5 Effective Marketing Ideas That Are So Hot Right Now

Most people I know are incredibly good at their job and wish they could do the fun parts of it all day long. The unloved admin parts are a necessary evil: bookkeeping for example, or scheduling, or the dreaded marketing.

effective marketing ideas

Once a week, you free up an hour and say "right, time to tackle the marketing thing". And when you get there, does this work feel like a chore? Does your marketing plan feel like it's long out of fashion?

Online marketing trends come and go quickly, and with the these 5 marketing ideas you'll be on track.

Tell your Story in a Tweetstorm

Twitter is a great social network for being seen and forging all sorts of cool relationships. Beyond saying hello and retweeting others, you should also get your own voice heard by sharing your own content.

A Tweetstorm is a series of connected tweets that are posted in quick succession, telling a story that goes beyond the Twitter character limit.

It helps if you number your tweets from the start, telling followers where in the sequence each tweet belongs. This way, they can tell what's going on even when they see tweet 4 out of 8.


Incorporate Live Video

If Instagram was last year's marketing revelation for online teachers, bloggers, and coaches, this year is going to be all about live videos. What started with Periscope has grown into a much bigger movement.

Live video is easy to provide and set up these days, and it allows you to start direct dialogue with your audience. It gives your followers a chance to get to know you and ask questions that you can answer immediately.

You can prepare your live broadcasts webinar-style and even sell tickets (see below), or simply hop onto the now and then using YouTube Live, Instagram or Facebook Live.

Help out with a Facebook group

Facebook pages are still an important asset in your online marketing. But if you want to truly reach and assist your followers in 2017, it's time to have a two-way dialogue. Why not start a Facebook group for your followers and encourage them to share their own story?

Example: The Savvy Online Teacher Marketing Group, where online teachers can get together and get advice from colleagues in a dedicated forum. (Please join, and make sure you complete the application form to be accepted!)

Be a Good Guest on Podcasts and Blogs

Guest posting is the oldest trick in the book...and it still works! These days, influencers who have a launch to talk about don't always contribute written materials to others' blogs, but they go on a video or a podcast tour. I love that this takes the age-old tour concept and brings it online.

To be a good guest on podcasts, make sure you follow the show, know what it's like, and that you're a good interviewee. Always have photos and profiles of yourself available, and consider building a landing page for the show's listeners.

For example, when I wrote to Leslie from Becoming a Blogger, the first intent was to compliment him on doing a great show. I mentioned that I'm available should he want a fun guest who knows how to teach..and soon after we got together on his show.

Related Content: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pitching and Writing Powerful Guest Posts

Run an Event

Ready for something that will get you seen, heard and noticed BIG time? Then run an online event! These virtual conferences give you a chance to stand out by connecting people to what they love, giving lots of value, and also showing off your skills to the right audience.

Examples: The How to Reach More Students conference in 2016 pulled together 10,000 online teachers who followed expert talks about everything from marketing to mindset.

More recently, Paulino Brener shows us how it's done. His Online Teacher Summit pulls together over 25 online teaching experts who are going to speak live about so many topics. It's a free event (incredible), covering everything you'd expect in a step-by-step course for teachers who want to reach the next level.

The Online Teacher Summit goes live on April 2, 2017, and runs for a full week. VIP ticket holders can save all of the presentations and learn from them any time.

Evergreens Stay Green

There are some evergreens that always work. The email newsletter has been a marketing favourite with most businesses for years, and is an easy and lucrative way of staying in touch. And contrary to what you might think, blogging isn't dead: it's effective, but no longer the single one thing to do. The important thing is to keep your own platform strong and own where you want to speak to your audience.

The activities above add a new dimension though, and help you shake up your plan. They can easily be added to your marketing essentials.

Have You Tried These Ideas?

If you're already posting live or tweeting a storm, leave me a comment and share your own experiences. I'd love to hear what's working for you!

Picking Perfect Colours: How The Fluent German Retreat Got Its Look

Maybe 4 years ago you could get away with a bland website and a picture taken at the local copyshop, but these days...Nuh uh. It's visual brand time. Most online brands these days look just as good as they write, and the websites of gurus, experts and even your local garage seem to have had weeks of design work put into them.

Visual identity has become a hot topic on the internet, and even for online teachers and freelancers it can pay to keep your profiles looking slick. For me, design is something I can do "when I need to", but it certainly isn't my zone of genius.

I started out with great photography and a good website template -- no thoughts about my "signature" anything. Recently I've been learning on the job. You can see clear development of a visual identity for the Fluent German Retreat, for example, with "allowed fonts" and a colour palette that I use consistently.

