• NC Software is proud to announce the release of APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook version 10.0. Click here to view APDL on the Apple App store and install now.
  • Logbook Pro for Apple iOS version 8.1 is now available on the App Store. Major update including signature endorsements and dark/light theme support. Click here to install now.

Questions for Marketing Plan

Buffettpilot

"was that for us?"
Joined
Dec 8, 2002
Posts
46
Total Time
enough
Ok, I don't want to turn this into a flame thread. I'm working on a Marketing Plan for one of my classes (last class before I finish my Masters) and thought I'd do it on my current situation.

I work as a freelance instructor at a mid-sized town (approx 400,000 people) which has two flight school operations at a Class C airport (first has 5 single engine aircraft, the second has 7 single engine aircraft) which rents out their aircraft and provide flight instruction. There is another Class E airport in town that has onsie/twosie type flight instructors (in which I have the chance to freelance utilizing their aircraft).

I currently freelance (CFI/CFII/AGI/IGI) at one of the Class C schools and wanted to get some insight into marketing future students or finding disgruntled students that want to give it another shot with an 'independant' instructor.

Of course I use the personal touch and treat everyone as the client and understand the difficulties of time/money for any rating. I'd like to get some responses to the following:

1) Advertisements in newpapers don't work, how would you promote yourself as a flight instructor (what type of media would you use)?

2) What organizations would you belong to (mostly for networking and building relationships via word-of-mouth for future clients)?

3) Business Cards....Are they worth handing out or just having them to hand to people when asked?

4) Writing articles for aviation journal's and/or Saftey Seminar presentations (again, the more visibility you have, the better off)....your thoughts?

Thanks a bunch, I'm going to use the answers your provide as my portion of "primary research" for this plan. PM if you want to see the end-product (in about 1.5 months) and I'll email it to you.

One last Tidbit--I do this part-time and do not intend to CFI full time yet. I am quite happy with my 'normal' day job and instructing on the side.
 
Last edited:

BLing

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Posts
462
Total Time
5K
Just become a flight instructor at Regional Airline Academy! There is now an opening since today was my last day!!!
 

pilotmiketx

Registerd User
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Posts
345
Total Time
oodles
I was a successful independant CFI; so successful that I ended up with my own small flight school with 3 airplanes. I sold it only because my job flying corporate had me gone so much I wasn't around for the necessary oversight. Anyway, to answer your questions:
1. Single page or half page flyers + Business cards (buy a bunch of 99cent card holders at the Office supply place and ask permission to put them on the counter) at places where pilots/airplane enthusiasts frequent (i.e. pilot supply shops, FBOs, restaurants on or near the airport, etc.)
2. Nope.
3. Absolutely. I still get calls 2 years after "quitting." You can get them fairly cheaply online. Make them look professional and make them stand out. Stay away from goofy clip art airplanes and cloud backgrounds and never do homemade. Mine were very plain white text on a dark blue gloss background but I still haven't seen anything similar to it. A word of advice, get a second cell phone for business calls. My plan offered a second line for like $10/mo extra w/ a free phone. Made it easy for tax purposes and you can have a customized voice mail greeting, plus you can answer the phone "Thank you for calling, this is is ____, how may I help you" instead of Uh, hello..."
4. I wouldn't bother. The cost (time) vs. benefit of writing articles can't be that great. A better option is to have a web site to refer prospects (from the flyers and biz cards.) Again, it doesn't need to cost a fortune, but it needs to be professional-looking. Pay for your own domain name. You can have information about flight training, links to AOPA, how to get a medical, how to prepare for a BFR, etc.

My last bit of advice is to always be the consumate professional in the way you look and act. I always wore pants and a collared shirt. I was always early and I returned phone calls and responded to emails ASAP. Once you have a few students, you'll be surprised at how much referral business comes in.
 
Last edited:

Annie

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Posts
318
Total Time
1
1. Local FM Radio Stations target upper income market niche.
2. Local non-profit groups, i.e. the support group for the local fire department or police association, and absolutely become a small donor to the local hospital foundation; usually not more than $100, will get you an invitation to their fund raising events. Also, if you have a serious art museum, symphony orchestra, etc. These are typically the domains of upper income, better educated group and thus more likely to become interested in learning to fly.

3. I use Avery products exclusively -don't bother with Fellowes, or any other kind of templates. Avery has several type of business card stock that you can design your own business cards and print them up yourself on your own desktop printer. Practice with the templates that they have on line at the Avery site, also Microsoft has templates for business cards on the Micrososft site. Go to Word, then business and templates. Microsoft has hundreds of pictures of airplane graphics that you can just copy and past onto your template for the business cards.

4. I believe that a well researched article in a flight journal does begin to expand your market, if only because anytime someone types in your name to Google, they will eventually come up with your articles.

Finally, don't forget a domain name costs about $30/year and you can go to
Blogger and build your own site within an hour--no programing language required. That site will also start to show up for free on Google. I suggest you use your own name as your domain name.
Hope this helps,
Annie
 

pilotmiketx

Registerd User
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Posts
345
Total Time
oodles
Annie said:
1. Local FM Radio Stations target upper income market niche.
2. Local non-profit groups, i.e. the support group for the local fire department or police association, and absolutely become a small donor to the local hospital foundation; usually not more than $100, will get you an invitation to their fund raising events. Also, if you have a serious art museum, symphony orchestra, etc. These are typically the domains of upper income, better educated group and thus more likely to become interested in learning to fly.

3. I use Avery products exclusively -don't bother with Fellowes, or any other kind of templates. Avery has several type of business card stock that you can design your own business cards and print them up yourself on your own desktop printer. Practice with the templates that they have on line at the Avery site, also Microsoft has templates for business cards on the Micrososft site. Go to Word, then business and templates. Microsoft has hundreds of pictures of airplane graphics that you can just copy and past onto your template for the business cards.

4. I believe that a well researched article in a flight journal does begin to expand your market, if only because anytime someone types in your name to Google, they will eventually come up with your articles.

Finally, don't forget a domain name costs about $30/year and you can go to
Blogger and build your own site within an hour--no programing language required. That site will also start to show up for free on Google. I suggest you use your own name as your domain name.
Hope this helps,
Annie

How's that working out for you?
 
Top