It doesn’t matter how effective your language course is. If you don’t promote it, students won’t find it. And if students don’t find it, you’ll struggle to grow your business.
But how can you get in front of the right people? What platforms should you use to market your teaching business? And, more importantly, how can you promote your services without blowing your budget on ads?
In this article, I’m explaining some of the most easily accessible tools you can use to promote your online language teaching business for little to no cost.
1. Post valuable content on social media
It goes without saying that social media is one of the best places to promote your language teaching business — but it’s easier said than done.
To stand out and sell on these platforms, you need to do more than teach the language. Because word of the day posts might be easy to create, but they rarely convert.
Instead of posting aimlessly, ask yourself: what challenges are my students facing with the language? What advice can I give them that WordReference can’t? This is what gives your content more substance and makes it miles more engaging.
Before you rush to create new content, hold up. Social media should only be part of your content marketing strategy. To make sure your efforts are sustainable, you’ll also want to set up a couple of longer-term, reliable channels that you have complete control over.
Here are three super simple tips to market yourself more effectively using social media:
- Start by creating your hero content before extracting ideas from it to create social media posts. Recycling content is smart marketing.
- Batch your captions in advance — there’s nothing worse than being excited to share a reel only to realise you have no idea what to say about it.
- Post as frequently as you can handle! Trust me, trying to post every day is just going to cause you stress. Commit to as many or as few times per week as you can, and you’ll no doubt feel more motivated to keep it up.
2. Take advantage of email marketing
Starting an email list might sound far less exciting than posting a viral reel or using a shiny new social media channel, but there’s a reason every marketer and their friend advises you to create one…
It’s the easiest, most direct and most effective way to sell almost anything. That’s because email allows you to personalise your content in a way that other channels can’t. This then helps create a stronger sense of community and connection, which eventually leads to sales.
Of course, it’s not magic — it takes time to build a healthy email list. But it’s worth spending time on it because email is one of the most affordable, enjoyable and effective ways to promote your language teaching business.
So, if you act on anything after reading this article, make it this. I even wrote a step-by-step guide to setting up an email list as a language teacher. So, no excuses.
Investment: Ranging from free to $20+/month
3. Create a lead magnet
Okay, that’s decided. You’re starting an email list. Now, how do you convince people to join it?
There are tons of techniques you can use to build your list, but that’s a topic for another day. For the sake of this article, we’re looking at one of *the* easiest ways to do it: creating a lead magnet.
A lead magnet — or a freebie, as it’s otherwise known — is a value-packed free resource you offer to your ideal students as an incentive to subscribe. You’ve probably downloaded a few before!
If you’ve been running your teaching business for a while, you likely have content you can repurpose into a freebie at no extra cost. Whether it’s a webinar recording, vocab checklist or library of study resources — if you know it’s popular and it solves a real problem, you can use it.
All you need to do is create what’s called a ‘freebie funnel’. It sounds complicated, but it’s really quite simple. All you need is:
- A valuable lead magnet
- A page that ‘sells’ your free resource and includes an email sign up form
- An automated email that delivers the resource to subscribers
The best thing about this set-up? Once you’ve written the content and wrapped your head around the tech, it runs automatically in the background. All you have to do is continue to send engaging weekly emails so people don’t forget about you!
If you want help setting up your freebie funnel and growing an engaged email list, check out Email Fluent, a self-paced course for language teachers. In it, my biz bestie Ola Kowalska and I walk you through the process of starting your list from start to finish.
4. Write a regular blog
If, like me, you have a love-hate relationship with social media, a blog might be a better option.
Now, I’m not suggesting you ditch the ‘gram completely — it’s a great way to reach new students. But long-form content like blogs can feel less public, revealing or intimidating. Not to mention they’re a LOT more valuable for your audience than 200 character captions.
But a blog is much more than a place to share your expertise. It’s a powerful way to promote your language teaching business by attracting new students into your world, building your reputation and generating more leads. For free.
It’s worth noting that blogs work best over the long term. So, if you’re looking for quick-fix solutions to attract new students fast, you might want to continue scrolling. But if you are prepared to put in the work now to reap the rewards (about 3-6 months) later? Then starting a blog might just be the best move you make.
Millions of people search for language-learning advice every.single.day. By writing relevant, optimised blog posts, you can show up in their searches and attract new eyes to your page.
