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How to promote your language school for free

Whether you’re a freelance teacher or own a training centre, the problem remains the same. No matter what size your business is, you need to promote it. And one thing is for sure: we all wish we had a bigger marketing budget. Hey, you might even be wishing you had one at all. As training centre owners for many years, we can say we have been in this position many times. The only thing you can do until you find more students is to get creative.  There are many things you can do to promote your school for free. If you do have a small budget, check out the low-cost alternatives after each tip.

Courseware Publishers

Maintaining a good relationship with the publisher representative will get you a lot of promotional material. Choose a publisher and work with them. They will help you choose the best materials for your learners and will make sure you and your students are happy. They know the best combination of coursebook and supplementary textbook, they know which books are more demanding and which require more time. Ask them questions and try not to avoid them even if they do show up unannounced. 

Depending on your location and chosen publisher you can get anything ranging from free notebooks, pens and pencils to free school bags. This material is especially useful if you teach young children. When making large orders of courseware, you will find that they are willing to offer more. They too want your business to grow and succeed so they will generally help out.

Low-cost option to promote your school: A certain publisher who provided free bags for each book set also printed our logo on them for a small cost. What an amazing freebie to give out to your new students. Check out what options are available in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask for marketing material or a better deal.

Networking

Aim to attend at least one networking event a year. Though you will not find prospective students there, you can use this opportunity to make yourself and your business known in the area/field. This is easier for those implementing innovative systems or methods.

Don’t forget to tell everyone especially on your social media accounts about the cool gamification event you attended! 😉

The contacts you establish in these events (online or offline) are important. You can use them to create strategic alliances and promote each other’s business. For example, you can organise a referral system with a school subject tutoring centre or a school teaching other languages you do not offer and refer students to each other.

Low-cost option to promote your business: This is a no-brainer but I find that some business owners refuse to do it. Pay for your teachers to attend some networking events. Taking care of your employees and assisting with their professional development is definitely something you can brag about. And your customers will appreciate it, too.   

Ask for reviews

Review, testimonial, feedback. No matter what you call it, the fact remains that it is very important for every business. But let’s face it, they can be hard to get. Offering exceptional service is not enough when every business out there is fighting for our feedback. As a consumer it’s practically impossible to review every business you interact with so getting people to provide their testimonial is not always easy.  So how do you get the glowing review? It’s simple: ask for it. Tell your customer how much you appreciate their opinion and how helpful it would be to other customers. Emphasise also the fact that they are supporting a small business.

Low-cost option for your teaching business: Participants go into a draw for a small prize. Perhaps a gift card for your local bookstore-the one (see below).

Team up with local businesses

Work with a business that is related to your industry but not a competitor. A good idea is a bookshop. You can refer customers to each other. You can recommend it to your students when they need to buy their coursebooks and they can recommend your school to people looking to learn a language.

Low-cost option to help even more people learn about you: If you print advertising material, you can ask the shop owner to put your flyers/business cards on their counter or your poster in their window.

Scholarship

This one is not exactly free but if you have space in one of your classes, it is definitely worth doing. Giving back to the community that supports your business is important. Contact a local charity or support group and offer free classes to a student in need. Not only does the student and your business benefit, but the sense of accomplishment you get is like no other.

Seminars and Professional Development

Many examination bodies offer a variety of training options. They could be in-person workshops, seminars, online webinars or in-house sessions for your staff. But how will this promote your school you ask? Apart from the many well-known benefits of employee training, providing development opportunities contributes significantly to creating a supportive work environment. Teachers and staff who feel appreciated are your best advocates. And as you already know: word-of-mouth advertising is priceless.

Employees are your biggest brand advocates so take care of your teachers and staff!

If you teach English, there are countless networking opportunities for you to take advantage of and attend. Some of these events cater to teachers of other languages too though there are also smaller events targeted at other languages. 

Low-cost option for your school: Arrange for an in-house training session for your teachers. That way the material presented will be adapted to your employee’s needs and it is easier for everyone to attend.  And remember: the school where teachers want to work is the school where students want to go!  If you have teachers jumping at the opportunity to be a part of your team, then you can rest assured that students will follow. 

Get listed

Make sure your business is listed on Google and other business directories that are relevant to your area or field. This is crucial for brick and mortar schools. Make sure you are listed in your local business directories and keep the information up-to-date.

Low-cost option for more listings: There are also specialised directories online where you can add your information. Some are language school directories which are free but some are not.

Blog

This does take up a significant amount of time. If done correctly, blogging can be your biggest source of new enquiries. Blogging can require a big time commitment but once you start a blog, you will find that it is a very effective way to promote your business. It gives you the opportunity to tell potential customers about your services and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Low-cost option to help you focus on growing student enrolments: You need to be consistent and not blog whenever you get some free time. You also need some basic SEO knowledge to make sure that people will find your material. If you need help consistently updating your blog, our team can help you. Check out our Business Booster services.

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