Saturday, March 31, 2007

How to Find New ESL Students

As a self-employed English as a Second Language tutor, it's my responsibility (and livelihood!) to find my own students. Adult learners often have specific goals in mind. About half of my students at any given time live and work in the U.S. This is their home and they are trying to advance in their careers. The other half are ESL students who live in other countries and are here for a short while (a few months to a year) to study classes in their particular field and/or to improve their English language skills. We are able to meet their goals in a matter of months, so I continually need to market my services in order to have a constant source of students.

My primary source of new students is I keep at least one ad running (almost) at all times. Since I only tutor adult ESL learners, my ads focus on professionals living in the U.S. and visiting scholars. This free method of advertising has worked very well for me and has allowed me to earn a living through the number of students it provides me.

The trick to running an ad for ESL students (or any other type of new client) is to tell the reader what you can do for him or her first. People look at ads because they have a "problem" or a need and they want to find someone who can help them. So it's best to start your ad by telling your potential student what you can do for them.

I see a lot of ads where the writer makes the mistake of talking about themselves way too much. While the potential student wants to make sure that you are qualified, even more importantly he or she wants to make sure you can help solve their problem. Talk about your major qualifications at the end of the ad. Remember that it is more important to tell the reader how you can help him or her solve a problem.

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