How To Encourage Attendees To An Upcoming School or College Open Day

University Auditorium With Empty Seats

With a hundred other things going through a parent’s mind, sometimes a school open day will be missed off the list. Your open day takes a lot of preparation and you don’t want to forget to focus on getting people through the door. We will take you through ways to encourage your students and parents to step foot into your school and show them the great things you have to offer.

The Day Of The Week

The day of your open day is crucial to get right, especially if it is a single day instead of multiple days. Often, schools will allow current students to leave during the school day for an open day but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the parents are available. You need an equal balance of interest and availability between the parents and the student. 

It’s also vital to look into any possible clashes, that may suede a parent to go elsewhere. Is there another open day at that time? Is there a local event that people often go to on the same day? Is it during any exam seasons? You need to ensure that your open day is at the top of the list, and make sure that you are not battling with anyone else for a day. 

To go into specifics, when should I have my school or college open day?

A Saturday Stopover

To be able to reach as many people as you can, it’s a good idea to have multiple opportunities for visits. The most popular time for an open day is a Saturday when parents are less likely to be at work, and children aren’t at school.

A Midweek Meet

In addition to a day, choose a whole week, with activities from Monday-Friday. Encourage school visits during the school day, so people can experience what a school day looks like for real. You could reach a small niche of people, perhaps someone who is home-schooled or someone who has moved school, they are available during the day for a visit. If you are hosting an open day for children going up from pre-school, it’s definitely a good idea to have open days during the week to provide a time when the younger children can see what primary school is like.

An Evening Experience

A great all-rounder would be to also include evenings for your open events. Evenings do create a nice atmosphere and are really effective for encouraging attendees to your upcoming open events. 

Giving a huge range of opportunities for people to come to your open event is vital to have as many people as you can. However, you need to have something worth going to.

Why Should I Come To Your Open Event?

Your school’s unique selling points (USPs) should come into action here. Advertise that you’re going to have your interactive gym available to use, bunsen burners lit in the laboratory and music rooms equipped with instruments to play. Giving people a taste of what a normal school day is, is exactly what they’re looking for, so give them your best USPs! 

In your advertising campaigns make your open day USPs clear, to encourage attendees to your upcoming open day. If you’re going to have food stalls or bouncy castles, tell them the day is perfect for families. If the open day sounds like a day out, people are more likely to come!

Give Out Whatever They’ll Take!

What many schools do, and people love this, is giving out free things everywhere they turn. Especially items that have your school’s branding. Perhaps if they pick up a pen with your school’s logo on it, this will create an awareness in their minds for your school when they come to use that pen later on. Food is also a brilliant way to advertise your school. Perhaps you do cooking classes and have a kitchen, you can have students baking fresh cookies for parents and students to get a lovely smell of as they walk around the school, as well as taste them! If you teach foreign languages, make some cultural food for each language you teach. I’m sure everyone would love to try some French croissants or perhaps some german Currywurst. 

So when you’re advertising your open event on platforms, hint about the food! Show what the students can bake, and what they have learnt about cultural food in their variety of lessons.

Get The Current Students & Teachers Involved

Getting current students involved may encourage attendees to your upcoming open event. If current students have friends and family interested in finding a school, they will feel more comfortable coming knowing that they’ll see a friendly face. If you offer school tours, an existing student can tour friends around the school, and this may motivate someone to come. 

For someone to really get a true telling of a school or college, is to hear personal experiences and testimonies of the school’s reputation. Involve your students in tour guiding, speeches and welcoming. If they know they will be toured around the school, this releases a bit of stress and removes another barrier to coming. They know that they won’t get lost on the open day, and there will be plenty of people there to help them with questions. 

In addition to that, have teachers and tutors dotted around the school, to always be there to guide and answer questions your visitors may have. When you are advertising, tell them that there will always be someone near to help them. They will feel more confident and will encourage guests to your open day.

If They Need To Book, Book Online

It’s always helpful to know who is coming to an event such as this, so it’s good to encourage your attendees to book a ticket. 

If you’re going to do this, make it as easy as possible. You can use sites such as Eventbrite to create tickets, but if you want to do it internally make it a really simple form. With the booking form, ask for minimal information. You can find out their address later on, they don’t need to provide that to come to an open day.

Ask for the student’s name, parent’s email address (or student’s email address if it is for college), their phone number and the number of people attending with the student. Any extra information can be attained if they decide to know more about the school on the open day. 

Sometimes it’s more effective to have no booking system in place, therefore they can decide to come at the last minute instead of worrying about a booking. Of course, this doesn’t help with organising, so it depends on how much you need to know specific numbers.

Paid Advertising Campaigns

Paid advertising for your open events works really well, especially against competitors. If someone searches for open events near them, you want them to see your school or college first. In order to do this, you can do some paid advertising on Google. Setting up a Google Ads campaign is straightforward but can be time-consuming, so getting someone to do it for you may benefit you and your time management. Tillison Consulting has worked on many open-day event campaigns and has seen great success in encouraging attendees to your upcoming school or college open day. They can advise you on how to set it up, or do the whole process for you. Paid advertising can be very effective in getting out the news of your open events, why not give it a go? 

Encouraging people to come to an event can be simple when your open event seems fun and exciting. Get them through the door, and your school will speak for the rest. Advertise a vibrant and unique atmosphere for your attendees to enjoy and you will see your bookings increase.

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