Unlocking the Potential of Your School Open Day.

Posted by Tom Hoyes on 26/02/2024 11:30:41 AM

As we gear up for another school year, Open Days continue to be a crucial marketing tool for schools. In 2024, the landscape has evolved, and so should your approach. With this in mind, we have put together some tips to ensure your school maximises its Open Day!

Before Open Day

School Open Days are big events, which means there are a lot of logistical, organisational and operational items to consider to ensure the day runs smoothly. In light of this, what are some big-ticket items schools should consider in the lead-up to their Open Day?

Data-informed Marketing

As with any event, pre-event marketing activities are crucial for its success, but how can your school get the word out to your community?

Some of the leading advertising approaches you will see in the lead-up to the school open day season are billboards, light pole banners or bus advertisements. Schools may also take a community approach to advertising their open day by utilising mailouts or posting in relevant community groups on social media.

These are all great approaches, but is your school utilising the data it already has to ensure its marketing efforts target the correct people?

Using address data is a great way to optimise your marketing efforts, and utilising it will determine if you are targeting the correct locations and communities.

By analysing your current student enrolment data, you can identify your target audience, evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, and create location-specific content.

Analysing address data may seem like a nightmare; however, systems like TASS have visual and interactive tools, like geocoding and heat mapping, that allow users to understand the data better.

address validation heat map

Learn more about address validation and heat mapping in TASS.

 Another common strategy schools use is a "How did you hear about us?" form. The data captured on these forms is extremely valuable as it will provide you with insight into your previous marketing efforts and where to shift your attention.


Communication Strategy

Schools operate like businesses in many aspects, meaning they need to be marketing as if they are. With this in mind, what are some ways schools can put together an effective communication strategy?

As previously mentioned, your school's address data is valuable and can influence your marketing endeavours. For example, Google Ads allows for location-targeted ads, which means you can take the insight from your school address information and target your content towards people who are regularly in or have shown interest in specific locations, such as the suburbs surrounding your school.

Schools must also cover multiple marketing channels to have the most reach with prospective parents. For example, utilising marketing emails, social media accounts, and your school's website will give you good coverage within your community. To entice prospective parents to attend your school's Open Day, give them early access to resources or a sneak peek at what the day will look like. Sharing information such as the agenda or a tour guide/map are great assets to share ahead of time.

To learn more about how you can market your school to stand out in a sea of others, check out one of our previous blogs.


On the Day

The day has arrived. Booths are prepared, tour guides eagerly await, and a multitude of prospective families stand ready to explore your school. After months of planning, the countdown begins - how can you ensure every moment counts?

Facility Showcase

Your school's facilities are undoubtedly one of the key selling points, and a school Open Day may be the first-time prospective families see them in person, so it is important that they know exactly what you have on offer.

In a recent Independent Schools Australia (ISA) survey, new parents have identified high-quality facilities as a top priority. Given the limited time available, how can you effectively showcase these facilities?

The easiest way to get families to explore your school campus is to strategically place activities and events throughout the school, not just in common areas like the school hall or theatre. Guarantee the accessibility of your facilities with clear signage, students and staff in uniforms and name tags, all ready to provide assistance and answer any questions.


Inclusive Virtual Open Day

Hosting a virtual version of your Open Day alongside the in-person event is a great way to connect with prospective families who may be unable to make it on the day, or interstate or international students and parents.

Including a virtual tour of your facilities, live streams of presentations, and one-on-one meetings with teachers and department heads are great opportunities to include in an online Open Day. A bonus of an online event is the contact information you will collect that could be used for future follow-up communications.


Post Open Day

Schools invest a lot of time and resources into planning and promoting Open Days, so it is equally important to keep your school front of mind while prospective parents decide on a future school.

Follow-up & Lead Nurturing

Maintaining regular contact with new families through email is an excellent method to stay front of mind. However, a fine line exists between consistent communication and overwhelming their inbox, which risks them becoming unengaged. Striking the right balance is crucial to retaining their engagement with ongoing communications.

Once your school Open Day has wrapped up, consider sending your attendees a follow-up email thanking them for attending and directing them to further information. This email could be the first in a lead nurturing email campaign. Lead nurture campaigns play a crucial role in sustaining brand awareness and serve as an effective method to reinforce your school's unique selling points.


Continuous Improvement

Once the dust has settled after your school's Open Day and you are ready to begin planning for the next one, it is important to get the organisers and other stakeholders together to review its success.

The data your school has captured throughout the Open Day season will give great insight into how your school can evolve and better the experience at future Open Days.

Overall, the success of your Open Day is in your hands. Leveraging data for insights, making informed marketing choices, and communicating effectively will all contribute to a successful event.


Topics: School Management, Community Engagement

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