Tutoring Business Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth can play an enormous role in the success of any tutoring business, and if you can encourage it correctly you won’t need to spend as much on other more expensive forms of marketing. Making some small adjustments to the way you do things can lead to big results as word-of-mouth about your tutoring business spreads through your market.

The great thing about word-of-mouth that makes it superior to other forms of marketing is that it becomes self-sustaining and even self-growing.  It has a snowball effect.  If you encourage existing clients to tell others about your business, some of the people they tell will become clients, who will then tell more people, and so on. You can quickly grow your business and as you build your client base, your existing clients will bring you even more clients.

The Word-of-Mouth Multiplier

I’ve coined the term  “Word-of-Mouth Multiplier”  to describe how many new clients you receive from existing clients.  As I’ll show you in a moment, focusing on this measure will help you multiply your client base.  The Word-of-Mouth Multiplier is the average number of new clients each existing client refers to you while they are with your tutoring company.  If your word-of-mouth multiplier is 1, then you will receive one new client for every existing client and your client base will remain the same.  If you increase your word-of-mouth multiplier above 1 to 1.1 then you will receive one new client for each existing client plus another full client for every 10 existing clients and your client base will increase.

Word-of-Mouth in Action

As you increase your Word-of-mouth Multiplier higher above 1 your client base will grow at a higher rate — and this is where things get interesting.   To illustrate let’s see what happens over a couple years.  For simplicity we’ll use a Word-of-Mouth Multiplier of 2 and we’ll say your company has 10 clients at the current moment and each client will stay with your company for 1 year.  After 1 year you will have 20 as many clients because each of your former clients brought in 2 new clients — one that replaced them plus one extra one.  The next year the process repeats and you now have 40 clients because each of the 20 clients referred 2 more clients.  The following year you will reach 80 clients and so on.

This blog post will show you several techniques for encouraging word-of-mouth with clients to help you multiply your client base.

1. Requesting and saving testimonials from current and previous students.

The best form of advertising is a satisfied customer. If your tutoring company has helped students attain success and break through difficulties ask them if they would be willing to write a few sentences about how your company helped them. You can offer an incentive, but many students will be happy to do this favor without an incentive.

 2. Ask students and parents if they know anyone else who needs tutoring?

Your customers likely interact with other people in similar situations as themselves, including people who need some help with their school work. Asking them if they know anyone will get them to think about people they know who could potentially use your services. Otherwise they might only tell friends about your tutoring business if their friend mentions they’re looking for a tutor.

3. Provide excellent tutoring services

Customers are ultimately paying for success when they pay for tutoring – I you can help them achieve this success they will tell others. Essential to delivering success is developing a system that allows you to continually hire excellent tutors and provide them with the tools and resources needed to provide excellent instruction.

4.Be generous with your business cards

Give students or parents multiple business cards and encourage them to pass them along if they know someone who needs tutoring.  If potential clients have an item with your contact information right in front of them they are much more likely to contact you than if they simply know the name of your company and have to look it up in the phone book or online.

5. Start a referral program

You can encourage your clients to tell other people about your tutoring services by providing a financial incentive such as a cash reward or a free tutoring session.   Arming your clients with the tools to spread the word about your tutoring business is important to have an effective referral program.  Provide students or parents with promotional cards that they can give to friends that includes a free lesson or a discount of some sort for being referred through an existing student.  Give your clients lots of business cards so that they can easily hand them out to people they know looking for tutoring.

6. Embrace Social Media

If your students are in high school or higher create a facebook page for your tutoring business and ask them to “Like” you. Their friends will see that they have “Liked” you in their news feed and it will also appear on the student’s profile page. Friends looking for a tutor will know who to ask.  As more adults join Facebook, this strategy can work for them as well.  Most parents are friends with people in the same life stage and will likely be looking for tutoring services for their children around the same time.  They will be more likely to go with a tutoring service one of their friends “Likes” than an unknown tutoring service.

8. Use Local Media

You don’t need a large budget to attract local media attention — you need creative and newsworthy promotions and events.  Run promotions that are unique enough to be newsworthy and send a press release to your local newspapers and new channels — they love to pick up these types of stories.  Unique promotions and news stories quickly become popular conversation topics and can get people talking about your business.

9. Jump start your word-of-mouth efforts with traditional advertising. 

If you are starting from a small client base and want to speed up your growth you can use traditional advertising to attract some clients and then use the techniques above to encourage them to refer new clients.

By focusing your efforts on maximizing your word-of-mouth multiplier you will be able to steadily grow your client base and become less reliant on more expensive forms of advertising.  If you’ve had success implementing any of these techniques in your own business or you have ideas of your own, please right them below in the comments.

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