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Offline Marketing Strategies To Increase Clients
This is the Offline marketing part of this Definitive Guide To Growing Your Tutor Business.
This continues on from the Introduction and Theory & Background section which you should read first here.
You will find the Online marketing methods outlined here.
Offline (Traditional) Marketing To Increase Clients
Below is the table of contents - the index - of all the different offline marketing methods you might like to consider.
This table is interactive. You can click any of the marketing methods to view that section.
It is also a powerful business reference tool.
Consider your business. Where is it lacking?
Do you have too few new leads (potential new customers)? Do you need to get more people interested in your business? If so, then look at the "Traffic Generation" column and take action on one of those marketing methods.
If you are talking to lots of potential new customers, but they are not actually making the decision to start paying, then you need to action one of the "Conversion To Sale" marketing methods.
And if you find that your students are not staying as paying customers for long, then you need to action as many of the "Retention" marketing methods as possible.
(Click to go to that section)
Conversion To Sale
Some of these offline, traditional marketing methods are simple, obvious and you will have heard of, thought of, or even done them.
Some are less obvious.
Some are quite clever.
The local newspaper may be a source of attention for your local business. How could you get attention there?
Paid advertising is the obvious answer. It is worth testing for a few key weeks.
Equally, how could you get your story in the local paper? Could you submit a Press Release to them about your "New Local Business"? How could you get a story about you and your business in the local press?
Make sure that any success stories you have of your students get passed on to the local paper. Consider the 'Local Event Photo' option below.
Similarly, if you are involved in any events, make sure you contact the local paper to tell them. They won’t always print these stories, but you only need a few to get the word out.
Ask them if they do "Reader's Special Offers", where you offer a special offer discount coupon in the paper.
A coupon will better enable you to track which advert a new customer came to you from. This means you know what is working! It will also encourage readers to take action and sign up, which means better conversion for you.
Cross-promotion is where two or more businesses promote each other's business to their own customers. The opportunities are endless. Many of the methods outlined below could turn into a cross-promotion opportunity. If you can't get Plan A to work, then Plan B might be a cross-promotion.
For example, if a private school won’t agree to hand out your brochure to interested parents, maybe you could agree promote each other.
For the benefit of all businesses involved in a cross-promotion, it is important to know that a certain customer came from that specific promotion partner, so you know it is worthwhile promoting their business in return, so it is a fair exchange. Equally, it is important to incentivise the potential customer to come across to your business.
You can solve both requirements by offering a discount coupon. You give a pile of discount coupons to your cross-promotion partner and they give you theirs. You each then hand them out where relevant. With a discount coupon in their hand, they are more likely to take up your suggestion.
For about £10 you could get a few hundred business cards printed with this discount on, and give those to your cross-promotion partner for them to hand out.
Who could you partner with?
One of the most effective and least thought-of cross-promotion partners is other tutors!
If you teach French, and you meet a music tutor, you are not competing directly because you teach different things. Talk with them about cross-promoting each other.
Website Promotion Groups
You could have a group of other tutors who all recommend each other. If you have 1 French tutor, 1 maths tutor, 1 German tutor, 1 English tutor etc, all promoting each other, you will each pick up business.
You can have a page on your website for "Other tutors in different subjects"
There are many local business networking groups. They may or may not be profitable for you. Some charge too much for it to be viable for you. But it is worth checking with your local Chamber Of Commerce to see what the options are.
Most network groups have a free first session.
Be constantly thinking of networking wherever you go. How could you help them? Who might they know who could help you?
Local Shop Ad
Many local grocers, supermarket, butchers etc will have a small adverts board. Simply ask if they have one and put your card on it.
If you're driving around town, why not use your car as a moving advert for your tutor business?
Simply get down to your local signage business and ask them about livery (stickering) on your car. You may find it is less expensive to look online for the signage. There are some DIY, mail order signage outlets such as this one here. Some outlets such as VistaPrint offer custom-made magnetic car signs here.
The signage can be as subtle or as obvious as you choose.
With more and more parents turning to extra tuition for help with their child's learning, you would be amazed how much attention and business you can gain by driving around with your tutor business mentioned on your car.
Make sure you have 4 key things on the advert...
Note that often with fast moving adverts people may not have time to write the full phone number down as you drive past. But they are more likely to remember or verbalise the website address and write that down. So make sure you have your website listed, and make sure your website address is easy to remember.
