11_How to attract students to a language school – Breaking the mould

In this article we want to address something obvious but frequently overlooked due to the effort that needs to be put into going beyond the beaten path, taking a risk and proposing something unorthodox. This is the only way to stand out and attract the attention of new course participants. The fastest method to introduce creative solutions is trying and trying again and learning from the mistakes you make. Those are mistakes that take us to original – and at the same time effective – solutions.

To illustrate the discussed issues, we will present below two advertisements of language schools that we may consider as controversial ones but also ones that may serve as a model example of thinking out-of-the-box. We have no info about effectiveness of such actions but do not think this matters most. Regardless of the results, school displaying such approach are in for a bright future.

An advertising spot of Open School:

One of most popular spots on learning foregin languages:

The above examples may seem quite extreme to some, but let’s remember that we do not have to base our actions on controversies. By doing some creative work we can find ways to be seen. An excellent example of such actions is afforded by introduction by a language school of dedicated course classes with adults and children learning together. This would seem trivial and commonplace, but owing to proper, unorthodox form of presentation of such offer whereby parents can learn at the same time with their children, the school won a large group of customers, who had failed before to see the enormous added value in the form of saved time (e.g. for travelling to and from school) and being close to their children.

Let’s imagine a standard situation where a potential course participant has a few schools to choose from and decide to visits them to learn more and check what they can expect. When a potential course participant visits our school, we talk to them with dedication, show our best side and usually hand out leaflets containing exhaustive info when they leave. Could we do any better? When the aforementioned customer returns home, they will be left with a bunch of very similar leaflets, only slightly differing in price. If we have added to leaflets some simple educational material, e.g. a few language flash cards, a booklet with a funny story in a foreign language, the situation would have looked quite differently. The person receives an unexpected gift, which shortens the distance and creates a bond.

When launching a language school, we spend a lot of money on refreshing or overhauling the classrooms. As we do it, we should consider using this opportunity to come up with unorthodox design of the rooms. Particularly in the schools teaching languages other than English, it is an interesting experience for the students to stay in a school whose design refers to the culture of the country whose language they learn. Frequently it suffices to choose a proper photograph wallpaper to create the feeling of travelling in time and space. This can be just a beginning, because we can use various elements of foreign cultures by handful. This can be both interesting and amusing. The limit is our imagination, not the depth of our pocket, because most changes of that type do not entail any big expenditure. Classrooms for smaller kids can be treated individually and we can take care of friendly environment. The flooring, colourful walls, cushions, toys will make children comfortably and safe, and not at all like being at school.

Of course those are just a few examples, but we believe they will inspire you by showing how many platforms there are to search for ways to make you stand out. We have visited many language schools and we are constantly surprised by something that makes a given school remain in our memory and this just shows how important creative thinking is, and not just when we are forced to do so; this should be a part of our organic work every day. Let us not ignore shortcomings and let’s try improve on them innovatively.