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Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: How the University of Louisville Helped to Integrate New Students

The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky used a smart SMS system to welcome in eager freshmen to campus.

Looking back on your college years probably brings back a mix of emotions. Added in to those sleepless nights cramming for the next day’s exam are plenty of great memories with friends, as well as the struggle of acclimating to life away from home. Now imagine if you would have had the help of your university in making the transition a little easier your freshman year.

For the students at the University of Louisville, this idea turned into a reality, all thanks to a savvy SMS marketing campaign. Even if your focus is on promoting goods and services to eager customers, there’s still myriad lessons to be learned by delving into the particulars of this innovative text messaging approach.

Finding a Better Way

At the heart of this campaign was the desire to make assimilating into college life easier for new students. By minimizing the shock of this process, the team at Louisville felt that new additions to the student body would have a better chance at succeeding in both their personal and academic lives. However, the big issue standing in the way came from the unwillingness of the freshman class to regularly check their official university email inboxes.

While these students generally end up using the school-based email system as a primary means of staying connected with class members and faculty eventually, the university found that early adoption of this method was woefully inadequate during the weeks leading up to the beginning of the semester. However, if there’s one thing about students fresh out of high school that holds true in virtually any situation, it’s that these young people can’t get enough texting.

With this in mind, the team at Louisville decided to build a dedicated SMS campaign that would help keep these new members to campus informed and aware of all upcoming orientation and freshman events. In order to make sure these students heard the message loud a clear, those who opted-in received a free week of campus parking for joining the contact list. Additionally, having new members to the list respond back with the three things they were most looking forward to upon entering college life helped the university learn a little more about these bright young minds.

Creating a Warm and Welcoming Environment

To say the response was positive sells the success of the campaign short in a major way. During the first year of the outreach program, the team at Louisville connected with approximately 500 incoming freshman via SMS messaging. As a result, the university not only gained a new venue for communicating with the portion of the student body that needs guidance and direction most, it also helped bridge the gap that previously occurred between acceptance to the school and slipping into the habit or regularly checking official university email accounts.

Today, Louisville continues to broaden its text messaging outreach program by including reminders about campus visits, application deadlines, and more. Despite serving as a more nontraditional case study, the primary lesson learned from this campaign still holds true for organizations in a variety of industries and nonprofit settings – the younger generations love text messaging.

Taking Notes for Your Next Big SMS Test

So now that we’ve closed the chapter on the University of Louisville’s SMS success story, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to good use for your brand. First off, there’s no denying the power of text messaging when it comes to reaching out to the 18 to 24 demographic. If your target audience falls in to this range, chances are they’ll be more than receptive to the idea of texting with your company or organization.

Also, value in the SMS setting can go beyond traditional coupons and discounts. While these staples serve as a primary part of the mobile marketing process in many campaigns, providing your audience with useful and relevant news and information can also add value to the SMS experience from an entirely different, but equally effective, angle. With these lessons in hand, you’ll be ready to ace your next text message campaign test and start on the path to connecting with the consumers and individuals that matter most to your brand or organization.

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About Victor Green

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