2020 has been a challenging year for admissions—there is no getting around that. With a shortage of names typically available during this time, lack of in-person visits, and limited financial resources, there is no longer any such thing as a “traditional” senior search—at least for the short term.

At Spark451, we pride ourselves on being able to adapt to change and pivot to strategies that will help drive in a strong incoming class. That’s why we’re such strong believers in deadline-driven marketing, especially in this unique cycle. Here, we’ll explain some of the reasoning behind that philosophy, and highlight a specialized tactic that could help ensure you finish your Fall 2021 recruitment strong.

Why Timely Marketing is Critical

In this digital age, consumers are under constant pressure to buy something new or inquire about a new product or service. But, have you ever wondered why companies with deadline-driven campaigns, such as Amazon’s Prime Days, are so successful?

Marketing campaigns that emphasize deadlines compel consumers to take immediate action because they tap into our innate fear of missing out. This sense of urgency can be easily replicated in the higher education landscape.

Take, for example, a recent Spark451 partner case study: A small, private, liberal arts college in suburban Pennsylvania came to us looking for a strong winter push for Fall 2020 applications. We quickly launched our Supplemental Senior Search Program, which features a personalized letter and tip-in card, delivered in a branded envelope, as well as an accompanying e-communications nurture stream. Because all of the messaging prominently promoted an application deadline that was set for just a few weeks after we launched (and we tied in some special incentives), students immediately took action. In just a few short weeks, the effort provided a 27% lift in applications.

Why Supplemental Senior Search? (Hint: Strong ROI!)

At this point, your team has likely just finished launching your initial Senior Search campaign, and you’re starting to see your efforts roll in, so you’re probably wondering why you should even consider a Supplemental Senior Search. The short answer: Because now is the time to make sure all your bases are covered to ensure a successful year.

Supplemental Senior Search is a proven tactic for eliciting additional applications from those in your search pool who are actively engaging with your institution, or who have a high likelihood to apply.

At Spark451, we have conducted many successful Supplemental Senior Search campaigns— both for longstanding partnering institutions as well as new-to-us schools that have needed a late-stage push to increase their incoming classes. In fact, we’ve observed that students who receive these Supplemental Senior Search packages are twice as likely to submit an application than those who don’t receive the mailings.

As always, Spark451 ensures that every service we offer has trackable metrics. We create trackable URLs and performance dashboards that give you clear and immediate insights into the return on your investment.

Achieve Your Goals

With so many uncertainties in how this year’s class will shape up, we recommend planning for a Supplemental Senior Search early on in the cycle (now), so you’ll be poised to deploy this additional effort in the late fall or early winter months. Given the current recruitment landscape, you can feel fairly certain that you will benefit from having these additional touchpoints to help ensure you can hit your recruitment goals for the year.

Let us help you get there. Reach out when you’re ready to discuss specific strategies for your own Supplemental Senior Search.