If you’re like many programs, you’re running a tight ship with a small team. You are looking for ways to maximize your marketing impact in every area you can. That’s why we’re taking a moment to highlight two often-overlooked places that you can subtly market your program.
These tools are available 24/7 —and best yet, they won’t cost you a penny.
Welcome to our very first guest post on the CourseStorm website! (And we cannot express how excited we are about it!)
If you run an education program that draws from a rural population, you’re in good company. Today, we share advice from a super-successful program in Salina, Kansas. Salina sits in the middle of wheat country alongside the Smoky Hill River, and with a population of about 47,500, isn’t a big city but is certainly a regional hub of activity. As part of the Central Kansas Library System, Salina Public Library‘s CLASS program serves mostly students from Salina but also attracts people from rural parts of the region seeking adult learning and community education opportunities.
Since their founding in 2002, they’ve uncovered a scheduling methodology that prevents low enrollment, supports students, and is encouraging of their community. We invited Glory Benacka, Programs Coordinator at Salina Public Library, to write about how their thriving CLASS program creates and refines its schedule based on students’ requests, observations, and what’s happening in the community at any given time.
Why Is Feedback Important?
We know you. You want to have a program that people love; one that changes lives. You have the potential to do great things in your community —but aren’t sure that you’re going in the right direction. Perhaps your program is already great, and you want to keep that way. How can you find out how you’re affecting your students? How can you set achievable new goals?
In short, you want to know, “How do I help improve my program?”
The answer is simple, “Ask for feedback.”
However, we also understand that while “ask for feedback” is a simple statement, it can feel overwhelming and the questions can pile up quickly: How do I get the feedback that I need? What do I ask? When do I ask? How do I ask? What do I do with what I’ve learned?
We’re here to help.
It seems like every place you go online to post is shining with bright and interesting pictures.
It makes sense —people are visual, and eye-catching graphics are essential when grabbing someone’s attention. Well-created pictures motivate and inspire us to make decisions, boost the words that accompany them, and call us to action. Whether you’re creating content for traditional marketing, digital marketing, or blog posts —strong images will improve your marketing efforts.
Your program deserves awesome marketing. But you probably have to carefully tend your resources —both your budget and your time. Having high-quality materials can seem out of reach, even though you know that your program enrollment would benefit from them. And sometimes you want to make something to perfectly suit your program but don’t want to have to learn how to be a graphic designer to do it!
Fortunately, there are many resources for finding and designing captivating images you can use to market your classes. You don’t need to have special skills or a big budget to create striking, sharable image content with these two programs: Canva and Adobe Spark.
Video is a powerful marketing tool. It’s being used more and more on every digital platform available, and it’s become people’s favorite kind of content on social media.
But, you may think, “How can I produce videos? I have no time, equipment, or skills in this area! How am I supposed to manage that??”
Fortunately, there are programs to help you make videos quickly and easily —even if you’ve never done anything like it before— and they can look pretty darned impressive to boot!
Does Your Marketing Calendar Only Revolve Around Your Catalog?
Faiyaz knows that registration season is here. It’s like clockwork —he class catalog arrives in his mailbox and the weekly announcements in his email inbox. He’s seen an ad or two in the local weekly paper announcing that classes are open for registration. Scattered posters show up around town. A few mentions appear in social media. He registers for ballroom dancing as usual, and after his class begins, it’s just dancing and the occasional handout or announcement.
And then —crickets. At least until January when the next registration opens, and the Faiyaz gets his spring catalog, and the dance begins again. But what about the rest of the year?
Keeping Your Audience On Even When Registration is Off
“Where can I find images to use for my program?”
This is a question that we often hear. And usually, there’s a second, unspoken part of that question, “…for free?”
Finding free photos to use when marketing your program can be a challenge.
You’re looking for images to use in your program marketing that are:
- free to use and
- that you’re allowed to use and
- that you can use commercially.
Fortunately, Google has a free tool to help make it easier for you to find images that work and it only takes five steps.
At CourseStorm we want to do everything we can to connect people with education, removing whatever roadblocks we can for students and for programs. As organizations that run workshops, camps, or advanced classes know, one of those hurdles is often the cost of enrollment. That’s why we’ve always been really proud of CourseStorm’s effortless payment plans – and why today we’re excited to announce that they’re better than ever.
Starting today, programs have two options for payment plans. You can still use the impossibly simple payment plan CourseStorm users know and love: enter a deposit and a date by which you’d like all funds paid and we’ll handle the rest – no scheduling or math required! But if you’d like fine-grained control, opt for a new custom payment schedule. We’ve kept it simple for you: we just need a date to start payments, an amount to pay, and whether you’d like the payments weekly or monthly. That’s it!
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?”
“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.