Low Cost Methods for Marketing Your Tutoring Business

When you’re still in the early stages of starting a tutoring business you will probably have a limited marketing budget, so you’ll definitely want to make the most of your advertising dollars. In this blog entry we’ll look at several low cost methods for marketing a tutoring business to help you stretch your advertising dollars farther. For the most part, these strategies can be effective for single person tutoring companies as well as multi-tutor companies.

High Impact Locations for Marketing Your Tutoring Business

The following locations are ideal for advertising your tutoring services because they often get a lot of traffic from students or families with students. Try to advertise in as many of these locations in the geographic area where you offer tutoring services in order to maximize the number of students you reach. The only costs involved with these methods is the cost of printing your marketing materials (brochures, posters, etc) and the cost of driving to each of these locations.

Where better to reach students than schools? To promote your tutoring services in a school you should visit guidance offices and student services offices since this is where students come looking for academic help. Introduce yourself to the counselors and let them know about what type of tutoring services you offer. Finally, ask if there’s a place for you to leave brochures or put up a poster.

Community Centers
A lot of young families spend time in community centers and sports arenas, making these excellent places for promoting your tutoring services. You will probably need to obtain permission before posting your brochures or posters, so visit the office and introduce yourself first.

Public Libraries
Public Libraries are another excellent location for advertising your tutoring services. Many libraries have bulletin boards for local services and may include a section for brochures or pamphlets. Visit all of the public libraries in the area your tutoring service covers and ask the staff if you can post your tutoring company’s materials.

Coffee Shops
Although probably not as effective as some of the other menus especially if you’re trying to find elementary or high school tutors, coffee shops to receive a lot of traffic from all kinds of people and many have bulletin boards advertising local services near the entrance. Find some coffee shops in your tutoring area and ask the manager if you can post some pamphlets.
If you’re targeting university students some coffee shops that are popular among college students can be the ideal location to advertise.


Marketing your Tutoring Business Online

As more people rely on the internet for local information advertising your tutoring services online will only become more effective. You can find both free and fee-based advertising methods online.

Google Places
Google Places is the local business listing that google offers to business’s for free. When people search for a business and include the name of their city in the query the top results that are listed are the local search results for their area. If your tutoring business has a physical address (even if it’s your home address) you can add you Business Profile to Google Places. Best of all, it’s free!

Your Own Website
Having a website for your tutoring company can help you reach more people and can provide more information than you can fit into a standard brochure or poster – just include your url in your marketing materials and people can learn more online. There are many services that offer free websites such as wordpress.com.
Tip: Be sure to include your address on your home page since this will help your site appear higher in local search results.

Google Adwords or Microsoft Ad Center
If you have a website you can drive traffic to it by advertising through search engines. The two main services are Google Adwords and Microsoft Ad Center. These two services place advertisements in search engine results and on participating websites and allow you to target your ads by geography and keyword search. This is fantastic because it allows you to target your advertising to the geographic area where you offer tutoring services and further target it only to people looking for information about tutoring services.

Tutor Directories
A lot of people looking for tutors check online tutor directories, which makes this a suitable place to promote your tutoring services. Some directories will allow you to list your services fro free while others may charge a fee.
Tip: Check www.alexa.com to see how much traffic the tutor directory receives – especially for directories that require a fee.


Word-of-Mouth Advertising: Low Cost Advertising at its Best
Word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective and cost efficient however it can be slow initially, but it builds over time. Contact everyone you know who could refer clients to you and tell them about your new tutoring business and the services you offer. This includes family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and teachers.
Tip: Give a few extra business cards to each of these people for them to pass on to people who could use your tutoring services.


Promoting Your Business With Print

Print advertising is generally more expensive than the advertising methods listed above, but if you want to reach a much larger audience and grow your business these methods can still be very cost-effective when done correctly.

Direct Mail
Most post offices offer direct mail services and can deliver your brochures to homes in your target market. Delivery costs can range from $0.08-$0.20 per brochure depending on how targeted they are. Delivery is usually set by street, zip code or postal code. Test out this method in a small batch (minimums often 1,000) to determine how many responses you get as a result of the mailing.
Tip: Try to target higher income areas for better results.

Community Newspapers
Community newspapers can be an effective way for reaching people in your target market. Within community newspapers you can choose between standard advertisements that appear in the front of the paper alongside the articles or you can place an ad in the classifieds section. Standard ads will likely be too expensive, but you may have success will a well-written classified ad.

Tip: Focus on the cost per conversion instead of circulation of newspapers. A lot of people who see your ad have no need for your tutoring services and a lot of people included in the circulation numbers do not actually read the paper.

Telephone Directories
Some people look in the yellow pages to find tutoring services, which means this might be a suitable method for finding customers. Free listings are usually very small and will likely generate little response. Paying extra for an advertised listing can be effective in generating a customer response, but it can also be expensive. Depending on your budget you might want to try out this method.


Have you found any other effective methods to promote your tutoring business?  Share it with others by leaving a comment below!

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