reschedule it. Participants will have the option to transfer to another class, receive a credit, or request a full refund.

    1. Personal Cancellations:

    If you cannot attend a class, you must notify us 7 days before the class start date to request a refund. An administrative fee of 10% will be deducted from the refund amount.  If you cancel fewer than 7 days in advance, you will not be eligible for a refund. 

    1. No-Shows or Missed Classes:

    Refunds will not be provided for no-shows or missed classes without prior notification.

    1. Refunds Requests and Processing:

    You must submit refund requests by email to Refunds will be processed within 14 business days after we receive the request. If you paid by credit card or online payment system, the refund will be issued back to the original payment method. If you paid by cash or check, refunds will be provided by check. 

    We strive to be fair to our students while ensuring the smooth functioning of our programs. Please contact for any questions or concerns related to our refund policy.

    You can adjust this policy to meet your needs. You might want to add or remove items depending on the kind of classes you teach. 

    How to Write a Clear Refund Policy

    The example above can help you write a clear refund policy for your program. Whether you use our language or write your own, keep these best practices in mind. 

    • Be concise. People tend to breeze over terms and agreements when registering. Keeping your policy brief will increase the chances that your registrants will read it. Your refund policy shouldn’t be longer than one page.

    • Use plain language. Legal jargon might make your refund policy sound official, but it won’t make it clear. Try to write in plain language an 8th grader could easily understand.
    • Write one policy for all classes. Your refund policy should be standard across all of your classes. Consistent rules make it easier for students to remember and apply your policies. 

    The Best Refund Policies Include These 4 Items:

    4 parts of a clear refund policy: time limit, policies, procedures, exemptions

    Your refund policy should clearly outline what students or registrants can expect. That means it should cover all common situations as well as the procedure for requesting and processing refunds. Check that your refund policy includes these 4 items:

    1. Time limit for refunds. Be clear about your refund timeframes. For example, “no refunds after the first day of class” or “refunds must be requested 48 hours before a class begins.”

    2. Policies for class cancellation. There are multiple reasons why a class may be canceled. Cover the most common ones (weather, illness, low enrollment) so students know what to expect.

    3. Specific exemption information. Tell students which fees you will refund in each situation. For example, some programs offer a special exception if the student gets sick. Others may refund a materials fee but not the class fees.

    4. Clear refund request procedures. Describe the procedure that a registrant must follow in order to request a refund. Link to necessary paperwork and tell them exactly where to send it or whom to contact. 

    It’s also good practice to review and update your policy yearly. If you make changes, email existing students and let them know. 

    How to Share a Refund Policy

    A clear refund policy is only useful if your students know about it. To make sure your registrants see your refund policy, share it in at least one of the following places: 

    • Your main website menu
    • As a link in the footer of your main website
    • As a link at the bottom of each course description

    CourseStorm customers can share their refund policy in two useful ways: as a link on their CourseStorm site or as a waiver on their class registration form.

    If you’re a CourseStorm customer, you can share your refund policy in two other useful ways. Adding it as a link in the intro text of your CourseStorm site can make it more visible. You can add it as a waiver on your class registration form. The waiver should include a checkbox indicating that the student has read and agreed to the policy.

    Share Your Policy Internally

    Your staff should also get a copy of your policy so they are ready to answer questions from students. Sharing the policy internally ensures that everyone is following the same rules. If you decide that certain staff members should have the power to make exceptions, tell them where to document those exceptions. 

    Clarity Makes Registrations Simple

    Nobody wants to issue a refund, but it’s good to know you have a clear policy in place when needed. Your straightforward approach will help students feel more confident in their purchase. Staff members will save time by having a clear policy to reference. Your program might even save money by avoiding chargebacks and other headaches. 

    Simplifying the class registration process is something we know a lot about here at CourseStorm. Our online class registration and payment software simplifies everything from policy sharing to group registrations, so your students get a seamless registration experience every time. Try a free trial for yourself, or contact us to learn more.

  3. Why Programs Are Choosing CourseStorm Over Sawyer

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    If you’re creating and selling classes for kids, you’re already an expert in the subject you teach. What may be less familiar is the process for marketing and selling courses. Turning to class marketplaces like Sawyer can seem like an easy solution to this challenge. Just put it on the platform and parents will be able to find it … right?

