Grow Your Program

  1. How a Free Course Can Pay Off for Your Programs

    Giving away classes for free may seem counterintuitive. After all, it costs money to bring in instructors, develop a curriculum, provide supplies, and set up spaces where students can learn. Unless you’re running a non-profit (and often even if you are) it might seem like you can’t afford to offer free classes. Then again, maybe you can’t afford not to. 

    Offering a free course, or even just making some seats in a class free, can help promote your programs. When chosen carefully, these freebies can give students a taste of what you have to offer so they’re more likely to enroll in the future. They can also promote goodwill in the community and help you fill your class roster. All these benefits sound valuable, but you might still be skeptical about whether a free course is really worth it. So before we jump into how to make them work for you, let’s take a closer look at how free courses can help you meet enrollment goals.

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  2. In-Demand Classes for the Workforce in 2021 and Beyond

    Even if workforce training is your primary focus, the latest labor news might seem confusing. That’s because we’ve entered new territory. The pandemic disrupted many of the patterns we’ve come to expect from the labor market and accelerated an evolution that would normally have taken decades. Business and industry have increased their reliance on technology, shifted priorities, and placed new emphasis on soft skills in the workplace.

    For administrators of workforce training programs, making sense of the headlines is a vital task. We’re here to help. We’ve sifted through the latest workforce news to find the workforce training classes and skills that are in demand for 2021 and beyond. Offering the following classes can help you grow enrollment and empower students to meet personal and professional goals.

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  3. What is the Future of In-Person Enrichment Classes?

    For in-person enrichment programs, the pandemic changed everything. Classrooms, theaters, and workshops fell silent when in-person classes were paused. Organizations scrambled to enable online learning and experimented with HyFlex learning models. Through it all, enrichment programs stayed true to their mission of enriching the lives of children and adults through educational opportunities. 

    Now, as we look forward to a post-pandemic world, leaders are applying lessons learned during the crisis to future-proof their programs. We turned to members of the CourseStorm community to gather their insight on what the future of in-person enrichment may look like.

    All agree that in-person enrichment classes are too valuable to lose, but remote learning can help meet student needs as well. Like improv performers, administrators of community education programs have learned to say, “Yes, and…” As in, “Yes, we will have in-person classes again, and asynchronous, hybrid, and HyFlex learning options, too.” 

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  4. 5 Features You Need for Better Online Registration Forms

    Online class registration forms can do more than gather information. They’re often your first direct communication with a student. You can use this opportunity to share details about the class, better understand student needs, and tap into their insight. In short, well-designed class registration forms set the foundation for a positive student experience. 

    The trick is keeping your forms focused and relevant. Too many questions or too much information all at once might discourage students from registering. This post will show you how to use class-specific questions and customizable forms to both gather and provide valuable information. The best registration forms do these five things:

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  5. Need Better Marketing Content? Ask Your Instructors!

    Here are 4 ways to get contributions from this valuable resource.

    Creating marketing content 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 might not be marketing professionals, but they do have insight and knowledge that can help improve your marketing content.

    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 offer a unique perspective to help you create marketing content that feels personal and relevant. Here are four ways instructors can help make marketing content that boosts enrollment.

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  6. Easy Marketing Tricks to Help Students Find Your Classes Online

    Students can only register for the classes they know about. To enroll more students, you have to get the word out about your course, but if you’re not a professional marketer, helping students find your classes online might seem like an overwhelming task. The good news is it doesn’t have to be. 

    Terms like algorithm, search engine optimization, and CTR might make your head spin. That’s okay. There’s still plenty you can do to help make your classes more visible online. It starts with thinking like your student. Where do they spend time online? What do they need to know about your course? Which words and images will capture their attention? These tips will help you answer those questions so you can reach your online class registration goals.

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  7. Boosting Class Enrollment with the FOMO

    Your students are busy people. They have jobs to go to, errands to run, and maybe kids, pets, or aging parents to care for. Even if they’re really excited about taking your class, getting them from interested to enrolled isn’t always easy. If you want to move class registration to the top of their to-do list, you need a motivator. Take a page from the retailer’s playbook and start cultivating the FOMO.

    This cutesy acronym stands for a powerful marketing tool—the Fear of Missing Out. It’s the realization that if they don’t act now, they might miss their chance. A few simple adjustments to your marketing messages can put FOMO to work for your class. 

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  8. 10 Ways for Busy People to Get the Word Out

    When your program has an important announcement to make, it’s helpful to have an advance plan for getting the word out. (For example, the launch of a new, easy-to-use class registration process!) 

    Because we all love saving time, this list uses the same basic information in many different ways. This efficient plan uses elements of your core content to suit each use, letting you get the word out in lots of different ways — and without lots of extra work.

    You’ll start by writing down the basics including what you want people to know (your key message) and any details that will help your audiences. Explain why it’s important, who is affected, and how someone can learn more. You can add details like quotes, benefits, and descriptions for different versions.

    Once you have that, here are 10 ways you can get that news out to the public! 

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  9. Software Integration Basics

    Ever notice how software sometimes seems to make everything move just a little faster? 

    You check your calendar and invite someone to a meeting via email with the click of a button. You visit a website and pay for something online with no waiting. You check your fitness tracker results in an easy-to-read chart in an app. You log into your credit card website to pay a bill and see your credit rating. You support a cause and seconds later invite your social media followers to do the same —without even leaving the thank you screen. 

    If you’ve ever observed perceived how smoothly these applications work together, you can probably thank an integration. If you’re noticing it more often, it’s likely because we’re surrounded by software applications which we use for everything from online meetings to records management to getting takeout delivered. And if you’ve never really thought about it, well, that, for an integration, is a job well done.  

    In fact, while on your way to this article you probably used several software integrations, some without even knowing!

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  10. Getting Started with SMS: Marketing Your Educational Program via Text Messages

    Educational programs used to using paper catalogs are experiencing extra challenges this year. Concerns over changing classes, postponements, cancellations, and the loss of public reading spaces like libraries and waiting rooms have presented a new marketing challenge. How can programs get their catalogs designed, printed, shipped, and in front of the learning community in a time like this?

    Now imagine sending your whole class catalog to someone for just five cents, and then knowing almost instantly if they’d looked at it. Seems almost impossible! Yet there’s a simple, accessible, and affordable way to get your community to your digital catalog — and you’ve probably already used it several times today: text messaging.

    Using text messages, your program can connect to students easily right where they are. And research indicates that it’s a preferred communication method for most mobile phone owners, who typically check their mobile phones 47 times a day! If you want to motivate an audience to check out your new class catalog or register for a new class, sending a text is a great way to elicit a response. 

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