Most school Open Days follow a standard itinerary – a welcome reception, followed by a talk from the head, then free time for attendees to explore the subjects they are interested in, whilst speaking to students and teachers. Whilst this may appear effective in showcasing your school during the limited time you have, it’s difficult to stand out amongst the sea of competition to parents who are looking for the best schools for their children. Digithrive For Schools has pulled together our top tips for those organising open days, so your school can stand out and be remembered by both prospective parents and students.
Don’t just focus on the parents
Whilst the parents are the lead decision-makers, it’s also important to not forget that children also have a say! Why not try having taster lessons for each subject during the open day. This could be just 15 minutes – get teachers to pick out their favourite material from the subject and conduct a mini lesson where prospective students can get involved and answer/ask questions. This is a great way for students to get a sense of what being a student at your school would be like, as well as for parents to see the quality of teaching.
Showcase your school’s talents
Does your school have a specialism, perhaps in music, theatre, or STEM subjects? If so, get some of your most talented students to showcase what they’re best at. Have the choir singing as parents come in, or your best violinist performing in the welcome hall throughout the night. Do you have any budding actors or actresses? Have them perform a dramatic monologue in the theatre room! Does your school have special equipment in the science labs? Get some students to demonstrate an experiment! Open Days are about showing not telling, so actually demonstrating what makes your school unique rather than just talking about it will be sure to make you memorable to prospective parents and students.
Get endorsements from current parents
There’s no stronger marketing than word of mouth, so why not see if any current parents would like to make themselves available for prospective parents to talk to at the open days. This would be a lovely way to close the night and have a lasting effect on prospective parents. If you can’t get a hold of any current parents, request some testimonials. If they can write a short statement about how they feel about the school and how it has benefitted their child, this is all you need. The headmaster or teachers could read out the testimonials, or you could get the children of these parents to read it out & be available for questions afterwards.
Don’t forget to follow up
While the physical open day may be the climax of your campaign, it’s important to ensure that you follow up with everyone that attended as well as those who couldn’t make it. Nurturing your leads is so important – don’t forget this element as you could lose touch with parents and students who were genuinely interested in your school! At Digithrive For Schools we use a 3 pronged approach for lead nurturing – this first step is pre-open day – we send reminder emails & texts to those who signed up, with a clear itinerary of the night. The second step is to post open day, we create emails to go out to those who attended, as well as a different email to those who couldn’t make it. Including photos of the best parts of the night is a great way to showcase your success to those who couldn’t make it, as well as bring back fond memories to those who could. Finally, offering other options to visit the school for those who couldn’t make it is essential! Offer private tours, or taster days in your post-open day emails to ensure that those who are interested have the opportunity to attend.
Post open day surveys are an excellent way to find out what you did well and what needs you could improve on for your next open day. In your follow-up emails, include links to a short survey to those who attended to find out their thoughts about the school overall as well as their experience at the open day. This will give you great insight into how to improve your marketing for the next open day, or what would make your school more attractive overall. For those that didn’t attend, send a survey to find out why then you can understand what kind of marketing will be most relevant for them going forward. Was it just because they couldn’t make the date? Send them email reminders of other open days throughout the year. Was it because the time was inconvenient? Let them know they can arrange a private tour.
If you would like more professional tips on marketing your schools do get in touch with the Digithrive For School’s team who are always happy to help. contact us here