||Flight School Marketing – Attracting Your Ideal Student

Flight School Marketing – Attracting Your Ideal Student

Flight School Open House

Flight School Open House

If you’re in charge of marketing for a flight school, flying club or FBO, you know you have a big challenge on your hands.

You probably also know that you have two main segments of students – one segment includes career-oriented students looking for jobs in the aviation industry, the other is recreational flyers.

Your marketing strategy should be different, depending on which group you’re intending to attract.  If you want to attract both, you’ll need two separate marketing campaigns.

Why?

Because each group has its particular set of motivations, objections, and even competition!

Use objections and compelling responses in highly-targeted marketing pieces.  You’ll find that you’re spending less on marketing by segmenting your list into types and responding to their needs more precisely.

Career oriented students

These folks may love flying just as much as the recreational flyers, but they have to convince their parents, their academic lenders, and themselves that flight training is a good investment.

You find these potential customers at high school vocation programs, career days and job fairs, or hanging around the airport (because they love airplanes)

The competition for their time, attention, and dollars include other vocational training, colleges and universities, and the lure of construction jobs and other high-pay, low-skill work.

It’s important to understand the objections and some possible responses when you’re building your marketing materials.

Objection Response
It’s hard to find a job The economy is rough right now, but good pilots will always be needed – in fact lots are retiring.Read Finding (And Keeping) the Best Pilots in Forbes.
Automation is taking a lot of the fun and responsibility out of flying. Pilot judgment has saved many flights that the computers wouldn’t have – look at the Miracle on the Hudson!  There are some things a computer can’t do. Being a pilot will always be a needed and respected profession.Besides, computers make it more fun and make it possible to do more in aviation.
Flight training costs more than (other vocational training opportunity) It might cost less, but look at lifetime salaries, and you have to look at what you would really enjoy doing.  You spend a lot of time working, you might as well enjoy it.

Recreational students

These folks are achievement-oriented, excitement-addicted people who are looking for a hobby that keeps them sharp and rewards them with a thrilling experience. Some of them just love airplanes from a previous experience in the military or some other historical context.

You’ll find these potential customers in high-performance professions.  They likely drive high-performance cars, motorcycles or boats.  They have high incomes and are motivated by a challenge.

The competition for their time, attention and dollars are other experiences – vacation packages, high-performance vehicles, (boats, motorcycles, etc.) and other educational experiences that promise to be challenging and fun.  (Rock climbing, skiing, etc)

Objection Response
I don’t have time. We have flexible schedules.
It’s less hassle to buy a high-performance boat or motorcycle. Yes, but you don’t get the thrill of achievement that comes with the challenge of getting your pilot’s license.  Active pilots are a very small percentage of the population.
It’s too expensive. Flight training is less expensive than (name a sports car that is more expensive than your training program.)
Flying is not as physical as I’d like. High-performance flying can be very physically demanding!
Flying is so automated that it’s not fun or a challenge anymore. You learn without the autopilot.  And there are lots of situations where the pilot will make better decisions than the autopilot will.  ReadIn Defense of Elitists – Why Not Everyone Can (Or Should!) be a Pilot! (by Paula Williams, of course. :-))
My wife (or husband) won’t enjoy it. I’m looking for something we can do together. Non-flying spouses might enjoy the travel, the convenience of the “real first class” of private aviation, the beautiful scenery, etc.  Besides, many spouses become addicted after a discovery flight.Read Jolie Lucas’ Express Lane – Using Your Private Aircraft for Business

By segmenting your list in this way, it’s possible to attract the type of student that is the best fit for your flight school. It’s also possible to get better responses from your marketing materials while spending less!

Do you have other suggestions for objections and responses for either of these groups?  Let us know or leave them in the comments.

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5 Comments

  1. Rakesh December 2, 2011 at 4:12 am - Reply

    iam a partner of an esteemed flying school,based in new delhi.iam looking forward to have a tieup for getting students for our academy fo SPL,PPL,CPL Course program.kindly convey your strenghts and views.

  2. Cassie Gray March 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    I want to market online services to flight schools, charter services, and regional airports. I was hoping you could help me on something. I am looking for the top challenges facing these three groups today so I can better assist them in getting the results they want. I need confirmation on what problems they are facing in attracting and keeping customers.

    So what are the three most important problems flight schools, charters and regional airports faced with today?

    Thank you for your help.

    Cassie Gray
    724-953-1728
    Bridges Social Media

  3. Janet March 3, 2017 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    it so risky for example once someone gets diabetes or blood pressure, the pilot steps down of a flying job?

  4. Janet March 3, 2017 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    I am new employee at aviation academy and my position is marketing and public relations, although that I have a master degree in MBA, I appreciate if you could tell me how to leverage the number of both international and local students as well as what the most effective marketing tools should I use to start my duties besides is the flight license consider a bachelor degree? as many students ask the same questions.

    thanks

    • admin
      admin March 5, 2017 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Hi Janet!

      Sounds like perhaps we should talk by phone – there are several strategies to attract local students, and different ones to attract international students.

      In terms of a career as a pilot, there are many options, some of which require different types of education. A Bachelor Degeee is preferred by some airlines but not others; or are your students interested in flying charter or something else? My calendar is online – please schedule a time to chat. http://30minutes.aviationbusinessconsultants.com

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