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How to make your open event truly memorable


How to make your open event truly memorable

Open events are a key date in the school calendar and essential to any school’s marketing efforts. 

For parents considering such an emotional investment as choosing a school for their child, it’s important to see and feel what the school is really like. 

But what makes an exceptional open event, rather than a run-of-the-mill one?

An open event is the chance to showcase the school in its best light, helping to impress prospective families. Yet most open events share many of the same elements. There’s the chance for parents to see the school’s facilities up close, hear from key teachers first-hand, and see for themselves some of the achievements of the current crop of students, including drama performances and demonstrations in the science department. 

So far, so good – but when we know parents tend to visit between 3-4 schools, won’t this be the exact same model they have seen at every other school on their shortlist? 

Despite the considerable effort that goes into organising an open event, there is a danger that for the parent it can be more of a tick-box exercise where they go through the motions but aren’t left with a long lasting impression that can inform and influence their final decision. 

How can schools ensure they are differentiating with their open event experience?

Read below some simple principles that will make your school open event a truly memorable experience:

Be accessible to stand out

Parents expect that they’ll be given the information, time, and support they need to make a decision as important as choosing where to send their child to school. In any other walk of life when making such a significant choice and investment, you would expect to be able to ask as many questions as you needed to. You would expect the organization you were considering to be attentive, responsive, and to provide information on demand, wherever and whenever it was required in the decision making process. 

Why is it then that parents don’t receive this same customer experience that they get from other key investments?

Parents have busy schedules and can’t always afford the time to attend an open event due to other commitments. But if schools only host face to face events, are they not missing out on opportunities to recruit students from families who cannot attend?

Being able to offer an experience of the school at a time which suits your customer as well as providing the information they need as and when it is needed is key to meeting the needs and expectations of your customers. And it’s key to standing out from the competition.

Give your prospective customers an experience that fits around their schedule to truly impress them. 

To start, ask yourself whether your open events have an on-demand virtual equivalent? Is the information you distribute at an open event – the talks, Q&A sessions, student talent showcases – available 24/7, on any device, so that parents interact with your content at their leisure?

If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, you may be wondering  if your open event is truly doing enough to help busy parents uncover your school’s true strengths and setting you apart.

Ellena White, Director of Marketing and Communications at Magdalen College School, Oxford, uses Kampus24 as a way to host hybrid events, whereby parents are sent information to review in advance of attending a physical event. Ellena comments: “We have found this really works well for busy parents who can watch the videos we share at their leisure.” 

Through offering greater accessibility to your school content and events digitally, your school will be able to reach out to more prospective families and at the same time, offer them a better, more memorable customer experience.   

Be unique with a personal follow up

Once your open event is over, what is the next step? This is a crucial point in the admissions journey where you have engaged customers who are ready to take the next step. It’s important to not let this opportunity fall through and their engagement drop off in favour of another school. Bring your prospective families joy with a truly personalised follow up. 

Consider what data you have gathered from the parents that attended and what you can learn from them. Do you know, for example, what their remaining questions and concerns are? Do you know what stories and facts about your school truly resonated with them given their child’s unique interests? 

If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, you will struggle to send a truly personalised follow up that will make your school look like they are invested in the interests of the child and help the parent make an informed decision about your school.

For your open events, ensure that you are collecting enough information to really understand your attendees. Consider what touch points they have had with the school previously whether that be in person, a phone conversation, or content they may have seen on your website and social media channels. What specific needs or interests do they have as a family?

When sending your post-event follow up, make sure you tailor your message to that individual family showing that you understand their needs and why your school meets them. 

As Ian Hunt, Chair and CEO of Haileybury Schools in Kazakhstan and Board member and Chair of the Education committee at Danes Hill School, Surrey, reminds us, “As school marketing and admissions professionals, we should be taking families on a personalised journey with us and show them exactly why our school is the right choice for them.”

A tailored message will make the difference between an open event follow up that seems impersonal and poorly timed, and a personalised communication that helps parents with their decision making, giving them a real sense of why your school is perfect for their child.  

Kampus24 is transforming school events for a better customer experience

Personalised school communications delivered to every customer, every time.  

Kampus24 is changing the way school marketing and admissions teams communicate with prospective parents and their wider community online, helping to drive more enquiries through to application. 

Kampus24 is an easy-to-use digital platform, allowing a school to create tailored communications that meet an individual family’s interests in minutes. With a fully trackable analytics dashboard, schools can monitor engagement to progress more enquiries down their admissions pipeline. 

Experience Kampus24 today

In just 20 minutes, see how personalised communications with Kampus24 can transform your admissions funnel and drive increased staff and alumni engagement.

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