Over the last couple of years there has been a significant shift towards digital engagement, with a particular increase in the use of video - think of the popularity of TikTok - as well as the rapid use of webinars to engage and connect with audiences.
This blog post by HubSpot contains some powerful statistics on the success of webinars in recent years. One stat cited is that '76% of marketers say that webinars help them reach more leads, 75% say it extends brand reach, 69% say it helps scale marketing efforts, and 49% say that it helps them reach targeted accounts'.
Online events, such as webinars, present a fantastic opportunity to engage with your prospective student audience as well as your wider community. It must be stressed that these events are not intended to replace the clear perks that in-person events have, but instead, offer an additional form of communication, often with a larger reach. But there are many benefits of hosting online events on platforms such as Zoom or The Ambassador Platform's Streams feature, including:
The ability to engage with a large, more diverse, and global audience at once
Reduce your carbon footprint by allowing speakers and attendees from anywhere in the world to participate
Cheaper to host online as there are fewer operational costs
Able to share a variety of content and information in a far more dynamic way through speakers, presentations, and chats
Easier to measure the results and success of these events in terms of attendance and participation
What is Streams and how can it help me increase student recruitment?
Our new Streams offering allows users of The Ambassador Platform to harness the power of video to communicate their unique university experience, engage with prospective students and generate more leads
The Live Streams feature allows users to host events live from the platform and the On-Demand Streams feature provides the functionality to upload any event recording to their Feed. Both Live Streams and On-Demand Streams facilitate prospect data capture and encourage engagement with the content via group chat. Additionally, users benefit from the reporting and data insights available in the admin dashboard.
So, how can you incorporate some online events using Live Streams into your work on The Ambassador Platform and connect with more prospects?
- Involve your ambassadors
Give your ambassadors a literal voice and get them on your Live Streams as speakers. The primary reason prospects will be landing on your Feed is to connect with your ambassadors anyway - why not help enhance these connections by giving your ambassadors a platform (quite literally!) to speak about their experiences?
- Think about your audience
This goes without saying of course but what we mean is really think about where in the recruitment funnel your prospective audience are:
If you're targeting leads at the top of the funnel, you're really trying to make your institution stand out and 'sell' the experience and also realistically, these will be prospects who are more likely to have rather administrative questions as well. Seeking answers or advice on topics such as the costs involved or what to include in their application.
Why not approach these sometimes 'information heavy' topics in a simpler way? A 1 - 1.5h Live Stream could include a member of the Admissions Team talking through the facts covering application fees and cost of living fees but interspersed with this could be ambassadors who talk through how they managed their application fee and how they budget in general
Applicants, Offer Holders:
These prospects will often know the basics and become more interested in now imagining themselves at your institution and naturally the questions can range from topics such as accommodation, life in the city or on campus, social life and learning experience. These are definitely best covered by your ambassadors! But, there's a lot in there so make sure the theme of the event is not too generic.
- Involve your audience
During the event, ask questions of your audience and ask them to get involved in the chat. Your audience will include ambassadors as well who should help build momentum in the chat and get involved themselves.
Q&As are a given of any online event - this is where your ambassadors can really shine. Ensure that you've allocated enough time for them to get through enough questions and encourage your prospects throughout the session to send in their questions in the chat. An admin should keep note of what questions have been sent in the chat to be able to refer to them later, and feel free to send them in the Speakers Chat of your Live Stream so that the key people have visibility of those.
- Use your ambassadors' content
Your ambassadors' content can be used as part of any slides you'll be using and can even be used to help promote the event.
- Promote, promote, promote
It's important to promote the event as early as you can and encourage prospects to pre-register. You already have plenty of marketing channels available to you to really ramp up some promotion of the event. Take it further by asking your ambassador speakers to record a quick video encouraging people to register which you can then share on social channels.
You may even want to equip your ambassadors with the link to the event so that they can encourage prospects they chat with to add it to their diary.
Don't forget to track those links!
- Assess results
You'll be able to see how many prospects signed up for the event and if you used those tracked links, you'll also be able to review which channels of promotion worked well for bringing in an audience for the event.
- Ask for feedback from your audience
Whilst perhaps not necessary for every event, if you're trying something new, why not send out a survey once the event is over to hear directly from your prospects? This way you'll be able to further assess the event and take away learnings that can be applied to your next event.
- The end of the event does not mean the end of the engagements
It's important to remind your prospects that your ambassadors are available to speak to at all times through the page they're currently on (your Feed). Encourage them to continue their conversations and direct their questions to ambassadors if they didn't get a chance to ask them during the event. With the On-Demand feature, you can upload a recording of the event and encourage further participation with the content through the chat functionality.
- Share your learnings with us
Lastly, we're always keen to hear from you as to what has worked and what might need improving so that we can continue to support you and provide you with great examples of what others have achieved. If you're working with your Customer Success Manager, please feel free to reach out to them or as always, you can contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org 😊
If you're not currently using the platform why not get in touch to find out more, we'd love to hear from you!
Higher education marketing strategies to leverage in 2023
Gone are the days of sending out a simple brochure; now, higher education institutions...
Top 6 higher education lead generation strategies
Higher education marketing strategies are evolving. You will have noticed that more...