As always, the mantra for a solopreneur is "get it done before it's perfect", and I do rely on captivating you lovely reader with my writing style and the quality of what I share - sometimes more than my hot typeface. Brand and personality in a nutshell.


So what is an easy way to get that look for less?

Signature Colours

In the coffee shop queue, waiting for my drink, I noticed the tattoo on my queue neighbour's arm: a large flower. It went perfectly well with her palm tree print top. And as I cast my eye over what else she was wearing, I couldn't believe just how much of a signature her look was putting together: floral print rucksack, floral print purse, brightly coloured shoes. I really liked the look and it stood out to me, coming together perfectly. That was signature look right there, and made me want to run off and purchase floral everything.

In recent weeks, I've been hearing a lot about the idea of a signature colour. It started on the Happier Podcast, where Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft discussed how a signature colour can do a lot for personal happiness and a sense of identity.

Our signature can be a colour, pattern, a font or a specific style of writing.

My own signature look is still in development, but consistent use of colour and pattern throughout a brand is something I can really connect to. It fits in with the tag line idea I created as part of the Savvy Brand Toolkit, creating a way to some up the essence of who you are, why you work and what it does for people in just a few words.

Where to Look for a Signature Colour

Start with that tag line concept, the idea of summing up your whole enterprise in a few words. Then working from that, the next step is to find a visual way of communicating this.

  1. Is there a picture or a memory that you really treasure? A colour you love wearing? A print that you adore?

  2. Whose brand stands out to you out there in the world of marketing? What do you love to buy, and what do their own logo and colours communicate to you? Which messages connect with your own beliefs?

  3. Is there something that you want to communicate to your own clients, such as "I'm fun!" or "I'm reliable and punctual". If yes, think about an image that would communicate this - ideally not one of those stock photos of people in suits staring at computer screens.

  4. What's your style? Do you like wearing casual clothes or dressing up? Your mood is communicated by what you wear every single day, and so your company can dress up and express itself in the same way.

Take the concept of the signature colour likely, feel free to play around with colour scheme generators and work with a few colours that you like at first. Over time, the signature colour will emerge.

The Fluent German Retreat takes place in a beautiful, natural and green place in Germany, so its signature colours are calm greens. The Retreat is special and designed to give learners a bit of a break from the everyday pressures of life, so I chose fonts that helped me create a calm look overall. The owl communicates "wisdom" and "nature".

The Fluent German Retreat takes place in a beautiful, natural and green place in Germany, so its signature colours are calm greens. The Retreat is special and designed to give learners a bit of a break from the everyday pressures of life, so I chose fonts that helped me create a calm look overall. The owl communicates "wisdom" and "nature".

The colours were inspired by this beautiful image of our Retreat destination, darkened a little here.


You can read more about the idea of developing a personal brand, and go through my proven process that has helped dozens of teachers set up their own systems, in the Savvy Brand Toolkit.

Do You Have A Signature Colour?

If you've been playing with design concepts and colours on your website recently, drop me a comment and a link below. Don't be shy - I am curious to see what your materials communicate!

Can You Find Students On Teaching Platforms?

Recently, a student of my Udemy course Live Lesson Strategies for Online Tutors and Teachers asked an interesting question in the course. Like so many other new teachers, she's looking at a lot of tasks to complete. Website building, setting up social media accounts, writing a new blog - it's overwhelming.

And all that work stands in contrast to the potential for finding a student over on online teaching platforms like italki. You wonder if those are worth your time. 

So my course participant asked the important question?

Would it be difficult to get new students who are willing to pay a decent price per class as there are already so many teachers offering competitive rates?

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Some Platforms Are Good..

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The best time to join any big teacher platform is when you are starting out and working on getting your process sorted. It can help you get the cash flowing quickly, and without investing a lot into technology or email systems. The best platforms also have some protection in place for you as a teacher, such as a basic cancellation policy.

In short, being on a platform helps you in the following ways:

  • You will build up a critical mass of learners relatively quickly, so that the money can start rolling in before you feel like a "certified authority"
  • You will be able to build your confidence as a new teacher, get feedback and find what students love most about you
  • You will be able to work 1-to-1 with a large variety of people, allowing you to figure out which ones you love working with and which ones are not your ideal students. Every individual has a style of working with people, and it will take a little time to find and proudly claim who you're here to work with

..But Not As Good As Building Your Own Brand

It's undeniable that offering your wares in any marketplace means playing by their rules. This is true for making online courses on Udemy, finding students on italki, or any other platform. 

