Virtual open days have exponentially risen in popularity. With prospective students spread out around the globe, Virtual Open Days offer a convenient way for them to learn about university programs, campus life, and other opportunities, without having to fly to the other side of the world. 

But how do you get the word across? While the opportunity is immense, execution can be tricky. Your best bet at getting in touch with a global audience is through digital marketing. 

And here’s how you can get started with marketing virtual open days.

1. Create a landing page/event registration page

This is going to be the destination point for all your marketing efforts. From this page, you want prospective students to:

  1. Get all event-related details
  2. Register for the event 

These two actions make it the most important part of your event marketing campaign. It will also need to be user-friendly, visually appealing, and informative to really encourage registrations.

So, what should your landing page look like? Here are the things you need to include:

  • Event  dates and times.
  • Event details such as why you are hosting it and who it is for.
  • A registration link and a login link, ideally above the fold.
  • An agenda and speaker information.

The University of Salford’s SPD department created the perfect landing page for their event by keeping it to the point, using a clear headline and CTAs, including event information, and publishing an event agenda at the very bottom.

SPD landing page

Apart from having a structured platform for providing event details, a landing page also helps you get more exposure. If your marketing efforts are bringing visitors to this page, you’ll be able to increase traffic and consequently, visibility in search engine results. 

Let’s take a look at how we’ll accomplish that. 

2. Leveraging website pop-ups

The first place you should be marketing your landing page is on your website.

Why so? A major chunk of your website traffic is going to be prospective students looking for program details and ways to apply to the university. An open day is exactly what they’ll want to know about.

So, what kind of forms should you be using? There are a number of different types you can use and you don’t have to stick to just one! A subtle top bar ensures that every visitor to your website sees the open day notification (regardless of the page they land on) and a more prominent pop-up box that can easily be closed can ensure that visitors don’t miss the link. We’d recommend combining both but you can test different kinds of forms and use the ones that work best for you. 

3. Using email marketing

Now that we have our landing page and pop-ups on the website, it’s time to get the word out. 

The first place to target is people who are already on your mailing list. This list will include prospective students who sign up for your email list. 

While these sign-ups are the most important part of the list, you can also drive traffic from the alumni, students, and faculty members on the list. These recipients can forward the open day information to their siblings or friends interested in pursuing a degree at your campus. This is why you should be sending out the email to your entire mailing list. 

For your event marketing emails, ensure that:

  • The subject clearly states that it is an invitation for your open day.
  • The email contains information about the open day such as time, and date. 
  • It contains a link to your landing page or directly to the registration form. The form should take their email address, name, and programs of interest. 
  • Your template is mobile-responsive.
  • The call-to-action clearly stands out in the email. 

Open day email

Next, you’ll want to know when to send out these emails. Here’s a sample schedule to follow:

  • First email: Three weeks before the event. 
  • Second email: One week before the event. 
  • Third email: A day before the event.

Send a minimum of two and a maximum of three emails for marketing your virtual open day. Too little, and people might end up forgetting about the event, and too much, they might just mark you as spam.

4. Getting the word out on social media 

Next, utilize your social media following to amp up your event promotions. This works like magic as those truly interested in pursuing your university for their education would be following you on social media. Secondly, a lot of students are active on social media channels so if your posts get shared around, you’ll be able to multiply your reach. 

But what channels should you be targeting? 73% of Gen Z adults use Instagram and 63% use Snapchat so those are going to give you the most ROI. Then, you can target Twitter.

Here’s a little checklist you can use to make the most of social media marketing:

  1. Announce your open day on all your social media channels three weeks in advance.
  2. Create a hashtag for your event such as #NYUopenday.
  3. Every three days, share more information about the event such as speaker details or program details or alumni testimonials. 
  4. Include the landing page link in every post that you make, and add it to your bio. 
  5. Add color to your posts by using visuals, such as pictures of the speakers, campus photos, or graphics with event information. 
  6. Experiment with student forums, subreddits, or Quora questions to unlock unexpected streams of traffic.
  7. Use UTM links for all your posts, measure the performance of each channel, then keep optimizing your efforts based on the information you gain. 

5. Building visibility on search with PPC marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is an optional marketing technique for event marketing. But it is still quite effective! If you have the budget for it and would like more visibility, then you need to experiment with this marketing type.

Advertise your open day on Google or Bing by placing ads for the relevant search terms such as ‘open days’, ‘university applications’, and ‘under-graduate schools’.

You can also utilize PPC on social channels by using Facebook and Linkedin ads and targeting social media users by age groups (mostly individuals between 18 to 30 years of age). Retargeting ads also help remind those who visited your website but didn’t sign up the first time. 


Marketing is often the most important step to event success. Appealing to prospective students is hard if they don’t have an opportunity to learn about your school. Well-planned and carefully executed marketing campaigns ensure that event attendees are both high in number and also relevant to your open day. 

In order to nail marketing your virtual open day, you need to have an informative, catchy landing page that includes all the relevant event information and clear CTAs, website pop-ups that direct visitors to the event registration page, emails that inform prospective students about the upcoming event, social posts to create a buzz around your event, and paid ads to drive traffic from search engines. 

Try these out and let us know what worked for you!

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