At LingQ we invest mostly in improving our site, the functions, the usability, the enjoyment, the community interaction etc. We do not have the muscle to commit to a major advertizing and PR campaign. Our competitors do and do this well as the following article indicates.
Any ideas out there on what we could do without spending a lot of money?
Since the interview in “The Guardian” didn’t come off, maybe you could try getting a plug in some other big newspapers?
For the life of me, I just don’t see how Livemocha has managed to attract so much heavy financial backing?
Livemocha is useless!
The only way I can think of is to convince a big time language school to licence your product. Easier said than done.
I think there space here in Brazil for Lingq. It is relatively cheaper even in a country where the worst income is about U$320 (but the income’s average in São Paulo, for example, is about U$800).
Other information: the credit cards billing growed 26% between 2011’s april and june: ECONOMIAS C. | Noticias de Finanças, Renda, Direito e Benefícios
The educational system is definitively inefficient here. In Brazil, under 5% of people are able to speak other language (and we can asking if the definition about speak other language is right).
According of the following article, 80% of the middle class are not able to speak English: Notícias R7 – Brasil, mundo, saúde, política, empregos e mais .
In my opinion, Lingq do not take advantage yet in the brazilian market, where potential customers often being connected in the Internet more than 20 hours per week, in average. Exploring social networks toward the brazilian people, like Orkut, Facebook and Twitter is a worthwhile way to growing here in Brazil, in my opinion.
Just my two cents.
How to market without spending a lot of money? I wish I knew!
I suppose it depends a lot on your target market. Motivated and serious independent language learners? Casual learners who like the social element but aren’t seriously committed? Teachers in school systems who might like to use LingQ as a tool in their classes? All of the above and others?
One thing you could do is start a program where teachers, or schools, or school systems, are able to try LingQ out for one school year for free - by which I mean they could sign their students up and the students could have essentially a basic membership for free for one school year. After that, you could sell school/group packages rather than requiring each individual student to buy a membership.
As for how to advertise that to potential customers? I don’t know…
If you were trying to reach teachers who use Krashen-based comprehensible input methods in their classrooms, you could announce it at “places” where they gather like the TPRS Conference (next one will be held in Las Vegas in July, 2012) or the Yahoo group MoreTPRS…
I had a thought… the type of person who would like LingQ is somewhat similar to those who attend Toastmasters clubs: self-motivated and looking to self-improve, and also aware of the importance of language in general. Just how you could reach them is another question.
You could try to get Stumbld. If all the LingQ members liked this page in StumbleUpon, the number of unique users would really jump. We could try to get the site on Digg or reddit as well.
I’m not sure how much Google Ad Words costs, have you looked at that as a possible advertising avenue?
Thanks for all the great suggestions. We are trying to use social networks to get the word out, mostly Facebook and Twitter. We have found that we cannot afford google ads, or advertizing in general. The cost is not justified in terms of new members generated. We have tried and continue to try to contact the media, but this has not generated much interest.
My radio spot with C’est la vie on CBC generated a lot of traffic. Other radio spots on English and French radio in Canada have not done much.Various podcast interviews in German and French were also not very effective. I was on Cantonese radio last month here in Vancouver, or at least was taped. I do not know if the program aired, and am unable to reach the producer who handled this. We have not seen any increase in traffic.
We are experimenting with search engine optimization for English and Russian. (Russian via one of our LingQ members). If anyone has expertise in SEO for other languages, like French, Portuguese, Japanese etc. please let us know.
Brazil is a promising market for us and we have a lot of traffic from Brazil. Livemocha recently signed an agreement with Abril Educacao and also with Telefonica for that market. We feel that our product is better so if anyone knows of potential partners there, or elsewhere,please let us know.
We are going to improve our ability to handle special groups like schools and corporations and other institutions. However, chasing these opportunities is also a full time job. We are a little threadbare here at HQ. If you can talk LingQ up at your place of work or school, we are willing to put together special packages for such institutional users,
Since only a small percent of people who come to LingQ actually become active, we need large numbers of people coming to the site. Any blogging, or Stumbld, Digg, social networking etc. that our members do, is very very helpful.
It seems to me that the people who really ought to know about LlingQ are language students and their lecturers. It’s such an obvious place to do fieldwork or do preliminary hypothesis-testing work. LingQ stands head and shoulders above its competitors in terms of the scientific approach it takes to language learning. Even before I have a conversation with a student, I can study their language learning statistics and activities, and get a fair impression of what they are like and what approach to language learning they are following.
Would it be possible to present a paper or two at conferences attended by academics?
The teapot is right. The joke is, there are some universities here in the UK where they have invested a small fortune in Rosetta Stone language labs! (I know it sounds like a bad joke, but I very much fear it’s true…)
If Steve could sell LingQ to a few universities, he’d be well on his way…
A particularly clever target could be Theology departments. These often have people without any direct background in foreign languages who need to study…(hint-hint!)…ANCIENT GREEK…
Ancient Hebrew too…
(Steve would have to grow a big beard to look like Moses!)
Mark Peterson, that’s his name. Look at his research interests! 教員紹介 | 京都大学 大学院人間・環境学研究科 総合人間学部
“there are some universities here in the UK where they have invested a small fortune in Rosetta Stone language labs!”
I hope this is a bad joke because, if true, it’s just plain sick.
I have made many efforts to persuade language teachers and professors at university to use LingQ. I have been met with scorn, hostility, or indifference in almost all cases.
Jingle, I have had some contact with TPRS teachers and have pushed LingQ but with no success to date. Part of the problem is the teacher’s concern about the sanctity of the classroom as the place where all meaningful learning shall take place.
Sell it as a classroom tool that students can also access from home.
@Steve - Well, there are TPRS teachers and then there are TPRS teachers! Although I have attended a few conferences and read the forum, I don’t personally know many of them, but I would think that the ones who post and present at these “places” would not be hung up on the sanctity of the classroom. I could be wrong.
One thing that might be a problem is that the TPRS method emphasizes personalizing what happens in the classroom so the students themselves (along with the teacher) are often making up the stories they are reading…On the other hand, Krashen’s call to spend a lot of time doing reading (preferably free and voluntary) is much promoted among them.