Chegg, an online textbook rental service that provides textbooks to more than 6,000 college and university campuses nationwide, needed a better way to engage students on-the-go. The company decided to turn to the power of SMS and the mobile Web to extend its reach to students – and to make renting textbooks easier than ever before.
Even in the down economy, textbooks have never cost more. Chegg’s mission is to provide cheaper textbooks to students.
In late 2009, the company unveiled a new mobile campaign for checking prices. The SMS locator tool used books’ individual International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) or the actual book title, to show which textbooks would be available for Chegg users.
To promote the service Chegg also wanted to offer mobile coupons to give students an even larger discount on textbook rentals.
“We not only want to help students save a ton of money by renting their textbooks, but we want to provide them with a variety of options to do so. Working with Waterfall Mobile on this platform has given Chegg one more way to engage with students and provide them with the best service possible online and off.”
– Tina Couch, VP of Public Relations, Chegg
The Technology Solution
Chegg selected Waterfall Mobile’s Msgme platform to power the mobile campaign for its ISBN lookup and mobile coupons.
The Msgme platform empowers carriers, brands, agencies and technology companies to manage digital messaging and subscribers across mobile and social channels, including SMS, MMS, mobile apps, voice, Facebook and Twitter. Msgme enhances these channels by coupling seamless integration of mobile web, video, coupons and QR codes, with direct targeting tools such as location, demographic and user preferences.
With help from Waterfall Mobile, Chegg leveraged the power of Msgme to create a mobile SMS campaign that can be used by students across the country with ease.
The SMS campaign complemented Chegg’s existing Web-based rental service by adding a mobile component. The new mobile functionality allows students to text the book title or ISBN number to 44144; the student then receives back information on the book’s availability to rent, and cost.
Reply texts from Chegg also include a link to a WAP site where the user can rent the book in question. Each link sent is unique to the student’s ISBN number request.
When students text in, they are also given the option to join Chegg’s mobile subscription list and receive mobile coupons for future purchases. The company uses the coupons to promote Chegg’s services on college campuses.
“Chegg Champions” – brand ambassadors who promote coupon codes to fellow students – are rewarded with cash based on the recruitment of new customers and textbook rental orders. CheggChampions.com, a website exclusively for these brand ambassadors developed and maintained by interactive agency Horizon Marketing Group, allows Chegg Champions to promote coupon codes through a variety of channels, including mobile.
Since launching the SMS campaign in late 2009, Chegg has experienced remarkable growth. The service went from having 269 users text in to check availability and prices of books in August 2009 to having 20,505 users text in at the beginning of the semester in 2010.
In October 2009, the company experienced 403% growth in number of text-ins over the previous month. The number of texts received jumped by an additional 247% in November and then by 199% in the month of December. January saw an additional 200% growth with 20,505 students texting in to the short code for information on renting textbooks from Chegg.
Overall the campaign has been a giant success for Chegg, because it has proven to be a new way to engage with a hard-to-reach and constantly moving base of student customers. Mobile has proven to be such a viable channel for Chegg that the company has added a mobile component to additional campaigns.
Waterfall Mobile’s Msgme (www.msgme.com)
About Waterfall Mobile
Waterfall Mobile is the leader in digital messaging and CRM for enterprises. The company’s products, Msgme and AlertU, have revolutionized the way companies manage communications with their end users. The Msgme platform empowers carriers, brands, agencies and technology companies to manage digital messaging and subscribers across mobile and social channels, including SMS, MMS, mobile apps, voice, Facebook and Twitter. Msgme enhances these channels by coupling seamless integration of mobile web, video, coupons and QR codes, with direct targeting tools such as location, demographic and user preferences. Waterfall’s emergency alert notification platform, AlertU, is the industry’s first two-way, multichannel notification system serving as a critical component of the emergency communications infrastructure for over 2 million individuals.
Waterfall’s customers include Anheuser-Busch, Nokia, Ubisoft, Constant Contact, Guthy-Renker, PETA, Roc Nation, WPP, Publicis, Participant Media, and the California Community College system. Backed by Vista Equity Partners, Waterfall is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Austin. For more information, please visit www.waterfallmobile.com.
Founded in July 2007, Chegg.com is the number one online textbook rental company that has saved students on more than 6,400 campuses nationwide in excess of $200 million. Chegg. com offers students access to a growing catalog of more than 4.2 million titles, a variety of shipping options and free returns. As a part of the company’s on-going environmental efforts, they plant a tree every time a student rents from Chegg.com through a partnership with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf program. The company has grown into a respected and trusted brand used by college students and was recently named to the Wall Street Journal’s Next Big Thing: Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies. For more information, visit www.chegg.com.
About Horizon Marketing Group
Horizon Marketing Group (HMG) is a leading interactive marketing and communications agency delivering services to clients around the world. HMG’s network of branded companies provides advertising, social media strategy, email marketing, corporate communications, strategic media planning and buying, technology solutions, search marketing and public relations / ePR / Online Reputation Management to clients in more than 30 countries. Horizon Marketing Group’s family of companies includes Horizon Interactive, Vanguard Financial Consulting, Peer360, Relationship Capital Group and Divide The Ride. To learn more, visit www.horizonmarketing.com.