Get Students with The Tutor Pages
Do you tutor online or face to face and need more students? Do you want to start tutoring but don't know how to get your first student? If you answered yes to either of those questions and are based in the UK, I want to show you how I get students with The Tutor Pages and sell thousands of pounds worth of online lessons to students from around the world.
I've been a member of The Tutor Pages for 5 years now and this month I renewed my Gold membership again for another year. Why? Because in my opinion, it's totally worth the £60 annual investment considering the high quality enquiries I receive that have led to long term students and lots of income. Click here to read the full story about how I used The Tutor Pages to turn £60 into £17,380 with online tutoring.
What you'll need to get set up
Between £48 and £60 (depending on which level of annual membership you want, Bronze, Silver or Gold). I'm a Gold member because for £12 more per year, you can add a link to your tutoring website directly to your profile, which I think is totally worth it.
Your lesson prices
Not sure how much to charge? Read my article about what to charge for online tutoring
The subject or subjects you want to teach
Can't decide what to teach? Click here to find out why your niche is so important to the success of your tutoring business:
An article on your subject you are teaching
The Tutor Pages requires that you provide at least one article in order for your account to be active and shown on their directory. You can write up to 4 articles with a maximum limit of 5000 words but they don't have to be this long. Writing at least 300 words will help your article show up in search engines and decent articles can also lead to more student enquires. Here are a few other guidelines for writing your article:
- Make it useful and interesting, e.g. exam advice or study tips.
- Write at least 2 or 3 paragraphs with several sentences.
- Add links to other useful websites
- Avoid self-promotion – Don't write about your tutoring services or include contact details in your article
- Don't plagiarize – Like all good teachers, The Tutor Pages checks every article for plagiarism so you'll be busted and asked to resubmit your article. How embarrassing!
Need some inspiration for your article? Check out some of the featured articles here
Optional (but recommended) information for your profile
A profile photo
This is highly recommended as a professional looking photo can increase your enquiries by up to 30%. Most camera phones nowadays take a good enough quality pic so this bit should be easy.
If you've already done some tutoring but don't have any student testimonies, it's well worth contacting your existing or previous students to get some. It can just be a sentence or two but a few of these on your Tutor Pages profile builds trust and might be the difference between someone clicking the contact button or not.
DBS certificate (formally CRB)
This is also a good way to build trust, particularly if teaching face to face or younger learners. I got mine through The Tutors' Association and for a standard DBS certificate, it costs about £45 (including admin fees).
CV and reference
Either upload them under 'my media' (this is optional and you need to leave out personal data) or use it to help fill out your experience and qualifications section.
As well as adding articles and a CV to your profile, you can also upload video, audio and image files. This is your chance to add credibility and interest to your profile so if you've already got a promo video on YouTube or Vimeo, add the link.
Top tips for turning enquiries into paying students
- Log in to your profile regularly (set a weekly reminder) – parents and students can see the last time you logged in.
- Respond to enquiries as quickly as possible. Students often make several enquiries to multiple tutors at the same time so if you snooze, you lose.
- If students provide a phone number, use it. In my experience, making a phone call and speaking to the prospective student or guardian on the phone is more likely to lead to a sale rather than replying by email. Sometimes emails don't get through or get lost in busy inboxes.
- Make sure you add firstname.lastname@example.org to your email contacts (or whitelist) to make sure valuable enquiries don't end up in your junk folder.
- Make it easy to buy lessons - If you've included enough information on your profile and have a quick and easy way for students to pay you online, like a website, students sometimes book lessons straight away with you on the phone or after a brief email exchange. If they want a trial lesson before committing, set one up as soon as possible. Having trial lesson materials ready to go is very useful at this point. Don't forget to find out what days and times they are available and if that fits in with your schedule before organising a trial.
- Try and complete as much of your profile as possible when you first sign up. Ideally you want to fill out all of the basic details and 'interview' questions when you sign up so you can get your profile approved ASAP. Once that's done, you can shift your focus to promoting your profile online to get more views and enquiries.
When will I start receiving enquiries?
Well that depends on a couple of factors. How competitive your market is, what demand there is for the subject you teach, how competitive your rates are and how good your profile is. It could be a few days or a couple of weeks before you get your first enquiry. After completing my profile, it took me 10 days to get my first request for tuition. In my experience, most of the enquiries I've received from The Tutor Pages are good quality leads that often turn into long term students. That first request led to my second ever online student, who even opened the door to examining work in Switzerland.
