Tutoring companies generally do what they do because they want to help people, but the reality is that you need to make a living, too. That's why your marketing is almost as important as your performance.
But if marketing isn't your area of expertise, it may be difficult to know what the next step is.
Whether you're just starting to advertise or you've landed in a rut, here are some tips to help:
Need a little marketing inspiration? Try on these ideas for size.
Particularly in areas with a large number of schools and colleges, tutoring companies are a dime a dozen. Good ones aren't.
If you or your tutors have certain certifications, these should be front-and-center in your marketing campaigns. If you or your tutors have teaching experience, this is a qualification to emphasize as well.
Most tutors have specialties and favorite subjects to work with. Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to make your entire living with long division alone.
While you can market primarily toward your specialties, you need to welcome diversity as well. Keep up a good degree of experience with other subjects as well to give yourself more "padding" and lower your risk of running out of work.
Content marketing is creating and spreading helpful, organic content. By focusing on becoming a reputable source people turn to for help (rather than by sounding like a sales pitch), you earn their trust and, in turn, their business.
One of the most effective methods of content marketing is blogging on your website. For tutoring companies, there's a nearly endless number of often-searched topics you can use. Just be careful not to give up so much information that your clients don't need you.
Another tip: for content marketing to be effective, it needs to be consistent and it needs to be search engine optimized. Aim for weekly blogs and do some research on search engine optimization.
Tutoring is an industry in which your clients need to trust you. The fastest way to a client to trust a tutor is if they've been referred by someone they respect.
This is why a referral program can be helpful, especially a mutually beneficial one. For instance, give your existing customers a discount if they refer a new client, and give the new client a discount too so they have a reason to name their referrer.
It's a win-win-win, and it requires little or no up-front cost.
Tutoring companies often work with students who have learning or developmental disabilities. These clients need special considerations, and tutors need to know how to communicate with them.
If you or your tutors have experience with autism, Down's syndrome, dyslexia, blindness, or other circumstances, you need to market this. That includes prior experiences (like if one of your tutors used to be a special education teacher or experience with applied behavior analysis).
Students or their parents may ask about your specific experiences with their disabilities. It's a good idea to have this information readily available.
Sometimes students don't know exactly what it is that they're having trouble with. In these cases, it can often help them to have an online quiz to assess their skills.
Creating a skills test on your website can be a form of content marketing, but it can also give you insight if the student decides to call you. By knowing exactly what to work on, you can give your client faster results, which boosts your reputation.
YouTube has over 1 billion users - about one-third of ALL internet users in the world. If you're not using YouTube as a resource, that's a huge missed opportunity.
For tutoring companies, in particular, demonstration videos can gain a wide viewership very quickly. You don't want to give away so much that no one needs to pay you, but posting consistent videos can be a great way to build a reputation and build your business.
Your videos don't need to have a high production value, so you can get started with minimal expense and time. To find the best topics, think about the most common questions your clients ask.
A free seminar or workshop at a local school can be an effective and genuine way to let the potential client know about your services.
Consider an after-school seminar on SAT prep tips at a high school, or a workshop on the basics of algebra, for example. You'll need to coordinate this with the school, but many will be receptive to offering the free service for their students.
Be careful about making it sound like a sales pitch, though. Focus on the actual topic at hand and make sure your main purpose is to help the students.
All you need to do from a marketing standpoint is hand out business cards at the end of the session and tell them to call you if they want more help.
Many parents and teachers follow their schools on social media, and this is a great opportunity for you to make yourself known.
Don't sound like a salesperson, but feel free to leave helpful comments on the schools' posts, congratulate them on achievements, etc.
Showing up on the school's posts will help you build a reputation for the school and the students/parents alike.
For a more direct approach, try paid social media marketing toward a targeted audience.
Many schools' parent-teacher organizations have sponsorship programs. In exchange for a donation, they'll offer you a variety of targeted advertising opportunities.
It's a good idea to shop around to the local schools in your area, but feel free to sponsor several at the same time.
The idea of marketing your business can be intimidating if you don't have a background in business. It's actually more manageable than you think as long as you use creativity and do your research.
The tips above can help, but if you want more guidance, reach out to a team of marketing experts.
Search Engine Marketing Columnist
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