Once you have decided upon your sales territory (geographical area where you will try to sell your services), you can start planning the detailed strategies for marketing a tutoring business. Because paid-media advertising, such as Telephone Directories, Community Newspaper advertisements etc. tend to be expensive, I would strongly recommend you make the most of free advertising opportunities, at least initially. Here’s a listing of just some of the venues that provide excellent free advertising opportunities:
Guidance Offices: Target as many schools in your territory as possible (at least 5-10) and visit the guidance office or student services office. Speak with a counselor and introduce yourself and your services. Ask them if there is anywhere where you can leave a supply of pamphlets and pin up a poster advertising your services. In most schools, they will be happy to comply, as many students requiring extra help often visit these offices for information on available tutors. Refer to your local Board of Education website for a complete listing of schools in your area.
Public Libraries: Public Libraries are an excellent place to leave pamphlets and brochures, and many libraries have bulletin boards specifically for advertising local services such as tutoring. It is probably a good idea to ask one of the staff for permission before posting. Refer to your local municipal website for a complete listing of public libraries.
Community Centers: Local community centers and sporting arenas attract many families with children and teenagers and are great places to advertise your services. You will likely have to obtain permission from the office first before posting pamphlets & brochures. Refer to your local municipal website for a complete listing of community centers and public sporting facilities.
Coffee Shops: Some local coffee shops have community service bulletin boards where patrons are welcome to post information about their businesses and services.
Word of Mouth: The easiest way to advertise your services is to contact everyone you know who may be able to refer clients to you, and tell them about your new business. This includes friends, relatives, classmates etc. If you know any teachers, you should definitely add them to your network of unofficial marketing agents, as they are in a great position to refer new students to you.
Website: If you have Internet access, your Internet Service Provider probably provides you with web space sufficient to post your own web-site at no additional cost. You can design and post your own website for free, or pay someone else to design it. Make sure to include a list of services offered, your contact information on your website. You can advertise your web-address (URL) on your brochure, e-brochure and poster so people can log on and find out more about your services. A professional-looking website also adds credibility to your business.
E-Brochures: A professional-looking brochure or newsletter can be sent via e-mail to a list of potential clients. Start building your e-mail list today and you should be able to build it up to at least several hundred addresses within a couple of months. Continue to add to this list, and send out a brochure or newsletter on a quarterly basis. Ask people to forward it to anybody who might be interested.
Bulk Mail: Your local post office will deliver your brochures in bulk for about ten cents each (could be more or less). I would suggest you start out with a small drop of 1,000 brochures in a higher income neighborhood. Even if you only get several new customers as a result, it is still money well-spent. Most bulk mail must be specified on a street-by-street basis, or by zip code or postal code.
Telephone Directory Advertising: (Yellow Pages, Super Pages etc.): If you have a business telephone line in your home office, then you probably get a free listing in your local Yellow Pages. Because this is just a simple one line listing, it probably won’t generate much business. However paid advertisements in the Yellow Pages can be extremely effective in generating customer calls. In many cities, a business-card sized advertisement can be purchased for less than $100 per month, and will reach an audience of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people. One problem with this type of advertising is that you will be required to commit to a full year of advertising, which can be prohibitively expensive.
Community Newspaper Advertising: Community newspaper advertising may or may not be a good investment. On one hand, you can purchase an advertisement for one issue only, during peak tutoring periods such as September or October, and you may get good response. On the other hand, many community newspapers, especially those delivered once or twice per week, are discarded like junk mail without being read. Furthermore, community newspaper advertisements can be expensive - often costing several hundred dollars for a small advertisement. I generally advise against community newspaper advertising for tutoring services, although it may be worth a try during peak season to see if it works for you.
I have attempted to highlight effective tools and strategies for marketing a tutoring business. I invite you to visit my website, for more information on marketing a tutoring business. The Wealthy Tutor offers a variety of strategies, tools and resources for marketing a business.
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