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Five tips for making your virtual open event a success
 
 
Five tips for making your virtual open event a success
 
 
There’s nothing quite like a global crisis to inspire innovative thinking.

For many school marketeers this means plunging into the unknown by holding virtual open events – a great innovation that may stick around beyond social distancing.
 
 

But how do you maximise the impact of your event and leave prospective families feeling great about your school?

Make it human and make it interactive

Prospective families miss human interaction most at a virtual event. The opportunity to be impressed by the head’s talk; to ask teachers questions; to be blown away by the current pupils' enthusiasm; to chat with fellow parents and feel the sense of community. 

So how can you harness technology to make your virtual event as intimate and real as possible?

A head’s talk is a must, but talks from other members of staff, pupils, and current parents should also be considered. However, talks are a one way street, promoting interaction will make your prospective families feel even more engaged, for example:


  • A Q&A session with the admissions team
  • Chat functionality so families can ask questions and get instant replies
  • Activities for children to take part in
  • Experiments or demonstrations held by teachers

Five or ten years ago this would have been hard to achieve, but as technology and connectivity have developed, the only limitation is your imagination.


Keeping it live is keeping it real 

Avoid the temptation to pre-record everything in advance. Whilst this might make it easier for you and less prone to technical hiccups or human error, a live event has a buzz about it and families are unlikely to find repurposed website content impressive. A normal event would happen at a specific time and place which is what makes it exciting to be a part of – your website is there 24/7 and is the perfect place for prerecorded content.

Keep the gates shut (but easy to open) 

By ‘gating’ your virtual event it simply means that attendees have to give you their details to gain access. Data capture is, of course, important, but at the same time it is good to keep the form short – don’t make people jump through hoops to attend, as some will be turned off by this. The priority is to get as many people as possible attending. You can follow-up for more information later.


Show that you’re pros 

Families will judge your school on the quality of your open event. Think how much time and effort you and others put into traditional open events to impress prospective families. Your virtual open event should be no different and will require support and time from a wide group of people to pull off. This is an opportunity to really impress prospective families who are likely to be attending open events from other schools too. Make sure you show that you’re the school that’s got its act together.


Shout about it

You need to get people through your virtual doors. Promoting the event on your website will only attract families who already have you on their radar. A virtual event is a great opportunity to attract and impress new prospects – it’s a much smaller commitment to attend, so people will be more inclined just to see what the school is all about. And let’s face it, finding the time isn’t a problem for most people at the moment. A well thought-out campaign, delivered across multiple channels and paired with an effective landing page will drive more traffic to your event. Only with attendees will a well prepared event succeed.


Want to start planning your virtual open day, but don’t know where to start? Take a look at our ready to go solution.

 
 

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