For those who teach online, a big part of building a successful brand and encouraging student loyalty lies in making the student feel valued. Hopefully, they are taking value from your lessons and applying it to their personal situation and bettering their life. It is equally important for them to understand that the process is a full circle.
By being your client, they are helping you progress your career, maybe even tossing a referral your way now and then. Oh, and they’re also helping to pay your bills. In that light, here are five creative ways to thank your students and let them know they are appreciated.
Show interest in their personal journey
Here at Teacher Indie, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of building lasting relationships. We also highlight the immense importance of networking. This extends to your students. Build a relationship with them and take the time to learn about their lives. Why are they interested in learning from you, and what do they plan to do with the knowledge? What do they do for a living? For fun? Thank your students for signing up and get to know about their journey.
This goes both ways. The student likely wants to know about your life. A few minutes of light conversation at the top or bottom of a lesson may not always seem productive. But in the long run, it helps the student feel appreciated. If they view you as a person they enjoy having in their life, their studies are likely to be prioritized higher. In many cases, they may stay on board longer than they otherwise would have.
Benefit: Long-term students lower your need for constant sales and are more likely to refer you to others.
Highlight their story
Everyone likes to be recognized for their achievements. Congratulate and thank your students when they reach a goal, finish a course, or have a significant accomplishment. Each progresses at their own level and has their own goals in mind. When a goal is reached, celebrate the accomplishment with the student.
Maybe this means noting them on your website or in your newsletter. Or perhaps writing an email or letter of congrats, or giving a shout-out on social media. Make your students feel special. It’s a great thing to do both personally and professionally.
Benefit: It makes your student feel good, and stands as a mark of success in your teaching abilities.
Remember important dates
A quick birthday card goes a long way in making a student feel appreciated. Make it memorable – for example, language teachers, write the card in the language the student is learning and include a few vocab words or phrases.
Another big date, as it relates to both you and your student, is the anniversary of when they started taking lessons with you. A small note, perhaps with a gift or coupon for their next round of studies, is a great addition.
Benefit: It offers an opportunity to thank your students for their hard work and shows them you care about them. It also helps you get to know them better.
Build a community
Students are more likely to stick around and work harder at their studies if they have the support of a community. There are a number of ways that online teachers can bring students together. Encourage active discussions, study groups, and post interesting or insightful material related to your subject matter. Students will appreciate the extra effort. Here are a couple ways to do this:
- Create a private Facebook group. You, as the admin, can add students and monitor conversations to keep them appropriate. Facebook is the most widely used social network in the world with over 2 billion monthly users. There’s a strong chance your students are already on the network and familiar with Facebook groups. Here is an article on Facebook groups to help you get started.
- Sign up for Twiducate. Twiducate is a social network for educators. Create a group for you and your students. Share assignments, have discussions, and even note schedules for your lessons so that all students are aware.
- Join Slack or Ryver and create a group for each class. These networks are what many top companies use for daily staff communication. Create a group, invite your students via email, and everyone can chat together in the main chat room. Personal messages can also be sent from member to member, and different groups can be set up based on interest, or just to separate serious classroom talk from outside conversation.
Benefit: Students feel more connected and more a part of something larger than themselves. Inviting new sign ups to a community is a great way to thank your students for joining and welcome them into their new learning environment.
Host an online event
If you’re teaching online in a field where students get to know other students or would benefit by doing so, hosting a webinar or watching a movie together can be a fun way to connect everyone at once. Maybe you do this already for classes. If so, a fun idea is to bring in an outside presenter to host a webinar or other presentation related to what the students are studying.
Benefit: This is a great way to build excitement in the material. It also connects students who otherwise wouldn’t have spoken to each other, and hang out in a more relaxed setting than normal.