How Baylor University Uses Zipwhip to Sell Tickets & Teach Students in Their S3 Sports Program

Student from Baylor University's S3 Program

Succeeding on the field in professional sports takes dedication, hard work and great coaching. Students entering the business side of professional athletics are discovering that having top-notch training is equally important for them to find success in their careers as well. Developing the right skills and learning how to incorporate the latest software technology with tried-and-true business practices will allow them to put their best foot forward and increase their chances of getting scouted for their dream job, whether it’s located in the team’s front or back office.

Leveling the playing field

Sports teams across the country are finding new and interesting ways to utilize texting for business, but none quite like Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In addition to using texting in their ticketing office to promote their sports programs and engage with fans, the Division I school with 19 varsity-level teams is using the popular messaging platform as part of the training in their Sports Strategy and Sales (S3) major.

Dr. Darryl Lehnus, director of the Baylor University program, wanted to know what types of entry-level jobs were available with pro sports teams to give students a leg up when planning their education and careers. He reached out to several professional organizations and found that the best place to get a foot in the door was in the sales department. In response to his outreach efforts, some pro sports team representatives and salespeople even visited Baylor students to provide guidance and a real-world view of what it’s like working in the sports field.

How texting has become a game-changer

There has been an evolution in sales methods over the years, from telephone calls to email messages to texting. It wasn’t until recently that the school even began including texting as an option in their sales strategy. Initially, students in the S3 program were turned off by making calls, sometimes 80 to 100 a day. The young people weren’t used to talking on the phone, and they didn’t like the rejection they faced when they tried to make a sale.

However, when texting was introduced as an effective way to reach potential customers, things began to change. Not only did many of their prospects prefer to be reached via text message, the students overwhelmingly favored the method, too. “Everybody in class has made at least one sale by texting, solely by texting without a phone call being involved. So now when they find they can communicate with the world in the way they want and have success, they’re finding they can do it,” Dr. Lehnus said.

With texting gaining in popularity, and with more messaging features soon to be available with RCS (Rich Communication Services), having students who are familiar with business texting has allowed the school to train and place students in a more digitally oriented world. There is a lot of opportunity for professional sports teams to capitalize on the changing digital landscape and for their salespeople to succeed by reaching more fans and by filling more seats.

By being able to engage the ticket-holder population with text messaging, the sports teams have been able to keep their stands filled and their fans happy.

Yet, an important part of any sales strategy is knowing when to make contact. Connecting with your audience at the right time, when they’re ready to engage and take action, is key. Deciding how to reach out to them is another important consideration. In the past, phone calls were the best way to connect, but there were limitations to how many people you could reach in a day. And it was challenging to connect with a real live person, with your call often going directly to voicemail possibly never to be listened to at all. Before you knew it, an entire afternoon was spent on the phone and all you had to show for it was a sore left ear and the hope that some of your messages actually made it through to the intended recipients.

Increase fan engagement with texting

Technology advancements and customer communication preferences are changing rapidly. According to a Gallup Poll, texting is taking the lead as the preferred method of communication among millennials. Nowhere is that more evident than across university and college campuses where students and their mobile phones are joined at the hip or, more accurately, at the hand.

With such quick and easy access, it’s no wonder texting has emerged as the preferred way to stay in touch. And unlike email messages that can get buried in an inbox, text messages get noticed and they get read in less time than email. According to Zipwhip’s 2019 State of Texting report, 74% of consumers said they have zero unread text messages at a given time, while only 17% said the same for email.

Scoring tickets has never been easier with text messages

Matthew Brandsema, director of ticket sales for Baylor Athletics, shared how things are changing in the industry in relation to how people communicate. With the switch to a younger demographic population of their fans, texting is the most efficient way to communicate with them. “Texting provides that constant alert. It places more emphasis on the message. Emails are constantly arriving and flooding their inbox. But texts get noticed immediately.” He added that it’s easier to get in touch with people by text, especially since his department has a smaller staff. With Zipwhip, he and his team can easily schedule messages and appointment reminders in advance, which frees them up to focus on other tasks during the day.

When a group text goes out to students announcing that tickets are on sale, they notice it and tend to respond sooner rather than later. Yet it’s not just students who benefit from text messages. Many of their regular ticket holders are working men and women who are busy during the day. Texting simply places more emphasis on the message compared to email. For example, when the athletic sales department needs to send a message about a deadline to purchase season tickets, the message is received and action gets taken.

At Baylor University, whether it’s in the S3 program or the ticket sales department, Zipwhip is helping to make communicating with their students and sports fans more efficient. Check out how you can add texting to your existing sales and service department phone numbers with Zipwhip’s two-way texting platform. Engage with season ticket holders and follow up on customer service inquires on the medium your fans prefer: texting. Your fans want to text you. Let them choose to “text or call” today.

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