Competition amongst private schools in the US is fierce as currently more than 34 thousand private schools are operating across the country. As your school aims to increase enrollment, you need to create a brilliant first impression with parents who visit your school. This means both promoting your school’s ethos while highlighting its best assets via the school website.
Traditionally, schools could do this during school open days or in-person tours. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to look for creative solutions. Therefore, the majority of these events have now moved online, so an outstanding school virtual tour is now a must-have for any institution.
Want to know how you can make your online school tour stand out from the rest? Well, you are in the right place — read on to find out our top recommendations for creating a stunning virtual tour of your school.
Keep Your Target Audience in Mind
Parents who want to tour a school virtually will have certain expectations and requirements. Fortunately, understanding these in advance can help you to create a tour that delivers everything that they are seeking. This is why you should always think carefully about your target audience.
Asking yourself these questions can help you build a picture of whom you are designing a virtual tour for:
- Who is going to view this tour?
- How old are their children?
- What will they want to see during the tour?
- Who will they want to hear from during the tour?
- What will particularly impress them about your school (for example, your school ethos or facilities)?
Thinking about your target audience can also help to inform the tone for your online school tour.
For example, parents like to see a welcoming, enthusiastic environment, especially in elementary school. Nevertheless, 71% of high school parents are also concerned about academic outcomes. This may require a more formal or professional approach to your tour.
Create Goals for Your Tour
Before you start coordinating the logistics of your tour, you should set goals for your outcomes. This will help to keep your tour on track. Moreover, it will help to promote all of your school’s assets.
Understanding your target audience can help you set goals for your tours. You can start by thinking about what parents want to know along with what you want them to take away from your tour. This will give you a checklist of areas that you want to address during your tour.
Once you have this list, you can start thinking practically about how to achieve your goals.
Market Your Tour Properly
Planning a great online virtual tour is brilliant, nevertheless if no one turns up this will all have been for nothing. Because of this, it is important to market your tour properly in advance. This ensures that as many parents as possible book your tour.
First, be sure to include links to the booking page for your next tour on the homepage of your school website. You might also consider including a pop-up or banner on other relevant pages which can also help direct additional traffic to your website.
Consequently, any parents visiting your school website will spot this quickly and can use it to book themselves onto your school virtual tour.
Next, to reach a wider audience, consider using social media advertising or paid ads. When you do this, ensure that you include key details about your next tour date and what this will involve, along with the booking details.
In addition to this, email marketing can be a great way of promoting your tour. You can encourage existing parents to share details of your next tour with their friends. This is a fantastic way of spreading the word about your tour quickly.
Think About Your Timing and Logistics
If you are running a live online school tour it is important to think about timing. You want your tour to run smoothly and feel well-organized. Moreover, it needs to provide plenty of information without rattling over the point.
You should think carefully about your tour route in advance. Furthermore, you should practice your tour route while timing it to double-check that you hit every location you want to. Practicing your tour route will also highlight any navigational or logistical issues that you want to avoid on the day.
In the lead-up to your tour, you also need to keep your registrants informed. You should send them emails that:
- Confirm their registration and the details of your tour
- Remind them about your tour date a week in advance
- Remind them about your tour date a day in advance
- Give them early access to resources about your school as well as tour information
Contacting your attendees regularly makes them feel welcome. In addition to this, it shows them that you care. It will also give them an opportunity to engage with your school tour before it has even begun!
Just because people have signed up for your school virtual tour, this does not guarantee that all of them will attend. Ordinarily, a portion of your interested guests will drop out before your tour.
Registering attendance at the beginning of your tour will help you to keep track of who is there. This can be helpful for:
- Assessing how effective your marketing has been
- Highlighting areas where you can improve your communication with parents
- Sending follow-up emails to attendees
- Sending follow-up emails to people who could not attend on the day
- Communicating with your attendees during question-and-answer panels
Utilizing attendance forms at the start of your tour allows you to keep track of who is on a tour. You can feature these as a pop-up when attendees open the tour link. This means that you do not have to rely on analytics to track attendance.
Record Your Virtual School Tour to Maximize Access
Recording your school virtual tour can give you a valuable resource to use in the future, so do this throughout.
You can review a recording to generate great ideas for your next virtual tour. This provides an insight into what does or does not work.
Additionally, having a recording of your tour means you have something to offer people who were unable to attend in your follow-up email.
For example, you could email them saying that it is a shame that they couldn’t attend but that a recording link is available. This gives you an opportunity to communicate with potential parents. Furthermore, it improves the accessibility of your virtual school tour.
If you do plan on recording your online school tour, then you must disclose this to everyone involved and obtain their consent. You should do this in advance so that you can use the recording as you please in the future.
Produce High-Quality, Online Content
Virtual school tours do not always need to be live events. In fact, there are now a plethora of brilliant ways that you can use online content to create an interactive virtual school hub. This should be informative, interesting, and easy to navigate.
Your hub could feature:
- A video welcome from the headteacher
- A question-and-answer review noticeboard for parents
- Short video interviews with staff
- Video interviews with pupils from different year groups
- Videos discussing specific areas of interest, such as accessibility and financial aid
- A 360-degree digital tour of the school
Creating a strong virtual hub means that parents will have plenty to explore. Moreover, it will help them learn about your school. It also shows parents that you are easy to communicate with as well as being committed to supporting them.
Think Beyond Your School Virtual Tour
Speaking of a virtual hub, there are plenty of ways that you can expand your online tour to engage parents. Planning this event carefully will help all parents feel informed when participating.
You should also offer:
- A schedule breakdown, curriculum guides, and school plans in advance
- Guides on how to participate in the tour
- A help desk during the tour for anyone experiencing technical difficulties
- Access to more specialized presentation events, such as student panel discussions and information about the admissions process
Moreover, you should follow up your tour with an email thanking attendees for coming. You can also share contact details or links to your virtual hub accordingly within this email. This gives all of your tour attendees a chance to engage with the content when it suits them.
Find Professional Help Creating an Amazing Online School Tour Today
As you can see, when it comes to planning a school virtual tour there is plenty to keep in mind. Importantly, planning ahead and deciding your goals in advance will help you to create high-quality content that is sure to impress parents.
Are you looking for help creating an amazing online virtual tour for your school today? Then contact our team now to find out how Vuja Day Digital can help you build exactly what you are looking for.