June is upon us and official summer is not far away. Here in Michigan it is already not yet dark at 9 PM. Marvelous.
Social media marketing, for good reasons, is the rage of 2009. But as usual in the midst of any boom, caveats exist. Some are included here this month.
This summer has turned into a special season for webinars. Several scheduled from June 17 to August 11 are listed at the end of the newsletter.
Summer is also conference season. Join me at pre-conference workshops on communicating in the online world at either ACT Enrollment Planners Conference or eduWeb 2009. Details are at www.act.org/epc/ for ACT and at www.eduwebconference.com/ for eduWeb.
And now for your marketing news and notes for June.
Branding Budgets at Major Universities
AdAge has just noticed that higher education spends money on marketing. Not nearly as much as their total budgets would allow by industry standards, but enough to note that they “dabble” to the tune of $5.1 million, in the case of the University of Maryland media spend in 2008.
To see how much a few others “dabble,” visit the AdAge article at adage.com/article?article_id=136984
While not many schools are included here, it is nice to see numbers other than those for University of Phoenix ($15+ million). And it would be even nicer to see the media spend levels for the flagship universities in each state compared to their total budgets. Yes, dreaming. But it would be nice.
Like it or not, higher education is a competitive place and you cannot compete effectively without a realistic marketing budget.
Twitter Not Yet for Recruiting Teens
No doubt you have seen the recent reports about how admissions offices are moving to add social media to the marketing communications mix. And in general, that is a good and necessary step.
But for now, if you want to focus on Facebook and YouTube and leave Twitter for later, you can be comfortable with that as far as the teen audience is concerned. Most teens, it seems, are not enamored of the Twitter phenomena.
For details, check the article from Social Computing Journal at socialcomputingjournal.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=824
And note that LinkedIn is mainly populated by people over 40 year of age. So hold any advertising plans for adult students much younger than that.
Things can change. But it is always a good to balance enthusiasm with facts to focus limited marketing resources in the best direction.
Twitter and Adult Student Recruitment
Given what we know about the age of Twitter users, people recruiting adult students should explore this option.
To start, read my brief reviews of how 7 schools are using Twitter for this market segment. The results at www.bobjohnsonblog.com/2009/05/twitter-and-adult-student-recruitment-not-yet-prime-time.html
Note that University of Phoenix came to this late, in mid-May. Since then, Phoenix has employed an aggressive update pattern (71 in less than a month as of June 2) and gained 309 followers. The review also includes UMass Online, Penn State World Campus, Harvard Extension School and other for-profit schools.
Social Networking Growth Advances in Age
You can be more comfortable today than just a year ago that efforts put into mainstream social media (Facebook and/or MySpace depending on your students) will pay dividends based on large participation increases among people over 29 years of age. See the details reported by Ad Week at www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/e3i9ba0bc99fcd0242c4a2903531676e8bb
Remember that creating a social networking presence is not for the faint of heart. Let people have real conversations about what they like and do not like about your college or university. If you cannot bring yourself to do that, then best not venture into this world of true reality marketing.
Azusa Pacific Creates Mobile Web Options
What happens when people try to access your website from an iPhone or other mobile device? That can get ugly, can it not?
Azusa Pacific University has taken an important step in the right direction with a new mobile website that lets people access class schedule, athletics news, social media sites, dining menus, campus directories and more from an iPhone or an iPod. And, wisely, they are working on a new version that will allow access from other smart phones.
Yes, Azusa Pacific makes sure that potential future students know about this as well. Start planning for your mobile website today. You will need one next year.
Google Analytics: 10 Myths to Review
If you have Google Analytics installed on your campus website but do not yet use it regularly, your expertise and confidence will benefit from this entry on The Official Google Analytics Blog at analytics.blogspot.com/2009/05/top-ten-myths-about-google-analytics.html
My favorite was Myth #4: Results are not accurate. That is because I recently read an email sent to one of my clients from the IT department essentially telling her that she should not ask for analytics reports because the results are not accurate. Read Myth #4 for better insight into what is possible and what is not from any analytics program. Do not let anyone tell you not to pay attention to these numbers.
Just getting started? Review my most popular SlideShare presentation, Web Analytics, A Guide for Higher Education Marketers, at www.slideshare.net/bestbob/web-analytics-a-marketers-guide-presentation
Obama Makes For-Profit Sector Nervous
OK, maybe not the president himself, but folks in the Education Department are asking questions about how well schools in the for-profit sector are meeting guidelines on payment incentives for student recruitment and job placement after graduation.
