No matter the reason a learner has, I always experience that sinking feeling when I get told that they don’t want to continue with lessons. But, I soon move on and either find a new student to take that time slot (the power of having an email list), or as I have done recently, reduce my teaching hours to work on other projects.
It happened to me this week: one of my students from Russia told me that he couldn’t continue. He thanked me for the lessons that I have given him (he has taken conversational English lessons for the last two years), but said that he just couldn’t continue.
The following graph explains why:
The price of his English lessons have gone up by two thirds since July due to the exchange rate between the dollar and the ruble (Russian currency). He was hopeful that the ruble was going to bounce back after an initial decrease in value (he’s a financial analyst), but you can see that recently it has depreciated quite rapidly over the past few weeks.
A couple of other Russian students have also dropped lessons over the past few months for the same reason, saying that they would like to take lessons again after a potential correction.
What can we conclude from this?
It is risky when you only target English learners from a specific country
Luckily, I hadn’t set everything up just to target Russian students. I get learners for my lessons and courses from many different countries. But if I had set everything up for learners from Russia, then I would be having some problems right now.
When thinking about your teaching niche, know that there are risks involved if you only target learners from a specific country. If you live in the country you target, then these problems are minimized and maybe non-existent as you’re paid in the same currency. But otherwise, relying on the exchange rates and political situations to remain stable is risky.
The Smart Way to Target Specific Countries
There are certain ways that you can target a specific country (or countries) without building your whole teaching business around this country.
Here are some examples:
Create Landing Pages
Instead of building your whole website around one country, you can create landing pages (specific pages that learners land on) for specific countries. You can send learners from, let’s say Brazil, to this specific page through your marketing efforts, and on this page, you can have information that resonates with with these learners.
Your website can be more general and resonate with learners in other ways (teaching style, common problems etc.).
Instead of creating a Youtube channel dedicated to learners of a specific country, you can create playlists instead. Videos for this playlist can go into depth about the problems these learners have, with videos that solve these problems.
Posting and Advertising
The quickest way to bring students to your site (or to your specific landing page) – and then into your lessons – is through posting, networking, and advertising. And all of these methods can be used for targeting specific countries. For example, using Facebook ads, you can specify in which countries you want your ads to be shown.
(Note: Inside The Teach English Online Course, you will find videos and resources based on finding your teaching niche, creating a landing page, using Youtube, and also posting and advertising to bring learners into your lessons.)
These methods mean that you can target learners from one country (or more) without putting your teaching business at risk when political situations and exchange rates change.