The “A+” Sales Funnel for Sustainable Freelance English Teaching

By Keith Michael Howard | Last Updated: November 24, 2021

Want to start freelance English teaching online, but aren’t sure how to find students? Then this is the post for you!

This article will explain how to make a simple two-part sales funnel that will attract the kind of students that you will enjoy teaching for years.

The Two Basic Parts of a Freelance English Teaching Sales Funnel

The top, or mouth of the funnel, is where you start snagging potential customers, and the bottom of the funnel is where you convert them into paying students.


The Top of the Funnel: Youtube.

The best tool for attracting students to the top of your funnel is by making 6 to 10-minute videos on Youtube.

But before you start, there are a few things you need to know that will help you bring in higher-quality students. Most people think that you need to get a million views on a Youtube video to make money, but that is 100% incorrect.

Here are a few tips for making Youtube videos that will have students lining up around the block for your freelance English teaching services:

1. Don’t start by making videos about general or popular topics.

You’re never going to rank for them, and you’re going to attract the wrong people.

An example of a topic that you would never rank for is “How to Get 6.5 on IELTS”. The competition will be murderous, and the topic isn’t specific enough to narrow down the type of students that you’re looking for!

2. Come up with a customer persona first.

Try to think of one student, your ideal customer, and what sort of questions they would ask. You could also use the classes that you are teaching right now.

Start to be more conscientious of questions, and if you hear a good one, write it down! These will become your video ideas list or content plan.

They’re going to need to be longer questions, and more specific is better. In SEO or Search Engine Optimization, these long questions are called long-tail keywords.

For a new Youtube channel, long-tail keywords are the best place to start as there’s less competition

Editorial Note: This is something I learned at fizzle.co which is a great place to learn about starting an online business.

3. You need a Call to Action (CTA) in the videos.

The call to action takes the student or customer from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. But you need to tell the audience what you want them to do.

An example would be:
“If you liked this video then sign up for my class at (your teaching platform)”

FYI: This is a terrible, terrible CTA.

You can find more information about YouTube CTAs here, but I’d urge you to keep it simple.

The key here is not to get sidetracked with a bunch of internet marketing mumbo jumbo because is not it’s not worth it when you’re starting out.

You should know that most people never actually end up making videos regularly because they take forever trying to make something like “the perfect CTA”.

Don’t do that.

There are a million details involved in online business, but none of them will help you if you are not publishing regularly.

4. Add Target Country’s Language to Video Title

If you know where most of your students are coming from then it can’t hurt to add their language to the video title.

You could simply translate the title verbatim and add both. The only issue here is making sure that your title is under the 100 characters allowed. If it’s too long, it will get cut off and not display fully.

An example title aimed toward Vietnamese students would be:

“Who vs whom for IELTS – Ai vs ai vì ielts” = (43 characters)

This may give you a little SEO boost in your target country, but the real benefit here is that it will filter out students from other countries that you don’t want to target.


The Bottom of the Funnel: Start with an independent teaching platform.

If the goal is to make money right away, you’re going to start with an independent teaching platform, like Verbling or Chatalyze.

There are lots of them out there, and it’s up to you which one you choose. The downside here is that they will take a cut of your students’ payments.

For example, Verbling is 15% commission, but you will save an enormous amount of time versus setting up your own payment processor.

You SHOULD check and make sure it’s easy to set up payments on the teaching platform you choose.

People tend to focus on a teaching platform’s course building features or aesthetics. Neither is as important as how easy it is to use their payment processor.

If you get annoyed with it then your potential customers will as well.

You don’t want to go through all this work and end up losing the fruits of your labor in a clunky payment processor.


Some Beginner Mistakes to Avoid:

1. Don’t put your teaching platform or prices in your videos.

As you evolve your online teaching business, you will probably change teaching platforms and raise your prices. This is why it is a BAD IDEA to put your platform or prices in the actual video.

For example, let’s say you make a video today and you put your class price in the video as $20 per hour.A year from now, you’re more established and charging $35 per hour. But the potential students who see your old video won’t know this. Now you’ve created an awkward situation where you have to explain why your class actually costs 75% more.

You have to build trust with your students: having incorrect information in your video is a great way to destroy it.

Instead, in your CTA, tell people to check the description for links. Those are much easier to change later. This will help to keep your videos evergreen, which means they will pull in potential customers for years.

Editorial Note: This tip comes from Moneylab’s Youtube for Bloggers course which is by far the best course on Youtube that I’ve taken so far.

2. Use a simple video editing tool and publish regularly.

You are a teacher. You are not Francis Ford Coppola.

Don’t get stuck by choosing a really difficult video editing tool that takes two months to learn. And don’t make “modern masterpieces” that take you longer than a week to finish.

Those approaches won’t work with this kind of funnel. For this to work, you need to publish at least one video per week.

I would recommend something really easy for video editing like Screencast O Matic if you’re doing teaching videos.

All you really need is your little webcam and your screen to go through whatever you’re talking about.

The videos don’t need to be beautiful when you start! Once you are publishing regularly then you can start to bump up the production.

People get stuck on this one. They try to make YouTube videos like their favorite channels but don’t realize that those channel creators have been making content for years.

Avoid “analysis paralysis” and hard-to-learn tools. If you publish 1 video per week for 2 years, that’s 100 videos and a significant amount of traffic coming into the top of your sales funnel.

3. You SHOULD get your account and channel verified by YouTube.

This little golden nugget comes from SEO Fight Club and will boost your channel’s credibility in the eyes of YouTube.


Conclusion

I wrote this for an old friend who was having no luck finding students using Facebook Ads. While I am not a freelance English teacher, I am an info junkie and have a soft spot for English teacher monetization. In my opinion, it’s the easiest job to monetize online and anyone with this basic funnel (that can publish videos regularly) is going to be able to start a viable business in these uncertain times.

As I told my friend, start with a list of 10 questions and set a date that you will start weekly publishing. After that, publish every week and make slight improvements when you can.

Hi, I'm Keith, an education technology innovator and host of The New Curriculum Specialist. But I wasn’t either of those things 2 years ago. Then 2020 happened. To adapt, I learned a little bit of code and things have really taken off from there. Not that bad for a guy who failed Math 6 times.

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