Dentist's Waiting Room
In a dentist or doctors waiting room you may have a potential audience sitting waiting, bored and receptive to any stimuli. Parents and students will pass through. If it is a private clinic, it is more likely that they will be OK with paying for education.
Simply speak with the receptionist person and build up a relationship with them. Ask if you can leave a small pile of your brochures in the waiting room. A smile and a drop of charm will go a long way.
Similarly, your target audience may well take horse riding lessons in their leisure time. If someone is prepared to pay to learn horse riding, they are possibly more accepting of paying for extra tuition.
As with the school, doctors and dentists, ask if you can leave a small pile of flyers or discount coupons.
Local Event Photo
Could you arrange your students to get together and all help out at a local event? Maybe they could help with the car parking at a local town fair. Or they could serve refreshments.
But you get them all to wear your business T-shirts you have had made.
Then you arrange a photoshoot, sending the photo into the local paper. Most local papers love a story about a group of people volunteering and helping out.
So you get your T-shirts and your business front and centre in the local newspaper again.
Think of a local event that is a logical tie-in for your tutor business and your specialist subject. If you are a music teacher, then you and your students could help out at a local music recital or show.
You can run offline competitions with giveaway prizes in your local area.
You will get much more benefit from running your competitions online because of the viral nature of social media. So make sure that anyone who enters into your competition via an offline channel is then manually transferred into your online competition system. Make sure they give permission for this as part of the competition paper form that they fill in.
Then their email will go into your list so you can email them, and they can get emailed and told to Facebook share the competition etc.
See the online section for online competitions here.
TRAFFIC & CONVERSION
Get involved in your local community and you will find that your audience comes to you. Volunteer one night a week to help out at a local club or group such as a youth scheme or within the Scouting movement. The Scouting movement includes Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers (which are both male and female) or Brownies and Guides (which are female-only). This covers an age range from 6 to 18 years old.
By becoming an 'assistant leader' (helper) at such clubs, you instantly get to know local potential students andtheir parents. Word will soon get out that you are a tutor. Once one of them is a student, word spreads even quicker.
If you're more interested in a sporting club then get down to your local club and offer your help.
Whatever the club you help out at, you can guarantee that within 6 months, you will be picking up new students and parents for your tutor business.
Make sure you pick a club that you will enjoy doing yourself, or you will be bored and overly focused on your business-purpose, which will come across as too pushy.
Do not ignore this method. Within TutorTube, we have one board member who, between the Scouting movement and the local primary school, has entirely filled her weekly tutoring spaces!
This marketing method also has the added advantage of helping your retention - keeping your paying customers. This is because you become better known to the students and parents via your voluntary work.
Free Community Class
By giving a free local community class, in a similar way to getting involved in a local club, you get access to students and parents.
You create a class, not a one-to-one tutor service. So maybe you hold a few extra classes on a Saturday, as a promotion tool for your business.
Consider that if you do a free community class specifically for under-privileged children, this is probably not your target audience as their parents are unlikely to be able to afford private tutoring. Instead your purpose here would be to do some local good, and to get your business promoted. This would be where you tell the local newspaper about your good work for the community and you get mentioned in the local newspaper.
Alternatively, if you make such a free community class open to anyone, make sure that you are promoting your tutor service at the classes. Give out brochures, flyers or business cars to everyone involved.
You may do a 'catch up' class, where any students can come to this group class, to get your help with your subject, and you answer specific questions they have.
Aim to develop your relationship with all local schools. They will most likely get parents asking them if they know any tutors who can teach their child in a certain subject.
So simply get in touch with the local schools, visit them and hand-deliver a pile of brochures or flyers for students to take home to give to their parents.
Ask if you can leave a pile of brochures or flyers in the school hall, office or reception. Ask the school to hand out your brochure/flyer if any student or parent asks about extra tuition in your subject.
Tell the school that they can have more if these ever run out.
Also, many schools have a digital newsletter that they email to parents. Ask if your details can be included in this.
Ask for the school's email address and develop a strong relationship with the school administration team people.
There will most likely be one key person who runs the administration in the school office. This is the person you need to get to know. Ask them how they work with other tutors currently? Do they put students in touch with the tutor? Do they pass student details on to the tutor?
The stronger and friendlier your relationship is with this key administration person, the better your chance of getting business from this school.
