Let’s get our business brains on while we talk about niches.
I see a lot of online teachers giving general lessons without really being specific about what they do. Conversational lessons are the most common, with some offering business English along with exam preparation.
But, it usually stops there. To really stand out from the crowd you should focus on one, two, three (or more) niches and offer yourself as an expert in this/these specific niche(s). This isn’t to say that you have to make your whole website just about your niche, as you can achieve this through having different areas on your website.
We are going to talk about ways to think about your niche and how this can help you.
All about niches and how it brings your students
Why is it important to focus on a niche instead of giving general lessons?
Firstly, having a niche makes what you offer much crisper. You are able to get what you offer across clearly, and your content will resonate will those who you are targeting.
Focusing on a niche gives you expert status in that field; your value is much greater to those students than just any other teacher. You know what works for those students, what they are looking for, and how much they are willing to pay.
In addition, focusing on one area of English makes lesson planning much easier; having to plan for learners of different needs and levels increases the amount of time you spend working outside of your classes.
In my case, I have spent a lot of time teaching people from Spain and know exactly what mistakes they are going to make in terms of pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. The same goes for Russian students, IELTS exam preparation, and business English. I am in the process of creating sites specifically for these learners.
Having these niches greatly helps my referral rate. As I offer a lot of value, my students talk about me with their friends. They tell them that I am worth the cost of the lesson and my value is much greater than someone without this specialized knowledge and skills.
There are so many different niches out there. The best way is to start with what you have experience in and what you are interested in. If you are new or would like a change of direction, think about which niches are profitable and fun.
Some students might be profitable, but can also cause problems. Getting that combination correct will greatly improve your income while also ensuring that you enjoy what you do..
Exam preparation as an example
From my experience, focusing on exam preparation is a great area to be involved in. Students have a sense of urgency because the test means so much to them.
Some learners have to take an exam so that they can work, study, or just move to a new country. They have a lot riding on the outcome of the test which means that they are more focused. Homework is done, they don’t miss as many lessons, and they are looking for someone with experience and the skills to help them pass.
I met a girl who focused on teaching pilots who needed to pass an English test to be able to fly. These students generally had the money to pay for her high rate, were impressed by the fact that she had the experience of the exam, and needed lots of lesson really soon because their exam was coming up, an exam which is really important to potential pilots. They also referred her to their other pilot friends because she helped them pass this test.
As someone who has prepared students for exams, there is no better feeling when you help someone move to a country abroad or allows them to study in an English speaking country. I stay in contact with my students and see pictures from Australia and other countries where they have moved.
But, this is just one example. There are hundreds of different niches that you could concentrate on.
Be your niche(s)
Imagine that your expertise is on teaching business English. In this case, your website and pictures should look professional, and the content on your site should be business related. Branding yourself is a lot of fun and the rewards make the initial effort worth it in the long-run.
You don’t have to limit yourself to one niche. There’s nothing stopping you from creating two, three, or more websites, each focusing on a different niche. Or, you can split up your website into different sections creating content for each area that you teach.
Offering specialized lessons will help you find more students, help you focus on your teaching, and can potentially help you charge a higher rate. So, what niche will you choose?
If you need help choosing a niche, see my follow up post to this here.
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