Author Archives: Matt James

  1. New Feature: Partial Refunds

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    We hope you’re all enjoying the new start of the school year.  As a little “back to school” present from us, we wanted to let you know that partial refunds have come to CourseStorm.

    Not only can you now issue partial refunds for your registrations, but this update also includes a few other refinements to the refund process.  To start, you can now cancel a registration without refunding if you like.  You can also issue refunds outside of a cancelation — for example, if the registrant forgot to add a promo code during checkout.

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  2. A Look Inside Corona Symphony Conservatory

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    “Where are all the strings?” That was the question on the mind of Don Kindred while living in Corona, California in 2013.

    At that time, the musical education system in Corona placed most of its focus on teaching children band, rather than orchestral instruments, meaning that students in the area were trained in brass, woodwinds, and percussion, while stringed instruments were largely ignored. Kindred, a classically trained musician and founder of the Corona Symphony Orchestra, knew that if nothing was done, a great opportunity to expose students to the magic of playing stringed instruments might be squandered. So, five years ago, he decided that change needed to start with him and the Corona Symphony Conservatory was born.

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  3. The Paradox of Choice

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    It’s no secret that here at CourseStorm, we like to make things simple. Take a look at our pricing page, for example. We don’t offer a Silver plan, a Gold plan, and a Platinum plan. There’s just one plan: CourseStorm.

    Why is this so important to us?

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  4. Creating Brag-Worthy Student Experiences

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    A couple of weeks ago we talked about the importance of loyal students. Now we want to delve deeper into how you can attain that student loyalty by using a thought experiment first developed by Airbnb called Seven Star Design.

    These days giving something a rating of five stars no longer holds the same importance it once did. Where once, a five star rating meant that the company went above and beyond, these days five stars tends to mean that there’s nothing wrong with the experience. That’s a pretty low bar.  So Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, set their goal to go beyond five stars. As he put it, “We wanted to build a product where you loved it so much you would tell everyone about it.”

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  5. Loyal Students

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    Customer loyalty is a buzzword in many businesses. As an educator, you may not think in business terms all the time, but in some instances, it can be valuable to take a page out of the business playbook. Focusing efforts on increasing student loyalty is one of those instances. When you work in education, however, it can be hard to know what a loyal student looks like or why they’re important. If you’re teaching professional development courses, for example, you may not expect repeat students in your classes as they may achieve their educational goals quickly. This can make it feel like there’s no point in working to keep individual students happy once they’ve enrolled and paid for your classes because they’ll be gone so soon.

    Despite the challenge of students who may only ever take one or two classes through your program, student loyalty remains an important factor in keeping enrollment rates high. Even if a student never comes back to your program, they will remain a part of your community.

    Imagine you want to take an art class but don’t know where to go. The first thing many people do in this circumstance is to ask friends, family, and coworkers if they know any programs nearby that offer good art classes. The experience your students had in your program will directly impact who they think of when they are asked these sorts of questions and what they say in response. If you have done the work of ensuring student loyalty, it’s your name they’ll think of when recommending programs. This is how you grow your reputation in your community and increase enrollment.

    So how do you develop loyal customers? Here are some quick and easy tips!

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  6. Outgrowing Google Spreadsheets

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    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: It’s a motto many of us live our lives by. Unfortunately, sometimes we get so used to doing things the same way we’ve always done them that we don’t notice the cracks and tears in the system. Think of that old swelling front door that you have to kick to close or the upstairs toilet that you have to remember to wiggle the lever on to keep the water from running. While this solution works for a while, over time the problem gets worse. At first, you tell yourself that you’ll hire a repairman or look up how to fix it yourself, but you get busy, and then you grow so accustomed to the inconvenience that it can be easy to overlook the fact that it’s costing you time and money.

    The same may be said your current strategy for managing enrollment. It’s working okay–it’s been working for years–but is it still the most efficient, cost-effective solution for your needs? It’s easy to add registrants to a Google spreadsheet at first, but as your program grows, that spreadsheet grows as well. You start to lose track of who has paid and who hasn’t, and what started out as a simple solution has become complicated.Read more

  7. How to Make Your New Year’s Catalog Launch the Best It Can Be

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    The new year is right around the corner. For many, January 1st is a time for reflection and hope for the new year, but educators have an additional item on their docket: launching their new class catalog. We want your catalog launch to be easy and successful this new year. To make that possible, follow these four easy steps.

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  8. What Our Greenlight Maine Win Means for Our Future

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    As some of you may know, we recently won our episode of Greenlight Maine, putting us one step closer to winning the $100,000 grand prize! We went head-to-head against the creator of College Helpers in front of a panel of three judges: Tom O’Donnell, the principle of Macpage; Mike Duguay, the executive director of the Harold Alfond Institute for Business; and Becky Conrad, the president of the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce. Each of us were given time to pitch our business, and we were judged not only on the quality of our pitch but also the long-term growth potential of our company.

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  9. A Brand New Theme and a Few Other Goodies

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    Today, we’re excited to announce a brand new theme available to all CourseStorm customers and a slew of other goodies that we think are going to make your day to day much easier.

    Brand New Theme

    There’s a lot we can say about the new theme we’re releasing today (which we lovingly call “Stripes”).  For instance, it supports all the great accessibility features we announced in recent weeks.  It also features a wider and more simplified design that puts your brand and classes in the spotlight. But, honestly, the best way to experience it is just to see it in action.Read more

  10. Automatic Reminders for Abandoned Registrations

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    We recently had the fortune of presenting nearby at the MAEA Conference in beautiful, Portland, ME. It was a great event and a wonderful time to connect with some of our customers here in Maine. It was also a chance to preview a brand new feature we’ll be launching soon that will help effortlessly increase enrollments.

    To get started, I’d like to share an interesting stat with you. If you had to guess how many online transactions across the entire web are abandoned part of the way through, what would you think? 20%? 30%? More?

    It turns out that the number is around 70%. That’s right. Out of all online transactions, almost 7 out of 10 are abandoned midway through. When we came across this number, we were stunned. And it got us thinking: how often does this happen in CourseStorm?

    So we did some digging and found that, interestingly enough, registrations through CourseStorm complete 2x more often than average! That’s definitely encouraging, but in our mind, there’s always a way to be more helpful. And, thankfully, there’s a simple solution to this problem that’s also rather helpful: just remind those students that they were interested in registering.

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