college virtual tours

4 Sure-Shot Ways to Attract International Students to Your University

It is human nature to seek greener pastures or brighter possibilities when you are growing up and trying to find your foothold in a fiercely competitive world. So, it is no surprise that for decades, students have been testing new waters when it comes to higher education. In other words, studying abroad has always had its own attraction for those who are looking for something more than what their home countries offer. So, most universities already realize the importance of drawing international students to their courses, as it not only means more revenue, but also better recognition at a global level. However, attracting international students to your university takes a bit of strategy and creativity. Keep these tips in mind.

  1. Give your website an extra edge – For starters, make your website multilingual. Integrating your CRM with Google Translate can do the trick. Better still, if you can create different sites for different languages, you can incorporate cultural cues and address students of different backgrounds in a more realistic way. For example, the cultural context for someone whose first language is English might be different from someone whose first language is Spanish. Make sure your website has all the necessary information related to courses, deadlines, admission, documentation, scholarships and financial aid. Make sure that international students have a way to contact an admission counselor through the site. Application forms should also be easy to translate in different languages.  

  2. Show the real picture with virtual tours – One of the best tips to attract international students to your university involves creating a virtual tour. Remember that studying abroad is a major decision for most students, especially those who have responsibilities back at home or are planning to take a break from work to pursue an expensive degree. And an immersive, engaging and interactive virtual tour is the best way to give them an exact idea about your institution, facilities, the locality and community, the campus culture, placement opportunities and so on. Plus, virtual tours are perfect for boosting brand awareness and drive conversions when students can’t visit your university in person before making a choice.

    Read – 5 ways to Assure Students That your College is Perfect for Them

  3. Put student testimonials to good use – Before taking an important decision like studying abroad, most applicants want to make sure that you can live up to your claim of being that dream university. So, to earn their trust, put together some glowing testimonials from your current and past international students. You can create blog posts, website stories and social media posts that showcase what they feel about your institution, what do they like the most there, how they have benefited from a particular course or scholarship, or what kind of jobs they have secured after graduating. This kind of brand advocacy can have a far-reaching impact and convince potential applicants that they are making the right choice by going with you. Try and include testimonials that answer common questions – they might be related to the cuisines served at the cafeteria, courses that have global appeal, housing options that allow students of the same culture to live together, and so on. 

  4. Power up communication – A brilliant marketing strategy to attract international students is to make communication smooth and easy. This means reaching out to them through social media channels, emails, text messages, WhatsApp, Skype and so on. Keep the language simple and avoid abbreviations as much as possible. Remember that not all students will be familiar enough with English. On your website or social media pages, make the contact button easy to see and enquiry forms should be simple and short. Try to reply at the earliest and keep a student’s background, culture, personal situations or needs in mind while doing so. You can use a Customer Relationship Management system to track all queries and comments better. Try to include more visual information in your communications, so that students don’t get tired of reading through a lot of text. Well-shot pictures, videos, infographics or simple graphs are recommended.  

So, you now know how to attract international students to your university without spending a lot of money or wasting a lot of time. Understanding what they might need or look for is the biggest key to the success of your marketing strategy. And if you need guidance with photographs, videos or virtual tours to take the game up a notch, shoot us an email at info@massinteract.com.  

Read Also –  Top 5 Ideas to Make your College Virtual Tour More Winning

Assure students that your college is perfect for them

5 ways to Assure Students That your College is Perfect for Them

Yes, the pandemic is still here, but life is gradually and carefully adapting to a new rhythm. Take college admissions, for instance. While students are eager to start a new phase of life, they are not too keen about travelling much or meeting a lot of people in person just yet. They want an easier way to find out about different campuses, compare them and then make a choice. So, how do you convince students to apply to your school even when you can’t meet them personally? Here are 5 smart tips that can help: 

  1. Informative and engaging blogs or articles – Any college worth its salt knows the importance of having an attractive and informative website. Along side a strong website, in-depth, interesting blogs and articles are the best way to add value to it. In fact, you can also churn out guest blogs to draw potential candidates from other reputed sites. How-to articles and guides can especially help students to find out more about your institution, how to apply, what courses to consider, how to get financial aid, and more. Plus, by including relevant keywords (phrases that potential applicants use while searching for colleges), you can rank high on Google over time and boost awareness. This will get you more traffic to your website and conversions.

