grow your business, Tutors, Tutoring Businesses

How to build the initial client-base for your online tutoring business

How to build initial client base for your online tutoring business

As Covid-19 created immense new opportunities for online tutoring, many teachers and experts are looking to shift their in-person tutoring business online or starting online tutoring from scratch. 

If you are one of them, start with this blog series! 

This series is divided into three different sections, each of which talks about one important aspect of starting your online tutoring business: 

  1. Setting up your online tutoring business 
  2. Getting initial tutoring clients
  3. Expanding your business and creating a constant inflow of new clients

This is part 2 of the series and it talks about building a loyal initial client-base for your online tutoring business. 

If you’re new and looking to break into the field of online tutoring, this blog post is a perfect guide for you to get started. And, if you’re the owner of a tutoring business shifting to online tutoring, you can use this series as a checklist to see what more you can add to your existing processes to make the shift easier! 

You can also get the blog series delivered straight to your inbox so that you don’t miss out on some valuable insights on the tutoring industry. Just leave your email address below:

In this blog, we will discuss some actionable steps to help you build a loyal initial client base for your tutoring business.

Consider this step 1 in your ‘How to get clients for an online tutoring business online’ crash course! 

  1. How to get initial clients for your online tutoring business? 
    1. Start small 
    2. Build your online presence 
    3. Get the word out in your community
    4. Convert more prospects into paying clients
  2. All set to get initial clients for your online tutoring business?

You can click on any section to jump to it directly.


How to get initial clients for your online tutoring business? 

As a tutor, especially an owner of a new online tutoring business, finding the initial clients can be a challenging task and would require you to try out different marketing tactics. 

But you are a tutor and not a marketeer, right?

And that’s why we are here to make this seemingly tough task easier for you. These are simple actionable steps that you can try on your own (especially in the initial stages of your business). 

Once you figure out what works, you can continue to carry on your efforts or even use a tool to automate most processes. 

Start small 

The tactics that you use for building the initial client base for your tutoring business are slightly different than the ones you would use to grow your existing business. The most important point to understand here is that initially, you don’t have anything to pull data from for your assumptions. Most things that you’ll implement are experiments that build a foundation for what works best for you. 

In a situation like this, you have to focus your efforts on both trying diverse channels to market your business, and also digging deep into the results of your effort to understand what your clients exactly want. 

At this point, most business owners, especially the ones with a decent marketing budget, reflexively turn to paid advertising. But in reality, there are more ways to build an initial client-base than to simply turn to paid channels. And that’s what you should be focusing on! 

Doing this will help you learn early on what works for you and what doesn’t without spending a lot of money. 

So keep calm and start small! 

A girl taking online tutoring sessions at home

Build your online presence

The thing about online tutoring is that potential clients may hear about you offline, but to seek more information about you, they will resort to the internet. 

Traditionally, parents either visit your office and check out your brochures, student portfolios, testimonials, etc. But in the absence of that option, you need to create an online equivalent of your office. 

While these potential clients may still call you for information, it’s always helpful to be able to redirect them to a URL where they can check out everything about your business on their own.

So here are a few platforms that can serve as a replacement for your physical offices:

1. Business website

The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when they want to find out more about a business is ‘do they have a website?’ – which makes building a good website imperative. 

With a website in place, the whole process from initial discovery to sale can become extremely simple, effective, and time-saving for both you and your clients. 

But to make that happen, you should be able to answer all the questions that your clients might have, right on your website. To do this effectively, there are certain components that your website should necessarily have: 

  • Home Page: This is the welcome page that your visitors will see first when they visit your website. This page should have your sales pitch clearly visible. 
  • About Page: This page is basically your bio. You can tell about your qualifications, experience, and teaching methods here. 
  • Plans or Pricing Page: This page will have the details of the lesson plans that you offer, and the prices of the same. 
  • Testimonials – If you have an in-person tutoring business, reviews from your previous clients will help you build credibility.
  • Contact: This is a very crucial component of your website. You need to provide your contact information on your website so that people can reach out to you in case of any doubts or questions. Include both your email address and phone number in the contact details. 
  • Book button: This is a call-to-action and plays a significant role in converting a website visitor into a client. It basically targets highly engaged potential clients on your website (people who have just read a review or checked your services out), and encourages them to take the next step. Using a tutor management system (like Appointy), you can add a ‘Book’ button to your website so that potential clients can schedule consultations or demos with you, and existing clients can schedule their classes.   

