How to Promote Your Learning Centre Business
Starting a learning centre business is no easy task, even though the education industry has always been a high-market demand in a majority of the world, learning centres however are a high-competing, niche-drive business. In order to thrive and take lead in this market, you need to know your audience, make a good business plan, and most importantly you need to know about marketing.
In this article we will be strictly talking about location-based learning centres, i.e. a learning centre with a physical presence. E-learning and online training courses are a whole different story.
Starting up your learning centre business
As mentioned, even though learning centre business has high competition, education will always be highly demanded by the market. The key however is to make sure you get your share of the market. In today’s society, education is highly pursued by people from all ages, not just the young; and by all occupations, not just the students. This is also the main reason why education will always be in high demand, but remember your job is not to catch the revenue from all of the market. As iterated above, learning centres are niche-driven, which leads to the first point of marketing:
Know your niche
People from all kinds of occupations need education, from programmers who’d need to understand C++, Java or Python, or even designers who’d need to learn PS, Axure or Filmmaker. But it is vital for your brand of learning centre to focus on one type of teaching. Here we use the word “brand” because some education/training business might have several brands for different niches, but it is highly recommended to not use the same brand for a variety of niches. Analyze your local market
Once you've settled upon your niche, it is time to analyze your local market share. After all, your learning centre is location based. There are several good measurements you can take in deciding (at least roughly) how well the local niche is doing:
Search your local job market, and collect how many relevant jobs, or job applicants there are. For instance, if you are opening up a language learning centre on teaching Mandarin, you can see how many Mandarin teachers or teaching positions there are.Go to Google map, or any other local map services, and search how many competitors you have, this could be a double-edge sword meaning that you would probably be glad if there’s no competition at all but it could also mean a low local demand. But the general good rule of thumb is: No competition, is always better than having competition even if it means a lower market niche, unless you have a very, very strong brand presence, in which case you’d probably be better to pursuit a higher-competing market.Try to at least do a basic survey about your competitors, if you have any. Just because you are both teaching, let’s say, Mandarin, doesn’t actually mean that you’d be fighting over the same demographic. Try to differentiate yourself from your competitors on things like teaching methods, level of difficulty, curriculum, etc.
Setting up your local digital presence
In a modern world, even a local business can benefit greatly from a well established online presence. From our research here at EngagePlus, we’ve noticed that it is highly recommended to set up profiles on channels like:
Google My Business, this is a Google product which is integrated in Google Adwords, Google Map and Google Analytics (if you have a website). Remember to include vital information like address, photos and your deals, it’s even better if you can frequently maintain it and invite your students to provide positive and honest reviews.Facebook business page, same as GMB, this will allow people to search your business entity with an address on Facebook. Also integrated in Facebook ads if you are running it.Local forum of interests. A lot of people overlook the importance of forum marketing, but the truth is when it comes to localized marketing, your local city/county/town forum can be of tremendous help, don’t let the low people count scare you, they are all your precise audience. Remember to post helpful, interesting content on the forum regularly, and participate discussion relevant to your niche, as long as you have a business profile with a clear indication of your learning centre, you will gain a lot of valuable customers this way.Hosting events. You can offer your learning centre to host conferences or forums, just make sure they fall into your own niche. Even better if you can make your own event franchise, make it a regular meetup, and don’t forget to post about them on your social media
Your business website and local SEO If you haven’t realized yet, your learning centre business needs a website. It doesn’t have to be a complex one either, you could be using Wordpress ,Wix.com or even get experts like EngagePlus to help you.
Once you got your website, it is time to do local SEO, after all you would want people to see your website. Don’t let the term SEO scare you, local SEO is much easier to pull off than global SEO:
Make sure your new site has a good structure, which means each main section of your page should link to each other naturally, and they should all link back to your homepage, in the mean time, your homepage should also have clear links back to each of your main pages. A simple example is that many websites have main sections like about us, our products or our blogs, etc. Your homepage should have clear buttons linking to all three, and each of the three sections should link to each other, within context.Make sure all of your map related online presences link to your website, and vice versa. This is what’s basically called off-site SEO, it helps your clients finding your website, also it helps Google indexing your sites, and perhaps helps it rank higher too.Have a nice blog and provide helpful, non self-promotional content regularly. This is probably one of the most essential yet easiest to mess up part. Too many businesses simply don’t update their blogs, or fill them with self-promoting, useless garbage. You need to understand that the SEO purpose of your company blog is to provide Google (and other search engines) with juicy content to crawl. If you do this well enough and often enough, Google will validate your website as a professional resource and make you appear on the 1st of SERP (search engine result page). Ranking on the 1st page of Google will bring you a ton of visitors and potential sales.List all of your courses and curriculum in a unique page instead of just one page that says “lessons we offer”. The reasons are people that are interested in one of your lessons might not be interested in another, and since Google always aims to improve its user experience, and ranks website or its pages accordingly, you would want to separate your services in pages in order to rank each one higher.
Build and maintain a good relationship with your customers
Lastly, education and learning is a long term commitment, this is the same for you the learning centre owner and your learners. So maintain a good relationship with them! Listen and gather their feedback, if they don’t provide it, take the initiative and ask them. Provide veteran customer discounts, hold some learning contests, invite them to your events and improve your own learning centre's efficiency. If your learners grow, your learning centres would too.