If you find that it's been more than a couple of weeks since you signed up and you haven't received an enquiry, move onto the more advanced marketing strategies such as setting up a Google My Business profile, recording and uploading a YouTube video or sharing your Tutor Pages URL on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. For more ideas and ways to increase the exposure of your Tutor Pages profile online, click here to visit the Engine Room, which is The Tutor Pages' advice centre for getting the most out of your profile. Scroll down to the section that says 'Here are the Castle Supports'.
How's my Tutor Pages profile performing?
Since signing up 5 years ago, my profile has been viewed 2623 times, which is about 43 times per month. Not bad, but I'm sure that could be better. With views, I believe that quality is more important than quantity but more profile views should lead to more enquiries and ultimately paying students. With that in mind, I want to do a test. Can I increase my views and enquiries by adjusting my profile details such as my URL, the subjects I tutor, my virtual interview or my media and articles? Is price the deciding factor or can a compelling profile page attract students who are willing to pay a premium?
How to get more students
I contacted the owner of The Tutor Pages, Henry Fagg, for some suggestions about how to improve my profile and he gave me the following advice:
"The vast majority of traffic to The Tutor Pages comes from people typing in relevant searches in search engines."
That means, the most important area to focus on is your profile heading, profile title and Tutor Pages URL. This is where you can make it clear to the search engines like Google what service you are offering, so that when people search online for tutors, you are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.
"Competition for area-based searches is lower than for online tuition."
So, if you tutor face to face, adding the keyword of your city in your profile, e.g. 'English tutor Bristol' will mean those people searching for tuition in your area are more likely to find you.
Competition for certain keywords such as 'online English tutor' is high. The key therefore is to use alternative keywords and to go more and more niche.
I mentioned earlier about the importance of choosing your niche and this confirms my belief that specialising in one or two areas is important to stand out from the competition. You need to make it clear what your niche subject is in the 'my basic details' section on your profile. Let's take a look at my profile and the three most important places I'm currently using searchable keywords:
Profile Heading: British English (IELTS, EFL, ESL) Teacher Bristol / Online British English Teacher (IELTS, EFL, ESL)
Profile Title: British English IELTS Teacher Bristol | EFL Teacher Bristol
TP URL: british-english-online-EFL-ielts-tutor-bristol
It is the Profile Title which is most critical for search engines nowadays so I am going to niche down and focus on IELTS and the fact that I tutor primarily online. I will still include the keyword 'Bristol' to catch area-based searches, but because the keyword 'online' is so competitive, I will replace it with 'Skype' instead. Here is my new profile title I'm going to test out:
IELTS Tutor Skype | EFL/IELTS Teacher Bristol
Notice that I've placed 'Skype' near the beginning of the title because it's more competitive than area-based keywords like 'Bristol'. I've also repeated the word 'IELTS', which let's Google know that it's an important keyword. It's difficult to optimise successfully for multiple ideas, but I've also included 'EFL' as this is the other main subject I offer.
I'm now going to optimise my profile heading. This is displayed at the top of your profile so I'm going to adjust my current long heading and make it more specific and readable:
IELTS Tutor on Skype and in Bristol – EFL / IELTS Specialist Teacher
And now my Tutor Pages URL:
Henry also informed me that as well as online tuition being competitive on search engines like Google, it is also competitive on The Tutor Pages site so there is an online specialist option available. If you don't do any face to face tutoring, you can choose to be an online specialist for the same price as regular membership by changing a setting in 'my basic details'. This means that you appear as an online specialist (shaded green) among the tutors listed randomly at the top of relevant search results. If you tutor face-to-face but also want to be an online specialist appearing at the top of these results, then you can purchase the online specialist add-on which costs £60.
Almost all of my tutoring is online nowadays but I do occasionally do some face-face lessons, as these often lead to long-term online lessons in the future. That is why I decided to include the area-based keyword 'Bristol' in my profile. With that in mind, I am reluctant to change the free setting in my basic details to advertise as an online only tutor. It seems that the best option would be to pay £60 for the online specialist add-on. This would double the cost of advertising for the year but if it increases my views and enquiries, this investment can easily be made back in a couple of lessons, so it'll be worth it.
I also went back over my 'interview questions' in my profile to make it clear that I specialise in one area (a specific English exam) and added more information about how I can help students who need to pass this exam. I also added that I am a member of The Tutors' Association, that I have an up-to-date DBS certificate and I updated my pricing to reflect the discounts I offer for packages.
Over the next few weeks I will update you on my results, so watch this space! In the meantime, if you're UK based and haven't already got a profile set up on The Tutor Pages, click here to get started and let me know how you get on in the comments box below.