smarterGerman – Community building for an entrepreneurial German teacher
When you think of teachers, do you think of them as entrepreneurs? As people who need a website, who have an online shop and who have the need to build a community? Usually not, I am assuming, which is why I would love to introduce you to one of my clients: a teacher and someone who also does all the things mentioned above.
Michael Schmitz teaches German, smarterGerman to be precise. He spent ten years tinkering with learning and teaching systems to bring his students, starting with no knowledge of German, to succeed at the B1 exam in only two months.
When Michael's frustration with conventional school curriculum hit the ceiling, he quit his job and decided to start his own company. I say company because Michael does not only give private lessons, he has used these forms of teaching to create a complete German grammar course for A1 to B1, showcasing some of his videos on Youtube and selling the compiled courses and extra material through his website.
Michael initially approached me because he was looking for someone to take care of his social media channels. While talking about the company and his aims, he also mentioned his sales targets. While I believe that social media is important for small businesses, I wouldn’t want to make any promises to reach a number of sales with just a few tweets, Facebook or Instagram updates.
Word of mouth is the key to good marketing and increase in sales. In order to tap into that you must listen to your clients needs, their feedback and engage them in a way so that they will tell their friends who in turn will tell their friends and so on.
I offered to look over smarterGerman's website; clarify the structure, update the copy and look over every written communication with existing customers.
As a teacher you’re obviously interested in people learning and understanding the subject, which, if you are an online business should be reflected throughout your entire communication strategy. When you want to teach people something, your communication must go beyond the point of sale. You must show interest in your customer's success at mastering the knowledge. “Thank you for buying from us” is not enough if you want to build a successful relationship with your clients.
I suggested getting in touch with all past clients, collecting references and staying in touch even after they had succeeded in their exams. We had an amazing feedback and for their insights, smarterGerman’s clients will soon receive a little present to put under they Christmas trees too.
Getting in touch with past clients enabled us to recognise the strengths of smarterGerman and the reasons why people decided to learn German with Michael in the first place, and so we were able to identify future business potential, define smarterGerman's target group and thus create a social media strategy that truly adds value to people’s lives. A strategy that is not just ‘noise’ but which also caters to the very specific needs of the people who move to Germany to make the country their home.
smarterGerman’s private lessons aren’t cheap; they start at € 4.099,-. It’s a fair price given that Michael focuses all his energy on one person at a time. Looking over smarterGerman's website, I recognised that the main focus of his web presence was the price; a justification of it and not a celebration of the people reaching B1 level. Those people who are not rich or famous but who simply want to attain residency status and integrate into the local community – something which potential clients can easily identify with.
It was a wonderful experience to work with Michael. I really loved his emails reporting on the rise of the website’s traffic and the increase to sales shortly after the updates went public.
If you are looking for someone who can help you create retaining customer relations, please do get in touch. I am available to work on new projects after the Christmas break. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org