Grow Your Program

  1. Enrichment Speed Dating – an Unforgettable Open House

    Fall in Love with…Woodworking?

    The room is crowded with people. There’s laughter in the air, and everyone is mingling. You’re at a table with a group of new friends, with one empty chair reserved for a special guest. A clear chime strikes in the air and an older gentleman joins your group, his hands rough and careworn. He offers a firm handshake to everyone and sits down. He places a stack of worn photos down, each one showing a beautiful piece of furniture.

    “Well,” he says in a voice touched with gravel, “You ever wanted to build your own kitchen table?” The minutes tear by as he speaks like a poet about woodworking and asks and answers questions. You realize that yes, yes you indeed do want to build your own table, but you never knew where to begin.

    The chime rings out again, and he moves on to a neighboring table. A young woman with rainbows in her hair takes his place. “Hi!” she chirps brightly, “did you know that I can totally teach you how to make the perfect French macaron?”

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  2. An Educated Decision – Tips on Validating Your Next New Class

    “How can I tell if this class I’m considering will be a success or a failure before I run it?”

    “I have a great idea for a class!” is a phrase you’re probably all too familiar with. It might be initiated by anyone —a student, teacher, or a community or board member. Sometimes you know it will be a hit but other times you may simply not know if the suggestion is worth pursuing.

    Launching With Confidence

    “Should I add this class?” How can you launch a new class with confidence, knowing that you’ve done your best to ensure that it’s what your learning community wants? How do you show your director or board that it will have a positive outcome for your program?

    Fortunately, there are many ways to explore how successful a class will be so you can feel like your decision to add —or not add— is a good one.

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  3. Making Sure the Price is Right

    It can be hard to put a price on education, for many reasons. Yet many educational programs need to put a price on their classes in order to thrive. If you’re one of those programs, understanding pricing is critical. Whether you’re a nonprofit arts organization, a workforce development program, or offering adult and community education classes, no matter who you are – you need to be making enough to continue providing excellent educational opportunities to your students!

    While a complete pricing guide would be insanely complicated (and different for everyone!) we’d like to share with you some thoughts on how to price your class based on our experiences and observations. So, how much should this class cost anyway?

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  4. How Great Photos Help Boost Enrollment (or A Tale of Two Cupcake Classes)

    Every business has a brand and whether you realize it or not, your program, large or small, has one too. You may not precisely know what it is, but you know that it’s certainly not dull, grainy, humdrum, blurry, ordinary, or boring! 

    It’s a near Shakespearian tragedy to see programs offering incredible classes using dull, grainy, humdrum, blurry, ordinary, boring, and other bad images in their advertising and catalogs (or worse yet – no images at all!). Such low-quality photos are not helping, and are definitely hurting your enrollments.

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  5. What Can Your Program Learn from a Canceled Class?

    Oh, the class cancelation. Everyone winces and sighs when they have to send that email or make that call. It’s never fun to make or deliver the decision which will inevitably disappoint someone (especially if it’s you).

    Realistically, an “enrollment not met” cancelation is something that happens from time to time to many organizations. However, a canceled class offers lessons of its own that will help improve your program, if you are willing to learn, resulting in fewer canceled classes in the future.

    What new lessons and opportunities can come from a class cancelation? Here are eight to consider.

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  6. How To: Promote a Class on Social Media

    We know that everyone lives on social media these days. But did you know it’s also a great place to grow your enrollment?

    Social media is a popular place to promote classes. It’s free, easily accessible, and people spend tons of time using it. It’s a great place for people to talk, share, and get excited about what your program is offering. 

    We’ve designed CourseStorm to automatically format the classes you share to popular social media channels so all you need to do is add a little flavor text, the class link, and post it on your social network of choice, making it incredibly simple to share your classes and catalog with your audience.

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  7. Creating Class Names That Attract

    What’s in a name? Quite a bit, actually!

    Your class name is typically the first thing that a potential student sees when checking out your catalog, so there are benefits to creating an appealing class name. As you might expect, there are a few ways to create names that will motivate attendees to register. A creative approach can generate interest in classes, promise a result, or identify an audience — and each of these approaches helps motivate a student to click that “register” button!

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  8. Creating Brag-Worthy Student Experiences

    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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  9. Loyal Students

    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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  10. Outgrowing Google Spreadsheets

    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

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