AN ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL CLEARING

Clearing is immensely important for universities and should not be taken lightly. According to UCAS’s Clare Marchant, there have been a record number of student applying through clearing, with just over 60,000 this year. It is therefore crucially important to not only create an effective marketing plan, but also implement a clear strategic campaign that will help to draw the potential prospects in.

Clearing is becoming more and more competitive each year. Universities need to think longer in advance about Clearing campaigns in order to remain competitive on Clearing day.

Once we established the importance of clearing and how much difference an effective marketing strategy can make, we have broken down some simple guidelines for universities to follow and to ensure they use clearing to its full potential.

1. STRATEGY

It is crucial to come up with a strategy first to make sure the marketing communications activities are meeting its objectives. Make the objectives as clear as possible, whether it be the amount of applications or raising awareness of number of courses a university is offering during clearing.

It is also essential to determine which platforms will be the key medium for most of the marketing communication (such as social media like Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, etc.). Lastly, your strategy plan should also address a set budget.

2. RESEARCH

The key to any successful campaign is conducting thorough research first and looking into clearing results from previous years. Evaluating what has previously worked and what was essentially a waste of resources can make a huge impact on the success of clearing in 2019.

Moreover, it is crucial to learn from any mistakes and adapt to the new trends. For example, is Instagram your biggest platform? If so, the campaign needs to reflect that.

3. TIMING

The golden rule is to start earlier than you would think. Any successful marketing communications need to start in advance to build momentum.

Make sure you have a certain plan to follow, so there are no panic or last-minute decisions to make that could interfere with the outcome of the campaign.

4. DIGITAL MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

As the majority of your target audience has a strong presence across various social media platforms, it is logical to employ marketing tactics concentrating on these platforms. According to our research, focusing on introducing the courses online is the most determining factor for most students.

Social media provides plenty of options and lets your content be as creative as you would like, on top of making it sharable and editable. Additionally, there is also a potential to engage in conversations with the desired demographics directly.

5. EXECUTION OF CAMPAIGNS

The possibilities of presenting your campaign are endless, though it is recommended to have a separate website as it is more concise, can handle spikes in traffic and we can add really specific retargeting methods on it.

Generally-speaking, the design and presentation should aim to keep the essential information brief, summarising and attractive to the audience.

And please, do not forget, it is a two-way communication, therefore the campaign should always be as clear and responsive as possible.

TOP 5 KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Create a strategy first: build clear SMART objectives that relate to what you want to achieve
  2. Conduct thorough research: learn from past campaigns and insights to ensure budget is spent wisely
  3. Start early: building brand awareness can take time. Make sure students are aware of your offering in advance of Clearing
  4. Leverage social media: the vast majority of your target audience will be on social media. Take advantage of this
  5. Specific landing pages: think about sending students to Clearing specific landing pages to increase conversions