How do we know people are nervous? A recent conference call with the investor community drew about 600 participants.
For more, listen to the Chronicle of Higher Edu
cation audio update at chronicle.com/media/audio/v55/i40/washington_minute/?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Kindle Advertising Starts Soon
How soon will colleges and universities be advertising on Kindle?
Too soon to say, but if online advertising is an interest, be sure to read about the first venture planned for the Kindle, the popular Amazon e-reader. You can be sure that online advertisers will stay alert for reported results, including reaction from Kindle users.
AdAge reports the details at adage.com/digital/article?article_id=136982
6 Usability Testing Mistakes to Avoid
Whether you do your own usability testing or hire out the projects, take a few minutes to review the article by Jeff Sexton at www.grokdotcom.com/2009/05/29/top-6-user-testing-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them/
Also note the affirmation given at the start of the article to an inexpensive (how does $29 to start sound?) online usability testing service from usertesting.com. As always, the key is interpreting the results. But if traditional usability testing is beyond your resources, explore the possibilities here.
Behavioral Targeting in Marketing: How Far to the Future?
For an interesting update on why and when behavioral characteristics may replace demographics in marketing campaigns, read From Utility to Futility: Demographics in Marketing at communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2009/05/from-utilty-to-futility-demographics-in-marketing.html
The premise here is that online tracking gives marketers the ability to distinguish individuals within demographic segments who vary from the norm and thus capture otherwise lost opportunities by including them in advertising efforts. Mobile advertising, in particular, may benefit from this since people here are especially sensitive to receiving direct advertisements that do not interest them.
New from Google: Google Wave
If you hate hype as much as I do, you will be skeptical about people who say that Google Wave will revolutionize the way we communicate with one another online, especially with respect to email and IM. But wise marketers will want to pay attention to initial reports about the new Google tool that will be available later this year. After all, sometimes the hype is right or at least close to right.
One place to start is with the “Game Changing” review by Ben Parr at mashable.com/2009/05/31/google-wave-features/
Read through and make a note to yourself to follow along with further updates as they arrive. Expect loud buzz over the summer.
Managing a Boring Website
Is your website boring? If it is, it just might be a great one.
To make sense of that, read the New Thinking article by Gerry McGovern at www.gerrymcgovern.com/nt/2009/nt-2009-05-25-boring-to-manage.htm
40 Websites: Stunning and Creative
If the idea of a boring website does not make your heart flutter, review this group of 40 at pelfusion.com/inspiration/40-stunning-and-creative-web-sites/
Scroll down to #38 for the only higher education site included, the admissions site at Biola University.
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 www.aslaniangroup.com/events/default.asp
June 15, Orlando, FL: Career College Association: “Anatomy of a Student Community,” Google hosted panel discussion. Conference details at www.ccaconvention.org/
June 17, Webinar: Paper Clip Communications: “The Technology Revolution in Admissions.” Session details and registration at tinyurl.com/choolv
June 21-25, San Antonio, TX: College Sports Information Directors of America, Annual Conference: “Writing Right for the Web.” Conference program at www.cosida.com/workshops/convention09.aspx
June 30, July 8, Webinar in 2 Parts: Innovative Educators, “Student Recruitment in an Online World: Communicating with College Bound High School Students from First Web Search to Final Enrollment.” Registration is open now. Review program and register now.
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 www.act.org/epc/
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 www.eduwebconference.com/
July 29, Webinar: Magna Publications: “Crafting a High Impact Recruitment Website.” Content and registration at www.magnapubs.com/
August 11, Webinar: Magna Publications: “Social Media Marketing.” Details soon.
October 26-27, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin System, Adult Student Recruitment & Retention Conference: “Key Website Features for Adult Student Recruitment” and “Writing Right for the Web.” Conference information is at www.uwosh.edu/rrconference
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s All for Now
Be a marketing champion on your campus.
Bob Johnson, Ph.D. (email@example.com)
President and Senior Consultant
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Increase your online marketing success with these 6 services.
• Customer Carewords Research with Gerry McGovern
• Writing Right for the Web On-Campus Workshops
• Marketing Communications Website Review
• Competitive Website Reviews
• Content Copywriting Services
• Usability Analysis
Start now at www.bobjohnsonconsulting.com/whatwedo.html