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CubedThinksđź’­ Virtual Open Days and Tours

Many universities are working hard to put virtual alternatives in place so that students can find all the information they need without having to visit the campus. Please see some advice below from the team at Education Cubed on how to approach the transfer from physical open days to virtual alternatives.

It’s important to note the difference between Virtual Open Days and Virtual Tours:

Virtual Event

Just like other open days, virtual open days have a specific start time and date and registration is encouraged prior to the event. They will provide a comprehensive overview of everything the university offers, often including talks and tours at specific times of the day. Students can usually choose convenient time slots to view subject, finance and student experience talks as well as visit various course booths to find out more about their study options.

Virtual Tour

A virtual tour is a simulation of the university’s buildings and facilities usually composed of a sequence of videos or still images, sometimes in the 360 format. Unlike virtual open days there is usually no need to register and it can be accessed at any time. When virtual open days are not an option due to limited resources, this can be a great compromise for showcasing facilities online.

Virtual events/tours FAQs:

We have created/are planning to create a virtual event to replace our physical open day. How will the marketing of the event change?

While the offering may change substantially, the process of marketing and tracking virtual events is like any physical event. Here are the steps we recommend:

  • Update the open day landing page or create a new one. We suggest including the following information:
    • Outline of the new online offering e.g. talks, live chat and tours.
    • A CTA to register for the online event as a new user.
    • Address those who have already signed up to the physical open day and whether they need to take further action.
    • Instructions on how to take part once you’re signed up, including how to schedule talks and tours if available.
  • Change open day ad messaging to promote online/virtual open day. We suggest messaging along the lines of “You can still visit our Open Day online. Join us for our virtual event on X date.”
  • Review images/videos. You may need to change over any images/videos that aren’t appropriate for your online event. However, there is nothing wrong with still showing the campus and facilities if they can still visit them at an online event.
  • Review conversion tracking. Once the landing page is finalised, we recommend that you carry out a full review of your tracking to ensure all conversions are still being counted correctly against your campaigns.
  • Follow up existing leads with email communications. We suggest following up those who have already registered asking if they need more information or providing instructions on how to attend the new online event.

Do you expect the results to differ for a virtual event/tour in comparison to a physical open day?

  • We would advise against assuming that conversions for a virtual open day will be alike to a physical open day as it’s a very different experience than actually being on campus. However, we expect that traffic levels on digital channels will increase for our UK target audiences over the next few weeks/months.

We have created/are planning to create a virtual tour to replace our physical open day. How will our marketing activity change?

The nature of a virtual tour is quite different to an event; however, we recommend the following to really make the most of this asset as a replacement for your open day:

  • Create a new landing page for virtual tours. We suggest including the following information:
    • Address students and let them know how they can experience your facilities online in lieu of events.
    • Outline of the new online offering (are there several tours you can organise into sections?)
    • CTA to get in touch or apply.
    • Signposting to other engaging information such as example lectures, information about the Student Union and opportunities to explore courses from the page.
  • Change open day ad messaging to promote virtual tours. We suggest messaging along the lines of “You can still visit our campus online. Check out our facilities on a virtual tour.”
  • Review conversion tracking. Once the landing page is finalised, we recommend that you carry out a full review of your tracking to ensure all conversions are still being counted correctly against your campaigns.
  • Follow up existing leads with email communications. We suggest following up those who had registered for the open day asking if they need more information or providing instructions on how to view the virtual tour.
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