The four stages of driving prospective students through the funnel this Open Day season

4 min read
After a crazy Clearing period full of uncertainty and last-minute u-turns, it’s time to finally talk about Open Days again. There really is no rest for the wicked. And with the changing landscape moving to online Open Days, it’s going to be even more complicated than ever before. 

Before we jump in, a little about the structure of the piece. As we work through the journey between enquiry, online Open Day, and enrolment, I’ll be using what we call the ‘ACID funnel’ to reference which stage of the decision-making process the student is in at each step. ACID stands for Awareness, Consideration, Intent and Decision.

1. Drive awareness

First port of call, advertising. Unfortunately, many students aren’t going to stumble over your event registration page and sign up, so you need to gain awareness of your brand and also your Open Day offering first. 

Traditionally, this means loading up Facebook Business Manager or Google Ads and spending budget on a campaign you don’t know is going to perform. Well, we do things a bit differently here. Our guaranteed results plan shows you direct ROI from your ad spend converted into the impressions or clicks you will generate before you even sign off. 

Putting that into an Open Day scenario; if you have a target of 150 registrations for your upcoming event, and have a rough idea of your conversion rates, you’ll know how much spend you need to allocate to hit that KPI - perfect! If you want to find out more about our advertising platform, you can read more here.

2. Push for consideration

With advertising covered, it’s time to focus on nurturing those leads both pre and post the Open Day event. 

An interesting statistic is that it can take around eleven touchpoints for a person to buy something as small as a lipstick, so imagine how many it takes for someone to commit to attending an Open Day or even applying to a university or college! 

With this in mind, it’s key to drip-feed key selling points and nuggets of information that are going to keep your registrants interested before the big day. These emails will include things such as which topics the event will include, online access information and a little more information about the university. The goal here is to drive a ‘Consideration’ action towards them enrolling at your institution. 

3. Action intent 

So, you’ve nurtured your leads before your event and after attending they are now super inspired; so how do we convert them into an enrolment? 

Much like before the event, we need to work on nurturing the prospective student through the decision-making process, tailoring those communications towards the ‘Intent’ stage of the funnel, enabling them to make the leap and apply to your institution. To do this, cover the more detailed areas of your institution including student and financial support, scholarships, accommodation and the application process.

4. Decision time

After all of this hard work, it’s time for the most crucial stage of the journey - the decision. 

The thing to remember here is that different students will make their decisions at different times of the year. Some will have their minds made up sooner than others and some will leave it till the last minute to secure offers and placements. 

To ensure you’re covering all bases, use CTAs that give the option to either apply or take the next step to enrol in your institution in every email you send after your Open Day event. And add some urgency by adding a countdown to the application deadline, further persuading students to apply in fear of missing the boat. 

If you would like to hear more about how to advertise your online Open Day efficiently, as well as best practice when it comes to those pre and post-event comms, listen in to our expert webinar here, going through just that.