With virtual events proven as one of the most successful mediums for student recruitment online, it’s no wonder that universities and higher education organisations are moving their events online. With the ability to host virtual open days, careers and recruitment fairs, online lectures and on-boarding events, all from the same event space, we decided to jot down our top 4 best practice hints and tips.
Tip 1: Host your event across multiple days
Around 40-50% of those registered for your event will login and attend during a single day event. In comparison, an event hosted over 2-3 days will result in around 80% of those registered logging in and attending. The reason behind this is simple, convenience and flexibility for your audience.
With daily life getting busier, for most people finding the time to attend an event is not always easy. Moving your student recruitment online and extending the event time frame across multiple event days, creates more opportunity for attendance and flexibility in busy day-to-day life. By doing this you will see higher attendance from registrants, as they are likely to have the time to browse the event at leisure without rushing, further increasing the value of their experience, as well as the interaction data that is captured in the platform.
Tip 2: Decide on your most important content
Content can sometimes be forgotten in the run up to an event. We often find that the primary focus is around design rather than creating valuable and interesting content for registrants to enjoy. Although it differs based on event format, content is the most important part of your event and the reason your attendees will return multiple times.
So what kind of content would you expect to see in student recruitment online?
- Live or pre-recorded presentations hosted by lecturers on a particular subject, or student enrollment teams discussing the application process. You may also find a student panel discussing their own individual experiences and offering advice for future students is very well attended.
- Student ambassadors in a student lounge where attendees can get to know each other as well as the students already attending the university.
- Faculty specific booth spaces with on-demand content as well as their own live chat rooms.
- 1-2-1 meetings in either video, audio or text chat format. Another great way for prospective students to get individual help and advice.
- Event agenda where students can see what’s coming up and plan their own personal event schedules based on the topics that most interest them. Ideally this should be included as part of your pre-event marketing communications to both those that have registered and those who are not yet confirmed.
Tip 3: Plan your post event strategy
It’s essential to consider how you plan to use your data post event. When analysing the data make note of the:
- Most visited areas such as booths and resource centres.
- Consider which content had the most interactions. This should aid in understanding the topics that most interest your audience. If you included presentations considering the type of questions that were submitted by your audience.
- If you didn’t manage to respond to them all, could they form the agenda of a future webcast? This also applies for each live chat in your booth areas.
- Always review the location your audience attended from. Were they mostly international or UK based students? Could you host smaller events at different times to reach a range of global time zones?
We always recommend maximising your on-demand time in the same way you would in the main event. Despite your main event ending, your event space is still open and accessible for students to interact with your content and ‘attend’ as and when they are available – something we call on-demand. Based on the information gathered post event, we recommend hosting smaller targeted one-off events either within a single booth or webcast, that addresses the common themes found in the data. These mini events can form the agenda for your post event marketing communications to both those that attended and those that were unable to.
Tip 4: Always remember to test
It may seem obvious however this is consistently the one thing that gets forgotten in the pre-event last minute rush. No matter how hectic your last few weeks may be, always make time for a thorough test and mock run through. Double and even triple checking not just the wording and spelling, but also make sure to visit every piece of content in the same way your audience will. A huge benefit in hosting a student recruitment event online is that your event space is accessible several weeks, if not months, before your live date.