Since the start of the pandemic there has been a surge in virtual open events. Virtual platforms have been used as a way to bridge gap between keeping people safe and providing information to prospects.
Colleges usually rely on in-person open events as a way for students to learn about college courses and meet tutors. Virtual open days have taken place of the in-person events this year, and have provided an opportunity to attract even more students. With so many benefits, many think that virtual open events for colleges are here to stay.
What is a Virtual Open Day?
A virtual open day is exactly what is says on the tin. It's the same as a usual college open day but hosted on an online platform. Prospects can attend your event from the comfort of their own home to gain a virtual experience of your college.
Through recorded or live videos, colleges can introduce themselves directly to potential students and direct them to even more information. Some virtual open days provide guided virtual tours of the college, drop-in sessions to ask questions to subject teachers, webinars... There really is no limit to the content you can curate to display the best of what your college has to offer.
What are the Benefits?
- Reach - There's less limitation on prospects getting to your event when it is held virtually. This means that those who may not have been able to travel in-person can easily attend a virtual open day instead, expanding your audience reach and meeting the needs of the students.
- Engagement – Not only will you reach a wider audience, but their engagement with the event will also increase. Students attending an in-person college open day may feel intimidated and not ask many questions or participate with the event. However, with a virtual event, it is far more likely that your audience will feel more comfortable in engaging with the event, viewing it from their own home and with the ability to ask questions through their keyboard. Statistics show that 47% of people are more likely to ask a question during a virtual event.
- Virtual vs. In-Person – There's no need to compromise on content with a virtual open day, with mutiple live feeds, pre-recorded content or simply an engaging Q and A, you can share the content most likely to convert. With a surge in demand, technology for virtual events is more accessible than ever before - from Zoom to GoToWebinar and custom-builds.
Marketing and Admissions tools like HubSpot integrate with popular virtual event platforms, helping you to track and communicate with prospects that have registered and attend your event.
- Cost Effective – Hosting in-person open days can be expensive; with catering, cleaning, printed resources and large staffing costs, expenses can quickly mount. However, with virtual open days the same event can be much more cost-effective without affecting the integrity of your marketing message.
- Analysis - Holding your open day online rather than in person is a great way to provide even more data for marketing and admissions to analyse. The data you gain can help you to plan out your next actions in your conversion funnel. Most platforms will be able to give you key statistics on who attended, what they engaged with, what sessions worked well and areas of improvement for next time. All this data in invaluable in hosting a well performing virtual event.
Holding virtual events in this uncertain climate, shows commitment and dedication, it can provide a much-needed sense of direction to prospective students who are considering their next steps. Looking to the future, we expect that virtual open events will be here to stay. They can complement college open days - rather than replace them - in a post-pandemic world.
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