Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… April 2009

April 1 greetings to everyone and best wishes for success in separating the foolish from the factual today. In a year when all seems a bit crazy, a little foolishness is welcome.

One thing is true for everyone: budget dollars are tight. If you recruit adult students and want to know more about stretching marketing dollars for greater impact, attend the Carol Aslanian June conference on “Web Marketing to Reach Adult and Graduate Students.” Save $100 when you enter “Bob100” in the “discount code” box on the registration form. Program details are at

Thanks to everyone who has become a Twitter follower since the New Year. For daily, brief marketing updates join me at

For reviews on how 26 dedicated admission sites are using Twitter visit my social media marketing blog post at

And now for our marketing news and notes for April.
New College and University Review Site

“Student Views of College Life” has joined the competition for future college students who want information about colleges and universities from the perspective of the people enrolled now.

When I visited yesterday, NYU was the featured school with 5 videos and 107 reviews available.

Check to see what people are showing and saying about your school at
Print to Electronic Publications

As budgets get tighter, so too does the pressure to move as many publications as possible from print to online formats. One major example of that has appeared at the University of Florida as a “Think Before You Ink” web page that encourages everyone across campus to review what is done in print and switch as much as possible to an online version.

The site offers seminars on effective email communications, email analytics, and much more.

See the future arriving now at
100 Twitter Tools

Whether you have been on Twitter for a while now or are just thinking about getting started, you will benefit from scanning the links to 100 Twitter tools available on the Sociable Blog, with a brief description of what each one is designed to do. The 100 are broken into 10 categories that start with Twitter Analysis and close with Blogging.

See the full list at
New YouTube EDU Offers Marketing Opportunity

With the ever-expanding popularity of online video, don’t delay a visit to YouTube’s new section for higher education partners. The directory of current participants starts with Amherst College and ends with Yale University. Scan the alpha list to see if your competitors are already here and plan to add your application soon.

Current participants are as diverse as Grand Rapids Community College with 749 videos and MIT with 893 selections. Most schools have fewer than 100 videos.

Measure marketing impact not only from the number of times your videos are watched but also from the number of people who become your subscribers. UC Berkeley has 23,638 subscribers and Yale has 930.

Expand your video horizons at
Twitter from the Trenches at Washington State

A comment often heard at conference presentations: “What is it going to take to add social media to our communications? How do we find the time?”

That answer will differ from place to place, but Barb Chamberlain offers you insights from her real world experiences in setting up and operating a Twitter site for Washington State University Spokane.

Learn more, including her favorite Twitter tools to evaluate success, at
Will Facebook Replace Google for Web Advertising?

Gary Stein asks that question in a ClickZ article at

Stein is speculating that with the continued growth of social media, it may well pass Google as a source of new people visiting our websites. That might be as true for higher education as for anyone else. Stein recently wrote an article extolling the direct marketing advantages of Facebook.

Today, there is no sign that Google will not remain important. It owns the search category. But, whether you do paid advertising or not, pay extra attention this year to the source of new visitors to your website. Take a count now. Count again in 6 and 9 months. That might tell you much about the value of your social media sites as sources of new leads.
Marketing in a Time of Scarce Resources has just published the second of 2 articles by Jonathan Kranz, “10 High-Impact, Low-Budget Ideas for Marketing in a Down Economy.”

This is a must-read article if you want affirmation to stay with what works and avoid chasing new fads while still paying attention to changes that impact your marketing success. The key point: inventory the strength of the resources you have now and make sure your marketing plan takes best advantage of them.

Track back from part 2 of the article at
Analytics Interview: What to Measure

Avinash Kaushik is the author of a fine book, “Web Analytics, An Hour a Day” and writer of a blog at

Kaushik recently completed an AdAge interview on what you should measure at your website, with an emphasis on using your analytics program to track what people do as it relates to your marketing goals. In a nutshell, the goal is tracking behavior rather than collecting stats.

