The Christian Connector pairs high school students with Christian universities. Sending information by SMS encourages students to take the next steps.
Every year, over half a million students enroll at Christian colleges and universities around the nation. According to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), there are nearly four million alumni from Christian higher ed institutions around the world! These include former NASA astronaut Richard James Hieb, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, and Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, among others.
But even with a strong network of students and alumni, many Christian educational institutions need help reaching potential students.
That’s where The Christian Connector comes in. For the last 21 years, they have been linking Christian universities with interested students.
We spoke to Thom Seagren, the founder and president. A product of Christian higher education himself, he started the company because he saw a need for Christian colleges to find qualified leads. And with his background in advertising, he knew he could help.
When high school seniors land on TCC’s website, they are given the option to complete a free information request form. Based on their graduation year, GPA, where in the U.S. they want to go, and other factors, TCC can then send relevant scholarship offers and information about universities and colleges.
As Thom puts it, “Completing the free information request form is like attending a huge Christian college fair without ever leaving home.”
Colleges who wish to reach students can do so through a variety of channels including advertising on the TCC website and sending emails. “But it all starts with that student having to request information in the first place,” explains Thom.
Recently, The Christian Connector has begun to experiment with text message marketing.
Thom got curious about using SMS after chatting with a client who mentioned they were seeing success using text messages.
After researching a few competitors, his team decided to move forward with SimpleTexting. There were two main factors that influenced this decision: dedication to compliance and affordable pricing.
“It seemed to me SimpleTexting was serious about the compliance issue and took great measures to ensure everything was legal and appropriate,” says Thom. “You really stood out in that area to me.”
It all starts with the free information request form. Students are asked their names, high school, major of interest, GPA, and other preliminary info. They’re also given the option to provide their phone number and check a box if they’re interested in receiving text messages.
After they submit their info, they’re signed up to receive information from dozens of Christian colleges, universities, and Bible colleges who want to connect with them. Not to mention, they’re automatically entered into an annual $2,500 Christian college scholarship drawing.
In addition to asking new leads to subscribe, The Christian Connector also sent out an email to their existing list, informing them about the new text program.
Then, they sent out their first campaign: a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship.
How effective were the text messages? Let’s look at the numbers. TCC sent out two messages promoting the same offer. One through texting and one through email.
The email received a 16% open rate and a 2% click-through rate. According to email marketing benchmarks from Mailchimp, this is normal for higher ed customers.
On the other hand, forms sent by text message saw a 10% completion rate. Not just opening, or clicking the link—but actually filling out the form and hitting submit.
“It was just under a 2% click-through rate on the email. And not all of those will complete the form,” says Thom.
Even with the benefit of the doubt, if all of the students who clicked the email filled out the form, TCC still saw a 5x higher completion rate by text message.
TCC is just getting started with texting. These results are promising, and they’re going to continue to experiment with sending out different types of content and information by SMS. In addition to college information, they also provide career planning resources, application tips, financial aid, and more.
We’re proud to work with The Christian Connector as a partner, and look forward to seeing what they do next. Do you have a business or organization that could benefit from higher engagement rates? Sign up today for a 14-day free trial to start seeing similar results. And if you ever need any help, our customer support team is here for you. Just click the blue chat bubble in the corner of the screen.
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