The most effective local offline marketing methods for freelance private tutors.
The single biggest challenge that new businesses face is finding clients. As a private tutor, finding your first students can be tricky, especially if there are already other tutors operating in your area.
However, just because there are already other tutors out there, it doesn't mean that there's no room for you. In fact, if anything, it gives you an indication that there's a demand for tutoring in your area.
To help you get your tutoring business off the ground, I've put together this post, based on the dozens of conversations I've had with private tutors about local marketing. These methods are among some of the most effective ways that private tutors grow their student base.
Word of Mouth Referrals
Even in today's technology-obsessed world, word of mouth remains the single best source of work for private tutors in the UK.
I guess people do still talk to each other after all!
However, the main difficulty with word of mouth marketing is that you first need to establish yourself and your business in your local area.
The single easiest way to do this is simply to tell people about your services and ask them to pass on your number if they know anyone who is looking for a tutor for their children.
Although initially this method can be a bit of a slow-burner, give it a few weeks and you should see an increase in the number of enquiries you receive. And best of all, it doesn't cost a penny.
However, if you do have some cash to spare and are willing to make a small investment in marketing your tutoring business, then you might find the following methods effective in bringing you more students.
Handing out Business Cards (Old School Style)
An alternative to simply asking people to pass on your phone number is to hand them a business card with all your details displayed in one place.
Although an old school marketing method to some, people still love receiving a business card and for most, it carries a sense of privilege that they've been entrusted to spread the word about your business.
By handing out a few cards to everyone you talk to, not only will you gain more students but you'll present a professional image, which will improve your credibility.
Distributing Leaflets and Displaying Posters
Some tutors advise against posting leaflets through neighbours' doors, whereas other swear by their effectiveness. Personally, I haven't had much success with leafleting but because others have, I feel they're worthy of a mention here.
I would advise taking a tentative approach to leafleting in the beginning in order to test the water. Maybe do a print run of 50 leaflets or so and post them through doors that you think are likely to have families with school age kids living within.
If, after your initial efforts, you haven't had any success, then you know this method isn't worth pursuing.
However, a local marketing method that is pretty much guaranteed to bring you more work is displaying posters or adverts in local shop windows, community centres, libraries and town halls. After an initial investment of petrol (or pedal power) to get you around all these places, your efforts should be rewarded well, given that you can potentially reach hundreds of people a day with your adverts. Just make sure that you're allowed to post in these places first, or at least have asked for permission to do so.
Get your Name in the Local Press
Given how accessible the internet is these days, people don't read newspaper classifieds like they used to, so paying for a tiny advert in your local paper probably isn't going to generate much business.
However, a local news story about your business will.
What is it about your tutoring services that makes you stand out from the crowd? Are you already known in the local area? Do you teach an unusual subject? Do you have a unique qualification? Do you use unconventional teaching methods? If you can give your local newspaper a unique story angle, they may be keen to write an article about the launch of your business.
A featured article in your local newspaper can help create a buzz about your business and increase demand for your services.
Register with a Private Tutoring Agency
One of the biggest benefits of registering with a private tutoring agency is that you’ll have a ready-made client list waiting for you without having to do any of your own marketing. Tutoring agencies will also normally apply for a DBS certificate on your behalf, which will help show your credibility to prospective students and parents.
Tutoring agencies set the bar high when it comes to recruiting tutors, and that’s a good thing. If you have a proven track record of getting students results or attended a top UK university, you could secure your place at one of the more prestigious tutoring centres in the country.
You should bear in mind however, that tutoring agencies will probably take a commission on every lesson that you give, meaning that you might make slightly less money than you could being freelance. On the other hand though, what you might lose in profit, you will save in time and money in marketing your own business.
What are your experiences of marketing as a private tutor in your local area? Have you tried any of the methods above? Which were the most effective?
Related post: How to Market your Private Tutoring Business Online