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Much like their physical counterparts, Virtual Open Houses give colleges and universities the chance to showcase what they’re about and what they can offer prospective students.
Whether the aim is to increase applications, turning those applicants into enrollers or simply raising the profile of the college, a successful Virtual Open House requires a little groundwork to create a successful event.
Here’s seven steps to get you and your academic institution started:
Starting with the obvious; think about what elements need to be included in your Open House, branding, prospectuses, virtual tours etc.
It helps to consider this at the start, as you can build the rest of the event around these key features.
One way to decide what is essential for your Open House, is to think about what areas of the college will be promoted during your event?
For example, if a new building has just been completed on campus, include a virtual tour to illustrate exactly what’s inside!
Getting to know the event provider and the platform they’re operating on, is vital if you hope to create a successful event.
Holding calls with them to discuss the project on a regular basis, is heavily advised.
Not only will they have a greater understanding of what you require, but you’ll increase your knowledge of what they can offer.
Planning calls and regular email contacts with them will make executing your Open House event plans a much easier task.
Utilise all possible channels of promotion! It’s the only way to ensure prospective students know that a Virtual Open House is happening at your academic institution.
Paid Advertising on academic pages, Social Sharing on your college's accounts and email marketing are all excellent ways of ensuring your event makes it into your target audience's consciousness.
Creating a promotion schedule to define what websites to advertise on, when posts will be scheduled and when reminder emails are to be sent, will at least give you the maximum possible coverage for your college's Open House.
An oft-used description, but very accurate; Live Chat is a simple, yet brilliant feature.
Not only does it give attendees the chance to talk directly to you and your academic institution, but it facilitates conversation among other visitors.
People talking about the university within an event is essentially free marketing. Positive comments or negative, it’s still good feedback to learn from.
Plus, it allows questions to be asked and answered, slowly building up a relationship between visitors and the college.
Don’t neglect this feature! It’s an essential part of a virtual Open House.
An academic paper wouldn’t be published without some degree of proofreading beforehand. Apply this concept to your Open House.
Thoroughly test elements such as:
Content, Media, Links, Navigations, Visual Elements etc.
If something is missing, or a button navigates to an incorrect area of the event, then your event and by proxy, the college, will look unprofessional.
Avoid giving off a negative impression by tasking a team to both test the environment and proofread all content, it’s worth it in the long run.
Whether you’re expecting a lot of questions, or not, make sure there’s a representative from the college on-hand to monitor the Live Chat.
They’ll add an “official voice” to the event and act as a mouthpiece for the university during the Open House.
From a visitor's point of view, it reassures them that their queries are being acknowledged and answered.
From the college’s point of view, it means positive engagement with prospective students and a reduction (hopefully!) in complaints/problems with the event.
Finally, post-event, upload the Open House, On Demand!
Not doing so is wasting the potential of that content to continually engage with potential students and their families.
Why waste it by having it sat there, doing nothing!
Upload it onto your academic institution's website and continue to promote it as the valuable resource it is.
Give those who didn’t have a chance to attend the live event the option to view it at their leisure. The college may just gain more leads and potential enrollees from it.
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