Lawrence Academy can trace its history back to 1793, making it one of the oldest independent schools in the United States. For more than two centuries, the institution’s mission has been to inspire students to give back to their communities and take action for the greater good.
The challenge: Drive effective communication with a small (but mighty) marketing team
Any school that predates the telegraph knows a thing or two about adapting to new communication channels. But for Lawrence Academy’s twelve-person marketing team, it was still a challenge to communicate effectively with nearly 9,000 students, parents, volunteers, and alumni. “We try to keep our community engaged as much as possible,” said Ben Rogers, Director of Alumni Leadership Giving. “But when we see things like a young generation that’s not checking email, we know we need different ways to connect.” But with such a lean team, could they spare the resources to manage a whole other channel?
The solution: Strategically using SMS for maximum impact
SMS offered Lawrence Academy a new communication channel better suited for a young generation. More importantly, SMS provided vital data to inform the rest of their strategy: The academy used open rates and response to segment and customize targeted lists of those individuals who preferred SMS.
The school also made a choice to deploy SMS for specific, high-impact messages. “We don’t want to oversaturate. We may only text a few times a year,” Rogers said. “But where email gets buried, people are more apt to read and respond to a text.” By using data to create a smart strategy, the Lawrence Academy team was able to embrace a new channel without overwhelming their resources.
The results: Low-maintenance, high-engagement communications
By using data to identify their most highly engaged SMS users, and being judicious about how and when they send messages, Lawrence Academy has been able to add and manage the channel without straining their resources. SMS marketing has now been integrated into fundraising campaigns, alumni engagement, student communications, and more — all of which helps this historic academy build their relationship with a new generation.
Texting offers us a different form of outreach — one that people today are tuned in to. Someone who isn’t checking their email will still respond well to a text.Ben Rogers, Director of Alumni Leadership Giving, Lawrence Academy
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“Where email gets buried, people are more apt to read and respond to a text.“
Ben Rogers, of Lawrence Academy, says that by using data to create a smart strategy, the Lawrence Academy team was able to embrace a new channel [SMS] without overwhelming their resources. And connect with their younger audience on their preferred channel. Ready to give it a try?