If you’re a flight school owner, you understand how difficult it is to market.
You’ve probably heard that there are two primary groups of customers – career-oriented students seeking employment in the aviation sector, and recreational flyers.
Depending on the group you want to target, your marketing plan should be different. You’ll need two separate marketing campaigns if you’re going to appeal to both groups.
These folks may love flying just as much as the recreational flyers, but they have to convince their parents, academic lenders, and themselves that flight training is a good investment.
Career-oriented students need to be convinced that flight schools are reputable, and they want real-world experience.
At high school vocation programs, career days, and job fairs, or hanging around the airport (because they adore aeroplanes), you may find these potential consumers.
When creating your marketing materials, it’s critical to anticipate and address potential objections.
These are achievement-oriented, thrill-addicted individuals seeking a pastime that keeps them sharp and rewards them with an exciting experience. Some of them, perhaps because of prior military or historical connections, enjoy planes. High-performance professionals are likely to be found among these potential customers.
Keep up to Date with Industry Trends for Flight Schools
This should be a no brainer given how fast the pace of change is in aviation with both technology and the digital age. But you still find some flight schools that fall behind and are not updated with industry trends. When this happens, you’re seen as outdated, and it’s not a good look for you or your pilots. After all, when your pilots talk about your flight school, you want them to speak of you with pride. Flight schools should have an excellent reputation that inspires the next generation of pilots to fly. Some of the things you can do to keep up to date:
- Get on top of your digital marketing (if you are not digital, you don’t exist- we live in the age of Google). Polish up your digital presence.
- Have a solid social media presence (again, just like with Google, it’s essential).
- Have a killer branding strategy in place (this torpedoes your reputation).
- Use text messaging for your student pilots (training updates, alerts, reminders, etc.).
- Have virtual flights both here and internationally.
- Incorporate virtual reality and augmented reality in your training.
Create a Great Culture at your Flight School
No one can dispute the importance of a good culture at work, which applies to your flight school. Do all you can to be a genuine and respectful flight school that has your students’ best interests at heart. It should be so much more than just making a profit. Be inclusive of all your students and make them feel like family. Encourage a culture of respect and integrity. It encourages confidence and competence, which transfers to their flying careers. A flight school plays a more significant role than they realise in a pilot’s development. Make it a great one!
Some Great Incentives to Offer as a Flight School
Everyone enjoys a good incentive, and pilots are no different. As a flight school, consider offering the following incentives to your pilots, which will go a long way:
- Provide world-class training with great competitive pricing. Offer discounts and giveaways.
- Have a referral program (for every new pilot student referred, there is a significant discount and bonus)
- Celebrate your pilot’s achievements. Be encouraging and show you care.
- Don’t forget to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries etc. It’s all part of creating an inclusive culture.
Put Together or Participate in a Flying Event
Let your imagination fly here (excuse the pun, but we think it works) and consider putting together or participating in a flying event when it’s safe to do so, of course. This could be an open day at your flight school, a learn to fly month, or learn to fly weekend, air show participation etc. Give some or all of these strategies a try:
- Create short 30 to 60-minute ground schools to introduce people to flight training
- Offer introductory flights
- Offer air tours
- Schedule a flight instructor to speak for 20-30 minutes with Q&A to follow
- Schedule an aircraft mechanic to talk for 20-30 minutes with Q&A to follow
- Schedule one of your current student pilots to talk about the training with Q&A to follow
Extras in Promoting your Flight Training
When it comes to flight schools, you can never have enough extras, so we have thrown in the following strategies to help further market your flight training:
- Offer giveaways and prizes to students with some of your flight training.
- Get some t-shirts and hats made up for instructors and students to wear in the community.
- Get featured in-flight training magazines and just general aviation magazines.
- Reach out to the media and get yourself in press releases and the media for the good news, of course! We can help you with this as we have the media contacts.
- Hire a graphic designer to design dynamic and great-looking flying certificates that pilots can’t wait to display in their homes. Have both a digital and paper version.
- Put a marketing message out to the media (e.g., Flying is Fun, Flying is an Adventure etc.). Perhaps now with COVID-19 can do a message about ‘flying above problems’.
When you have secured a solid and continuous flow of potential students attending your flight school, it is necessary to implement a system that allows you to qualify them effectively.
Nowadays, interest can be measured in two ways: Physical and online. Your flight school can assess the prospects’ level of interest by actually talking to them in person when they show up to your flight school or by measuring their online behaviour and interaction with your flight school’s channels.
By intersecting these two variables, we can categorise our leads into four kinds:
- Today Students: The ones that are fit and are interested.
- Future Students: The ones that are fit and are not interested yet.
- Possible Students: The ones that are not fit but are curious.
- Waste of Time: The ones that are neither fit nor interested.
A trusted partner in Flight School Marketing
Off the Ground is focused upon our flight schools needs. A fantastic aviation marketing agency can prove ROI to customers, deliver on deadlines and adopt new strategies “on the fly” whenever needs. We will tell you when the situation needs a change and help you provide advice for anything.
Get in contact today to learn how we get you more leads and potential students.