We often talk with representatives from programs that use CourseStorm, and a lot of times we notice trends regardless of the size or type of organization. Two of these have been on my mind lately:
- It’s really important to advertise your classes if you want to maximize your registrations.
- People who work at educational programs are really busy and really don’t want to spend time advertising their classes. There’s so much else to do!
Seeing them together makes the geeky engineer gears in my brain start to turn. Is there a way we can help on both counts? We believe the answer is a resounding yes.
Today we’re announcing the beta program of our latest feature: automatic email marketing. If you choose to enable this new feature on your site, we’ll periodically send an email to selected students advertising classes that we believe will be of interest to them. We use a number of factors to create personalized recommendations for each individual student, and we let students start a registration for their next class with just a couple of clicks.
The best part? There’s nothing you have to do. We’ll choose the best times to send emails and the best matches for students, meaning you can spend your time making your program and your classes the best they can be.
We’re excited to do everything we can to help your program grow and thrive. We hope automatic email marketing will be one more way to help you increase enrollments!
UPDATE: We’re currently in the process of rolling out automatic email marketing to all CourseStorm sites. If you’d like to learn more about how to enable it in your catalog, visit our help site.
Now that we know what feedback is useful, we’ll tease out the two types of feedback that you could receive. (If you missed why it’s useful, take a look at Why Your Program Can Benefit from Feedback (and How to Get It), the first article in our feedback series.)
We’re always getting feedback. Sometimes it’s subtle, like body language or level of attention. Sometimes it’s obvious, like a class leaving all a-chatter about what they’ve just experienced. And sometimes it’s direct, like getting an email from a participant. Feedback can have a positive effect on the success of your program and your class registrations, so you really want it
Observable feedback is important and useful, but it shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox!
What you are trying to accomplish also matters, and each kind of feedback method supports different data.
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!