It's crucial for event organisers to regularly host events such as virtual education fairs to generate interest and get students excited to apply to educational institutions.
This guide is best suited for you if:
- You're part of the event organising team.
- You're new to event organising.
- You're looking to improve your organising strategy.
In this article, we'll guide you through all stages of a virtual education fair, from pre-event to during the event and post-event.
Planning is an essential part of the event process.
Identify your target audience and establish your event objectives.
Suppose your objective is not to assist institutions with student recruitment. In that case, you may consider another event format rather than a virtual education fair. Your goals should be SMART: Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Time-Bound.
- Specific: states what you'll do and uses action words.
- Measurable: provides a way to evaluate and.
- Achievable: it's possible to accomplish based on historical data or benchmarks.
- Relevant: makes sense within your job function and improves the business in some way.
- Time-bound: this should be self-explanatory.
Example: To help 10 universities promote their medical undergraduate programmes to the Middle Eastern market with a target of 1000 attendees over two days.
Find the right platform to host your virtual education fair.
Choosing a suitable online event format and supporting tech is crucial for your event organising strategy to succeed. Firstly, what are your event objectives? You will also need to consider all limitations before choosing your platform, such as:
- Is there a limit to the number of registrants that can attend?
- Is there a limit to how many reminder emails or push notifications you can send out?
- Can your participants directly interact with the institutions?
Depending on your goals, the resources that you'd need to fulfil them would change.
Decide on your date(s) & time(s) and work backwards to plan your advertising & promotions.
To maximise participation, have your events on days best suited for your demographic. They also shouldn't clash with special occasions like national holidays or important local or global events.
As for time, remember your target demographic. For example, if the students live in a time zone different from yours, hosting your event at an hour when they'll be fast asleep would be a mistake.
Try to strike a balance between when your most qualified people can manage the event when it's live and when your target audience is most likely to tune in.
With that said, your focus should always be the event audience because if they're not around to experience all your team's effort, you won't meet your objectives.
It's essential to promote your virtual education fair on all your marketing channels at least two weeks in advance. Best practice = 5 weeks in advance. Make sure that you use Google Tag Manager and add UTM tags to all your links from different marketing channels if your marketing channel doesn't have tracking links available for you. Check out this article on the various digital media you can leverage to promote your event.
Design your event programme.
What kind of live or pre-recorded sessions would benefit your target audience, and that would drive traffic to your virtual education fair.
Example: Host workshops for final year students to choose the right university based on their ideal career or carry out personality assessments to recommend suitable future careers.
Create a high-conversion event registration landing page.
Before you can even promote your event, you're going to need a landing page to showcase your event and the value of attending it. Learn the anatomy of a successful event registration page.
Create an engaging virtual education fair environment.
Provide variety and something unique to make them want to click around, explore further, and initiate a 1:1 conversation.
Examples: virtual booth order/layout, upload 360 video tours, provide downloadable brochures, and so on.
Schedule follow-up reminders.
Send an email, SMS, or other types of notifications to all your registered users to remind them of the value of attending your event. We recommend at least three reminders: a week before, a day early, an hour earlier.
If you choose the right event tech, you should have the function to send a follow-up reminder to registrants automatically. Automating these reminders frees up time for your team to focus on understanding your applicants and making better decisions.
Assign roles to relevant team members.
Assign people to tasks that will contribute to the event's success should have people assigned to them for accountability, e.g. live chat agents, webinar moderators, event managers, and other relevant roles.
Schedule a dry-run or test run for all live sessions.
Ensure all your technology will not fail once your event is open to the public.
Example: Mics and speakers for audio sessions or slides are correct.
Schedule a post-event survey.
Gather feedback from your attendees and participants. The right event tech should help you automate this process.
It's the day of the event, what do you need to do?
Track attendance rates.
If attendance is low when it should be higher, figure out what you can do to bring in more traffic, e.g. schedule a reminder email.
Ideally, whatever event tech you use should allow you to track attendance rates in real-time like Fairwiz.
Still not sure how to increase attendance rate? Here’s everything you need to know about boosting attendance at your virtual event.
Check-in during the event on the overall performance.
Be on standby to monitor traffic (overall & to each booth).
Monitor live chats.
Ensure there are no chats that are left idle or unresponded.
Monitor attendance to live sessions.
If attendance is low, schedule an announcement. Is nobody asking questions? Get the institution representatives to come in and ask backup questions. Have a few people on your end (that don't look like they're from the institutions) engage with participants. Check out these ideas for how to make your event more engaging.
Phew, you did it! Now, what's next?
Debrief with the team immediately after the event.
It's best to schedule a debrief right after the event, as whatever you remember of what went well or what didn't go well will still be fresh in your mind. Use this time to share feedback with everyone, discuss how the next event can be better, and schedule a more in-depth session at a later stage to review a post-mortem report.
Create a post-mortem report to review with the team.
Analyse the event database, chat transcripts, most successful marketing channels, and any other crucial information.
A good event platform will allow you even to study the behaviour of your attendees.
Once you have all that information ready in a digestible format, share it with the team.
So that's it! This is your ultimate guide on how to host effective virtual education fairs regardless of whether you use Fairwiz or not.
Many event organisations use Fairwiz, with the help of our Customer Success Team, to host their virtual education fairs effectively. Want to learn how Fairwiz can power your virtual education fairs? Book a demo or send us an email to learn more.