Note: Being an online tutor, now you have the flexibility of offering your services even across different time zones. To maximize revenue by reaching potential clients beyond your local area, you need to SEO optimize it for related search terms. 

You don’t need to hire a professional necessarily or know a lot of technical terms. You simply need to conduct basic online research about search terms that are relevant to your target audience and incorporate them into your website content, landing pages, meta description, etc. 


2. Social Media

With its high popularity and wide reach, social media can be an effective channel to find potential clients and engage them (parents and students alike). 

There are many social media platforms with different types of audiences and content types. Depending on your niche, you can start with a few channels first, see how they perform and then move on to try different channels. 

To get started, create a strong profile with your sales pitch highlighted to appear convincing to your potential clients. 

Ensure that your social media profiles are up to date and have all the relevant information that potential clients might be searching for – the most important being your contact details and service offering. 

There are a few components which should be included in your profiles depending on the social media channel: 

  • Professional username: Preferably the name of your tutoring business 
  • Relevant bio: Small info about your USP and niche 
  • Website URL: To let your clients know everything they wish to about your business 
  • Call button: To let your profile visitors call you for any queries 
  • Email button: To allow profile visitors to reach out via email  
  • Book Now button: Your profile should not just be engaging for the user with consistent and useful content, it should also have everything that is required to convert a profile visitor into a potential client. The Book Now button is an excellent call to action button that can help you with this. It lets your potential leads/ clients book a class, consultation, or demo with you directly through your profile. Appointy lets you add a Book Now button to your Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business profiles. Learn more about adding a book button to your social media profiles. 
Various social media apps displayed on a mobile screen

Once you have your basic profile ready, you can start engaging with the community to generate leads. 

  • Post engaging content on your pages relevant to the platform. Provide solutions to students’ problems through your posts. You can even post about any offers or discounts that you may be running at that time. 
  • Hashtags are game-changers on sites like Instagram, and Twitter. Use hashtags relevant to your industry and the ones that are trending to increase the reach of your business posts. 
  • You can even consider sharing some memes or funny content that students may find interesting or relatable. Visuals are preferred over text content, so consider posting your content in the form of attractive visuals, infographics, animations, etc. The higher the reach of your content, the more clients you can get.
  • Also, make it a point to reply to any comments or messages that you receive on these platforms. Interacting with people can be a great way to persuade more people to try out your tutoring services. 
  • For starters, you can look at the profiles and pages of other online tutors, especially the ones which already have a good client-base. You can look at the type of content that they share and use it as a reference for your initial posts. 

3. Online directories

Get your business listed for free on various online directories, such as Yahoo! Local, and Angie’s List

For a highly targeted reach to people looking for online tutors, consider getting yourself listed on online tutor directories like Craigslist, Care.com, Thetutorsdirectory.com, WyzAnt, TutorZ, Varsity Tutors. These directories have a high reach and will help your tutor listings appear in search results when people are looking for online tutoring services.

Choosing from the plethora of directories available can be a huge task in itself. The best way is to put yourself in the shoes of the parents or student, and then start your own research. 

Search for terms or keywords that your potential clients would use to search for a tutor, and search those terms for yourself. The ones that appear higher in these results organically (without ads) are the ones that you should choose to get listed on. They can bring you the best leads.

Your entry in these directories would typically consist of the following components:

  • Profile: Basic details including contact details
  • Description: Details of your services including subjects you teach, lesson plans
  • Website link: Just add a link to your website for potential clients 
  • Booking link: Include a direct booking link for a class, consultation or demo.  

