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How Tutor's Can Use the Four P's to Find More Students

Updated on August 27, 2014

Use the Marketing Mix to Succeed at Tutoring

This article will tell you how just 4 words, each beginning with the letter P, can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your tutoring venture. Your ability to address these four words will determine whether you constantly struggle to find new students or you have a waiting list of students.

The “Four P's” are elements making up what is known as the “marketing mix” a concept well-known by MBA's and marketers. The term “marketing mix” was coined in 1953 by Neil Borden, and later, in 1960, E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a Four P classification which is well-known today for its ability to encapsulate the concept in an easy to remember name.

On the surface it may not be obvious how these four words apply to tutoring. Tutoring is about teaching after all, isn't it? Tutoring is about teaching, but for independent tutor's that's only half of the story. Independent tutors are required to wear several hats including business person, secretary, accountant, and teacher. I'll show you how the marketing mix applies to tutors, but first I'll discuss exactly what the marketing mix is.

The marketing mix is a concept that addresses each of the elements of marketing a product. The four P's that make up the marketing mix are: 1. Price, 2. Product, 3. Place and 4. Promotion. Each of these elements plays an important role in the success of any profit-seeking venture and should be addressed by independent tutors as well.

Below is a breakdown of each word:

  1. Price

    This is the price of the product or service you are selling. It's up to you to decide how you want to price your service. If you're a tutor do you want to charge $10/hour or $50/hour. The decision is up to you and the price you decide on will impact your success.

  1. Product

    The product is exactly what product or service you are offering. As a tutor this includes what subject you are tutoring, but it also includes your level of education, your experience and anything else you bring to the table. Many of the product features you offer are a direct result of decisions you make, therefore it is wise to evaluate this decision carefully.

  2. Place

    Place refers to distribution of your product or service. This not only refers to a geographic area, but also includes the distribution channel. For instance, as a tutor you might choose to offer your tutoring services in only your city. Or you might choose to tutor to students all across your country via online tutoring.

  3. Promotion

    Promotion basically refers to advertising and how you inform people about your product or service. There are hundreds of different ways to promote products and services and tutor's can benefit from using some methods that have been successfully implemented by other tutors.

Now that you know what each of the 4 P's are. I'm going to show you how they specifically apply to tutoring and how you can make the best choices for each of the 4 P's. By spending time carefully evaluating each of the elements of the marketing mix, you will be laying the foundation for a successful tutoring career.

  1. Pricing for Tutors

    Determining the best price to charge for your services can be a very difficult decision for many new tutors. Should you start at a low price to attract students, or should you charge a high price so that you are earning a good return for the time you invest in tutoring. There are a few general rules of thumb you should consider when determining your price.

    a. What are tutors offering similar services in your city charging for their tutoring? You can find the answer to this question by checking tutoring directory websites on the internet and tutoring ads in the classifieds of your local newspapers. It's important to find tutors that are teaching similar grade levels and have similar education and experience.

    b. Try to set a price at or slightly above the going rate for your area. This will communicate the quality level of your services, you will be in the price range of most potential customers, and you will be earning a good return on your time invested.

  2. Product for Tutors

    Your product is both yourself and the tutoring you provide. You can choose the subjects that you will teach as long as you are qualified to teach them. You can also gain experience and increase your education to improve the quality and value of your tutoring services. Many tutors begin by working for a tutoring agency to gain experience and to include this as a selling point. You can find ways to improve your competitive advantage as a tutor in this article: 5 Ways to Increase Your Competitive Advantage as a Tutor

  3. Place for Tutors

    With the growth of the internet, online tutoring is becoming a very convenient option for many tutors. However, it is often not practical for many students, so there will continue to be demand for one-on-one tutoring. You can choose the geography of your tutoring as well – are you willing to drive 45 minutes to tutor a student, or will you only tutor students within 15 minutes of your home or work? Decreasing your teaching radius may decrease the number of potential students, but you will also save time and money related to travel.

  4. Promotion for Tutors

    First, classified ads in your local newspapers. Newspapers are still a common place for people to look for tutors, which makes them an excellent place for tutors to advertise their services. Spend some time writing a short concise ad and include your phone number so you can provide a prompt response to enquiries. Second, online tutoring directories. There are many new tutoring directories with pages dedicated to advertising tutors in specific cities. As more people rely on the internet for finding tutors these sites will become more effective. Many tutor directories also allow you to upload a full profile that will allow you to highlight many of your strengths. A third method, is to provide your business card and information to all of the guidance counselors at schools in your target market. Guidance counselors know which students need help and if they have your information they can provide it to parents. Finally, if you are an established tutor one of the best methods of promotion is word-of-mouth. Ask your current students and their parents if they know of anyone else that requires tutoring. Have lots of business cards available to hand out so that they can pass them on.

    Promotion may be the one area where new tutors have the most difficulty. Finding students can be tough, but if you know the best places to look you will be well on your way. These are three very effective promotion methods for new tutors and one that can be very effective for established tutors.

There you have it. A comprehensive guide to applying the four P's of the marketing mix to tutoring.

If you have a tutoring company you can increase your competitive advantage by being more efficient and appearing more profession. This tutoring business software can help your company if you have multiple teachers.

Which of the 4 P's do you think has the biggest impact on your tutoring business?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Fidning this post. It's just a big piece of luck for me.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      you don't buy that, you sell your soul to the devil for that power.only they won't tell you that, they will just say it's metdtaiion, but it's metdtaiion to evil spirits that give you the power.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Nice reading this article.

    • amandabrodie profile image

      Amanda Brodie 

      6 years ago from Connecticut

      This is a really insightful article, thanks.

    • bdizzle99 profile image


      6 years ago from Bethesda, MD

      Very well written article, I like the 4 P's concept. Voting this up!

    • rlaha profile image


      7 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

      Thanks for this. I am struggling to start my tutoring services in a new city and so far no one has been calling. I will have to use these methods to try to get students. Thanks again!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice article! I'll give this a shot with my tutoring.

    • jeffreyporter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback Sarah!

    • profile image

      Sarah F 

      7 years ago

      hey, great hub! I never really thought of looking at using this framework for marketing myself as a tutor. I'll definitely give it a shot!


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