We often get questions from our tutors about how to get more new students. Whether online tutoring is your main job or a side gig, it is a fair question. While there is no perfect formula to get new students, one main advice will be: you must market yourself. It is easier said than done and there are many ways to do it. Below are some of our recommendations on how to find new online students:
- Link your social media accounts
If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account yet, it’s about time. Update your LinkedIn profile regularly and add all professional experience, training, certificates, qualifications. Even if you are a part-time tutor you can add it to your LinkedIn header or work experience section. LinkedIn is like a digital business card. It will help to present yourself to your future clients and colleagues. Don’t forget about other social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). Link your tutoring profile to other social media channels you have, you can add the link to your bio, personal information section, or just write a post/tweet about your job as an online tutor.
- Be active in the online community
There are a lot of forums and groups for tutors and students on Facebook and LinkedIn. Join the ones that interest you and become an active member, make new online connections, comment on others’ posts, share your knowledge, share posts, retweet, include relevant hashtags in your posts and comments, monitor hashtags related to your field, introduce yourself to new people. Who knows, your new Twitter follower might be your next client.
- Be active offline
Even if you teach exclusively online, it is as important to be active in real life as it is in virtual. Learn how to be social in real life, attend networking events, college career fairs, professional events and conferences, make business cards for your tutoring job if you need to. If you are a foreign language teacher, go to conversation language clubs at schools, colleges, international students’ offices. Just like in any industry, networking can go a long way.
It’s an old but reliable method. There’s nothing more convincing than a recommendation from a person who tried your services themselves. Be so good at what you do that people will start talking about you and recommend you to their friends. Millennials rely on peers’ recommendations a lot! That being said, people tend to share their negative experience more eagerly than positive one. Try to be as good at what you’re doing as possible, always improve and have your existing students who are happy with your service talk about you and share their experience with their friends. Good reputation and professionalism will pay off.
Now that we have figured out how to find new students, the next important question is how to retain existing students and make them want to book classes with you again. The competition is very high, there are a lot of online resources and students always have a lot of different options to choose from. Acquiring new customers is just the first step, retaining them may sometimes be challenging. How to retain existing students and keep them coming back to you:
- Positive approach
It takes a few seconds to make the first impression. The online world is no different, just in this case the first impression about you is your introduction on the online tutoring platform. Users can form an opinion about you and choose you among hundreds of other tutors just based on your short bio. Make sure you highlight all relevant experience, use friendly and polite language. After that, when you start conducting online classes, your goal is to reinforce that positive first impression. You can achieve that by being friendly and approachable with your students. Be patient, use open body language, listen to students’ needs and you will have great success.
- Professionalism and consistency
Just like in any job, professionalism is the key. Whether you teach online full-time or part-time, take it seriously. Don’t cancel classes last minute, don’t be late for the classes, use professional language, be tolerant with your students and attentive to their needs, dress professionally, teach a class in a quiet professional environment, have your equipment and internet connection set up and working properly. Think of it as if you were teaching in front of the students in a physical classroom, the only difference is that you use virtual tools. Be aware of students’ individual needs. Every student is unique and has his or her own learning style. You should take it into consideration while preparing for the class. These are just a few tips that will make your students want to book a class with you again.
- Be flexible
Normally, some situations are hard to predict, whether it is a family emergency or a power outage, and they can happen to both you and your student. Be ready for them and try to think about how you react to them. When it is possible, try to be proactive (e. g. when there are problems with microphone have some writing task ready to replace). When there are some last-minute changes, like a student asking to reschedule the class, try to be understanding and flexible, because there might be situations when you need to make last-minute changes due to personal reasons, so it will be easier to do if you’ve already established good relationship with a student and have done the same favor for them in the past.
- Add value
Remember that every student pays money for the class, and they want to get the value for that. It is okay to make mistakes or not have answers to all questions. However, it’s up to you to stay current with relevant news, teaching methods, improve your knowledge, get additional qualifications, certificates, make the learning process exciting, and so on. You can start a personal blog where you will share useful information about the subject you teach. Again, students always have a choice to book a class with you or with hundreds of other tutors. Stand out from the crowd and make students want to come back to you.
These were just a few tips on how to get new and retain existing students. In practice it takes some time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get quick results, just keep trying and improve yourself. Again, they are not rules but rather recommendations based on our observations. Be creative and give it a try!