Flight School Marketing – Attracting Your Ideal Student

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.

ObjectionResponse
It’s hard to find a jobThe economy is rough right now, but good pilots will always be needed – in fact lots are retiring.
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)

ObjectionResponse
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.

Need more help? Ask for our New Client Questionnaire. After you complete it, we’ll send you detailed recommendations on how to improve marketing for your flight school.

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