4. Add converting CTAs 

Instead of calling you, allow your leads to directly book an enquiry call, consultation, demo, or class with you at their own convenience. It is an excellent way to convert potential clients into paying clients. 

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Add booking links on all your online directories’ listings, social media profiles, and promotions 
  2. Add a ‘Book’ button on your website, Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business profiles

With Appointy, you can create a branded booking page with your offerings, and add it as booking links to the various channels.

Appointy also lets you add a ‘Book’ button to your Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business profiles. It looks something like this:

Highlighted "Book" Buttons on Facebook and Instagram Business Profiles, and Google My Business listing.

Get the word out in your community

Your next order of business should be to start connecting with potential clients and letting them know that you are now in business. 

The way you do this might differ slightly for people who are switching from in-person tutoring to online tutoring and those who are starting from scratch. We have covered ideas for both in the upcoming sections. 

1. Use your contacts

Leverage your personal network to promote your business.

If you’re starting from scratch, request your friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, and others in your network to inform their friends, relatives, and acquaintances (their network).

Parents are likely to consider recommendations from known people better than some random marketing efforts. It builds an inherent trust. 

This kind of word of mouth can be superior to other forms of marketing since it becomes self-sustaining and even self-growing. It has a snowball effect. Once you have a few initial clients, encourage them to tell more people about your business. They will tell people, some of whom will become your clients, who will then tell more people. 

It will not only help you build an initial client-base, but it will also help you grow your clientele with a little effort from your existing clients. 

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

If you’re an in-person tutor shifting to an online tutoring mode, you might have a database/list of your previous clients. They are the ones familiar with your teaching style and methodologies. 

Go back to that list and reach out to old clients through SMS or emails about your new mode of tutoring. Reconnect with your former clients.

Most of your old, happy clients will be willing to enroll their wards in your online tutoring services. You must be familiar with the child and their weaknesses and strengths already. And for the parents, they wouldn’t have to go through the whole tutor hunting process again, moreover, their child is already happy with your teaching. It’s a win-win for you as well as the parents

The most important step here would be convincing parents and students that online tutoring can be as rewarding as in-person tutoring. To do this, you need to have your sales pitch ready and tested. 

Reach out to your peers in communities to understand what they are doing to build trust with their clients. You can also try strategies such as providing trial classes, personalized 1:1 doubt clearing sessions, etc. to ensure that students are comfortable. 

Especially during Covid-19, many parents would also want their kids’ regular timings to be shifted to better suit their work-from-home situation. Design your offering keeping all this in mind and pitch them. 

Keep improving your pitch with each client by understanding their unique pain points and requirements. 

A girl taking online sessions by her tutor using a desktop at home

2. Local marketing 

If you plan to keep in-person tutoring as an option post-pandemic, getting in touch with local clients is a good idea to go ahead. This type of marketing will help your reap benefits in the long term for your in-person tutoring business post the pandemic.

Here are a few ways in which you can go forward with marketing in your local area:

  • Partner with the local brands in your area which are already established. People visit supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops, and the like on a regular basis. You can leverage their client databases and use them for targeted email marketing.   
  • Reach a larger section of the local audience with classified ads. These will help you reach the newspaper reading clients ( that is, most of the potential clients), at a low cost with higher returns. 
  • Design and print flyers and brochures for your business. Distribute them to people and paste them in the various stores and restaurants, even local schools for a better reach. 
  • Schools are the most trusted sources of academic information for most parents. Partner with local schools for their tutor referral programs, and they will help you reach the most targeted audiences. 

Don’t forget to include your booking links in your emails, ads, flyers/brochures to increase your conversion rates!


3. Dive into online communities

Find the online forums and communities where your target audience is actively present to identify leads and turn them into clients. Take some time to analyze the type of conversations that take place in the community that you’re a part of. 

Understand what are the pain points of your potential clients. Use this opportunity to engage with them, answer their questions, and provide value to them through your solutions to their problems. This is a great way to build trust and credibility.


Convert more prospects into paying clients

Once you start getting leads from all your marketing efforts as discussed in the above sections, it is time to convert them! 

