A Virtual Open Day is nothing new. International students have been on campus tours, experienced classroom settings, and journeyed through the corridors of foreign institutions for years. All from the comfort of their home! It has taken us all by surprise. This easy‐to‐follow article will help institutions with effective ways to increase student virtual events’ attendance.
1: Social Media
This one is a given, students are all over different social platforms, and their demographic fits in hand-in-hand with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. It is advised to use a range of features, not just post photos and text ‐ Use live videos, voice notes, and polls as well!
Eventbrite is a very handy online tool to rack up attendance. The platform shows all the necessities, from the description through to the dates/times. It also links up to the eventgoers’ email calendars, making it more likely for them to remember the date and time.
5: It Is Essential To Give Students Reminder Prompts
It is available to do so on Eventbrite. From our research a reminder 3-days before and 30-minutes before the event yields the best results. Not enough prompts and the students may forget, too many prompts and it appears too spammy. It is important to get that ideal balance.
4: Email Campaign
Working with the prompts, an email pre‐launch campaign ought to be considered for the students who have opted in for marketing and promotions. Just like the social plan, be creative with the copy to build the hype up right up until the day.
5: Paid Ads
Quick tip – Firstly, before just throwing out loads of money on social media ads, it is beneficial to A/B test ads of different styles with a low amount of money, just to see which ad gets more engagement. Then, backed up by the results, go ahead with the ad that had worked best. This just means that you have to be organised and plan the event way ahead of time.
6: Segment Strategies
If you want to micro‐target students, you can make numerous different campaigns depending on what students from that culture want to experience most or using their language in localising the campaign.
7: Share UGC
UGC, come again? UGC means User Generated Content. Throughout the pre‐launch campaign, try to engage with the audiences, for them to create something such as a video of what they are looking forward to seeing most about the college’s virtual open day.
8: e‐Word of Mouth
Encourage students to share as much about the upcoming open house as possible, even perhaps using some competitions to entice them to.
Who said everything had to be online? Old‐fashioned letters wouldn’t go amiss! It perhaps might be more costly and it is harder to track but it avoids spam filters.
10: Paid Partnerships
Partner with other brands or influencers that have a lot of potential students interested in their content to maximise the attendance.
Will open days go back to normal after this dreadful virus? Perhaps. However, perhaps not. If the virtual open house worked well, they do not have to employ additional staff to attend physical events in the future, when everything could be done online.