Job Posting: Marketing and Recruiting Manager for Prestigious English Language Program

October 29, 2013

When I wrote the first edition of 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program in 2002 one of the language program directors I interviewed for the book expressed disgust at the very idea of the book, saying that the idea of integrating marketing into educational administration was “blasphemous”.

That was at a time when language program managers had no training, no resources and no budgets for marketing. Many of them still don’t.

Since then I have kept my focus on marketing of language programs of all kinds as part of my career. From heritage language programs to TESL to modern world languages, they all have a place in our classrooms, our communities and yes, even the business world. I created where I offer almost all the resources that I have created over the years for free.

In 2009 I wrote my doctoral thesis on marketing of ESL programs at post-secondary institutions. My supervisor liked that I had an innovative topic in an area that had yet to be researched by anyone (anywhere), but warned me that it might not get me a job. (As it turned out, things have worked out just fine.)

Recently, Georgetown University posted a job for

Manager, Marketing for Recruitment.

You can check out the job description here. The position involves recruiting qualified American English teaching professionals for the English Language Fellow and Specialist Programs. The programs, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, send American teachers around the world to teach English. The jobs are affiliated with and supported by local embassies. What a cool program.

It’s not super clear, but just so it’s forever captured as a graphic, here’s a screen shot of the job posting:

Marketing Manager job posting

Marketing Manager job posting

Slowly, enlightened organizations are beginning to see that marketing our language programs is neither blasphemous nor futile, but rather necessary if we want to endorse, promote and share the importance of learning languages on a global scale. Marketing is serious business. It is unlike any other facet of educational administration or language program management. If we want to get serious about not only saving our language programs, but elevating their importance, we’ve got to go beyond putting up posters in the hallways of our schools to advertise the newest language class, and instead take a professional and strategic approach to recruitment, complete with market research, using metrics to track results and understanding how to demonstrate the concrete impact of language learning to funders, stakeholders and others in our communities.

When prestigious institutions like Georgetown University start creating positions called “Manager, Marketing and Recruitment”  for their language programs (and it’s supported by the U.S. Department of State) other schools are sure to follow.

Does your institution have a marketing manager for its language programs?

If not, what are you waiting for?


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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) Please visit my speaking page, too.


Marketing tip: Ask your students where they heard about you

August 20, 2011

This is a simple way of determining which method of marketing works for your language or literacy program: Ask your students how they heard about you. Do most of your students find out about you through the Internet? …word of mouth? …your brochure? … trade fairs? Once you figure out what has proven most successful, you will know where to focus more of your marketing dollars.

I suggest getting this valuable information in writing. Whether it is through an evaluation form or an exit interview where the results are recorded, get the information in concrete written form. Compare it from year to year. See if your most successful marketing strategy changes over time.

Of course, we know that word of mouth is the most powerful way to market your program. If the majority of your students come to you through word of mouth, then you are very lucky. Most language schools need to combine word of mouth with other marketing efforts.

But what other marketing efforts are successful for you? You may be surprised. You may be pouring thousands of dollars into a fancy brochure and find out that 85% of your students used the Internet to find you. If that is the case, you would want to drive more of your marketing dollars into the Internet (maybe pay for a higher ranking on a search engine or get a banner ad onto other people’s sites). Once you know what has proven successful, you can use that information to generate even more interest and registrations.
Marketing materials: tools and tips to do the job better

This post is adapted from “Idea #18” in 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program


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Update – November, 2017 – This blog has had over 1.7 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Marketing Workshop for Language Programs

April 19, 2010

Last Thursday I gave a 3-hour interactive workshop on marketing language programs. We had participants there specializing in English as a Second Language, literacy, German as a Second Language and Spanish as a Second Language.

Here is a copy of the slides that accompanied the presentation binder that participants received:

I was just thrilled with the evaluations that had comments such as these:

  • “An excellent workshop. Time well spent! Thank you.”
  • “Great! Loved the informality combined with organization”
  • and “Sarah, you are an excellent instructor”

When I get comments like that, it’s confirmation that I have absolutely chosen the right career path. I love this stuff and wouldn’t change it for the world.

I hope the slides are helpful.


