We recently spoke to one Spectrum client about how they build Visit campaigns to generate high attendance numbers and convert visitors into students. In 2014, this client had the highest rate of visit attendance on record with numbers recorded back through 1989—needless to say, they stood to provide some outstanding advice. Here’s what they said about getting students to campus:
Advertise upcoming events across ALL channels of your marketing mix
Never underestimate the power of marketing fatigue. While your event invitation postcard may be a work of art, it could very well be a work of art fighting for air in a mailbox stuffed with other college’s marketing collateral. To advertise upcoming dates, our client utilizes:
Voice blasts to invitees and registrants
Variable Postcards that both invite students and serve as confirmations/reminders
Email to both students and parents
Text messages with driving directions
Easy-to-use microsite registration
Keep the call to action succinct and specific While advertising every visit date on your academic calendar in one post card might save you some printing costs, it will also weaken the drive to get students on campus on any particular date (and weaken the sense of urgency to visit in general). If you must advertise multiple dates, we recommend keeping it within a specific date category (Open House dates only versus Open House dates as well as Accepted Student dates). A single advertised date is the most effective way to generate interest in the event. You can always advertise alternatives in late-phase outreach for students who would attend but cannot on that particular date.
Offer visits that everyone can attend. Southern school in a football town? You can bet that students (or their family members who would be driving them) have most of their fall weekends spoken for. Offering event options both during the day AND during the evening, as well as on weekdays AND weekends, might seem cumbersome, but ensures that schedule strictures are accounted for in all student cases.
Use student data to personalize Personalize your invitations with student information. An invitation to speak with faculty from their major is much more attractive than the general promise of faculty presence. Use information you may have on sports, interests, academics and scholarships to personalize every invitation and make it relevant.
Follow up on Follow-up Sending a follow-up email to students either thanking them or attendance or informing them of alternative dates to attend if they no-showed can be a great way to show your appreciation, but make sure that the records you keep of attendees vs. no-shows is accurate. The extra gesture can backfire if it winds up in the wrong inbox. Additionally, using feedback forms can be a great way to improve on your visit experience, and provides an extra interaction between your school and a potential student.
A Visit Campaign is a campaign like any other—keep the call to action clear, keep it relevant, and keep it available in any medium a student might prefer. Since campus visit is one of the strongest indicators of potential attendance, making your visit programs work like a machine can have fantastic effects on your enrollment.