One of the most common questions I receive through The Tutor Website is ‘what can I do to market myself as a tutor?’ So, when I was invited by Hashtag Tuition to write a guest post for their site, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my experience and provide an introductory guide to marketing as a private tutor.
Incidentally, this post also coincides with a new eBook that we’re hoping to publish in the next few months that takes a more in-depth look at effective marketing methods for tutors. To help get you started in running a successful tutoring business, here are my top ten ways a tutor can market themselves:
1. Word of Mouth Marketing
One of the most reliable ways to market yourself as a tutor is by good old fashioned word of mouth. It’s no secret that the best tutors, particularly in London, find themselves booked up months in advance through word of mouth referrals. By offering a truly valuable service, you’ll build up credibility in your local area and generate a steady business stream.
2. Register with a Tutoring Agency
One of the best things about tutoring agencies is that they’ll take care of a lot of your marketing for you. According to TES Connect, some online tutoring agencies have as many as 10,000 tutors registered with them. However, those that tend to be the most effective, limit the amount of tutors that they allow to register, ensuring that the quality of tutoring is consistently high. Independent agencies can also boost your credibility as they employ a thorough recruitment process, which normally involves meeting tutors face to face, carrying out reference checks and applying for DBS certificates.
3. Spread the Word Amongst Friends and Family
When it comes to marketing, we’ve all got to start somewhere, and often, using the resources we have closest to home is the best strategy. We’ve all heard of the theory of six degrees of separation right? By telling people closest to you that you’re looking to take on new students, the chances are that it won’t be long before word gets out on the ‘friend of a friend’ chain and you’ll start receiving new business leads.
4. Tell Your Existing Students
Assuming that you already have some students on your books, why not tell them that you’re looking to take on new tutees? In many ways, your existing students are actually the best marketing network you have as they’re in constant contact with other students, who may be looking for your help. You could also consider introducing a ‘refer a friend’ scheme in return for a free lesson.
5. Have a Presence at Local Events
For some people, face to face marketing is a daunting prospect. However, it needn’t be a stressful experience. Perhaps your local community is having a networking event that you could hand some business cards out at? Or maybe your town hall hosts community groups that you could talk to for ten minutes about your services? The more people you can get the word out to in one go, the better.
And remember to ask them to pass your details on to anyone they know who might be interested in using your services.
6. Register with Tutor Directories
Marketing yourself online is one of the most effective ways to generate leads for your tutoring business. However, online marketing takes time and when you’re first starting out; there can be a lot for you to get your head around. That’s why creating a profile on paid online tutor directories like The Tutor Website is so beneficial. Tutor directories can be a great way to drum up new business and have students contact you directly. Before you register, do a Google search for private tutors in your local area and see which directories appear at the top – these are the ones that are likely to bring you the most students.
7. Get Yourself a Website
When it comes to building a website, you have two options: create one yourself, or pay a web design company to build one for you. If you decide to build your own, hands down, the best open source website builder is WordPress. For complete beginners, it might take some time to get used to, but the flexibility it offers is second to none. Investing in a website can bring you some excellent leads in the long term and is something that every serious tutor should consider.
8. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the art of ensuring that your website appears high in search engine rankings. Although there can be a lot to research in this field, it’s definitely worthwhile getting to grips with the basics. There are many resources online that can point you in the right direction if you’re just starting out, but what I will say, is that you’re best staying on Google’s good side as websites that adopt outdated ‘black hat’ SEO techniques, won’t survive long in the marketplace.
9. Be Active on Social Media
Nowadays, social media has become an essential part of every business’ marketing strategy and as a private tutor, you should embrace it too. Wikipedia currently lists 213 of the most popular social networking sites online (I’ve counted them) and this list is by no means exhaustive. Choose two or three sites that you’re familiar with and connect with people who may be interested in using your services. The more active you are on social media, the more engagements you’ll make.
10. Identify Gaps in the Market
My final piece of marketing advice is to take some time to properly research the private tutoring landscape in your local area. Who are the most popular tutors in your area? How do they market their services? Once you know how your competitors market themselves, consider what they could be doing better. Can you see any gaps in the marketplace that you can fill? Some of the biggest tutoring agencies in the UK grew their businesses by identifying ways to do things differently.
To help you build these marketing methods into a tangible plan, here’s a summary of the most effective actions you can take to generate more interest in your tutoring business:
- Speak to people about your business; the more people who know about your services, the more likely you’ll be to receive a referral from a friend of a friend
- Consider registering with tutoring agencies in your local area, they establish your credibility and bring you regular work
- Make yourself known in your local community by attending local events. Get yourself some business cards and hand them out to people who may be looking for a tutor.
- Leverage your existing student network by encouraging students to spread the word about your services
- Improve your online presence by being creating a profile on The Tutor Website
- Create your own website and implement an SEO strategy to help you get found in search engines
- Choose two or three social media websites that you’re familiar with and aim to engage with people who might be looking to use a tutor in your local area.
What other marketing methods do you recommend as a private tutor? Which of those mentioned above do you see as being the most effective? Do you have any of your own strategies that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re thinking about becoming a tutor, why not register with Hashtag Tuition? It is in everyone’s interests to join. See why here!
About the Author
Jamie Thomson is the founder of The Tutor Website, an online community for the private tuition industry. If you found this post useful, keep your eyes peeled for his new eBook about marketing for tutors, which will be available online in the next few months.