    Read – 5 Mistakes to Avoid While Creating Custom Virtual Tour of Your College

  2. Appealing and meaningful visuals – One of the best ways to convince students to attend your college is to use visual media like well-shot images, exciting videos and immersive college virtual tours. Pictures speak louder than words, and so, include powerful visuals wherever possible, on your site and social media pages. They will ensure more engagement, better recall, and can help you beat competition. Virtual tours, especially, are perfect if you want students to explore your campus in a realistic manner and imagine their future there. You can also embed buttons like “Apply Now”, “Plan a Visit”, “Contact a Student Ambassador” etc. to drive conversions. 

  3. Smooth and effective communication – If you wish to attract students to your college in this tech-savvy era, you need to warm up to channels like text messsaging, email, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and so on. It can be a super effective way to send out updates and notices, especially if you want to reach students anytime, anywhere. This way, they won’t miss out on anything important, be it the last date for application or documents needed at the time of enrolment. Having multiple channels of communication also means students can get their doubts cleared whenever they want and appreciate your support. You can share visual information too, to hook them fast. This can lay the foundation for a long-term relationship. 

  4. Tap the power of social media – Social media marketing is among the best tools to increase college enrolment without spending a ton on physical or online ads. Building eye-catching pages that are rich in information can be your starting point, whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or all of them. Since youngsters spend a large chunk of time scrolling through their social feeds, your institution will come across as smart, progressive and friendly. You can create interesting and visual-rich posts about important events, the majors you offer, your faculty members, and your facilities, ranging from the lawns, pool and gym to dormitories, lecture halls, library. Sharing virtual tours on social media platforms is another clever way to ensure better engagement.

    Read – Top 5 Ideas to Make your College Virtual Tour More Winning

  5. Let your alumni speak – In order to convince students for admission, you have to walk the talk. Essentially, you have to prove what you claim. And for that, you can loop in alumni members and request them to create short videos where they talk about their on-campus experience, how they bagged good jobs from your placement cell or earned a prized football scholarship, how they enjoyed running around the gardens or splashing in the pool, how the locality or community made everyday life easy for them, and so on.    

All in all, it is not impossible to attract students to your college, despite the tremendous competition in the education sector, if you are a little creative and know how to keep up with the times. And the above tricks and tips must have made it evident how crucial visual marketing is, when it comes to improving college enrolment statistics. So, send us an email at info@massinteract.com if you need help with stunning photos, videos or virtual tours, and we will do it all for you.

Read also – Self-Guided College Virtual Tours Need These 5 Things

Google Street View

6 Ways in which Google Street View takes your business to a whole new level

If you are a business owner who stays on top of things when it comes to online marketing, you must have heard of Google Street View. This cool feature on Google Maps lets people take a virtual tour of your business’s surroundings as well as interiors. And they can do it while relaxing at home or while taking a walk in the park or during lunch break at the office. Now, that’s an awesome way to boost online visibility, engage your potential clients, and give them a sneak peek into what you offer. After all, this is the road that will lead them towards conversion. Whether you are a hotel, café, gym or spa, using Google Street View for business has plenty of benefits. Read on to know all about them.

  1. Makes customers trust you – Having a Google Street View virtual tour means you have nothing to hide from your potential customers. They can explore your property whenever they want and from wherever they want and put all their doubts to rest. Customers will also know that you are not making tall claims for nothing!
  2. Eases the decision process – With Google Street View, small businesses can clearly show prospects how their establishment looks like, the things they stock up on, and what kind of atmosphere they promise. Naturally, this makes it easy for your customers to compare your business with others, research easily and make a decision quickly. In absence of such a tour, they have to waste a lot of time reading other people’s reviews and hunting for pictures before taking a call.

