I am in the midst of reading an excellent book on marketing called “The Wizard of Ads” by Roy H. Williams. One of the interesting chapters talks about people’s aversion to risk. I guess the question is whether it is a risk to try a new and possibly better way to learn languages or a greater risk to not try it.
Over the period of the past few years as I have been involved in the development of The Linguist system I am always impressed by the reluctance of so many people to try a new way of improving their English. Of course those people that do join us at The Linguist are part of our wonderful learner community and are overwhelmingly satisfied. But so few take the plunge.
I have given lectures to hundreds of immigrants to Canada who generally agreed that their English was holding them back and that the methods they had used to learn English previously were probably not effective.
I have had seminars with young international language students studying English here in Vancouver. They complain that their large classrooms are ineffectual and boring. They change school every three months. They seem interested in our site. Yet only small percentage give The Linguist a try.
There are many hundreds of people who visit our site every day. We do not know these people but we know the kind of searches that attract them to our site. We know they are interested in improving their English. Again, only a small percentage join The Linguist.
I know our approach is different. I know there is a lot of competition out there. But somehow I do not think we lose customers to other on line programs. I think we lose customers to inaction and inertia. They either do nothing or stay with traditional methods.
I always ask myself two questions. What have they got to lose? Can they really afford not to try a new approach that might really make a difference?
I guess the real answer is that we have to do a better job of explaining how The Linguist can help people. The customer is always right, including the customer you do not get.