Why are online/virtual/digital open days crucial to your student recruitment strategy?
- Suppose you're not from an organisation with a massive marketing budget & staff compared to larger entities. In that case, online events allow you to engage your target audience on a more level playing field because they're typically more affordable than in-person events. If you choose the right event technology – for example, a platform like Fairwiz – it can accommodate unlimited visitors because there are no space constraints.
- You're able to reach more students because they no longer have to be limited by time and travel considerations, especially if you're handling international student recruitment. Students from many countries can attend your online open day, giving your institution the ability to recruit from a broader range of markets. 2020 made it evident that diversifying markets has never been more critical, especially when other markets become less dependable sources for recruiting students.
- Going digital gives your visitors the freedom to comfortably learn more about your academic institution before they make a decision. This flexibility provides them with a good impression that will assist you in converting them during the enrolment stage.
- You don't have to limit the number of people that are allowed in due to physical constraints. Removing these barriers helps make your event accessible to more students & parents and creates more awareness for your school, college, or university. All this reach and exposure gives you an advantage over your competition, especially if they're still relying only on physical open days.
- Bonus: Reduce your carbon footprint. Gen Z students are increasingly more conscious about climate change, and if you give them an option to reduce their carbon footprint and yours, they'll have a better impression of you and your institution.
All the reach and exposure that an online event offers gives you an advantage over your competition, especially if they're still relying only on in-person open days.
What does the data show us?
Studies have been done to prove that open days are effective in recruiting more students. One study that was done showed that 40% of students believe that open days influence their decision on whether to apply to a university or not.
More students are likely to attend virtual open days, especially when targeting Gen Z students as they are the most agile and digitally-focused consumers worldwide.
Many of these Gen Z students prefer to have some type of online engagement with a school, college, or university before visiting the campus for a tour.
30% of students are more likely to speak to a counsellor in a virtual booth because they feel more comfortable asking important questions online than in-person.
Is there still a need for in-person open days?
Although the pandemic in 2020 forced everyone to go virtual, online open days are still the future of student recruitment. In-person events will still be around. Nothing can replace an in-person experience. However, supplementing your offline events with online events will help take your post-COVID recruitment strategy to the next level.
An in-person open day can be a really great way to check out the campus and get a "feel" of the culture. However, is there a way to further enhance the open day experience in order to recruit more students?
Let's circle back to the main reasons why students and parents mainly attend open days:
- They need to have their questions and concerns addressed immediately.
- They want to get a "feel" for the culture by speaking to students.
- They want to check out the facilities and accommodation with a campus tour.
The points made above can be addressed with the following digital solutions:
- 1-to-1 live chat with counsellors or student ambassadors.
- Webinars or videos that showcases the culture at your campus.
- 360-degree virtual tours of campus facilities and accommodations.
There's no denying that online events help you to support any existing offline efforts to recruit students.