When executed correctly, virtual events hosted by colleges and universities have a very positive impact on prospective students. In fact, one survey indicates that 79 percent of students who attended a virtual event would do it again, and 84 percent of students say that a virtual event had a big impact on their college decision process.
Follow these 10 best practices so you can ensure you are getting the most out of your virtual events.
1. Do Not Set a Specific Date or Time.
Unlike with in-person events, virtual events can be planned once and run several times without the extra work. Keeping dates and times flexible allows for maximum participation from prospective students who may not be available at traditional event times.
2. Pre-Record Your Content.
While live video sessions can be great in some situations, they greatly limit the flexibility of events. Additionally, after the past year, students are simply Zoomed-out. Instead, record your sessions ahead of time so students can watch them on their own time and not have to worry about being on camera, making them much more likely to watch your sessions.
3. Plan Ahead.
While last year everyone was learning to navigate the virtual world on the fly and mistakes were overlooked, this is not the case in 2021. Virtual events require careful planning in order to run smoothly and professionally, just like in-person events. Make sure you are giving them the attention they need well in advance.
4. Set Up a Virtual Check-In.
When you choose to have students check-in to an event by entering their name, you are able to track their participation and engagement with your content. If your institution values demonstrated interest as a part of your admissions process, this is a great way to see which prospective students are actively participating in your events and exactly what content they are most interested in.
5. Integrate Live Chat.
Live chat allows prospective students to ask questions and interact with staff or current students in real time. It allows you to incorporate a live element into your event without a specific day or time. StudentBridge offers its own live chat feature for events, or can integrate your existing chat from AdmitHub, Platform Q, or Olark into your platform.
6. Allow for Personalized Journeys
Have students customize their own schedules for the sessions that they attend. That way, each student can personalize their virtual experience to get the information that is most relevant to them. Prospective students will be more engaged with your content when they are able to choose what they see.
7. Use CTAs
On your event homepage, use engaging call-to-action buttons to lead prospective students back to your .edu site to get relevant information. If your event is an open house, you can even include an "Apply Now" CTA that leads directly to your application portal.
8. Create Mixed Media Content
The StudentBridge virtual events platform supports on-demand videos, live video sessions, 360 photos, still images, links to external pages, and text. Make sure your event includes a variety of media types to ensure you are catering to all preferences for gathering information.
9. Make the Event Available On-Demand
When students are able to access your event anytime, anywhere, they can make the event work with their busy schedules and are much more likely to attend. The StudentBridge event platform is also fully mobile-responsive, so it can even be accessed on the go.
10. Analyze your Data
Virtual events allow for full access to attendee data, as well as reporting on clicks, video views and session durations. Analytics can be integrated directly into your CRM or can be integrated into Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager. Tracking your data will allow you to keep track of interested prospective students and give you feedback to help improve your sessions for your next event.