Make Your Open House a “Wow” Event

Mike MarchettiAugmented Reality, Campus Visit Experience, Mobile Solutions, Social Media StrategiesLeave a Comment

At your open house do you offer campus tours, a chance to meet your faculty and learn about academic programs, an opportunity to engage with current students and find out about life on campus? Do you offer meals in your dining hall and a nice welcome reception where students and their families get to hear from university VIP’s? This is probably not news to you but here goes – so does everyone else.

Fear not- it is still possible to get prospects and their families leaving your event thinking, “Now that was something different and special!” Here are some tips…

  • Get Personal
  • – Just like most open houses look the same, so do most open house invitations. But they don’t have to. Leverage what you know about your prospects to develop more personalized invitation templates. This may be tough through print but as far as your email goes most email marketing systems will enable you to automate that process so that instead of saying “Come to our open house” you can invite prospective athletes to meet coaches or top academic performers to engage with faculty. You can invite theater students to see a show or meet performers. You can invite them for reasons that will intrigue them and catch their attention. But getting personal of course doesn’t stop with the invitation. Offer name tags at the event so that staff and faculty can greet people by their names. Anything you can do to make your attendees feel unique and special will go a long way.

  • Get Social
  •  There are a number of ways social media can help you step up your events. Use highly targeted ads and organic promotion to increase registrations and show rate (did you know you can target specific Facebook ads directly to your event registration pool to help increase the show rate?). Live post and tweet during the event to engage your audience throughout the day. And keep the excitement going with follow up posts of photos and videos that remind your attendees what a great day they had and show those that didn’t attend what a great day they missed!

  • Get Mobile
  •  Both your prospective students and their parents are now avid mobile consumers. (Self-promotion alert!) With CampusShare’s Mobile App for Admissions you can offer your students a mobile agenda for your events with speaker profiles as well as the opportunity to post photos of their on-campus experience and share with their peers. When your prospects download the app for the event you can use it to engage them throughout the cycle with push notifications, web links, bookstore coupons, and plenty more!

  •  Gamify
  •  Make the event unique and unforgettable. There are a number of ways to gamify your events. Use Augmented Reality to build a scavenger hunt where students use their mobile device to unlock “secret” media messages throughout the campus. Use location tracking devices to enable to students to “check-in” at specific places on your campus and earn points. (yes, we can help with this too!) Creating a fun and engaging gamified campus experience will really separate your open house from the rest!

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    About the Author

    Mike Marchetti

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    Mike Marchetti is President and Lead Strategist at Campus Share, a marketing and communications consulting firm that focuses on higher education and specializes in new media strategies.

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