As open day season approaches, we turned to our community of over 10 million monthly users to understand students’ perceptions of these key conversion events, and how significant they are when deciding their next steps.
In our survey of over 1,000 respondents, we learned 92% of students found open days helpful and the most important reasons for attending an open day were to get a feel for the campus (88%) followed by the opportunity to meet academic staff (81%).
It’s clear open days are an important decision-making factor for prospective applicants; but how can you ensure a great turn out and an even better experience for the students that attend?
Using findings from our recent survey and advice from the experts in our B2C marketing team, we’re sharing the secrets to open day success.
1. AUTHENTIC ADVICE FROM CURRENT STUDENTS
We found a huge 78% of students wanted more interaction with current students to improve the impact of the open day, one student commented:
“I wish I received more talks & Q&As from current students, rather than just from staff. It gives you a better feel for what university is actually going to be like. And when students are involved it makes the entire question and answer experience more comfortable.”
Get your student ambassadors involved in both promoting your event and being present on the day. There’s nothing like learning from the experiences of others and being able to relate to someone who’s been through the same journey.
52% of respondents wanted more information about student life at university. Unfortunately, in the eyes of young people, your academic staff aren’t qualified to answer these questions. Students crave peer-to-peer, authentic advice and, to achieve true buy-in, your current students are the best advocates to give potential applicants a clear picture of what student life will be like.
To drive users to our on-site open day content, we’re teaming up with our community and encouraging them to share videos of their open day experiences. Social will be a high focus for this activity, pushing Facebook ads and using Instagram takeovers to get people excited and engaged with the campaign.
2. EMOTION-LED MESSAGING
Open days are a key conversion event, and it can be the make or break point for a prospective student. 66% felt reassured they would settle in quickly after attending an open day and 58% felt they would easily find like-minded people at university. Tap into the emotions of your applicants and use your open days to inject the confidence they need to feel inspired and reassured about their next steps.
Our open days campaign leads with strong emotional messages, highlighting the key questions they’re asking at this stage in their journey; will I fit in? What will it be like? Will I be inspired? Using this ‘gut-feeling’ approach brings these difficult questions to the forefront and demonstrates compassion and understanding for your audience.
We’ve recently created a new open day hub to share useful content that answers those questions and reassures students of their decisions. Our open day calendar is also integrated into the hub, so students can easily search your open days and navigate straight to your website to sign up.
3. INNOVATIVE WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR OPEN DAY ACTIVITY
In an increasingly digital world, students’ expectations for interactive digital experiences are a given and virtual open days can be an effective alternative or support for your activity. Of the students who used a virtual open day, there was an equal split of those who used them in addition to travelling (49%) and instead of going to an event (51%).
Make sure your virtual open days are comprehensive enough for those who want to decide without travelling but also geared towards those who want to be reassured they made the right choice.
Don’t just rely on an interactive map for your virtual open days, include video to increase the impact of your open day activity. As part of our on-site open days campaign, we’re reaching out to current vloggers and asking them to take part in video content which will help students get the most out of their open day experience.
Video might sound like a huge production, but it can be as simple as asking your student ambassadors to go live on Facebook to show applicants around the campus or halls and giving them the opportunity to ask questions.
Want to explore more about what students want from open days? Download the full report here.