Last month we explained the simplicity of how you can boost business on the Web.� A website is just the beginning. To further ensure more people will come to your website, search engine optimization should be used. One way to do this is with blogs.
Here are the best reasons blogging will add profits to your school:
- New students will find you online before your competition. All it takes is just one post per week to move you up in the rankings of search engines such as Google and Yahoo.
- Drives interest to the profitable areas of your site. It will take time before you will start seeing significant search engine traffic on your site. Building a blog that contains keywords in the title, and repeated again in the text of the post, is critical if you want to maximize search traffic. If you create great content, others will talk about and link to your site. For example, adding a blog like “Today's Aviation Trivia” to your site will greatly enhance keyword searches and you’ll begin to build repeat visitors who will recommend your site to others.
- Increased referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Just one great idea and one person posting about it on your blog will increase awareness of your school. Get your students involved with the blogs and they can keep it going with minimal input from you. Highlight students who have achieved their goals or overcome challenges with help from your CFIs. Whenever you make a fuss over people and make them feel good about themselves and what they are doing with your school, they will spread the word about you; and so will their friends and family. Just remember to make sure that they have signed a waiver that allows you to feature them on your site though so you don’t violate their privacy. This can be done easily in a rental agreement.
- Keeps your retail supplies front-and-center with your aviation community. It’s normal for us to have local pilots drop by for the occasional chart, but getting them in the door or directed to your online store for other supplies depends on your ability to maintain relationships, even when those pilots aren’t based at your local field. Blogging about new products and must-haves draws the attention of those looking to buy, and your site will remind them that they can either pop in or have it shipped to them directly from your Web store. Reading what the local pilots are posting on your blog also tends to drive-up product sales, since their flying buddies often don’t want to be outdone or outdated. Given a choice, some people would rather purchase their goods from a trusted local source than a faceless corporate website.
- Provides you with a platform to communicate your passion. Most students prefer being taught by someone who is in it for more than just a paycheck. Asking your CFIs to share their passion for aviation will draw students in and keep them excited and encouraged. For instance, if your CFIs are angry about some new regulation being proposed, you can use your blog to get students and local pilots engaged and involved in advocacy campaigns for the cause. By using your blogs you can connect with the aviation community on a deeper level and ensure them that you’re the one they want to buy from because they know that you share in their goals and passion.
- Helps demonstrate your contribution to the community. Local pilots and prospective students want to be affiliated with those businesses that give back to their local community, whether at your local field or within the aviation community overall. Whatever you are sponsoring—Young Eagles, Toys for Tots, or even a Little League team—write about it in your blog, post their scheduled events and highlight their goals and accomplishments. In addition to increasing your website hits by mentioning other groups (keywords), you humanize your school and raise awareness for a good cause as well.
- Introduce new products, price-updates, training specials, and seminars. Drawing interest in something useful or cheap, or a chance to hang out and talk flying will help get both new and old pilots in the door. Have your chief CFI write a weekly blog post that’s a version of, “The most common question I get asked about x is x.” Encourage people to chime in with their personal stories. Check in often to see what others are saying. Make announcements about seminars on specific topics. Have some food, which is a surefire way to get people to show up. After the event, make sure you solicit blog posts from loyal clients because their rave reviews will surely draw in more prospects for future events.
- Establishes you as an authority in aviation and flight training. One of the best ways to use your blog is to demonstrate your expertise. Write about the problems your students face. Offer solutions, training tips, links to FARs, and how-to videos. The more you provide accurate, user-friendly information, the more you establish yourself as a trusted leader in flight training.
If you are interested in getting some extra promotion for your blog to grow quickly, there are a number of affordable advertising options that will drive real traffic to your blog. Pay-Per-Click ads can be very effective and inexpensive, as are banner advertisements on other blogs. Running an ad for a month or more will give you exposure to a new audience and the cost per click is usually pretty low.