Congratulations on deciding to start your very own Skype tutoring business! Starting your own business is exciting but can be a little challenging. However, once you have word-of-mouth on your side, your business will often build its own clientele. But, you must first get the ball rolling and then keep it rolling. In this post, we will discuss some of the ways in which I began building my own clientele. Though some of these tips can be used to start any business, others are specifically catered to starting a tutoring business. I hope these tips will serve you as well as they have served me!
Start a word-of-mouth advertising campaign online.
Though search engine optimization (SEO) may sound like a complicated, technical term, it really only means tapping into online word-of-mouth advertising. When you have lots of people talking about or engaging with your company, your potential clients will more easily find you on search engines like Google. This is because Google will begin to see you as valuable to its audiences and rank you higher. To garner word-of-mouth, you must show your audience that you are an authority on your subject and are accepted as such. In addition, you must engage your audience by providing share-worthy resources. Here are a few ideas anyone can use to begin an online marketing campaign. (Yes, as a business owner you must know how to market your services. But, with a little patience, it is really quite simple to do):
Engage your audience on Social Media and Blogs
Of course, a website is a great way to gain visibility on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. But, not all of us have the expertise to design a website. However, social media can also be a very effective marketing tool. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs are some popular social media platforms. The key is to use these platforms to interact with your audience. By interacting and responding to your audience, you create trust and establish yourself as an authority.
If you’re like me and don’t have an extensive background in graphic design but want a professional social media page, visit canva.com. Here, regardless of your graphic design expertise (or lack thereof), you can easily create a logo, graphics for your posts and a professional Facebook or Twitter template that can be copied and pasted onto your business social media pages.
Build Relationships with your networks.
Once you have some web presence, be it through social media or a blog, be sure to engage with others in your industry. You can do so by following them, friending them, and sharing and commenting on their content. By sharing their content or referencing them in your content, you help them reach their goal of more search engine visibility. And, most likely, they will be happy to return the favor.
Provide valuable content and resources.
On the web, your content is the best way to gain clients. What do I mean by content? Well, a post like this one spreads awareness about my business and a similar post will spread awareness about your own. You can write about tutoring in general or information pertaining to your area of expertise. In your posts, create share-worthy content by being authentic and offering helpful information to your audience. When your content is shared, it introduces your business to potential new clients. Here are a few more tips to remember when posting content:
- Your posts should include a picture. Why? Well, a Facebook study reports that a photo increases views by an average 120%.
- People want unique content that helps them in some way.
- People like it when you ask their preferences or opinions because it shows that you care enough to listen.
To avoid sounding like a salesperson, post some information that promotes your business but also some that is simply useful to your audience. As a general rule, for every 1 post you share about your business, you should be sharing 3-4 posts about useful information. Take advantage of these 3-4 posts to share relevant information from someone in your network, or at least reference them with a hyperlink in a post you have written.
Tap into your local resources to get word-of-mouth rolling offline.
In offline advertising as well, word-of-mouth is sure to be your best friend. But, word-of-mouth must start with your students. And, without any students, it can be difficult to get word-of-mouth started. So, here are a few ways I looked for my first students.
Put together a pitch.
To put it simply, a pitch is a succinct description of what you do and, more importantly, why your services are valuable to your listener. In it, you should focus on what makes you the better choice. And, lastly, you might throw in a little story. For example, sharing what inspired you to begin offering your services makes you memorable. Lastly, to reduce your risk of being boring, your pitch should be no more than 2-5 minutes. For more information on creating an effective pitch, check out Amanda McCormick’s entrepreneur.com post on “How to Create a Killer Elevator Pitch.”
Design some Business Cards
Next, make sure you have a business card to hand out when you are networking. These must include all contact information, including your websites or social media pages. I always order enough so I can pass out a few to each person who shows interest. By doing so, your clients can do some advertising for you, as well, initiating your word-of-mouth campaign. To easily create business cards even on a budget, visit Vistaprint.com.
Contact your School District
My district, like many, keeps a tutor list for parents and their students. It was through this list that I received my first student. To be added to the list, I called my school district’s central office and asked what steps I needed to take. I was emailed a form to fill out. Once submitted, the district manually added my name, contact information and a brief list of my credentials. Contact your school district to find out if you can be added to its tutoring list.
Get in touch with some relevant people at nearby universities and colleges.
Second, many professors and heads of departments at the college and university level appreciate having a backup tutor to refer their struggling students to. Many college level students live on campus with limited abilities to travel even around town. And, many are online students who span the globe. In both of these cases, your Skype-based services can uniquely meet their needs. For this reason, I visited my nearby university language department head-of-department and introduced him to my services. I was pleased to discover he was very interested in taking a few of my cards to pass along to any struggling students.
Offer your services at your local library.
Next, many local libraries keep a running list of qualified tutors in the area. Also, many parents and adult learners search the library bulletin boards for tutor business cards. So, it would be a good idea to post some there. And, of course, as a Skype tutor, you don’t necessarily have to be in the area but can provide resources to libraries outside of your district as well. So, do some Googling of public libraries and give them a call with your information.
Once your word-of-mouth campaign begins advertising for you, your business will more easily build its own clientele. However, it is through continuously offering a good service and genuinely helping your audiences that you can enjoy an enduring and cost-effective word-of-mouth campaign. I wish you the best of luck in your new business.
If you have something you would like to teach, sign up here.