About

Established in 1953, The College of Business at the University of Louisville enhances the intellectual and economic vitality of its city, the region, and the broader business world through its academic programs, research, and community outreach activities. They strongly believe that lives improve through entrepreneurship, innovation, critical and rigorous thinking, diverse ideas, and people. University of Louisville College of Business is ranked 85th nationally in the U.S. News & World Report Business School rankings. 94% of graduates are employed within 9 months of graduation. 

Background

University of Louisville College of Business currently enrolls nearly 2,600 students in its undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programs. The college has an impressive—and aggressive—plan for growth: to double its enrollment in 5 years, along with increasing the number of programs it offers. 

Challenge

University of Louisville (UofL) College of Business was looking for a way to reach and engage with prospects, students, alumni, and staff. Because the college is in the midst of an aggressive growth plan, its marketing team needed a more direct way to communicate and engage prospects throughout the application process to increase enrollment. They were also looking for a way to drive on-campus and digital event attendance by communicating with students where they spend the majority of their time—mobile devices. 

Solution

Partner with Attentive to communicate 1:1 with prospects, students, alumni, and staff. Leverage segmentation to send highly relevant updates to each audience to drive admissions, enrollment, event attendance, and donations. “Our audience is very young. Frankly, they’re not checking their email—even if it’s for something important like award letters or signing up for their student account,” said Sharon Handy, Director of College Communications, PR, and Marketing at UofL College of Business. “Students want to be reached by text messaging instead.”

Not only have we been able to reach prospective students—our original target audience—with text messaging, but we’ve also been able to communicate with all of the other audiences that we need to build engagement with—our alumni, staff, and current students across the entire university. It’s been very successful.” 

– Sharon Handy, Director of College Communications, PR, & Marketing, University of Louisville College of Business

Strategy

University of Louisville College of Business drives opt-ins for its personalized text messaging program on its mobile website using Attentive’s “two-tap” sign-up creatives. UofL College of Business also drives sign-ups on its desktop site. The sign-up creatives—designed by the Attentive team—match UofL College of Business’s branding and fit seamlessly into the site’s user experience.  “We recently launched a new website that was mobile-first,” explained Handy. “One of our goals for the website was to increase user engagement. By capturing text messaging subscribers as soon as they land on our site, we’re able to establish a connection with them right away—and continue the conversation even after they’ve left the site.” UofL College of Business also drives text messaging opt-ins by sharing text-to-join keywords in email signatures and at in-person events. 

The college segments its subscriber list to send highly relevant content that each subscriber wants to receive. “I wouldn’t send the same text message to my friend and my daughter,” said Handy. “The same logic applies to our text messaging subscribers. We speak directly to each segment, rather than sending out a blanket message. This approach has led to powerful results.” By sharing content targeted to each segment, UofL College of Business has established its text messaging channel as the go-to place to stay up-to-date. “Our community now expects to hear from us via text messaging, rather than email,” explained Handy.  

To engage prospects and students during times when they can’t be on campus, University of Louisville College of Business invites text messaging subscribers to virtual events like info sessions. By sending these invitations directly to where students will be tuning in—their mobile devices—UofL College of Business is able to increase attendance. “We sent a text message to our subscribers inviting them to our virtual graduation event,” said Handy. “We had over 1,000 people tune in—it was a fantastic turnout.” 

People are signing up like crazy—staff, students across campus, alumni, and donors all want to stay informed via text messaging. The channel is very conversational, which helps us build strong relationships with our audience.”

– Sharon Handy, Director of College Communications, PR, & Marketing, University of Louisville College of Business

Results

The University of Louisville College of Business has seen fantastic performance with Attentive. It’s rapidly grown a list of engaged text messaging subscribers—seeing a 289% increase in opt-ins over three months. 

By initiating two-way conversations via its audience’s preferred communications channel—text messaging—UofL College of Business has significantly increased message engagement. “For our email program, a strong performance metric is getting a 3.5% click-through rate,” said Handy. “That just wasn’t cutting it. Our text messaging program with Attentive regularly sees click-through rates of close to 20%. I’m really thrilled with that.”

This increased engagement has made a tangible impact on the UofL College of Business’s community. To help students who were struggling financially due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the college launched a care fund. It then sent a text message inviting subscribers to donate to the fund. “Our text messaging channel has been really great to engage our alumni and donor base,” explained Handy. “When we sent the message asking them to contribute to the student support fund, we saw an immediate response.” 

The difference we've found with Attentive is the power of their platform and the power of their wonderful team. This was our first experience with text messaging, so the Attentive team's white glove approach has been invaluable as we grow our channel. It's not a plug-and-play platform—I've got a team at Attentive that helps me every step of the way.

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