Unlike Instagram posts that age in minutes, your articles get stronger over time. This makes blogging one of the most powerful long-term tools for marketing your teaching business and getting in front of new, warmer audiences.
Here are some tips to make the most of your blog:
- Use a tool like this to conduct keyword research, so you’re writing about topics your ideal students are actually searching for
- Break your posts into easily scannable paragraphs even the busiest student can take something from
- Include links to other related posts you’ve written to keep readers on your website for longer
- Add a call to action! Never, I repeat, never let your readers finish a post without at least inviting them to view another, get in touch or join your mailing list. Blogs are some of the best places to inspire readers to take action, so please give your CTA the attention it deserves.
Investment: Free to write, $15-30/month to host
5. Write guest blogs
Like I mentioned above, driving new traffic to your blog takes time, effort and research. If you like the idea of starting one but want results faster, guest blogging is a great option.
This is basically where you submit articles you write to websites that have relevant readers and more traffic. It allows you to promote your language teaching business to a wider audience without having to grow that audience.
It might sound scary, but guest blogging opportunities are everywhere — you just need to find the right ones.
Start by searching for businesses that complement what you do. Think about what you can write about that relates to them and will be valuable for their audience.
Let’s say, for example, you teach French to expats arriving in France. You could contact a French relocation company and propose an article containing language tips for their clients to settle in.
When you reach out to people, make sure:
- You’re offering something both relevant and valuable
- You’re highlighting what your article will offer them — not you
- You’re personalising your emails and not just sending them to everyone
Not sure about guest blogging? Another avenue you can consider is Medium — a free publishing platform that gets a huge amount of traffic.
6. Launch a website
Do you have to start a website to promote your language teaching business?
If you’ve read any other articles before landing on this one, you may be under the impression it’s necessary. But it’s not. A website takes time, money and effort to write and build, and if you don’t do it well, you may end up seeing very little from it.
See, your website should work around the clock to attract, welcome and convert visitors. If it’s not doing that, it’s nothing but a shrine to your business.
As a teaching business owner, you are perfectly capable of writing incredible website copy. But only if you are 100% clear on who you’re helping and how. Without this information, it’s almost impossible to write convincing website copy.
That said, if you are ready for a website, you want to make sure it’s ready to rank on Google. That means checking that:
- It’s immediately clear what you do and who you help on your homepage
- It addresses and empathises with the pain points and desires of your ideal students
- Your about page tells your story and has an obvious link to your students
- It’s crystal clear how they can get in touch and start learning with you
- It contains relevant search terms, so it has the best chance of ranking on Google
You can read more about how to write effective website copy in this article.
7. Ask your students to refer you
It might sound super awkward, but referral marketing is one of the most powerful ways to get the word out about your business.
Referrals are like live testimonials delivered straight from someone the potential student trusts. It’s a technique big businesses use all the time to increase their customer base, and for good reason: it works.
You may find that happy students pass on your details without being asked. But it’s always worth setting up a referral scheme to encourage everyone who studies with you to tell their friends.
You could offer a free class, a complimentary resource or a discount on a future purchase. Whatever works for you. It’s a little gesture that goes a LONG way.
8. Run a workshop
Now, I’m a firm believer that free trial classes are a waste of your time and effort. In my experience, they tend to attract trial hoppers who have no intention of actually learning with you. They also devalue your expertise as a teacher.
That said, I know seeing a teacher in action can help convince the right people to join a class. So, as an alternative to offering free 1:1 lessons, why not try running a workshop?
Workshops are easy to set up, fun to run and often incredibly effective for converting leads. Not only do potential students get value out of the session, but they also see just how many others are interested in learning with you. It’s social proof in action.
To run a workshop people want to join, choose a specific topic that speaks to the right people and write a brief description of what they will learn. Then, set up a sign up system using your shiny new email marketing platform and a webinar platform of your choice (Google Meet fan over here, but Zoom also works) before promoting it everywhere you’re active.
This is a fantastic way to promote yourself as a language teacher while maximising (and respecting) your time.
Investment: Free (maybe a small fee depending on the webinar platform you choose!)
Marketing your language teaching business doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Whether you’re just starting out or you want to maximise your marketing spend, take it from a former language school marketing manager: optimising these channels is the first step to attracting more ideal students.
Not sure if your message needs a makeover? Book a Copy Power Hour, and let’s optimise your words together.
Or, if you’re not the DIY kind, explore my done-for-you services and hand a bit of the overwhelm to me.