In part one we discussed options for how to get your school online. In part two we’ll discuss strategies, both inside and out, which can help get you students for this shiny new school!
Spreading the Word: Few people have the financial support to advertise themselves to the top. In fact, you are probably wasting money on ads now if your content is sub-par. But actually, you want people to find you because you are a talented teacher with content that is especially desirable. If you are simply selling more of what is out there now, but at a lower price, you will just step on your own feet until you get tired and quit. There is no upward motion by competing on price.
Your Curriculum: There is a lot of value in offering niche content though. As for languages, there are a million English teachers… but how many guarantee a 7 on the IELTS exam? How many teachers offer a social English course for adult learners whose L1 is Chinese? How many online teachers teach a musical instrument while teaching English vocabulary? The point is that what you teach is more important than Ads or a marketing budget. And when a course is interesting, your audience will make it clear to you.
The way to decide what your niche is going to be must start with a couple things: 1) You should be good at it. You have to come across as being knowledgeable in this area, so make sure you have something to share. Also, some certificates or degrees in relation to your subject must be easily accessible to visitors of your school. 2) It must be teachable online. Find a talent or language or skill that you have which can be taught in an online format. Most likely wine tasting is a harder subject to teach online (involving smells and flavors), so you might avoid it. Or maybe, you could find an innovative way to teach such a subject!
Nothing’s off the table!
Testing the Market: When you have a few possibilities (2-3) you should make some course offerings and invite people to check them out. That is perhaps the only time your advertising dollars are worth it. Test advertise with a couple hundred dollars and use Google Analytics to check how traffic is moving through your course offerings. Even better, make a teaser video of yourself offering these courses and offer a sign up below each one. People can simply “vote” by visiting your specific course page or signing up with their emails. Ultimately – find out which course is more interesting to visitors, and then develop that course intensively. The following video is an interview between Tim Ferris and Kevin Rose discussing this method of testing the market to make decisions on product names, book covers, etc. Enjoy!
Network: When you have chosen a line of courses that are both useful and attention-getting, it’s a good idea to build your network. One way to do that is to join a group of experienced teachers like EFET. You could guest blog on other sites and link back to your courses. You could innovate so well that others run stories about you. (See my work with the S4 Pronunciation System, coming soon…) Be passionate and your network will reward you. As you grow as a professional, your network will show you the respect you deserve.