Even before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted life as we know it, technological innovations were revolutionising the tutoring industry.
As an example of how rapid and dramatic these changes have been, just consider that, a mere 15 years after the Worldwide Web went live, Skype debuted their video chat application. In the 15 years since, camera, sound technology and web-based teaching tools have improved so much that online tutoring is giving in-person tutoring a run for its money.
Since COVID-19 first hit, online tutoring has pulled far ahead. Indeed, thanks to COVID, more people than ever have either launched their online business or are giving the idea serious thought.
Are you among their numbers? If so, the first step in marketing your tutoring business effectively is to consider the competition.
Even before technological advances and, certainly, long before COVID, teachers were leaving the profession to become private tutors. We’ll not discuss the reasons here; surely, you’re aware of them. Especially if you’re a current or former teacher.
That means that, if you’re launching a web-based or in-person tutoring business, you’re up against seasoned professionals who may have already cornered the market in your area. To distinguish your tutoring business from everyone else’s, you have to find your hook.
You may choose to specialise in a particular field, perhaps ones that students struggle in such as Maths and Science. Maybe you could highlight exam preparation as your specialty; statistics show that it is the primary reason students seek tutoring.
You might consider marketing yourself as an academic coach. Academic coaching is the new, hot trend in tutoring. It takes a holistic approach to preparing students for their academic careers, covering everything from establishing good study habits to setting up revision schedules. Of course, academic learning plays a role too, but the focus is on coaching students for success rather than just academics.
Now that you’ve carved a niche for yourself, it’s time to get the word out.
We opened this article with a nod to technology for a good reason. Most of today’s students have never known a disconnected world; they are known as digital natives. If you’re targeting your services to school students, you have to meet them in the spaces they are most comfortable navigating.
Even if you tutor in a non-academic field – playing guitar or practising yoga – you’ll increase your chances of finding clients by advertising your services online.
You may build a profile on a tutoring website; many such platforms allow tutors to establish a page listing their credentials, the subjects they tutor in and their hourly rates for a small fee or even at no charge.
If you’re internet-savvy, you may build your own web page.
Either way, you should emphasise that you can deliver lessons in-person or online. Note that online tutoring lets you cast a much wider net; you may even tutor learners in other countries.
Don’t stop at building your online presence, though. There are likely plenty of students in your community who are looking for your brand of mentorship. Why not give prospective clients a taste of what learning with you is like?
You might advertise free clinics in your specialty – Maths, English, History and so on, at your local library. Let’s say that, on a given Thursday, you will be at a certain library during these hours to answer questions in your field. Naturally, you’ll offer ongoing lessons and have your contact details ready to hand out.
How would you advertise such an event?
Social media is a good start, but you may also post flyers in your local supermarkets, shops and petrol stations. Ask your friends to hand some out too. If the library is, indeed, happy for you to counsel students in their facility, see if they won’t feature you on their message boards and, should they not be agreeable to that, maybe they would let you put a stack of adverts on their circulation desk.
Talk to administrators at your local schools.
You may already know that teachers often make recommendations for supplemental learning to parents of pupils they worry might fall too far behind. It might be unethical for schools to promote a particular tutor or service but they may allow you to post an advert on their study hall bulletin board or include news of your tutoring business in their school newsletter.
Don’t forget word of mouth, the best form of advertising.
Talk your business up with friends, family, and anywhere you do business: the corner grocery, the petrol station and while waiting for the bus.
You only need one client to get the ball rolling, especially if you’ve built an online presence. Of all the ways we’ve listed to promote your tutoring business, your students’ testimonials will be the best advertisement.