A major reason that keeps many people from the best use of web analytics is simply the overwhelming amount of possible data. To help sort out the necessary from the nice and the irrelevant, read the Kaushik interview at
Near 400,000 Enrollment at University of Phoenix

Fiscal 2009 results from the second quarter are out from the Apollo Group and show net revenue of $876 million based primarily on Phoenix “degreed enrollment” that reached 397,700.

On the marketing side, “selling and promotional” expenses were $225.7 million or 25.8 percent of n
et revenue.

More financial details at
Facebook Creates New Marketing Challenges

The recent changes to Facebook mean that colleges and universities using Facebook in their marketing plans have to change old practices.

Heather Mansfield at DIOSA communications has just started a new series of “best practice” tips for the new Facebook. The first 3 are at

After you review these, sign at the bottom of the page to receive ongoing recommendations.
FAFSA Forms and Service Marketing

The FAFSA form is not easy to complete. That is the gist of a Chronicle of Higher Education article reviewing the challenges to revising the form for easier completion. Read that article at

In my website reviews, I often come upon financial aid pages that link people directly to the FAFSA site. How much smarter a marketing move to at least first provide some help to the “normal human beings” who will struggle with the form.

The Chronicle article, for instance, notes that terms like “emancipated minor” and “unaccompanied youth” are obstacles to completion. How about a glossary at college and university websites that defines terms like these in everyday language rather than words understood only by the bureaucrats who created them? Make that glossary prominent just before dumping people into FAFSA site.

Nice example of service marketing.
Amherst College Online Alumni Magazine

If you have attended one of my “Writing Right for the Web” presentations, you know what I think about putting major 4-color print publications online as PDFs with the expectation that many people will read them.

Today I am celebrating another example of an alumni magazine done right for the web, complete with extra features found only online. Visit

If you have not yet made a similar change, get that in your alumni communications plan soon.
Mobile Marketing: Maybe 2009 is Not the Year

Chronicle of Higher Education reports results of two campus surveys about college students and expectations for mobile communications. The bottom line: less than 25 percent of college students have smart phones (needed for serious mobile marketing) and most of them are not looking for upgrades that indicate an interest in mobile marketing messages.

Most popular thing to do on smart phones: make phone calls.

Marketing message: keep watching but do not invest time or money just yet.

Read the details at
My Upcoming Presentations in 2009

Share questions and answers with people like yourself who are building a competitive edge in higher education marketing. Join me for one or more of these events!

June 4-5, Chicago, IL: Aslanian Group, Web Marketing to Adult Students: “Writing Right for the Web” and “Using Adult Friendly Social Media in Marketing.” Enter “Bob100” as a discount code to save $100 from the registration fee. Review the sessions at

June 15, Orlando, FL: Career College Association: “Anatomy of a Student Community,” Google hosted panel discussion. Conference details at

June 21-25, San Antonio, TX: College Sports Information Directors of America, Annual Conference: “Writing Right for the Web.” Conference program at

July 15-17, Chicago, IL: ACT Enrollment Planners Conference: “Student Recruitment in an Online World: Creating a Recruitment Communications Plan in a World without Paper: 2009 Update” (Pre-conference workshop) and “Rating Higher Education Websites: The Student Experience.” Review the program and register at

July 20-22, Chicago, IL: eduWeb 2009: “Student Recruitment in the Online World: Communicating from First Web Search to Final Enrollment” (Pre-conference workshop). Sessions and registration at

October 26-27, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin System, Adult Student Recruitment & Retention Conference: “Key Website Features for Adult Student Recruitment.” Conference information is at

Increase ROI from your online marketing. Expand the writing, editing, and search marketing skills of people on your campus. Host a campus workshop on online marketing.

Contact me at
That’s All for Now

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D. (
President and Senior Consultant
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

Increase your online marketing success with these services.
• Customer Carewords Research with Gerry McGovern
• Writing Right for the Web On-Campus Workshops
• Marketing Communications Website Review
• Competitive Website Reviews

Start now at


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