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SheEdits is Empowering Futures, One SMS at a Time

A visionary approach to scholarship guidance expands access to higher education, powered by strategic email and SMS campaigns.

A cheerful teenager and her mother sitting together at a desk, looking at a laptop.

Millions of young Americans graduate from high school every year, their sights set on college. It's a time of dreams and anticipation—yet for many, it's also a time of significant financial stress. These days, getting a college education isn't only about your GPA or SAT score. The question of how and where to find the funds for tuition, books, and living expenses looms large.

Brianna Membres, founder and CEO of SheEdits, remembers this feeling all too well. She was the first in her family to go to college, and dishing out $40K per year was just not in the cards. She knew there was money out there, in the form of grants and scholarships, but she didn't know where to find them or how to apply for them successfully.

Still, Brianna was determined to graduate without massive debt. She started digging into the scholarship process. With support and guidance from her mom, she completed applications, wrote essays, and filled out forms. It worked. Brianna never took out a single student loan and graduated debt-free. She even received refund checks every semester as her grants and awards brought down her tuition fees. "I literally got paid to go to school," she recalls. Brianna wanted to find a way to pass this knowledge on to others, so she started her own business, SheEdits, providing professional scholarship services to high school and college-age students.

Today, SheEdits has helped students nationwide secure nearly $2,000,000 in funding. For Brianna and her team of 8, it’s not just about the money, it's about making a real impact on students' lives. Key to their success? Tools like Mailchimp's email and SMS services, which allow Brianna to share her knowledge at scale.

We talked to Brianna about SheEdits and how Mailchimp tools help her achieve her goals.

Tell us a little bit about SheEdits. Why do your customers choose you?

SheEdits is your go-to source for college funding guidance. We offer workshops and coaching subscriptions to help students find and access scholarships and grants. Our primary goal is to help students and families, especially those with limited financial resources, access the funding they need to achieve their academic goals.

How can customers engage with your services?

Our first entry point is our scholarship workshop that outlines the basics of finding and securing funding. From there, we aim to upsell them into our full program, which operates on a coaching subscription model, with two different levels depending on how much support they need.

Once a student or family subscribes to our program, they can stay on for as long as they want. Typically, our subscribers stay with us for about a year. My goal is for our students to gain enough knowledge and skills through our program that they no longer need us. I know our business model relies on long-term subscribers, but personally, I want them to get results more than I want them to stay subscribers.

What are your marketing goals as you grow and expand?

Because our subscriber life cycle is fairly short, a lot of our marketing efforts are focused on bringing new students into our program. We want SheEdits to be top of mind when it comes to scholarship and grant support, so we are constantly marketing and looking for ways to connect with potential customers.

Our peak season is typically from January to May—when students receive college acceptance letters and families start thinking about tuition costs—but we aim to reach students and families year-round, as there is always a need for funding and support in higher education. Marketing-wise, this means being constantly engaged, no matter what time of year it is.

Smiling mother and daughter looking at a smartphone together

What marketing tactics have helped you get where you are today?

Knowing who our audience is and then tailoring how we speak to them has been key. We primarily target 35-to-50-year-old women, specifically mothers, as they are often the ones who sign up their children for our services. To reach them, we use a combination of email, SMS, paid advertising, and social media.

SMS specifically has been a game changer for us. It's a more immediate and personal way to reach our audience. We use SMS primarily during our peak season to remind families about upcoming deadlines and workshops. 

On top of that, we focus a lot on audience and targeting. We use Mailchimp as our CRM, which gives us a ton of usable data about our subscribers. Knowing the gender, age, and location of our leads helps us tailor our messaging and target specific groups. Plus, we can track our leads no matter where they come from—Facebook, Instagram, email, you name it—so we only have to manage one platform.

Have any recent campaigns stood out as being exceptionally successful?

We had a fantastic June and July this year [2023], and a lot of that success is thanks to our SMS campaigns. I recently reviewed our sales data and noticed that within 15-20 minutes of sending out an SMS, we were seeing sales. I also noticed that whenever we send out an SMS one hour before one of our workshops, we see a surge in signups. The urgency and immediacy of text messaging really helps drive attendance and engagement.

The segmentation and targeting options within Mailchimp have also helped us reach our target audience more efficiently. Being able to tailor our messages to specific demographics has really helped us reach the right audience and drive results. My past SMS tool did not have this feature, and it made a noticeable difference in our campaigns.

You mentioned you were using another SMS tool before Mailchimp. What prompted the switch?

I received an email saying I could be a beta tester for Mailchimp SMS. I was already using Mailchimp for my email marketing and was happy with it, so I figured why not give the SMS feature a try?

While I had been using another platform for SMS before, I wasn't in love with it. It was fine, but Mailchimp's SMS feature was easier to use, it integrated with my existing email data, and it was more cost-effective. I also already knew the customer service would be excellent, which is important for me as a business owner. If things go wrong, I need a quick response!

Having everything in one place—customer data, SMS messaging, and segmentation—has saved us tons of time and helps us stay organized as a small business.

What’s next for SheEdits? What can we expect?

Our goal is to reach even more students and families in need of scholarships and grant support. We want to be the first choice for supporting higher education financing. 

We also want to continue developing a strong community within SheEdits, creating resources and opportunities for our subscribers to connect and support each other throughout their academic journeys. Ultimately, our goal is to be not just a resource for funding, but also a supportive community for students and families alike.

Published: April 12, 2024

Looking to personalize your marketing and boost engagement? Discover how SMS marketing can help.

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