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Update – November, 2017 – This blog has had over 1.7 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

SWAG for language and literacy programs

March 9, 2010

Swag is an important part of your promotional strategy. Otherwise known as “freebies”, “goodies” or “loot”, these are the items you give away to people in the hopes that they remember your program in a positive way.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines swag as:

  1. (slang) ( a) The booty carried off by burglars, etc. (b) illicit gains
  2. (a) an ornamental festoon of flowers, etc. (b) a carved etc. representation of this
  3. (Australia & NZ) a traveller’s or miner’s bundle of personal belongings.

Marketing swag has elements of all these definitions. We hope that people will carry their swag with them in their briefcase or backpack (i.e. their “bundle of belongings”). Swag is now considered de rigueur as part of “table decor” at trade shows. It is a necessary accessory to the adornment of any promotional booth. People love it because it is free, so they make off with it like hot cakes, often sheepishly tucking it into their bags with a slight feeling of either guilt or glee, possibly both.

Recently though, I came across a definition of swag that I like even better. In a 2007 blog post, Suzette Bergeron, a marketing expert in Maine defines swag as “Stuff We All Get”. She goes on to explain different types of swag such as promotional giveaways, prizes and business gifts. For those of you who work in with international clients, you know how important those business gifts can be when working with certain countries.

So rather than the traditional definition, I’m going to go with Bergeron’s. It’s easy to remember and it conveys the idea of marketing swag perfectly.

Swag for language and literacy programs should relate to your program somehow. Remember to include your logo and program name, and if there’s space your website.  The items need to reflect your purpose, your image and hopefully be useful to the recipients. Pens, pads of paper, book bags and even portfolios are all excellent swag ideas for language and literacy programs. Baseball caps, not so much. That is, unless you are offering an ESL program for baseball players. I’d also hesitate to go with items such as breath mints, eye glasses cleaning cloths and toys, all of which I have seen at educational trade fairs. When I see items like this, I scratch my head. I understand that they are novelty marketing items, but I question their longevity in the hands of the recipient once the novelty has worn off. Before you spend your money on swag ask yourself what is going to be most useful to those on the receiving end. You want them to hold on to it, make it part of the bundle of things they carry with them for a long time and most importantly, remember you by it.


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Update – November, 2017 – This blog has had over 1.7 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

How to brand your language or literacy program

February 25, 2010

Branding is one activity that falls under the larger umbrella of marketing. It’s important to have an overall marketing strategy. Branding is a hot topic though and lots of people ask me about it. So today I wanted to focus briefly just on branding for language schools and literacy programs. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be clear about what programs you’re offering. If you focus on programs for adults, then be purposeful and decisive about it. Do not try to be all things to all people. Focus all your efforts on programs that fit within your niche. Find trusted colleagues who offer complementary programs so you can refer prospects to them who don’t fit in your niche. So if your specialty is a program for those 18-50 and you get an inquiry from someone looking for a youth program, have somewhere to refer them. That’s just good professional courtesy. Then, send them on their way and stay focussed on your niche. Being clear about who you are and what you do is the first step to marketing yourself successfully. From there, you can focus more on other activities, including branding.

Use your logo widely – If you have a logo, use it on all your marketing materials – not just the website or the brochures. Make sure it is on your business cards, your letterhead and any promotional materials you produce. People associate the logo with your activities , your style and your philosophy. Your logo is a visual, often pictorial image that represents who your organization is and what you do. This idea is very powerful for language and literacy programs where words may be a barrier to your clients! You don’t words on your logo. You can have them, but you don’t need them. Your logo becomes an imprint on the memory of those who see it. Use it widely and people will get to know your program better.

Be clear and consistent -You want to deliver the same message to your prospects with all of your marketing materials. It is important to keep the logo consistent over time and also to use it consistently.  In my experience, programs that have one logo that they use on every piece of paper that leaves their office and every web page are usually very successful. This is because they are sending a message that they are reliable, trustworthy and that they’re here to stay.

Here are a few of my favorite online articles for branding. They’re directed towards business people and entrepreneurs, and what they have to say is also good for educational leaders who are responsible for promoting their programs within their communities or to the world.

Fundamentals of branding

Approaches to branding

How to position a company, product, service or brand

and a good articles on the failure of some marketing campaigns (and the resulting failure of the associated products and services):

Product and brand failures: a marketing perspective


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Update – November, 2017 – This blog has had over 1.7 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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