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How Her Campus Media Increased Subscribers by 72%

Compelling content—and Mailchimp’s Drupal integration—helps the media company stay relevant to their community.

HerCampus Media


  • Industry: Digital media
  • Location: Boston
  • Company size: 50
  • Year founded: 2009

Published: February 11, 2021

Founded by 3 Harvard undergraduate students in 2009, Her Campus Media empowers women to get the most out of their college career through editorial and social content, conferences, resources, training, and networking. They now have chapters on more than 500 campuses in 11 countries, helping women navigate their college life and career prospects.

Her Campus Media connects their corporate clients like Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, and Microsoft with their large Gen Z audience through marketing programs, their own media brands (Her Campus, College Fashionista, InfluenceHer Collective, Generation Hired, and Spoon University), sponsored events, influencer programs, and more.

Her Campus Media has 49,000 community members made up of student contributors, influencers, and brand ambassadors, who create the content that college women consume. They boast a large digital footprint of 19 million unique monthly visitors to their sites, 130 million social followers, and 5 media portfolio brands.

Within this student community are several distinct subgroups with their own goals, identities, and messaging. For example, Her Campus Media's Campus Trendsetters serve as sample groups for market research in return for product sneak peeks and exclusive opportunities for professional experience.

Co-founder, Cheif Product Officer, and Creative Director Annie Wang says Her Campus Media is a longtime Mailchimp user. They stay top of mind for their audience by building authentic brand affinity and word-of-mouth, and email is their main marketing source. “It’s an essential tool for us to organize and communicate with our communities,” says Annie. “There wouldn't be a Her Campus without our chapters and our student members.”

“The inbox is a sacred space… so we want to make sure that people who are receiving these emails find them of value.”

Annie Wang, Co-Founder, CPO, and Creative Director of Her Campus Media

The challenge: Empowering their members while keeping their messaging organized and relevant

Members of these different student groups shift status throughout their time with Her Campus Media, and therefore email lists as well, and manually managing their lists would take a full-time job. Her Campus Media needed a way to ensure their members get the right messaging so they’ll stay engaged with the content, and also wanted to continue growing their community. And during the pandemic, members were looking for more virtual opportunities for networking and pre-professional experience.

The tools: Mailchimp email + Drupal integration

Drupal is a content management system that allows the student contributors at chapters all over the world to upload their content to their specific site. The Drupal integration for Mailchimp allows Her Campus Media to keep all the contributors' member profiles updated so they can provide the most relevant content for each Drupal user.

When roles and permissions change on the Drupal site (for example, when a member graduates or takes on a leadership position within their chapter) their email list changes too—and it’s all automatically synced in Mailchimp. This ensures every audience member profile is up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive without having to do any extra work. “It keeps all of our community members in the right bucket, receiving the correct communications,” says Annie.

Her Campus Media uses Mailchimp signup forms integrated into the Her Campus site from Drupal, which saves time and enables passive growth of their lists. They also use segmentation for client campaigns. When they market location-based content, events, or promotions, they’ll target by ZIP code radius to ensure recipients get the right information. They stay connected by using email automations for onboarding new subscribers to their newsletters and following up with virtual event attendees.

They also fulfill their core mission to empower college women by providing valuable content. Their recent Campus Trendsetters campaign contained information about beta testing a new product before it was available to the public, and focused on job and internship opportunities, which excited readers to engage with the email.

The results: Cost savings, more contacts, more engagement

Her Campus Media’s email lists would have to be managed manually without the Drupal integration. But with the integration, it’s all done automatically, and they can dedicate the money spent on a full-time salary on other things. “It's reduced the number of personnel we've had to have dedicated to our communications strategy, and ensures accuracy as well,” Annie says.

  • 72%

    growth in the Her Campus Team email list in 2020

  • 64%

    open rate for Campus Trendsetters campaign

  • 11%

    click rate for Campus Trendsetters campaign

Advice for other businesses

Annie says that businesses should always provide value with their content. Email is a direct, on-demand way to communicate, and staying relevant shows you respect the readers’ time—and helps you make the most of your marketing. Her Campus Media’s email newsletters were originally called “Study Breaks” to evoke a feeling of relief from the demands of classes and studying, giving the reader a reason to open it and engage. “The inbox is a sacred space… so we want to make sure that people who are receiving these emails find them of value,” says Annie.

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