    Read – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

  3. Attracts the right kind of audience – Imagine that you are a small boutique that sells only vintage wedding dresses and have some really unique pieces in your collection. Google Street View will help you reach out to the target audience for such dresses easily. When prospects take a tour, they will quickly realize where your specialty lies and why they should choose you over others. Also, by adding such a virtual tour to your Google My Business listing, you can attract more local customers.   
  4. Spreads a good word about you – This is among the top benefits of Google Street View as someone who has purchased something from your store or dined at your café can show the virtual tour to others while talking about the nice experience he had. For example, if a man buys a pair of stylish loafers from your store and talks about it to his friends while showing your street view, they will be more likely to believe his words. And, who knows, they might visit you too!

    Read Also – 5 Ways in Which the Real Estate Industry is Benefitting from Virtual Tours
  5. Prepares potential customers – The reason why most forward-thinking businesses are adopting Google Street View is because it tells people what they might expect when they reach your store, hotel, restaurant or any other establishment. Like, they will know beforehand where to park, how to approach, how to dress, and will be able to gauge the vibe and safety of your locality too.  
  6. Creates a lasting impression – Since the human brain tends to process images faster and retain them more than plain text, Google Street View for small businesses or even big ones can ensure better recall and make a positive impression. Even still images have become passé as immersive and realistic experiences are in. Hence, virtual tours are the way to go if you want to create a deep connection.

Now that you have a fair idea about the various advantages of Google Street View, it’s time to take action. Give your business a special boost with all-encompassing virtual tours, especially if your competitors are yet to warm up to the idea. Need a little help to get started? Shoot us an email at info@massinteract.com.  

Read Also – Google Interactive Tours vs Street View: Which is Better?

Online Marketing Tips to Boost College

Top Online Marketing Tips to Boost College Admissions

Like any other business, higher education institutes need to go online these days, if they want to get more students or improve college admission numbers. After all, high school students who are planning to get into a good college take the online route mostly, to check out websites, make comparisons, or even apply for a course. And the current pandemic has made it essential for them to stay home, stay safe, and use their laptops or mobile phones to research different colleges and universities. And this is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on.     

So, take a look at these online marketing tips to get more students:

  1. Know who you are targeting – If you intend to target “all” prospective students, your marketing campaign might fail. Because, not everyone will be a perfect fit for your college. So, identify your ideal target audience and research about what social media channels they use, if they are active on emails, and their online behavior. Then you can craft personalized campaigns about the programs they might like or the facilities (campus location or setting, dorm rooms, cafeteria, gym, library) that will attract them. 
  2. Sell your uniqueness – Why should a potential student choose your college over others? There must be something unique about you. So, one of the online college marketing tips is to highlight that USP. So, your online marketing strategy should focus on your strengths and chief attractions. It might be a location that is easily accessible, or beautiful campus grounds, a massive and well-stocked library, impressive faculty or a canteen that serves a wide array of cuisines.    
  3. Make the website awesome – Ifyou want prospective students or their parents to visit your website more and linger on, make sure it is extremely responsive, fast to load and easy to navigate across all devices. It should look professional yet engaging. Add crisp and well-shot images to increase interest of site visitors and also embed college virtual tours for an immersive and interactive experience. Such 360 degree tours give a clear idea of what your college is like and tell the student how he or she will fit in.

    Read – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

  4. Optimize site for search engines – Your SEO strategy should be smart and updated, so that you get more organic traffic to your website. For this, you need to use relevant keywords in your web content based on the phrases potential candidates use to search for a college like yours. Even your social media pages and blogs should be optimized for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  5. Experiment with content formats and marketing channels – Apart from your website,use yourFacebook page to build a community of students and parents, where you can share events, upload informative videos, and create polls or fun quizzes. This will help you communicate better with your target audience, understand their pain points, solve their worries and gradually nudge them towards conversion.

    1. Also try and maintain a blog where you post informative pieces regularly and share them on social media channels.
    2. LinkedIn is a great platform for colleges too and can showcase your formal side effectively. You can also ask ex-students to join your LinkedIn group and share their experiences. This can reel in new students. 
    3. You can also use YouTube to post videos. Or, share the virtual tour on your website on social channels, to get more clicks.
    4. Email newsletters every week if possible, to boost brand awareness and engage students.  

