Marketing a Tutoring Business
Most entrepreneurs find that their business plans are actually quite solid until they begin constructing the marketing campaign, and resulting budgetary considerations, which are essential to building a base of client and earning a solid revenue stream. It is the marketing budget and method which can sink a novice entrepreneur, especially in the competitive market for well-qualified tutors. However, there are a number of great ways to market and advertise a tutoring business which don’t require any spending at all. Others are exceedingly affordable and provide a great return on a relatively small investment. When working with a fledgling startup business, the key is to prioritize free marketing opportunities over those which have any cost associated with them, no matter how small.
A tutoring business is unique in that it can typically be advertised for free at many public places, including schools and libraries, as well as gathering places like coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants throughout the local community. Here are the best ways to market a small, upstart tutoring business to an entirely new group of clients.
Do it the Free Way Before Spending Money
The great thing about a tutoring business is that it is inherently local, and that proves some great opportunities for free advertising where those who need tutoring are most likely to gather. Namely, the following places are excellent places to place fliers, brochures, and contact information for a new tutoring business:
- Coffee shops and local cafes are often hubs of fliers and information regarding small businesses, self-owned enterprises, and tutoring services. This is especially true in neighborhoods which have a local college or university, or a coffee shop or cafe that has earned a loyal following from a local high school. On top of the copious free marketing opportunities for fliers and brochures, coffee shops and cafes offer a trendy take on delivering a company’s message. As any tutor should know, younger clients place special emphasis on what is trendy and popular among their peer group.
- Guidance offices in local high schools are a great place to advertise a tutoring service, especially because this is the office responsible for student academic advising, course scheduling, and college preparation. While it’s not as trendy as a coffee shop, the guidance office lends itself to a discussion on tutoring in general. Providing a timely flier is the best way to capitalize on student need.
- Libraries and local community centers provide a way to reach people of all ages, from elementary school through college-aged students. These gathering places are a bit more serious and studious in nature and, while a library encourages the academic behavior which might lead to tutoring, community centers provide the kind of support which can finally convince a student to seek help outside their peer group or their parents’ involvement.
- Word of mouth is an excellent way to operate in a local community, especially because it only takes a few clients with good grades to spread the message of a tutoring service’s overall success. Good grades are contagious and they’re always the “in” thing to do. One satisfied customer will create plenty of new prospects when their hard work with a tutoring service begins to pay off.
Go Digital to Reach a Larger Audience
While relying on offline communication is a great way to reach students in the local community, online advertising and marketing should not be left behind. It’s actually more affordable than most people think. In fact, it’s usually free. Students are increasingly digital in nature, and that means a two-pronged approach should be utilized which attempts to reach them both in their usual environment and via their favorite technological device.
- Using the web hosting option that is included with virtually every internet service provider’s basic package is an excellent way to get online without paying a monthly fee to a more robust web hosting company. These hosting packages included with internet service are usually pretty basic, but the promotional needs of the tutoring service are also appropriate barebones. The goal is to have an online reference point for the methods, goals, and benefits of the tutoring service itself.
- Online advertising, whether it’s in the form of a Craigslist advertisement (which costs nothing) or an electronic brochure which is remotely hosted on an internet service provider’s free web space, is a great way to go into greater detail about the service’s costs and benefits; it’s also a great way to reach a larger audience with a more robust message which all help convert them into satisfied, paying customers.
Don’t Forget Printed Materials
- Local community newspapers often offer free advertising in their regular print editions or, if they do charge, the cost is substantially lower than that charged by major newspapers in most markets. And, because they’re expressly local and driven by the community, it’s a much more personal way to interact with potential students.
- Sending bulk mail messages is exceedingly affordable for business of any size, with current rates averaging about 10 cents per message. That’s far less than the cost of a typical stamp, and it can help reach a wide audience who may not have access to the internet and may have missed any available fliers in offline locations.
- Finally, don’t forget ads in local telephone books and directories. These are by far the most expensive advertisements among all of the other options listed, but they’re also one of the most effective and far-reaching. When the business has earned a substantial budget and can afford greater costs in terms of marketing and advertising, this is definitely a strong option to consider.
Be Creative and Convey the Business’ Message
Finally, remember that no amount of advertising will get a business off the ground unless the message is entertaining and unique. While searching for unique, low cost ways to promote a tutoring business, don’t forget to pair those methods with unique, high-impact messages and marketing tools which will draw in the largest number of new customers. When these two goals are combined, the sky is truly the limit in terms of income and overall success for a dedicated tutoring operation.