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 www.marketyourlanguageprogram.com 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) gmail.com. 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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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) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Marketing Language and Literacy Programs: Focus on the benefits

February 21, 2011

Marketing materials are meant to draw in customers. You want to show them how they’re going to benefit from your program. This does not mean making false promises, but it does mean showing them what they will learn, how they will grow and what they will experience. Consider the difference between these two statements:

Option 1: “Our program is 13 weeks long and we offer classes at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.”

Option 2: “Whether your level is beginner, intermediate or advanced, we have a 13-week comprehensive program to fit your needs.”

The first statement is a description focused on the program. The second is a persuasive statement focused on how the student benefits from having a comprehensive program at the right level for him or her. It also uses the word “you” more.

Too many educational marketing materials focus on describing programs, rather than highlighting the benefits to the students. Sometimes lots of information is given with no indication to the student that he will actually benefit from any of the services provided.

What do your own materials say? Do they highlight the benefits of your program? If not, now is the time to re-work them.

This post is adapted from “Idea # 13: Focus on the benefits ” in 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program

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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) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


You can’t please everyone: How language schools can target their market

January 6, 2011

One mistake I see language school directors or literacy program leaders make is believing that their courses are for everyone. This is fairly common among enthusiastic entrepreneurs who are so jazzed about their product or service that they assume everyone else will be, too. The problem gets worse when what you’re promoting is something that people need – like better literacy or communication skills.

Trust me about one thing. Your market isn’t the whole world. And if it is, you’re in trouble because the competition will claw your eyes out trying to get a piece of the same market.

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. How do you deliver your courses (over what time frame, using what materials and methods)? Courses offered at a local community centre have a different target market than online courses. Intensive week-long courses target a different population than programs lasting for an entire academic year. The method you use will work for some and not for others. No matter how much you may believe in the communicative method, for example, there will be students who hate that method and feel more comfortable reciting verb conjugations aloud and learning vocabulary by rote. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Worry about clearly articulating what you do and how you do it. That way, people who appreciate how you approach learning and teaching will be more likely to sign up with you. Spending your time trying to “convert” others to agree with your method takes much more energy, and gives you much less return, than focusing on those whose philosophy already aligns with your own.
  2. What concrete outcomes can your students expect from your courses? The word “concrete” is critical here. Now is not the time for vague promises or saying that learners will “improve”. How will they improve? What will change? Give examples. Do not confuse this with over promising. Be clear and realistic when you articulate your objectives. The changes a student can likely expect in a month are not as great as if he or she continues on at the same school with progressively challenging courses, delivered in the same way, over a year. Incorporating regular assessments that demonstrate a student’s progress and growth are also part of your marketing. Ultimately, if people take a course, they want to see change in a particular direction. Be clear in stating what students can expect from your courses, then deliver it. Document their progress to show them how far they’ve come. If anything, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver.
  3. Why would students register with your school? This is a simple question, but don’t let that fool you. It is critical. Really, why would they register at your school and not some other school? What makes you so special? What sets you apart? Do you have a great downtown location? Do all your teachers have a minimum qualification? Do you have specialized courses? You can have all these things, but really, students will register with you when they get results and enjoy the learning process. The learning environment needs to be safe, enjoyable, inspiring and challenging. The balance you strike among these things is what makes you unique.

Your target market is likely much more specific than you think it is. The more you focus on who your prospective students really are, the easier it will be go out and recruit them.

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In their own words – Boost ESL enrollments with multilingual marketing materials

September 20, 2010

Imagine this: Your daughter wants to go away and study a foreign language… maybe Chinese or French or some other language that you don’t speak. She tells you that she has found two possible schools and wants you to have a look at their web sites. She sends the links to you at the office. During your coffee break, you check out the first school’s site. All the information is written in English. You find out about the school, the teachers who work there, the homestay accommodations available and the program she will be taking.

You move on to the second site. All the same information is there (you think?) but it is written only in the language your daughter wants to learn. You surf around, look at the pictures and try to get back to the home page again.

After you’ve looked at both sites, where do you want to send your daughter?

The fact of the matter is that both schools may have excellent programs, but if students (and their parents) can read about it in their own language, you will build an unspoken relationship of trust with them. It’s both perception and perspective. You trust what you know.

For ESL programs that recruit international students, translating your web site (or at least major points of it) into the languages of your major markets gives you an advantage over your monolingual counterparts.

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This post has been adapted from “Idea # 16: Sell yourself in as many languages as possible — translate your marketing materials into the languages of countries you want to target” from 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program.

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“Marketing Matters for Language Schools: Tips and Tricks”

April 22, 2010

I am still finding more resources to share with you to help you promote your language and literacy courses. Here’s a webinar I did a few years ago. The content is still valid, particularly for smaller programs that take a “grass-roots” approach to marketing.

Presentation Title: “Marketing Matters for Language Schools: Tips and Tricks for Generating Interest in Your Language Courses.” (April, 2005, a webinar).

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Identify your target market

March 31, 2010

Identifying your target market is a key piece of the marketing puzzle. If you don’t know who you’re promoting to, how can you promote your language or literacy program effectively? How do you, as educational leaders and program directors, identify your target market?

Start by asking yourself, who do you want to register in your program? For example, if your program caters to students 18 years of age or older who have completed high school, then that’s your target audience. You need to appeal to both them and their parents, depending on who is footing the bill. In such a case the actual “target market” would include both the prospective students and their parents, since both may be involved in the decision-making process. You’ll want to gear your marketing materials to both groups.

If your programs are filled with workers sponsored through workplace learning programs, your target market would include both the workers (your prospective students) and the companies who sponsor them.

Most language school owners or managers intuitively know who they’d like to have in their programs. The trick is to let everyone on your team in on your vision – especially the people who create your marketing materials. By clearly articulating – even in writing – who your target market is, you’ll make it easier for everyone at your school to promote your programs. The act of writing it down will also help you stay on track when tempting, but ultimately unproductive opportunities come your way.

When it comes to marketing materials, rarely does one size (or shape or colour or format) fit all. Once you have identified your target market, the next step is to create marketing materials designed for each group.  For example, if you have a program designed for seniors, it is unlikely that your web marketing will be the most effective tool for them, unless they are a particularly techno-savvy group of elders. A good, old-fashioned brochure, printed on good quality paper and placed in libraries and seniors’ centres, may be an excellent marketing tool for that group.  But for students and young professionals, web marketing is essential.

Also, you may want to consider the language you are using for different groups. A group of high-achieving professionals may be more interested in the end result of registering in the program, so using words like “results”, “benefits” and “achievement” may be appropriate. On the other hand, students looking for a holiday tour with a language study component may be more interested in the “experience”, the “immersion” and the “fun”.

Once you identify your market, you can tailor your marketing materials to that target group watch how it impacts your registration.

This post is adapted from Idea #4 in Dr. Eaton’s book 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program


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