I know people who are fully booked and have never been on a directory, and they teach minority languages to boot! It's a question of creativity, confidence and knowing that you're great.

Here Are The Downsides

  • Your learners' loyalty is often to the platform and not to you as a teacher, which can make it harder to build up a good relationship with students. The relationship matters a lot, because you are looking for your ideal student, a person who is a joy to work with. If you have no idea who that could be, I recommend that you work through the ideal student parts of the Savvy Brand Toolkit to figure out who they are, where they are and how you'll talk to them.
  • The terms & conditions you can set for how you deal with your customers are run by the platform, not by you. So for example, they might not like you exchanging emails outside of the established system.
  • You are doing this because your ultimate goal is independence, and working with a different platform may constrict you too much. If it feels wrong, don't go there.
  • Most platforms don't restrict what you can charge, but be aware that the system is designed to make you look like a product and price will always factor into your learners' perceptions. 

How To Make It Work For Yourself

The key is that "native and qualified" won't be enough in a crowded marketplace - check out the slides on marketing and definitely consider looking into the Savvy Brand Process to find out more - downloading these videos will also be helpful.

To work with that ideal student, I recommend building your booking system based on the 5 Step Booking Process which is designed to create a solid and sustainable relationship where students don't think of you as their "trial teacher". In a good and ongoing relationships, you have set up your system so that both parties can depend on each other.

It Is Not Difficult To Build Your Own Website

Of course, you'll have heard about Wordpress.org, a popular system that will help you build any website and do anything online. It does have a learning curve, and those of you who don't want to spend a few days fiddling with tutorials are probably put off right now.

My website builder of choice is Squarespace (which is what runs the site you are reading right now). 

I've been using Squarespace for four years and even use it to host the Creative Language Learning Podcast. I like it because it's extremely user friendly and it's an all-in-one solution, meaning you don't have to worry about any of the usual questions such as plug-ins, hosts or customizing your theme.

What Should You Do?

Personally, I used italki for a bit when I started and also Tutor Hunt, but never used it as my main source of students. I also built my own website from the start. There was no email list and no fancy opt-in, but that didn't matter. It gave interested customers a direct way of getting in touch with me. Think "back to basics", not "bells and whistles".

Ultimately, of course this is your own decision. There are many success stories of teachers who found dozens of new students on italki, but equal numbers of teachers who are frustrated because those are not their ideal learners.

Are you currently working with a platform? Or finding students in other ways? Leave a comment or find our teacher group on Facebook to discuss.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Pitching and Writing Powerful Guest Posts

Have you ever noticed that the work we do on our website and our promo materials is a bit like event planning?

Imagine that the brand new ebook you'll give away to your email subscribers is a party you're hosting. You'll have to let people know, invite them to the party.

You'll need to get some food on the table - that's your blog content.

And of course, host the party in a super cool space - that could be the design.

Now: No one's going to know about that party over at your website if you don't invite them. But how fantastic would it be if you only had to phone one friend, and they'd instantly bring their whole circle of wonderful, smart, interested friends?

pitching guest posts

This is where one of the ultimate steps in any good marketing plan should come in. Cue the guest blog post.

Why Guest Post?

Guest posts can do amazing things for your traffic, your authority and access to an existing audience. They're free, and more effective than PPC advertising, and more durable than social media. Oh, and the search engines will love you for them too.

The problem?

Getting a guest post into the right kind of blog is not that easy anymore. Good bloggers are able to tell when something is genuine. Check out the following lines:

"We will create high value content to deliver for your readers."

"I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, and I love your content and the lessons you share with your readers. Every time I read a post, I feel like I’m able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it’s so great."

"Our writers can offer you a unique and exclusive article on any topic related to translation, language, freelancing... "

These three quotes are all directly taken from pitch emails I've received. These are generic, dull, and barely credible lines. When your target blogger receives a bunch of them every day, it's time for you to step up and cut through the noise.

Don't be discouraged - in the next few lines I'm going to give you so many hot tips for landing a great guest post that you'll be excited to get started today.

Step 1: Approach Influential Bloggers The Right Way

Let's assume that you already have someone in mind whose blog will be a great platform for you to show what you've got. It could be a big name like Tim Ferriss, or it could be a big thoughtleader in your

It is not enough to simply pull a bunch of names from a list of "influential bloggers". You have got to read a few posts. The best guest post writers are people who are long-time fans or readers of a blog, because they really get the style. And before you even get that chance, rest assured that this blogger will know within seconds if you have no idea what their blog is actually about.