No matter what type of content you share or which online marketing channel you choose, make sure to include a powerful call to action or CTA at the end, like “Find out more”, “Ask questions” or “Apply now”, so that the student knows exactly what to do. This will get you more applications.

Apart from the points mentioned above, make sure your brand voice and tone is consistent across all marketing channels, so that students can easily associate your campaigns (posts, tweets or ads) with you. And if you need the best visuals to boost your online presence, say with college campus virtual tours, send an email to info@massinteract.com.  

Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

4 Best Practices to Create Successful Virtual Tours in Higher Education

Thanks to the intense competition online businesses face these days (with every small and big brand vying for customer attention), it isn’t surprising that many of them are using virtual tours to gain a competitive edge. And it’s not just hotels, gyms and spas that are using these 360 degree tours to attract and engage potential customers. Higher education institutes like colleges and universities have also adopted these tours to bring in more applications and make the students’ online experience better. Moreover, the COVID outbreak made it essential for colleges to replace in-person campus visits with virtual tours for introduction and orientation. In fact, close to 1.4 million people watched campus virtual tours on YouVisit from March to April this year.

However, with so many virtual tours for education out there, you need to follow these best practices, to stand out and convince students to choose you over others:    

  1. Tell a story – Did you know that the average age of those who take virtual tours of colleges is 16.6? This means, they are at that juncture of life when they have plenty of dreams as well as questions, and they are keen to know if your college will take care of them and nurture their ambitions. So, your virtual tour should clearly tell them why you are unique as an institution and better than others. It might be your awesome location, beautiful campus, great recreational facilities, vast library or the exclusive courses you offer. Here is how the Art Institute of Vancouver nailed it.
  2. Focus on the basics – No matter how wonderful your college virtual tour is, it won’t engage with students unless it is easy to find and navigate. So, have it on the Home page of your website or on the Admissions page. The tour should load quickly but look compelling too. Share the tour on social media pages as students are more likely to come across it there, given their age. Also, the tour should be easy to explore across all devices. Check out how University of Windsor is making it happen.   

    Read – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

  3. Ensure an immersive experience – This basically means that students should be able to imagine themselves on your campus, in various settings, whether they are doing their own thing or interacting with others. In other words, your college virtual tour shouldn’t just be a walk through the different campus areas or facilities. Like, instead of just showing what the cafeteria or classrooms look like, cover the types of foods served or students attending a live teaching session. Highlight students having fun in the dormitories or counselors offering career guidance. This will show candidates that your institution is a living, breathing affair and can actually cater to their needs.   
  4. Use Call to Action or CTA for better engagement – University virtual tours need to incorporate powerful and specific call to actions to convert the viewer into an applicant. For example, if your tour zeroes in on the admission office at the end, include a button for application here to nudge the prospective candidate to apply online. Or, if your state and city regulations permit, you can add a link to schedule an in-person visit later on. CTAs can also encourage a student to ask more questions or connect on social media.   

To wrap up, virtual tours have become absolutely necessary for higher education institutes to reel in candidates, impress them, and establish a meaningful connection. After all, this year, high school students are checking out such tours at a 228% higher rate than in 2019. So, if you feel that you need some expert guidance to put together a unique virtual tour, just email us at info@massinteract.com

Must Read – Get Your College the Attention It deserves with a Custom Virtual Tour

3D Virtual Tour

6 Ways in Which A 3D Virtual Tour Can Boost Your Presence on Google

As an online business, you must be aware how cut-throat the competition is, when it comes to ranking high on the Google search results page or getting more website traffic, especially in the light of the pandemic. So, to stand out from others and boost you digital presence, a 3D virtual tour is one of your best and most innovative bets. After all, visual content sticks to the viewer’s brain way more than plain text. In fact, websites that feature 360 degree photos witness a 27% higher conversion rate than those with the usual 2D images. So, you might well imagine how effective an interactive and realistic virtual tour can be!  

