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3 things we learnt planning university clearing campaigns

We’re taking a look back at some of the lessons we’ve learned when planning clearing campaigns.
Mel Parry-Graham

Mel Parry-Graham

3 minute read
June 24, 2021
We’re taking a look back at some of the lessons we’ve learned when planning clearing campaigns.
3 things we learnt planning university clearing campaigns Image

Clearing has become an essential part of today’s university admissions process. And with over 50,000 students having got their places through clearing in 2020, it’s clearly a system that works.

With A-Level results day just 6 weeks away, clearing campaigns are set to kick off in full force in early August. So, we’re taking a look back at some of the lessons we’ve learned when planning clearing campaigns here at Eleven.


Get into the right mindset

The most important place to start with planning a clearing campaign is putting yourself into the audience’s shoes. It’s more than likely that going through clearing is an unexpected outcome for them, so it’s important to acknowledge and respect their situation. They may be feeling panicked and overwhelmed, so it’s important to ensure that you’re clearly communicating what you have to offer through readily available resources.

When working with the University of Salford on a previous clearing campaign, this is precisely where we started. We worked very closely with the University to identify the reasons they were using clearing, and what challenges they would be facing as a result. This also helped us to build an understanding of how the students were feeling at this point in their education.

Armed with this knowledge, we were able to ensure we were communicating to students with both empathy and understanding.


Make students feel empowered

Clearing is rarely a first choice for students, so a clearing campaign needs to help them feel back in control of their future and empowered to make the next steps. Going through clearing doesn’t mean that students have to give up on their dream. They can still have a fantastic university experience and get a great degree. Students still have a choice when it comes to clearing, so your campaign should be geared around encouraging them to choose you.

We crafted a message for Salford students that communicated that clearing wasn’t as scary as they might think. Our approach was to present clearing as an exciting opportunity to explore, something and somewhere, new. Our messaging was based around the concept that whilst you can’t predict the future, you can create your own. And clearing can help open a door to that future.

You can view one of the animations we created below:



Speak to students in the right places

Clearing campaigns are relatively short-lived, so it’s important to make sure that you’re speaking to the right people - in the right places. Great channels for capturing attention and generating leads include paid social and google ads, as well as contextual marketing and remarketing.

However, simply waiting around for clearing to open to kick-start your campaign would be a mistake. You should be taking advantage of the period before clearing starts to engage with your audience and build awareness of your brand, using longer form content. This means that once clearing has officially opened up, you can re-engage with that audience and remind them of the fantastic experience you can offer.


If you’re a university looking for effective ways to engage prospective students in the coming months, get in touch with a member of our team and we would love to discuss how we can help.