The first thing you should do now is to find out if the blog of your choice even takes guest posts. Look for the guest post instructions page (here is mine for example). These pages are often called "Contribute", "Write For This Blog", "Guest Post", "Work With Us" etc. If there isn't a page like that, see if you can find the blog owner on social media and connect very loosely, perhaps respond to a tweet.

After that, it's up to you. Either email directly, complete the contact form on their site, or DM them on Twitter with a short "Hey, I'm a fan and I wonder if you accept guest posts? Could I send you my idea and pitch by email?"

And here's how to cut through the noise:

  • Address the blogger or editor directly. If they're your host, you should know their name.
  • Introduce yourself and share your story. Talk about why you like their blog in particular, how you're using it, maybe mention something specific. The key here is to show them that you didn't just pull this name from a list of random "influencers".
  • Share your story - why is their blog relevant to you?
  • Know who their audience is and what they want to read.
  • Okay, this is important: Don't email a fully written article. It's usually preferred that you suggest a few titles instead of expecting the blogger to invest a lot of time in reading your whole post.

This is a chance to get creative and make another topic relevant to yours. For example, a German tutor who works with teenagers as after-school trainer can talk about steps to avoid overwhelm in the classroom or stay safe on school exchange. Or a travel agent can talk about Germany on a German language blog.

Step 2: Write A Great Guest Post Draft

Just like some podcasts don't have guest interviews, some blogs don't accept guest posts. So if it's a reject email, don't be disappointed, thank the blogger for replying and bookmark them for future connections like interviews.

If you've got the green light, well done! I bet you've already got your fingers on the keyboard as the ideas race through your mind.

Right now, it's time to let that creativity flow and just write out a quality draft. You're chain-drinking Americanos or listening to meditation music. Just be in "creation mode" for a bit, get out what you want to say, and we'll meet in the edit.

Editing Your Draft

The following quick tips are good practice for blog articles.

  • 500 words is a minimum, 2000 words is too much. The average post I see these days is 800-1600 - best to know what you're aiming for in line with your target blogger's instructions.
  • Break up your text into subheadings and give each thought a little space to breathe.
  • Start with a story, feeling, a little opener that tells the reader how you came to talk about this. A classic opener might be a variation of "Ever feel like [insert your topic]?"
  • Complete your article with a clear next step and offer solutions for all the problems you have talked about. You don't have to have all the answers, but there should be a clear recommendation.
  • For a bonus: Link back to one or two of your host blog's existing articles in the text

Step 3: Be A Joy To Work With

Once your first draft is written, the blogger may wish to work with you before they schedule your work for publication. Be nice, accept their editorial feedback. But even beyond the writing part, here are some amazing ways to become a blogger they will tell their friends about:

  • Pay attention to the format they want to receive. For example my preference is always Google Doc or Markdown, and not MS Word.
  • Provide a 50-150 word bio, a quality photo of you and any other information the blogger wants to include.
  • Always pay attention when your post goes live, reply to any comments and share it with your own followers. For good karma, if nothing else - but I have previously acquired paying customers from this.

Time To Take Action

Now that you know the secrets to getting featured on your favourite ever blog, what's holding you back?

Have you ever guest blogged before? Which tip are you going to try?

Share in the comments below or let me know in our Facebook group!

12 Convincing Reasons to Join Savvy Brand Academy 2016

Hi everyone, it's that time of year again - Savvy Brand Academy is now open for enrollments for the next 2 weeks!

What's Savvy Brand Academy?

The academy is an intensive coaching programme and mastermind designed for online teachers who want to find their best path to the market. It's for people just like you and helps you build a step-by-step brand that takes away self-doubt and questions like "who is going to pay for my lessons?"

The curriculum of this course is thorough and challenging, asking you to build up your brand identity from a clean slate. It will not only help you "find a niche" or "set a price", but go deeper than that.

  • Every week, you will receive in-depth handbooks, videos and exercises that introduce the steps to making your ideal brand a reality.
  • You'll be joining live video calls with your Academy peers to discuss what you are learning and go deeper into the heart of what's stopping you from succeeding.
  • You'll also receive readymade templates and a full website building tutorial that is guaranteed to make your marketing materials convert better than ever.

Savvy Brand Academy is about choosing your clients instead of asking them to choose you.

To explain more about the journey you'll go through in Savvy Brand Academy, I decided to give a voice to our amazing Academy alumni. Here are some top secret, authentic survey responses showing you how they got on.

First Question: Why did you join Savvy Brand Academy?

I've previously taught and was out of the business for a while. I wanted to use the course to take time to think how I could possibly teach languages again in the future, possibly as part of a portfolio of income streams. My questions were what did I have to offer, how should I offer it, to whom.

