Many of us who have had the opportunity to work in university marketing have experienced the huge sense of excitement and satisfaction when meeting and greeting postgraduate students as they start to arrive on campus for registration and enrolment.
For them this is the start of a whole new chapter, while for us it’s the culmination of a great deal of effort that has gone into the previous couple of years to organise and commission marketing campaigns and events.
Moving everything online in 2020 has been a real challenge for everyone involved in student marketing.
In-person open days are a very accurate barometer of how well your recruitment efforts are doing, because if the funnel of prospects is attracting good number of engaged individuals, then that’s a strong sign that the final hurdle to get candidates over the line is not far off.
For postgraduate recruitment there has always been an element that was delivered remotely, whether that is interviews via Skype/Zoom or induction sessions. However, a large chunk of time and effort is normally scheduled through the brilliant international recruitment teams and their agents out in country.
Fast forward to 2021 after 15 months of online and socially distanced events, the open day format has become a hybrid of on-campus and digitally focused recruitment activity.
At Think Postgrad we have seen a huge uptake in interest for open events on our sites. We can obviously point to the unprecedented effect of a global crisis in moving everything online, but given that masters students don’t need to be sold on the idea of university like undergraduates do the increase in interest has been remarkable.
We have invested in our sites to make navigation simpler, and for our regular clients and users this has paid dividends. Our international traffic has increased greatly, and while this has been helped by the attention we have been paying to reach key territories, it’s not come at the expense of our core domestic audience.
We have maintained a significant share from the UK domiciled users for open day campaigns, so this suggests that despite all the challenges that the pandemic has presented there are still a great many domestic prospects who are responding to our client campaigns.
We have our top tips for how to make the most of open days to ensure high quality conversions, whether on or offline.
1. Advertise your events early
Promoting events as early as possible is key to reaching high quality students. Our Event Listings cost £100 each whether published for 3 months or 3 weeks. They show a ‘Save the Date’ on Course Listings and Study/Funding adverts encouraging already engaged students to register to attend well ahead of time.
2. Tell them more
Along with details of the events, include brief information about PG study offering and funding options. This will tweak their interest to want to find out more, especially if your USPs are also listed. Examples include
“dedicated facilities just for postgraduates within our new £330 million pound Waterside Campus”
“Postgraduate student travel opportunities – we send more students abroad than any other university*. We also offer support and funding to help get you there!”
3. Subject specific information
Talk about the event programme particularly highlighting subject specific activity that will be involved either at your online or offline events. Prospective students will be interested to find out more detail regarding their chosen study subject.
For example: –
“Join our live subject and course specific webinars where you can ask questions directly to both staff and students”.
4. Use your students!
If the event has a Student Panel, shout about it! Prospects want to hear as much as possible from existing students. Include a link to introduce each student taking part (a short bio for each). Prospective students can then identify to whom they would like to direct a question and are then more likely to sign up to the event.