Personality is key!
So you're on board to start tutoring a language!... What to do next?
Since you already have the language skills and can free up a few hours per week. Marketing yourself is the next step you'll need to take. Without a way to find or be found by potential clients, there won't be any tutoring taking place.
The good news is there are many ways to get started with both offline and online material. However, you will need to become comfortable with self promotion and getting your message out there. Especially as a language tutor, you will need to become confident speaking on video to strangers!
If you share the mindset of many people, you likely find some marketing obnoxious one way or another. The truth is: you're right and it is. But it doesn't need to be, especially for personal services like language tuition. The good news is that the most effective strategies for marketing your services forthright and honest and are basically about relationship building. You need to convey an authentic message, while also not shying away from self promotion and a little 'hyping'. If your believe in the service you can offer, say so as clearly as possible.
As a language tutor, you'll need to really show people that your going to be fun to interact with and that your lessons will be relaxed and effective. This is especially true for people who are going want to learn for fun only.
How to Make a Funnel
You also need a consistent message and a 'sales funnel'. This is something of a buzz word, but actually a useful concept. The idea is planning the route by which clients will find you. Most people are not likely to see your name in a bulletin board and instantly sign up. You need to create rapport and familiarity prior to people acting on your 'call to action'.
We recommend trying a simple three stage funnel with lots of entry points.
- Stage A: this is where potential clients first become aware of you and your services.
- Stage B: this is where you convey your message and explain what your services are and why they're excellent
- Stage C: This is where you actually `convert' and sign people up
This stage involves getting the word out there online and offline depending on your service. There are just a few key pointers for getting started with this.
- Get on social media. Create a Facebook page and a twitter at least for your service. Look at other successful online tutors for guidance about how to structure this. Show off your skills with examples of conversation so people understand how lessons will be with you.
- Create a personal website using any one of many template services like Weebly or Wix (more coming on how to do this and look professional soon!).
- Post frequently (a few times a week) and with a large amount of free example lessons. Share sample and teaser content, especially short videos!
- Set up a YouTube channel and create a few free videos helping with common phrases or nouns/verbs in you language. 6-10 mins is the best. You can end each video with a way to reach you!
- Add a profile video to your Delphi Tutors profile. This really help convey trust.
- Hand out cards and flyers in your local area in bus stops and bulletin boards and in local community centers. You may need permission to post flyers in specific places.
- Put up some simple ads on craigslist or Gumtree etc. This is something Delphi can do for you as we have experiance succeeding with this. Just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can consult with you and give you feedback.
- Think, "what do potential clients need to hear to understand my service and how I can help?".
- Help clients to understand why your different. What approach will you take? How will you tailor lessons etc...
Here's a good example video about a language tutoring service:
One reason this video is a good example, is because it's clear and engaging but still personal and not too corporate looking. The video really manages to convey what lessons would be like, which is very important to achieve. However, there are different image strategies around this topic. It actually depends on which type of clients you are trying to attract, so it's important to think about what your target market is.
Here's a nice example of a personal website for a language tutor: Link To Natasha's webpage. This one has a more corporate/branded feel which is also working nicely but could likely appear to a more professional audience.
- Reply to EVERYONE who messages you on social media and via email. Respond to all comments unless they are beyond the pale! Obviously, watch out for weirdos, as some will likely contact you unfortunately no matter what you do. Our advice is to flag any such messages on the appropriate platform without replying.
- Develop relationships with potential clients in just a few exchanges so they understand how you can help them.
- At this point, you can invite people to join your mailing list so you can send them more free content. This is a really great intermediate step before signing people up.
- Offer A "call to action". This means posting on all your social media every few weeks (not too much!) to sign up, explain any new services you offer. For example "join my last min exam prep group today!" with a link to your profile or email can be very effective.
- You can simply, without being pushy, ask people directly in conversation online in comments etc. if they'd like to join your tutor group once they reach this stage.
The core idea of a sales funnel is that people are far more likely to join your service once they see that you can really help them. It's a simple concept, but many people starting out a business online simply cold call or spam people. Neither or these really work and can discredit you whereas a well tuned funnel can provide you with a supply of great quality clients.
You can "A-B test" every part of your process. Essentially, experiment with different ideas at each step and compare them. Drop anything which isn't working and ramp-up what does.