In today’s world, the virtual landscape is becoming a necessity in every industry. Even long after the pandemic is over, virtual options will be here to stay! It is a way of life for many of us now, especially students. That is why visitors expect to see a virtual tour of your campus. It is convenient for them, and it is a great first step to seeing your school before making the decision to visit in-person.
By deciding to use HelloCampus Live as the virtual tour option for your school, you have really broadened the scope of students who may be interested in taking a tour! However, if you have been struggling recently to get visitor registrations, we have got you covered! It is not enough to just keep your live, virtual tour option in your back pocket. In order for more visitors to know about your tour and sign up, you need to market it to them! We have a few tips for you to help make your live, virtual tour more readily available to visitors. Let’s get started!
When students visit your school in-person, they will usually plan ahead and revolve their whole day around the time they booked their tour. However, when it comes to a live virtual tour, it is a different story. The benefit of a live, virtual tour is that it accommodates students from home, so high school students will not have to change their daily schedule to attend a tour. They will usually want to sign up for a tour after they finish school and other extracurricular activities (like sports/practice, lessons, or club meetings). We suggest doing a little experiment by offering some later hours during the week for a short period of time. We found that the most popular times to take a tour are between 5-9 pm during the week. You will notice how many more registrations you will get if you adapt to the students' life! If you feel that these hours become a challenge for your tour guides' schedules, keep in mind the connection is done online. So, they can host a tour from their home, dorm room, or anywhere they need (as long as they ensure a good internet connection).
It’s great to have a button on your website that allows students to sign up for a live, virtual tour. But, if the option is hard to find in the layout of your Admissions webpage, or not very visible (with a clear description and a strong call-to-action), your visitors will miss the opportunity and the option becomes ineffective. If possible, we suggest advertising your live, virtual tour from the moment a visitor enters your website!
One of our schools, Loyola University New Orleans, chose to include a button for their virtual tour options right on their homepage. Visitors notice it immediately and are intrigued to learn more!
Plus, they don’t have to fish around the website looking for it. Then, once a visitor selects the button, it brings them to a new page where they can easily see their options and select one that works best for them!
Another great idea would be to utilize your chat feature, if your website has one. When a visitor enters your site, your chat box can pop up in the corner with a message like this: “Hi, have a look around and let us know if you have any questions! Also, be sure to check out our live, virtual tour! [Insert link]” Use your website to your advantage and you will more than likely gain more registrations for your tour.
Having your virtual tour option front and center on your website is a great way to gain more registrations, but take it a step further and market your tour through social media and email blasts! Both of these outlets can generate a lot of traffic to your website and to your tour event calendar. Be creative with your graphics! For example, maybe include a picture of a tour guide and state a call to action like, “Learn more about our annual snowball fight (or another tradition) that made me fall in love with HCU. Join me for a Live, Virtual Tour!” Or, another idea is to include an image of a student drinking coffee on campus and say something like, “Meet Natalie on a Live, Virtual Tour! She can tell you where to find the best coffee in the city, right here on campus, plus so much more about our school!” You can post the graphic to your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and write an inviting caption that includes the link to your website or a link that takes them directly to the event calendar. On Instagram, post the link in your bio and direct visitors there.
Another tactic can be an email blast with similar content that you can send to your email list of prospects. The email should be more text oriented, however. Consider including reasons why a student should join a live, virtual tour. For example, they can get a glimpse of campus and decide whether or not they should visit in-person, they can meet someone live and clear up any questions they may have “face-to-face”, or they can understand the emotion behind some of the statistics they have read online. If your school gets stuck or needs more inspiration creating some marketing graphics, reach out to your HelloCampus Client Account Manager. We would be happy to design something for you and help you with ideas!
Use the same creativity for newsletters/local prints or a postcard that you can send to your mailing list. Both of these outlets are helpful in getting the word out about your tour, especially postcards that can be sent to students who live further away from campus and may not be able to make the trip for an in-person visit. The content on the newsletter and postcard can be very similar to your graphic for social media/email marketing. But, rather than pasting a link, you can include a QR code that students can scan on their phone and it will bring them directly to your website or event calendar. To do this, you can use a free website like QR Code Generator. They even have free frames you can include that say “scan me.” All you have to do is enter your website or drop a file and then download the QR code to your device as a .jpg. Then, add it to any of your marketing materials, whether it’s a postcard, a newsletter, or even a flyer that you hand out at college fairs. In addition to a QR code, include your social media handles so that students can follow and also have another way to access your live, virtual tour registration.
Communication doesn’t stop there! Advertising your live, virtual tour can take any shapes and forms and the message can be adapted easily to any outlet. Maybe your school uses a texting platform where you can run a campaign, or maybe you can incentivize high school counselors to verbally promote your tour, or even look for partnerships with college platforms that offer details on admissions (and link your tour as an option). The ideas don’t have to end. Use the best means for your school and get the word out! No matter what you decide to implement, the real value comes from your message. And, that’s where we can help! Let’s market your tour to its greatest potential and see those visitor registrations pouring in!