As an event planner and someone who once ran campus Open House and Accepted Student Days, I know firsthand how critical events are to your enrollment strategy, and how much cancelling an event can impact your goals.
While there’s still a lot of uncertainty right now, my one major piece of advice is to stay safe and continue to communicate. Whether you’re facing event cancellations with no alternative plans in place, or you’re moving your event online, making sure your attendees feel informed and connected to your campus community — even if they can’t physically be there — is critical.
I wanted to share a few tips for getting the most out of these virtual events by leveraging the TargetX tools already at your disposal. (And, if you’re not a TargetX customer, we’d love to show you more. Most of the tools mentioned below can be implemented really quickly!)
1. Cancel your events and communicate instantly
If you’re leveraging the TargetX Events tool for event registration, prepare for the need to change or cancel your event by preemptively building your cancellation template emails. If you can pre-load your email templates now, sending the message telling people that an event is cancelled or changed becomes a seamless, click of a button process. From there, you can leverage event reports to pull lists for personalized communications to all registrants (and their parents) as plans change or develop.
2. Leverage multiple communication channels
Beyond what’s available to you through TargetX, (namely email and SMS) think through all of your communication channels. Whether it’s social media, your campus website, your admissions call center or online chat, make sure that all of your stakeholders are informed about event changes and provide talking points for your front-line service representatives to ensure your communications are consistent across all channels.
3. Engage virtually with online chat
Aside from answering questions about your events, you’ll want to give your prospects a chance to connect with your staff for questions about financial aid deadlines or campus life. Leveraging UChat, you can create separate profiles for each department, from Financial Aid to Admissions or Residence Life, and give students the opportunity to chat 1:1 with your team, even if they’re working remotely. (If you don’t have UChat yet but are interested in leveraging this tool, talk to your Client Success Manager to get started. This tool only takes a day or two to get up and running so you can start leveraging it right away.)
4. Keep the conversation going with Schools App
Finally, whether you host your event virtually or cancel altogether, help students connect with each other, current students, and staff with Schools App, a mobile first, private, branded social community. You can invite your event registrants to join, and give them a place to connect from anywhere.
Already using Schools App? Send push notifications directly to students’ phones and keep an eye on students’ concerns around event cancellations by creating keyword alerts for things like “Open House” or “coronavirus.”
I know that a lot of consideration goes into planning for event cancellations, but I hope this helps spark some ideas for better managing prospect communications as this situation continues to evolve. And as always, if there’s anything we can do to help, just let us know!