You can do this by building their trust in you or providing them with irresistible offers. Here we have listed down a few ways in which you can do this. 

1. Free consultations for a personalized lesson plan

A free consultation can be a great way to start. This is the time when you can build their trust in you. Interact with them, understand their specific needs and pain points. 

Personalization is the key! 

Based on your understanding of the same, prepare a tentative tutoring plan for the student that helps them fulfill their individual goals. Such a tailor-made plan will give them a completely personalized experience. 

A happy mother and her son attending an online tutoring session by a tutor at home

2. Demo classes

Offer your potential clients a free trial of your services with a demo class. 

Use this to build their confidence in you based on your knowledge and teaching skills. No payment commitments will let them have an honest opinion about your offerings. 

A demo class gives you the opportunity to make your first impression on the students as well as their parents. Put in your efforts to make a good impression and drive them into becoming your clients!


3. Promotional deals and discounts

Offer tempting deals and discounts which will tempt your audience into trying out your services. Since monetary concerns are pivotal for parents, especially during the pandemic, promotional deals and offers can be hard to resist.  

There are multiple ways in which you can offer discounts:

  • Referral discounts: Offer special discounts for referring to other clients. 
  • Group discounts: Provide discounts for a group of students – siblings, neighbors, friends, etc.   
  • Early bird discount: Tempt clients into buying your services by offering discounts to the first 10 clients, for example. 
  • Create exciting class packages: Bundle up classes and offer them at a discounted price. 

With parents being busy with the WFH protocol, they need tutoring not only for their child’s academic assistance but also as a babysitting measure. You can offer special discounts for the WFH group with added homework assistance and assignment consultations.  


4. Take reviews and build credibility as you grow 

Once you start getting clients, even for demo classes, start requesting them to review your services. 

Client reviews hold two-fold benefits for your online tutoring business. 

One, they help you get honest feedback from your clients. Analyze them to assess your current educational services and use them to improve your teaching technique or methods, as per the requirement.  

Two, they strongly influence the buying decisions of potential clients. Good reviews as well as your response to the negative feedback are important. Most people read online reviews in order to make final decisions. 

These reviews from initial clients will help you increase your online reputation, build your brand, and pave the way for growing your business in the future. 


All set to get initial clients for your online tutoring business?

Building the initial client base for your online tutoring business will require a lot of time and effort – especially if you are starting from scratch.  

To ensure that you can do all this, and still save time to provide a personalized tutoring experience to all your clients, it’s important that you automate your manual processes and admin work – starting with appointment and class scheduling.

Most online tutoring sessions work hand in hand with online scheduling.

With many students to be tutored, you too need to manage your time during the day efficiently. While you might have time slots fixed for your lessons, managing the booking and filling of these slots can be a burden for you.

An online scheduling tool can make it easier for you to take bookings for your lessons. It will also simplify the booking process and make it more convenient for the students and their parents as well.

Appointy’s tutor scheduling software helps you achieve this – plus, it comes with some pretty important marketing features like Instagram bookings, Reserve with Google, etc that can help you attract more clients for your online tutoring business.

Sounds like an all-in-one solution for online tutoring businesses, doesn’t it? 

That’s because Appointy’s tutor management software is designed to keep in mind all of your business’s needs. In fact, during the past few weeks, we have onboarded hundreds of tutors and tutoring business to Appointy to help them switch to or start online tutoring during Covid-19. (This includes big names like Mathnasium, Kumon, etc.).

Look what they have to say about Appointy: 

A testimonial by Sam Younis, a Mathnasium franchise owner, that recommends Appointy’s tutor scheduling software.

Being an easy-to-use, cloud-based online tutor scheduling software, Appointy can help you simplify online tutor scheduling, adapt to the post-COVID-19 world, and manage your business efficiently. 

We are also providing 24×7 priority assistance to tutoring businesses in order to get them started in less than 15 minutes. 

So, get started with online scheduling for your tutoring business now → 


About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium business face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

We love a good talk!