    The truth is that it’s easy to get lost on a course marketplace. Your brand fades into the background and the platform is front-and-center. What’s worse is that the platform takes a chunk of every transaction, with rates as high as 30% on top of standard transaction fees and booking fees. You’re trading a little convenience for a big cut in revenue. 

    If you’re thinking, there has to be another solution, you’re right. Let’s compare Sawyer head-to-head against CourseStorm’s online class registration system.

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  4. How the Power of Seasonal Marketing Can Help Attract Students

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    There’s a reason you see more advertisements for florists in the weeks before Valentine’s Day. It’s the same reason gyms capitalize on the “new year, new you” weight loss trend in January. These businesses use seasonal marketing to make their promotions and campaigns feel more timely and relevant. Your organization can do the same for its courses.

    Seasonal marketing taps into the collective emotions, experiences, memories, and traditions associated with each season to create compelling marketing. These campaigns provide a sense of urgency by making courses feel timely. They also drive engagement because they align with what students are likely to be thinking and feeling at any given time of year. 

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  5. The Best Course Evaluation Questions and How to Write Them

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    Course evaluations can help make your classes better. They collect meaningful data about students’ experiences, what they learned, and how they felt about the class. You can use that information to improve your courses and make them even more attractive to future students. But getting useful and honest feedback from students takes some finesse.

    Good course evaluation questions invite students to share their real opinions. They offer insight into the student’s experience so you can make changes based on data, not guesswork. Each question must be carefully written and designed with a specific aim in mind. Here is some actionable advice you can use on your next class feedback survey.

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  6. 4 Ways Instructors Can Help Create Course Marketing Materials

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    Creating effective marketing materials for your courses can feel like a never-ending task, especially if you have a small team. Marketing your classes with fresh and relevant content takes all of your resources. Yet there’s one valuable resource you might be overlooking—your instructors. They may not be marketing experts, but they have a perspective worth exploring.

    We’ve talked before about how instructors can help attract students by sending emails, making announcements, sharing on social media, and leveraging community connections. Instructors can also help you create marketing content that feels personal and relevant. Let’s look at how you can work with instructors to make marketing materials for your classes.

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  7. How to Make Art Classes for Kids Appealing to Parents

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    Marketing kids’ art classes—or any classes targeted to children—is a delicate balance. Although you’re offering art classes for kids, or summer camps, or theater workshops, or any other youth classes, it’s usually the parents who are researching options and making the decision to register. As a result, your organization needs to advertise, promote, and share classes in a way that appeals to parents while making it clear that the class will be enjoyable for kids. 

    Getting this right means answering all the questions a parent may have about the class while keeping a sense of playfulness and fun. We’ll show you how to strike this balance, plus give you some insight into what exactly parents are looking for when choosing art classes for kids.

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  8. Family Classes: Best Practices for Educating All Ages

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    Yoga with Grandma. Mommy and Me gym class. A Father’s Day fishing lure workshop. Multigenerational classes are a powerful way to bring together people of all ages and expand the reach of your educational program. Whether it’s an entire course built for family participation or a special session that invites kids and adults to share in an experience, family classes help to establish your presence in a community. 

    They also give families a reason to step away from their busy lives, put down their devices, and enjoy spending time together. That’s good for your program and your community. When you put your classes at the core of these positive experiences you create generations of satisfied learners who are likely to enroll again and again.

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  9. Why Programs Are Choosing CourseStorm Over Learning Stream

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    Informal ed programs need a registration management solution that meets their needs and their budget. If you’re looking for a new registration management software solution, Learning Stream might be on your list of tools to check out. They promote themselves as your “registration management concierge.” Sounds fancy, right? 

    At first glance, Learning Stream has a lot to offer. While the platform includes plenty of features, it might be a more complex tool than most informal ed programs need. And complexity probably isn’t on your list of must-haves when it comes to choosing registration management software. To help you make an informed decision, we’re comparing Learning Stream head-to-head with CourseStorm’s simple registration management software. 

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  10. How to Choose Registration Software for Classes vs. Events

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    Anyone who has been involved in organizing both classes and events knows that there’s a big difference between the two. If you’re using event registration software to manage class registrations, your system probably isn’t as efficient as it could be. Both tools offer payment processing and online registration but that’s often where the similarities end.

    Registration management tools have features specifically designed for either classes or events. If your goal is to manage class registrations, you need some specialized tools. Let’s take a closer look at what you need from a registration platform to help you decide whether a class management solution or an event registration tool is right for your program.

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