Now, find out how Google virtual tours can improve your business’s online presence in multiple ways:

  1. More customer engagement – A high-quality 3D virtual tour can encourage your site visitors to interact more with your content and spend more time on it, thereby reducing the bounce rate. Your potential customers can get a better feel of what you offer, whether you are a café, spa, gym, hotel, college or even golf course, and trust you more. They will also consider you to be a progressive business that keeps up with the times to reach out to its target audience. And it can translate to higher customer satisfaction.  

    Read – Find Out Why Your Business Needs 3D Mapping for That Competitive Edge

  2. SEO boost and better Google ranking – Better customer engagement with a 360 degree virtual tour basically means that Google will reward your site by ranking it higher than others. That is because it will consider it more valuable, informative and relevant for searchers. The click-through rate will increase as potential customers will be curious about what your tour covers. Even if you have already optimized your textual content for the search engines by including the right keywords, a virtual tour will boost your SEO strategy by keeping site visitors hooked for long.   
  3. Local search optimization – By adding a virtual tour to your Google My Business listing, you will show up more when someone in the locality searches for a business like you near him. And that is because Google will consider your listing to be more trustworthy as you are offering visual proof of your establishment and have nothing to hide.  
  • Easy to share or embed – It is pretty easy to embed a business 3D virtual tour on a website or social media page. And it can be shared quickly as well. This means, you will be able to reach a wider audience base than you previously could, or more site visitors. Hence, such tours are ideal for boosting brand awareness, promoting the features or benefits of your business or products, and getting conversions in the long run.

    Read – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses
  • Sensible move during the pandemic – The COVID pandemic has made it quite impossible for most people to visit restaurants, resorts, gyms, educational institutions or adventure parks in person. However, with a 3D virtual tour, you can help them make plans for when things go back to normal. They can explore your offerings from the comfort and safety of their homes and make an informed decision. This is also a good way to show them that you care about their pain points and are embracing new things to make life easy.
  • Competitive edge – If your competitors are still using the same old 2D images on their websites to reel in traffic, this is the time to make the most of virtual tours. You will be offering an exciting and unique experience to your target audience this way, and can grab and hold their attention, generate more leads, and convince them to make a booking or buy something.     

All in all, a 3D virtual tour for business can boost your global Google presence forever, despite being a one-time investment. No matter where your potential customers are located, they will be able to view your tour, visit your website and convert. So, are you ready to give your business new life with a virtual tour? Simply email to info@massinteract.com and get expert help. 

Read Also – Google Interactive Tours vs Street View: Which is Better?

Why Wedding Venues Need Virtual Tours to Gain a Competitive Edge

My particular upbringing has allowed me to gain a great deal of insight into the challenge that wedding venues run into when recruiting clients. Wedding venue owners work strenuously to create and market the perfect space for couples to experience the best day of their life.

I grew up in Apple River, IL, on an outdoor wedding venue called Oak Hill Weddings. My mother decided to invest in building a wedding venue from scratch, which naturally became a family business. I have watched couples come to our venue in search of their “happily ever after”, throughout my life. I have helped my mother with everything from touring to marketing – which has proven to be one of the most challenging parts of owning a small business, given our many competitors.

Every year, in the United States, around 2.5 million weddings are held. This steadfast industry is hard to disrupt – the institution of marriage continues to be respected and cherished! So, what is the secret to successful wedding venue marketing? Wedding Wire, a listing and blogging platform devoted to weddings, popped up in 2006, allowing brides to quickly evaluate potential venues. Similar platforms started to emerge soon after, such as WeddingBee, Bridal tweet, Wedding Mapper, etc. Nowadays, along with this free marketing, venue owners tend to lean on social media, Google Search, and their website, to sell their services. Although a website is essential to successfully build a business, small business owners need a competitive edge to stand out and make an impression.

Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

I also interviewed my mother’s managing partner, Sandra Wolfram, about the challenges that Oak Hill Weddings has faced with regard to marketing development. She stated, “Our clients come from a 2.5 hour radius, making it hard for potential clients to make the trip to Oak Hill Weddings. In-person tours have also declined tremendously, given the current societal circumstances – COVID-19. We have multiple beautiful outdoor ceremony sites, a brand-new pavilion, a barnhouse, country store, and church that are dying to be shown off.”

