How to advertise your school and get more students?

UPDATE:Β  To get more students & double your teaching income this year, check out the new Genki Business Course!

genki english car

Violetta wrote in to ask:

Hi Mr. Richard ! I’d like to ask you a question. Β How to advertise when starting your own school ?

Hi Violetta,

My aim Β is always to do *zero* advertising.

( Traditional advertising doesn’t work, Β is expensive and is very difficult to do well!)

Instead the goal is to put all your effort into doing such awesome, amazing lessons (with amazing happy endings) that all the parents will do your advertising for you by telling all their friends what a great teacher you are and to come join your school.

That’s how advertising works in the modern world.

By being awesome.

Which just by reading this blog proves you are of course! πŸ™‚

Getting the first class.

But we all have to start somewhere.

So the very best way to start is to talk to friends, and friends of friends, tell them you are thinking of starting a new class and need to get together a group of 6 to 8 kids. Β (Why 8 Β kids?)Β 

Then make the lessons totally amazing, by using Genki EnglishΒ of course :), Β and you’ll naturally get more and more enquiries.

The usual goal is to get, on average, Β 100 to 120 students in the first year.

(Some teachers only manage 80, Β some get 150, so do be flexible.)


It all starts with one.

Or if you’re really, really not sure, and if you really have to, you can just start with one new student if you must.

That’s what I did. Β  (Β And you teach them like this)

Then they start telling their friends, who tell their friends and you end up with group classes.

Which is what you want.

To be honest I did actually advertise to get my very first student, Β I put a card up in the local supermarket.

But that was many years ago, Β so these days again I’d recommend asking friends instead!


Then in the big leagues….

Then once you get established, Β if you have, for example, Β just 4 kids wanting to join a class, Β tell them that you can only open a class when there are 8 kids waiting.

What happens?

Just like the iPhone 17 that we can’t have yet, the parents want to join your class even more.

So *they* go out and get the other 4 kids for you!

It works like magic. Β *IF* Β you are firm and don’t cave.

Ken, Β I’m looking at you here. πŸ™‚


Then you can do this …

And you can of course go for more “bootstrapping” type advertising i.e. that doesn’t cost much.

Elena has put the Genki English logo on the side of her building.


Kamila has put the superhero on her car!

genki english car

( Ninja Tip: Β Remember, everything is marketing.Β  Β So make sure everything is amazing, Β handouts, lessons, results, smiles at the end. πŸ™‚ )Β 

Whilst all the Genki English graphics and logos are copyrighted, I usually give permission to really great teachers to use them in their advertising if you ask me.

And we’ve even had Genki English on the side of public busses in Hong Kong!

So start with Word of Mouth, Β do amazing lessons, Β become a Purple CowΒ and save all those pennies! πŸ™‚

Be genki,


P.S. Β For more tips on how to start your own school, look here.

P.P.S.Β  Or if you want to learn how to get more students, the right students & double your teaching income this year, check out the new Genki Business course.

P.P.P.S. Β  Thanks to everyone who applied for the homework programme, hopefully I got back to you all. Β  Applications are now closed, but keep an eye out in the New Year when I’ll open them up again.


Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genkiβ€”fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

8 Responses to “How to advertise your school and get more students?”

  1. Ken Marchant

    Great post Richard, and yes I could feel you looking in my direction. I promise I won’t cave in!

  2. Kama

    πŸ™‚ my mobile advertising works really great. i have already caught. some clients πŸ™‚

  3. Neil

    Just my opinion, but as far as flyers are concerned, I think people misunderstand the point of advertising. The idea is not to give out 10,000 flyers and hope a certain number of people are thinking about going to English school and will jump at your flyer. The number of people in your area at any one time thinking about it will be very small and not worth the effort and expense. The point is to make your school *known* by repetitive advertising. A household name, if you will. Then it will become established and the go-to place for anyone wanting English lessons.

    Thinking each time you post a flyer “this could be one!” just leads to depression when you get no calls. You have to think of the bigger picture. It *is* worth the effort – in the long run!

  4. Dacha

    Thank you Richard, these posts are really helpful as the new school year starts here in France! Would you have any advice on the most needed equipment for the classroom, please?! You’ ve already talked about the speakers- but in a more general way? What other ” investments” should we make our priority?
    Thank you and all the best

  5. Richard

    Hi Dacha,

    A nice big screen TV (connected to your laptop) is the best option for visuals (less hassle and less shadows than a projector.)

    If you want to get serious then lighting can make a huge difference i.e. big, bright, warm colours but no fluorescents.

    Then just decoration. Again, big, bright, bold colours for both adults (think how Google do their offices) and kids.

    Have a look at the amazing stuff Lucky has done with her classroom!

  6. Dacha

    Thank you, Richard

    Just stumbled across this in my mail box ( the latest entry on Seth Goin’s blog):

    Marketing used to be what you say

    Now, marketing is what you do. What you make. How you act. The choices you make when you are sure no one is looking.

    πŸ™‚ Exactly what you were talking about!

  7. Ogundele iyanuoluwa

    I just want to start up as a headmistress and I don’t know how to advertise the school.the pupils are just four in number.

  8. Richard Graham

    No worries Ogundele, just follow the ideas on the page here and you’ll soon have lots of new students. How many would you like to have?

Comments are closed