Free Language Lessons – A Necessary Marketing Evil?

The never-ending dilemma in perceived value is looming over your language business. When is giving away free content just too much?

Free language lessons, “get-to-know-us” lessons in your language school classrooms or free introductory online videos or even short Skype-based offers – are they just a necessary marketing evil?
They can be all a helpful marketing instrument when they are presented in a way to give great perceived value and that appeals to the right language students that you want to attract and that are willing to spend money for the real offline exciting quality language training experience after they have sampled some of your offers and services.

You don’t have to compete with free language learning solutions like DuoLingo or others. As discussed in the past article Are Online Learning Trends Hurting Your Offline Language School Business? you can position yourself as the perfect companion instead of competition.

The key to free online language training is to offer something online that is INCOMPLETE in nature – and in order to get the complete experience (!) people need to book language training courses with you.
Books or even videos about rock climbing will never replace the actual experience of the rock climbing yourself. That being obvious – why don’t you make it as obvious that there will be never ever a replacement on learning a language on your own.

It must be your highest priority in all your marketing and all your communication with possible students and customers.

In all content that you offer on your blog and social media, this main message needs to be present.
If you offer an online training, it needs to make people want to come and get maybe a free lesson at the school and that lesson at the school needs to be so incomplete that people want to register for a full class. Or if you want to attract traveling students make the environment look so inviting on videos and photos that they can’t wait to apply and travel to your location themselves.
The danger in giving too much content freely away is that you might send the wrong message that learning languages are something that should not cost much and could be done all on your own instead.

Language business providers desperate for getting new students by giving away complete courses to attract new sign-ups often just attract bargain-hunters.

Language businesses that hate giving away anything for free at all, on the other hand, won’t be in luck either.

With social media – if you like it or not – people want to have “proof” why it is so much fun and the experience of their lifetime to book a language vacation with your school.
The right balance in giving away free language training is to provide real value, small bits and pieces of helpful language know-how as a starting point.

The next logical step needs to lead into starting that journey with your language school and then reaching the desired goal that might even lead to a complete official certification and diploma for a selected language in the end.