Repeat this process with as many local schools as you can.
If you have children at a school, start there. Once you have that school 'under your belt', then you can use them as a reference when you speak with any other school you approach. You can approach any new school with "I help out school X with their tutoring and I thought I might be able to help you too".
School Fairs Stand
Once you have a good working relationship with the key school administration people, you can find out if and when they have school fairs or events. Ask if you could sponsor an event or donate to the school in return for you having a stand (table, chairs and some of your posters put up) so you can talk with more parents about tutoring their children.
If this is not an option, change the question... "How could I talk with parents who I could help?"
Rather than stop at the "No" to the schools fair option, find an alternative way to reach the same objective. Would it be OK to have a stand at the school sports day? At the Parents Evening? (a better option because for those students who have just done less well with their reports, their parents will probably be thinking about extra tuition).
Could you organise a group of tutors of non-competing subjects to be an "Expert Panel" at a school event, to help the students, and also to promote yourself?
Don't forget private schools when approaching local schools with your flyers and for a school fair stand.
These student's parents most likely have more disposable income and have proven that they are prepared to pay for their education.
Similarly, would it be appropriate to approach local colleges in the same ways? Could you teach college-level students?
You will get more attention if you are doing a short-term special offer. People will understand that it is time sensitive, and hence scarce, so will move faster to take you up on your offer.
You have 2 main options
Adding Extra Value
What could you add to people who sign up with you in the next week only?
Maybe they get entered into the qualification exam for free.
Maybe they get a free calculator or study folder or free subject book, DVD or training content.
Maybe they get access to your free once-a-month lesson club, where any students can come for an hour to ask any questions.
Discount The Price
For a short-term, limited period you could offer some form of price discount, such as...
1st Lesson Free
Giving a first lesson free is great because it makes the decision to attend much easier. It reduces the risk of the decision. Then you need to 'wow' them in that lesson so they choose to come again.
It depends on what you want to encourage your customers to do. If you want to encourage prepaid block booking, then your discount offer might be "Buy 3 get 1 FREE". Change those ratios of paid-to-free, as you wish. You can set up an automated payment system like this within TutorPay.
Note - always use the word "free" if at all possible. Although this is the same thing as 33% off over 3 lessons, studies show it is usually better for sales to use the "free" word. Everyone loves free!
Contract - Refund Rules
Why not offer a "No risk money back guarantee". At least for the first X number of lessons.
Sure, you might be worried about people ripping you off, but understand this general rule of marketing and guarantees...
With a solid and generous guarantee, sales will go up by more than you lose on any refunds.
In fact, the refunds will probably be a lot smaller than you think.
And the purpose of any such guarantee is to make it easier to decide to start to use your services. Once they have started with you they will either continue or not. This is about reducing their risk when making the decision to *start* with your tutoring services.
So offer a no-quibbles money back guarantee on the first 3 lessons they have with you. Of those who don't continue, most will not worry about the guarantee to claim a refund.
Having a business card should be default. If you don't have them it looks unprofessional. Simply get them designed and printed.
You may know a local person who can do this for you. Ask around amongst your friends and family, on Facebook etc.
It is simple - quick, easy and cheap.
Then hand them out to any potential student or parent, so they have a means to remember you and contact you later.
Having a brochure or flyer to hand out is a bit like an extended business card. Business cards have the benefit of being able to fit in wallets and purses. Flyers and brochures have the benefit of being able to stand out a bit more, and to convey more information.
So you can include more about why your service is so great.
Remember to differentiate yourself. What makes you unique in a positive way? Why should they choose you over any other tutor?
How big should your flyer or brochure be? It is entirely up to you. What will allow you to stand out, while not spending a small fortune on printing?
An A5 or A6 card is the simplest, easiest option. Or an A4 card folded length-ways into 3 sections.
Standout options might be to have non-straight edges. For example, if you were a piano tutor, your flyer might have the bottom edge cut out in the shape of many piano keys. This would stand out more. It would also have the added benefit of being tactile.
What would most people do when they pick up that flyer? They'd probably pretend to play that piano on the flyer!
Think how you could be different, in a positive, effective way.
So that concludes the 'Get more clients' section of the Definitive Guide To Growing Your Tutor Business.
You have seen a lot of different methods, strategies and tactics to grow your student base, by increasing
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