University Uses Direct Mail to Increase Donations
Johnson University takes pride not only in ensuring its students are prepared for a successful career, but also in maintaining an environment that enables them to build strong relationships. To create an ideal environment, the university prioritizes safety and accessibility of their campus facilities. With most of the campus being built in 1893, some of the facilities are due for an upgrade.
The Tennessee-based campus had a goal of improving one specific building in the lower level of the Eubanks Activities Center, known as the River Grill. While this restaurant and its patio have been a popular hangout spot for students, it is also a spot that a quarter of the student body is unable to reach. Some students with mobility and visual impairments are unable to access the Grill due to a crumbling railing that flanks the Grill’s back stairs. It became imperative to the university that an update be made to increase accessibility.
In order to replace the handrails with safer ones, Johnson University launched a fundraising campaign. The university partnered with Prisma to help execute a direct mail campaign using Prisma’s DM360 marketing solution. DM360 allowed the university to track the effectiveness of their direct mail campaign while enhancing results through the integration of digital platforms including online and social media ads. This omnichannel approach would help them raise awareness of their efforts and gather the donations needed to complete the remodel.
During this campaign, the university also wanted to identify if people were more likely to engage with a female-oriented social media ad or a male-oriented social media ad. To gain the best insights, an A/B test was deployed by running two separate campaigns. Johnson University designed two social media ads and mail pieces, one featuring male students and the other featuring female students. To see which creative would generate a more favorable response, the mail list was split.
The campaigns ran for 30 days, reaching their target audience multiple times across multiple platforms. A total of 307,985 ads were displayed with an average of 85 impressions per recipient. The campaigns concluded with a 20.34% overall engagement rate, surpassing the DM360 target rate of 1%. The social media ad featuring male students significantly outperformed the ad featuring female students, receiving 72% more engagement. The campaigns performed successfully and the university was able to answer their question of which social media ad attracts more engagement.