Around about now is the time that schools are starting to prepare for their spring open days and it is never too early to explore ideas about how you can improve your digital marketing to attract more people to your event.
This post explores some ideas you might like to consider…
1. Optimise your open day landing page on your website
If you have an open day landing page, it needs to be filled with content that will make prospective visitors keen to visit your school.
A Call-to-Action (CTA) form won’t be enough – you also need to ensure that when someone visits the open day page, there is sufficient information to encourage them to sign up, such as what is special about your school and what they can expect on the day.
You could include:
- Information on the date, times, and what they will learn on the day
- A short form asking prospective parents what they hope to get out of the open day – are they interested in information on your senior school or kindergarten etc.?
- A video about your school including testimonials.
You could also consider using a form to send them to a ‘thank you’ page.
Your thank you page should include a way to thank them for responding, provide any extra information about the day, offer at least one more CTA, or provide content such as a blog post or news.
2. Use page pop ups
Using page pop ups strategically (this means not plastering them across your site), is an effective way to ensure your open day invitation is seen by prospective parents who are browsing your website.
If you decide to use a page pop, you could add it to your homepage, or your admissions page and you could use Google Analytics to help determine which other pages visitors are likely to click on – for example pages dedicated to academic achievement.
3. Promote your open day on other thank you pages
In the same way that you can use the ‘thank you’ page for your open day to promote other school information, you can use other thank you pages on your website to promote your open day…
For example a prospective parent may have expressed interest in your school by filling out an enquiry form and if you add an invitation to the open day on the thank you page for that enquiry form, it will hopefully drive them to your open day.
4. Write a blog post about your school’s open day
You could ask current pupils who have previously attended an open day at your school to write about their experience of the day – a simple post along the lines of ‘Reasons why you should come along to our school’s open day’.
The post could include reasons why prospective pupils and their parents should attend and it should end with another CTA to register their interest in the day.
The blog post can be shared to social media and emailed to prospective families as well.
5. Email marketing about your open day
Contacting prospective parents via email remains one of the best ways to market your school’s open day. However, parents probably have an inbox full of emails, so you need to ensure yours stand out.
How? Consider incorporating videos and images in your email and a bold CTA.
How often should you send marketing emails?
- Send your initial invitation 2 months before the event. Make sure the email is visually engaging and includes important information such as dates and times
- Send a reminder and second invitation about 1 month before the event. You could personalise this email – a personal video invitation perhaps from the school’s Head?
- Send another email around 2 weeks before the event and emphasise the exclusivity of the event with terms such as ‘spaces are almost filled up for the event’ etc.
- Send a penultimate email about 1 week before, using any of the above strategies
- Send the last email 1-2 days before the open day – include information on everything visitors need to know about the event
- Send a thank you email after the event – to engage with prospective parents and capitalise on the interest that drove them to visit your school in the first place.
6. Use the power of social media
It is important to use social media to promote your open day:
- Use social influencers in your school community. They can share posts and content about the open day on their personal profiles.
- Update your school’s Facebook and Twitter banners. On Facebook you can update the CTA button under the banner image to link visitors directly to your open day landing page or you can use Facebook events to reach a greater audience.
- Capitalise on people’s fear of missing out (FOMO):Engage with prospective families by using branded hashtags, Instagram stories, and live video. Send follow-up emails to parents who did not attend the open day to show them what they missed or invite them to future events.
7. Create a video
You could consider creating a short, exciting video outlining what an open day at your school looks like. Share it on your website, across social media and in your email marketing.
8. Paid social media and search adverts
Many schools choose not to do this themselves and enlist help to manage their adverts, but if you run your own ads, keep the following in mind:
- Use a Facebook pixel – re-target prospective families who have visited your site.
- Use geo-targeting to promote your open house – targeting prospective parents living within a certain geographical range of the school and parents who have children of the desired age range.
- Create a lookalike audience of your page’s current fans – Facebook will be able to identify similarities between those parents to target as well.
In addition to paid social media adverts, you could also invest in print adverts. Print ads can be expensive and not particularly targeted, so consider creating a new open day landing page/form specifically for your print ads. You can directly monitor the traffic from print ads vs. your digital ads to determine the smartest place to allocate your budget!
To sum up…
If you use some of the ideas suggested in this post, you should find that you will have your most successful open day, yet!
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Blue Apple Education are School Communication and Design Experts. We believe each and every school is remarkable and unique in some way. We see it as our duty to unearth what this is and to convey the essence of this both beautifully and convincingly.
We’d love to Unearth Your Remarkable, contact Mark Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 223 0766.