I didn't know how to get myself into a position where I could charge more for my teaching services.

I felt I was lacking some knowledge of marketing and business potential. I just threw myself into my business, and felt there were definitely some things I was missing due to not knowing they existed (brand building, marketing, resources, etc.) I needed a push into the right direction.

Second Question: Which Stage Was Your Favourite, and Why?

I loved Stage 2. As a beginner, I had no confidence that I can really teach someone something. I believed in myself but I needed to have something legitimate to show my clients. So I was desperate and willing to take any client. The result of ending with the wrong client is mis-communication and lack of progress. So this section really helped me achieve great progress with my clients and talk to the right kind for me.

This is a tough question because it's really hard to just say ONE favorite. I chose this one though because it was the one that really pushed me to think differently, challenge myself, and think about my brand. I do want to note that Stage 5 was a close 2nd because I loved the actions to get involved and reach out, and it was a great way to review everything we had learned.

Stage 3! This was a totally new concept to me, and I was glad that I had finally heard it verbalized the way it was and that I could use the principles learned at that stage to improve my services in general.

Third Question: How did you feel about Kerstin's expertise and dedication to supporting you?

Really enjoyed working with Kerstin on this course. She came across as competent and experienced and radiates enthusiasm for the field. She was good a pulling our thoughts to clear and actionable conclusions. Really enjoyed the sense of community fostered by Kerstin.

What I like about Kerstin is her ability to pull a number of resources together and point people in the right direction. I'm sure she has a wealth of expertise herself, but in my humble opinion her major strength is the ability to compile her own experience, the experience of others and some other people's valuable advice and bring it all together.

Kerstin is highly knowledgeable about both online marketing and teaching online. She is therefore the ideal person to guide me through this kind of course. I am impressed with Kirsten's [sic] enthusiasm and enjoyed her lively sense of humour as I journeyed through the course. With Kerstin's expert guidance the course has led me to a real understanding of online niche marketing.

Final Question: Now that you have completed Savvy Brand Academy, how are you feeling about your business and your brand?

Much clearer about what I could offer if I went back to teaching, who I would be targetting and how to do it all.

I feel like I have a clearer direction of where I want to go, and feel more confident in getting there. I don't think my work is done just because the course is over, and know I have a long way to go to getting it exactly where I need to be (through trial & error, experimenting, etc..) but all of the exercises and information received in this course will continue to help me get there even though it's over.

I need to do certain things in order to market myself better, and have a game plan. My ideas of how to get where I want to go are crystal clear to me now. And I'm currently investing in myself more and keen to progress onto my projects. In fact, I am really, really excited about the future.

What previous participants thought about the course

What previous participants thought about the course

Would You Recommend Savvy Brand Academy? 100% YES

In this survey, I also asked the participants to rate whether they would recommend that you join Savvy Brand Academy. The result was a unanimous YES!

To follow in their footsteps and build the kind of brand that others look up to, here's how to enroll:

1) Click on this link to enroll

2) Add your ticket to the basket by clicking "Enroll Now" and enter your payment details on the checkout page (it shows the price in GBP, and will convert to your currency in payment)

3) Once your payment is processed, you're a member of Savvy Brand Academy and will receive your personal welcome kit from me

If you join us today, you can also secure the limited offer of a FREE 1-to-1 session worth $97 where we'll focus in on your business to create crystal-clear goals that help you use your time effectively.

I can't wait to send you that Welcome Kit,


How to Reach More Students 2016

You are Invited to the #1 Teaching Event of the New Year

Over the past weeks, work on the Teaching HQ has focused on creating an event that will top everything else you could do to start your teaching business in the new year. I have pulled in some of the best online teachers that I know and created an agenda focused on exactly the kinds of questions you need answers to.

The result is How to Reach More Students 2016!

Join us from the comfort of your home to learn exactly how to improve your business in the next year.

Free Event featuring 6 Speakers in 3 Days

This online event will be held right here on Fluent as a free conference from 5-7 January.

The speaker line-up is extremely impressive, featuring Elena Mutonono, Jen Nascimento, Gabby Wallace, Jack Askew and Lindsay Dow.

Sneak Peek: 

Jack Askew will be talking about how to find your niche.

Jennifer Nascimento will be sharing how she recruits students using photos on Instagram.

Want more VIP Coaching?

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If you want to put more cash in your pocket and build a powerful online teaching platform in 3 months, then grab one of the highly limited Mastermind places in Savvy Brand Academy 2016.

The academy is open for enrolment now. Get the full curriculum at www.fluentlanguage.co.uk/savvy-brand-academy2016