The solution? A virtual tour, also known as 360 degree panoramic imagery. A virtual tour offers a uniquely immersive online experience, giving potential clients the opportunity to explore the beauty of a venue, without being physically present. Business owners can embed this tour on their website, social media pages, and all Google platforms, to boost bookings as well as online traffic. Hence, a virtual tour can eliminate the stress of marketing and simultaneously improve a business’s image, sales, and brand value.

Read Also – 5 Ways in Which the Real Estate Industry is Benefitting from Virtual Tours

360° Photography

Hands-On Guide to Getting Started with 360° Photography

When it comes to immersive viewing experience, nothing comes closeto a 360° photo. With the deep insight into the surrounding, it capturesthe attention right away. If you are charmed by 360° images and are looking for the pro tips to get started with 360° photography, you are at the right place!

What is 360° Photography and Why It’s So Exciting?

In an age where Facebook and Instagram dominate the sphere and smartphones like iPhones and Galaxies challenge the supremacy of DSLRs, sharing stunning images has become an order of the day. While businesses share eye-catching shots of their offerings to stay in the hunt, netizens share their memories to win attention.

Thanks to the ability to deliver vivid detail, 360° photography has become a rage today. For those uninitiated, 360° images are a series of still images snapped in a sequence, presenting a remarkable view of not just the subject but also the background.

Read – The Top 4 Predictions for the Future of Photography

What sort of gears do you need to capture 360° shots like a Pro?

The key to capturing top-notch 360° photos is to have an armory of solid gears. If you don’t want to compromise with the quality of the shots, invest in them.

DSLR or flagship smartphones like iPhone and Pixel

Though smartphones like iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxies have come a long way in terms of camera quality, they are still not in the same league as DSLRs. So, get one to deliver top-of-the-line visual appeal.

A robust tripod

You should go for a robust tripod for better control. It can let you install your DSLR or smartphone perfectly to capture desired shots from different angles.

Cayer AF2451 ($164.99 on Amazon) is one of the better professional camera

tripods.Constructed with high-grade aluminum, it sports a durable appearance. What puts it ahead of the curve is the ability to offer 360°-panning and +90/-70° tilt.

(Pic Credit – Amazon)

Fisheye lens featuring 180° FOV

The fisheye lens with 180° FOV (field of view)is designed to deliver excellent visual distortion that plays a vital role in creating wide panoramic or hemispherical photos.

Shutter release cable or remote

We would suggest you get this one. Pressing the shutter button with the finger could cause the VR head to shift which might disarray the stitch alignment. Thus, get a remote without fail.

Pick the right software

There is no dearth of software for 360° stitching. However, the 360° photo stitching programs that are ahead of the curve are PTGui and Hugin.

Go for a neat VR head

A VR head comes in super handy when you want to set up your equipment to shoot 360° pics. And for this purpose, it’s Nodal Ninja Ultimate seems a touch better than many other counterparts.

Read – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

Best tips and tricks to shoot top-notch 360° photos

No matter how good your gears are, they can’t deliver the best, if you haven’t set them up properly. For starters, find the perfect spot for the camera and ideally set up the tripod in keeping with the theme and the sort of images you want to capture.

Another step is to fine-tune the camera settings like focus, aperture, white balance, and shutter speed in line with your needs. For instance, if you want to capture sharp and detailed images, always shoot 360 images at an aperture of f/8.

Shooting 360 photos with precision

Once you have customized the camera settings, it’s time to get started with the shooting. We are going to use the Nodal Ninja VR head powered by the Sigma 8mm fisheye lens.

To get a full-on 360° image, we will need to snap four photos at 0°, 90°, 180°, and 270°. Bear in mind, rotating the VR head counterclockwise could unscrew it. Therefore, always make it a point to rotate it clockwise.

After that, you can export your stitched panoramic image and share it with your friends or followers. If you wish, you can even turn it into a 360° virtual tour by using programs like My360 and Pano2VR.

Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

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