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How to make your ELT centre stand out

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StudyPortals staff have spent the past few months uploading the details of every single English UK member centre website to LanguageLearningPortal, which puts us in a unique position. We can see that every single one of English UK’s member centres has something unique to offer, but that it can be difficult to get that across on your website.

With over 3,450 English courses in the UK, how can you stand out if you’re one of the smaller course providers?  How can you show what it is that makes your centre different, and why your customers – students, parents or teachers – should choose what you’ve got to offer?

So we’ve put together a list of tips to make your school’s website stand out from the crowd, using examples from EF in Bournemouth.

1. What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)?

What makes you different from any other language centre? Are you close to some beautiful countryside, or in a buzzing city like London? Do you have innovative teaching methods? Do you specialise in particular types of student, or offer courses such as Legal English or IELTS preparation?

Here’s what EF Bournemouth have put on their website:

“Study English with EF in Bournemouth and experience the best beaches and mildest climate in all of Britain.”

EF in Bournemouth description2. Make your USP a key part about how you talk about yourself.

Mention what makes you different from the very first sentence of your introduction. Don’t make it difficult for either students, teachers or parents to see why they should choose your school. Don’t start off with a generic phrase such as “We provide English courses.” It’s too obvious. Instead, mention the most important thing first in your school’s description!

3. Think about search engine optimisation (SEO)

In the digital world, how you compete with other ELT centres is influenced by search engines. So it is important to make your website more attractive by using keywords which are relevant to your centre’s USP and can drive traffic.

Consider replacing generic keywords such as “learn English” with more targeted phrases like “Learn English in the city of Bristol”. Using specific keywords may mean fewer visitors, but better quality visits.

4. Include great pictures

There are more than 2.5 billion phones with a camera, and many people like to take pictures and share them. So consider including great pictures that say more about your centre.

Students are more likely to contact you if your pages includes pictures they can share. So if you do include pictures, don’t use stock photos. Pictures of your city or local attractions are far better, as students are not only interested in your classes but also their travelling abroad experience as a whole.

Here’s what EF Bournemouth has done with a fantastic image, connecting the experience of learning English while enjoying the golden beaches of the British city.

EF in Bournemouth pictures

5. Storytelling videos

A picture might worth a thousand words but a video is even better. You can be very creative while making a video and add as much information as you like. Here are some tips to create an awesome video:

  1. Use real student stories: Yes, the classes you are offering are great but what do the students say? Let them share their stories and what they enjoy the most.
  2. What happens outside the classroom? What about your social programme? Share the fun moments.
  3. Staff members can be a part of the video too, perhaps talking about why it’s nice to work for your institution.
  4. Introduce the environment to the students: How comfortable-looking is your classroom? Where do the students enjoy lunch? Share it! Let them see what they’re in for.

By using a video to tell a story in a compelling and emotional way you can share the mission of your institution and can become interactive.

6. Student testimonials

Including student testimonials is not about your message, but is a more authentic, real-life proof of the experience the students had at your centre, and how it helped them achieve their goals. Genuine testimonials will attract other students, teachers or parents and help convince them your language centre is the best.

Also, students wants to share stories – they don’t have to be anything complicated and can go something like this:

  1. Student wanted to learn English and was facing a challenge
  2. Student at first unsure and in a complicated emotional state
  3. Student decided to join your school
  4. Student makes friends and enjoys fun activities while learning
  5. Student learns English and reaches his or her goals, and is therefore happy

Think about who your students are – are they mostly adults or teenagers? That will help you ensure that testimonials are relevant to your target audience, and that they can identify with the stories shared by the students.

That’s it – six simple ways to help your centre stand out for the students you want to attract. Any questions? Want to know more about StudyPortals? Please contact us.

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