Grow Your Language School by Word of Mouth

Sunday, September 6, 2020 Blog post author: Lauren Lauren
Grow Your Language School by Word of Mouth

Low-Cost, High-Return Marketing for Your School

If you are a school administrator, you know there are many ways to market your language school: billboards Google ads, advertising in local media, partnerships with local organizations, etc. While these are all good options, don't forget that your best advertising will always come from your happy customers. People trust first hand accounts and they trust in-person opinions. In this article, we'll take a look at how you can use good old fashioned word of mouth to help grow dyour language school. We'll look at:

  • How to be an advocate for your school
  • How to make your teachers ambassadors for your school
  • How to convert your students into recruiters

Be an Advocate for Your School

Of course you love your school, but how do you speak about it? Making the most of word of mouth starts with you. When you are at a social or professional event, how do you talk to people about your school? These small moments at a BBQ or in an elevator can ripple out into new registrations for your school if you know how to play them.

When someone asks you what you do or where you work, always name your school. Often times we will respond to these social pleasantries with "I work at a language school" or "I am an administrator in a private institution." In doing so, you are missing out on an opportunity to share the good name of your school. In marketing, name power is everything, so take every opportunity that presents itself to mention your school by name. "I work at XXY English school, it's down on Saint Denis and Sainte Catherines."

People don't remember names very well when they remain in the abstract, so give a location, a description, a metro station - something to help anchor your school in the mind of your listener.

Even if the person you meet at your Sunday baseball BBQ is a native speaker of the language your school teaches, you never know who they might know. In urban centres, most people are only a few degrees of separation from new arrivals, so maybe the next Sunday they meet someone looking for English lessons at their next BBQ and the first name they'll think of is your school.

This is not about making a sale pitch to every person you meet, but about leading with a name, and getting it into the public vocabulary. Don't start listing prices and course offerings to your in-laws, but do get comfortable always being specific in how you talk about your school.

Make Your Teachers Ambassadors for Your School

In a previous article, we discussed how to make a great team out of your teaching staff. A true sign of a great team is that everyone feels equally implicated in achieving the same goal. In this case, if your teaching staff feels like they are a part of the school, they can be great assets in helping to grow your school's network of students.

Get business cards for your teachers. This might sound a bit old fashioned, but if you want your teachers to be promoting your school in their downtime, you want to make it as easy as possible for them. If your teachers have business cards in their wallet, they will be more inclined to take that next step towards a student registration when the opportunity arises. When I go out in Montreal, I will regularly meet people who say, "My friend so-and-so just moved here from France; I think they said they were looking for English lessons." If I give that person a business card, the chances of so-and-so calling me are doubled. The card should include a contact number, a website, and a social media account (if possible). Having the different options will allow people to contact you in the way they feel most comfortable.

For many people, the modern equivalent of a business card is an Instagram account.

People at social gatherings will ask for your page instead of your business card. It's a great way to immediately create a point of contact with people who express interest in your school. Ask your teachers to occasionally create a post for your school's Instagram account so that they feel they are participating in the development of your school. Let them know that they can share the account with anyone who is interested. Maybe ask them for their best experiences or approaches for sharing with new followers - involve them in the process rather than making it an extra task.

Turn Your Students Into Recruiters!

When your students finish a class, you likely have some sort of evaluation process to ensure that they were happy with the course material, the teacher, and the school's services. Consider directing your students towards your school's listings to make sure you also have testimonials to share with perspective students. Online reviews and ratings are a big element in the modern day practice of word of mouth promotion. Schools on the Demiks language school marketplace can ask their students to rate the school and leave reviews. This way, when prospective students and language learners are looking at the different schools, they can see firsthand reviews to get an idea of which school will be the right fit for them.

Your students will always be your best spokespeople because they have the experience other language learners are looking for.

You can also ask your students to leave a review on your Google Business page. This way, your school's ratings and reviews will be available for anyone who comes across your school via a Google search.

When you are leading up to the last classes with your students in a particular session, let them know about the courses which may interest them (for example, suggest the next level and let them know when it is starting), but also suggest a few other options to give them an idea of what your school is offering. For example, if your students were attending your school for an intermediate conversation course, let them know that your school also offers in-office language training for companies, and that you've recently hired a new Spanish teacher. Don't overwhelm them with information, but give them the tools which can allow them to think of you when they hear of other opportunities. Maybe they have a spouse who is looking for a language teacher to come into their workplace for the winter session. Maybe they have an aunt who has been dreaming of learning Spanish and is now ready to take the first step. Again, don't go into heavy sales pitching, but give them an idea of what your school offers so that they can help bring new customers to you.

If you have any questions about marketing your school, or would like to add your school to the Demiks Marketplace, feel free to contact us so we can help you find solutions that fit your language school. Are you looking to move your language school online? Ask us about our free school management software! On our free school management platform, you can easily track incoming leads, new student registrations, see where your leads are coming from, and also track payments, attendance and a lot more.

Blog post author: Lauren
Lauren
Lauren Clinton is an English language instructor, PR consultant, translator, and editor based in Montreal. She has lived, learned, and played music all around Canada and beyond.

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