Top Tips For Open Days
Open days remain an integral part of the university selection process for many students. They want to make sure that they are investing their future with the right university, and part of this process often involves visiting that university. It’s up to you to convince them to 1) come for a visit and then 2) stay. We can’t help you with the second one, but we can give you some tips on how to promote your open day in the first place.
When to Promote – Timing
When promoting open days, it’s important that you don’t leave it until the last minute. Students – and most likely their parents – will be planning their open day schedule well in advance. With so many universities to choose from and a very limited amount of time, its crucial yours takes priority over others. This won’t happen if you leave things to the last minute. People want to know details well in advance. Nobody is going to bother travelling halfway across the UK on a weekend if they only find out about it the week before.
You shouldn’t just think about when to start promoting your dates either. You should be thinking about the dates themselves! A very traditional format for open days is to limit them to the summer months and have a limited number available. We would advise against this. It’s just a fact that the vast majority of students will not attend a university they have not already had a chance to visit.
Taking in the atmosphere and feel of the campus, accommodation, and city or town is of vital importance. Therefore, it’s recommended that you disperse as many dates throughout the year to ensure as many prospective students as possible are offered the opportunity to visit.
What to Promote – Content
Now you’ve got an idea of when to promote, we need to look at where. When asked this question, many people will reply with a general ‘social media’, but that’s not going to cut it here. You need to know your platforms. The classic one that springs to mind is Facebook, but this may not be the best for potential students. The social media giant has fallen out of favour with the 16-24 audiences, and instead platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are now key.
This popularity is due to their ability to host convenient ‘bitesize’ content that complements our rapidly shrinking attention spans. This kind of content is mainly video in nature and is more likely to engage with the younger audience. There are many different ways to use these platforms, but some fun ideas include live-streaming, Q&As or even a complete campus tour. Content such as this is doubly useful, as even if an interested student cannot attend any of your available open days, they can still get a feel for the campus.
Other platform options include YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter. All offer extensive possibilities for paid promotional campaigns, with refined targeting features. These will ensure the most relevant audience see your videos.
Who to Promote to – Targeting
So, you’ve worked out the when and the where so now you need the who. This links back to our previous point, as refined targeting features only work if you know who to target. There’s a broad range of ways to segment and target your audience; by undergraduate or postgraduate study, location, interests, age, and even by what schools or colleges they attend. By segmenting your audience across different channels, and spreading the investment of your budget accordingly, you can reach more people.
Another part of this process is to identify which channels are achieving the best return on your investment. Many platforms offer excellent analytics which can show you exactly where your leads are coming from, and most importantly how much they are costing you. This means you can make informed decisions on where to move budget and optimise results as you go.
Bearing these things in mind will ensure you have a successful open day – and hopefully in turn a successful student recruitment campaign.