The University of Chester wanted to stand apart from the fierce competition of summer Clearing, and worked with Net Natives to deliver a comprehensive marketing strategy to increase Clearing applications and acceptances, and reduce the number of self-releases.
For our early lead generation activity, we opted for a Q&A-style advertising campaign, designed to connect with students at an uncertain, stressful time. This technique allowed us to build up a large database of interested students, growing engagement and connection as they moved through their customer journey, communicating the campaign narrative in a familiar, consequential way.
The Q&A ads allowed us to position ourselves as a beacon of information and understanding, offering solutions to prospective students’ problems and adding real value to the Clearing process. The campaign title ‘Let’s Get September Sorted’ reflected the notion of working together, while implying that if students hadn’t already ‘got it sorted’, they could easily achieve this with teamwork and the right information.
This tactic also meant the ROI for the campaign was higher as we didn’t focus on spending budget at the most expensive time (Clearing day). By weighting our budget on earlier engagement, we ensured that when Clearing started, the message to Get September Sorted had already reached our core audience, enabling us to convert them for a lower cost.
The campaign was based on sector insight. It was holistic, covering more than just Clearing applicants, as well as creative and engaging, giving students honest and genuine messaging at a stressful time. It spoke directly to them in their own voice, and created a real feeling of excitement, welcoming them safely onto the campus and reassuring them about their future.
The campaign communicated openly and honestly, addressing concerns and positioning Chester as a supportive, empathetic ally in the student journey. In the process we increased Clearing applications by 44% and acceptances by 48% year-on-year and reduced self-releases, exceeding campaign objectives.