It never fails. The best laid plans rarely go off without some type of a hitch.
Imagine a world where you have an amazing event-focused yield campaign that includes a combination of on-campus, regional, and even international events. In a perfect world these events all happen without any challenges keeping students from connecting with your team.
Now … let’s throw out a couple “What if’s”.
- What if there’s severe weather in your region that causes flight delays, or worse, keeps your team from getting to a regional event?
- What if situations like the coronavirus in China keep your students from traveling to campus or your team from traveling the globe?
- What if the health department shuts down the hotel you planned to host a regional admitted student event?
We do not ask these questions to pile on the fear mongering that naturally happens thanks to the 24-hour news cycle. Rather, we do so to ensure we’re thinking through the possible scenarios that may derail even our most thoughtful yield campaigns.
Leverage Online Events to Ensure Maximum Engagement
For institutions recruiting out-of-state and international students, a prudent yield campaign will include a combination of on-campus events paired with regional events to ensure visibility and connections with these students (just like a good campaign includes thoughtful use of e-mail, print, and advertising). With that said, a thoughtful online event strategy can serve as additional air cover as well as a “safety net” to ensure you are reaching every student possible no matter what may happen to hamper your in-person events.
Here are a couple ideas:
- The University of Tampa had a regional admitted student event negatively impacted by snowy weather in New England. To adjust, they hosted a virtual version of the event and invited their broader applicant pool. This event saw higher attendance and stronger yield rates than their traditional regional programs and is now a standard part of their recruitment calendar every year!
- The University of San Diego hosted a parents and families session that reached over 1,000 families and yielded over 500 survey responses to help inform next steps. As you can imagine, a school like USD thrives on getting students to visit campus. But, they also know that students who have visited campus multiple times are still weighing their options. An online event helps them cover all of their bases with another meaningful engagement opportunity.
- Valencia College reaches a global audience leveraging live chat on their website while also hosting dedicated presentations for their international student population. They specifically planned an admitted student webcast earlier in the process to ensure their relationship with prospective students is secured and the dialogue throughout the process is open.
- Towson University created a pre-orientation webcast to help students navigate their arrival to campus for their summer orientation. The content was promoted via email and SMS ahead of each orientation week. If needed, this approach could easily be modified to bring a lot of the orientation content they’d deliver in-person to a virtual experience for students who can’t make it to campus due to travel issues.
Offer the Best of Both Worlds
The important thing to remember is we always want to plan for the best. We expect good turnouts at our regional and on-campus programs and hope weather and international travel/health concerns never play a part. However, strategic enrollment managers plan for the worst and more importantly remain focused on providing their students with the best experience possible. A solid yield campaign no longer simply includes legacy communications like print, email and in-person events … Digital natives who are constantly on their screens expect to engage via video and chat.
Contact us to learn how Conduit + PlatformQ Eduction’s expertise in online engagement planning and strategy can support better conversion throughout the entire cycle.