Over the past few years, campus maps and virtual tools have moved from a nice-to-have gadget to a vital tool when it comes to spreading the word about your university or college. Used correctly, they have the potential to increase enrollment, engage alumni, and vitalize the local community.
These types of digital maps are especially beneficial thanks to their versatility. Though often used in recruitment, their potential benefits range far beyond the admissions office. More specifically, here are five ways in which schools and universities can use their maps and virtual tools to meet and exceed marketing objectives.
1) Maximize the Potential of Campus Visits
The most common use case of this tool tends to be in the enrollment space. Admissions professionals know just how important campus visits are; once you get a prospective student to experience your atmosphere for themselves, they become more likely to apply and eventually enroll.
That core concept has led to the proliferation of open houses, admitted student days, and similar events. But what happens when an interested prospect cannot make it to campus? That’s where virtual tours enter the equation.
Put simply, these types of interactive maps give your admissions office the opportunity to showcase the campus in its best light to students from around the world. They help you control the narrative, while also providing your prospects with the connection they need to make their application and deposit decision. In other words, they’re the virtual equivalent of a campus visit in driving enrollment.
2) Engage and Vitalize Alumni
Of course, virtual tours and interactive campus maps can do far more than act as an enrollment driver. In addition, they can also help to both engage and vitalize your recent and long-time alumni. The right tour can prompt feelings of nostalgia and increase the likelihood of staying in touch with your past students.
These types of alumni-based virtual tours can take a variety of shapes. For instance, you can drive home the nostalgia factor by showing old videos, campus locations, and photographs. Another opportunity is a status of your campus in its current state, showing alumni just how far you’ve come since they graduated.
Engaged alumni, of course, benefit your institution in a variety of ways. The most obvious benefit is donations, which go up if your audience feels connected to your campus and university brand. In addition, more engaged and vitalized alumni also become more likely to participate in events, and spread the word about your school in their personal conversations.
3) Organize and Streamline Major Events
In addition to showcasing your campus, interactive maps and virtual tours can also serve a functional purpose. Especially before, during, and after large campus events, these features can become vital tools in helping you and your audience plan everything for a smooth execution.
Interactive maps, for instance, can provide real-time parking information for any visitors. Virtual tours can prepare these same visitors for their arrival, helping them through the maze of dorm rooms and academic buildings that make up most campuses.
The potential functionalities for this option are significant. During graduation as well as major concerts or sporting events, your audience can enter and exit campus more easily, increasing convenience for everyone involved. You can even suggest alternative routes through campus to minimize traffic and maximize efficiency.
4) Showcase Innovative Programs and Initiatives
The university landscape is getting increasingly competitive, both in recruiting new students and competing for research grants. To stand out, you have to make sure that your audiences recognize the unique accomplishments your school can offer compared to its peers.
The possibilities here range widely. For instance, you can use a virtual tour to highlight your campus sustainability, with facts and videos about your LEED-certified buildings and recycling initiatives. You can also showcase other unique initiatives, ranging from unique academic programs to new construction projects.
In many ways, this use case of an interactive map and/or virtual tour also connects with the other points mentioned above. A new academic program will be interesting to both students and parents. Meanwhile, a new building will showcase alumni donations put to good use, and its opening ceremony may require visitor organization.
5) Go Beyond Main Campus
All of the above examples focus in on your school’s main campus. In reality, though, an interactive map can do much more than simply digitize the area most of your constituents already know so well.
In other words, you might want to consider going beyond main campus. Through a digital tour, you can highlight your satellite locations across the region and even internationally, along with partner universities that make for perfect study abroad locations. You can also use the map feature to highlight the alumni now working across the globe after receiving their education from you.
Going beyond main campus highlights both the functional and marketing benefits of an interactive map. Functionally, you can provide a roadmap for anyone interested in a location that’s not core to your institution. From a marketing perspective, you can offer compelling visuals of your university’s global reach.
In short, interactive maps and virtual tours find a variety of uses across campuses in the United States and abroad. The key to success is not simply limiting yourself to the most obvious use case, but expanding your scope to maximize the possibilities you can get from this marketing and organizational tool.
To make all of that happen, of course, your map needs to be accurate and visually appealing. That means working with a vendor who can accomplish both, while also understanding and building in your school’s unique brand and vision. When you get that partner, the possibilities of your interactive maps are almost endless.
Concept3D is just the partner you’re looking for! If you’re interested in improving your university through the use of maps and virtual tours, contact us today or click below for a free sample.