Marketing isn't evil
So you're on board to start tutoring!... What now? Since you already have the subject knowledge 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 students, there won't be any tutoring taking place.
Fortunately, researchers by nature have great self-promotion skills! So it's largely a matter of transferring those same skills to getting the word out on your tutoring business. The good news is there are many ways to get started with both offline and online material.
If you share the mindset of many researchers, you likely find most marketing obnoxious one way or another. The truth is: you're right and it is. However, the good news is that the most effective strategies for marketing your services are legit, forthright and honest. 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.
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 three stage funnel with lots of entry points. The funnel concept is simple.
- 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.
- Post frequently and with a large amount of free help to show people how you can provide value. Share sample and teaser content, especially short videos!
- Set up a YouTube channel and create a few free videos helping with common problems in you subject. 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 schools (if appropriate to your service). 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 experience succeeding with this. Just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can consult with you and give you feedback.
- Think "where is likely that parents, students and potential clients will see my material" - then put it there!
- You can emphasize testimonials and past success rates in specific exams. This really helps people to know you will be effective.
- Reply to EVERYONE who messages you on social media and via email. Respond to all comments unless they are beyond the pale!
- Develop relationships with potential clients in just a few exchanges so they understand how you can help them.
- Offer A "call to action". This means posting on all your social media every few weeks 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.