July greetings to everyone, from an unusually cool Michigan. Perhaps that bodes well for a limited summer melt of the traditional students expected to enroll in the fall. Whatever your local temperatures, my best wishes are with everyone as this enrollment year continues to unfold.
I hope to see many of you at the ACT EPC and eduWeb conferences in July in Chicago. You can still register for either at the links below. My combined workshop registrations are over 60 but there is likely room for a few late additions at both events.
Registrations are open for July 29 and August 11 webinars on student recruitment websites and social media marketing. Details are at www.magnapubs.com/
If you have started on Twitter recently, join me at twitter.com/HighEdMarketing
More than 1,100 people have viewed my presentation on web analytics for higher education marketers. See what they’ve seen at www.slideshare.net/bestbob/web-analytics-a-marketers-guide-presentation
And now here are your marketing news and notes for July.
Read Now: Higher Education in 2020
Plan now to read each installment of the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s 3-part executive summary series on “The College of 2020.”
Unless you are retiring in the next 5 years, this is must reading about the extraordinary change underway that will transform higher education over the next 10 years. Many of those changes, of course, have already started. If you are even dreaming about marketing plans for the future, start reading today.
The first installment focuses on “Students” and is online at research.chronicle.com/asset/TheCollegeof2020ExecutiveSummary.pdf?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
The full report is only $95. Every marketing office should have one.
Rankings Sensitivity: A Storm over Clemson
An institutional research person goes to a professional conference to deliver a paper detailing how Clemson University planned to use US News rankings to help achieve a goal of becoming a “Top 20” public research university. Insider Higher Education reports on the presentation. A firestorm erupts.
The details and the 27 or more comments to the original article make fascinating reading at www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/04/clemson
The most controversial aspect focuses on the least provable: that the Clemson president and others deliberately ranked other public research universities as lower than average so that the relative rank for Clemson would improve regardless of actual quality.
A Boost for Online Learning
The U.S. Department of Education is out with a new report on “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning” that should give strategy and marketing planners more reason to advocate for investment in this area.
The report is based on a review of available research. The overall conclusion is that online learning works and that “blended” versions that combine online and in-class features work best of all. Technology advancements that get students move involved in their own learning process are also praised.
A 93-page PDF is available for your reading and printing pleasure at www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf
Keeping Control of Twitter
Colleges and universities everywhere have started Twitter sites to increase communication with future students, alumni, sports fans and more. One challenge, if you use your site to follow others, is organizing the great variety of updates that arrive at your site each day.
Salvation may rest with the variety of software available to classify Twitter content. The folks at Mashable get you off to a good start with their review: “Twitter Better: 20 Ways to Filter Your Tweets.”
Visit mashable.com/2009/07/03/twitter-filter/ and pay special attention to the programs listed under the “Groups” heading.
Recommended Social Media Reading: Groundswell Blog
If you are still grappling to find the best way to integrate social media with your other marketing communication elements, you likely will find insights at various Groundswell blog updates.
One of my favorites is the June 26 entry on “To Use Social Technologies in Ad Campaigns, Get the Rhythm Right” that explores why traditional agency compensation methods create problems in this area. The recommended solution, attention to number and enthusiasm of fans recruited, might help your internal ROI expectations.
Join the Groundswell blog at blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/
2009 Top Tagline Contest
Do you have a really strong tagline?
If you do, enter it in the 2009 “Powerful Non-Profit Taglines Contest” that is open until July 31.
Details at www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=feGQT_2f1KSGURBORMxM3nDQ_3d_3d
Free Guide to Web Analytics and Testing
Avinash Kaushik, author of “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day” is recommending a 32-page PDF, “Converting the Believers,” guide to improving conversion of people who visit your website. That is good enough for me to make a recommendation even though I am about to download it myself and so have not yet read it.
I have always been fascinated with RateMyProfessors.com. What especially interests me is that for most faculty at most institutions I have checked, overall ratings are high.
RateMyProfessors is an early example of a social media site in the Web 2.0 world. Sites like these will grow in importance, as more and more people read product evaluations. If a person reads the reviews available at Amazon.com, moving to RateMyProfessors is not a large step.
Recently I checked the ratings of 48 political science faculty at Boston University. The very positive results are on my blog at www.bobjohnsonblog.com/2009/06/ratemyprofessorscom-social-media-and-reality-marketing.html
The note to marketers: review your faculty ratings to find student praise of faculty that helps build your brand.
Video Impact on Landing Page Conversions
Special landing pages can significantly increase online conversion results from email campaigns but what happens when the landing page includes a video element?
This ClickZ article by Jeanne Jennings suggests that while many people might watch the video, final conversions may well be stronger without the distraction of this popular element. And if that is the case, there is no reason to take the extra time and expense to use one.
Check the details of two email campaigns compared at www.clickz.com/3634227
And of course do plan to add special landing pages for any campaign that brings people to your website. Repeating and reinforcing the original message can result in significantly better results than dropping people on a regular web page.
Accountability in Higher Education: 10 States are Leaders
With public interest in the performance of public universities increasing, we now have a 3-group ranking (Best Practice; In Progress; Needs Improvement) of how well states are using public accountability data in making policy decisions. And that depends in part on whether or not assessment information is available at all.
I was not surprised to find that my state, Michigan, ranked in the bottom group. See if your state joins California and 9 others as leaders in the Education Sector report at www.educationsector.org/research/research_show.htm?doc_id=934393
Each state has an individual report card. Enjoy reading yours.
Phoenix Tops 400,000 Students
The Apollo Group, owners of University of Phoenix and others, has released a third quarter report noting that for the first time gross revenue for a single quarter has topped $1 billion, fueled by Phoenix enrollment in the quarter of just over 420,000 students.
Marketers will note that “sales and promotional expenses” for the quarter were $246.3 million. Details on growth rates and other expense categories are at phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=79624&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1303101&highlight=
Marketing & Communications Position in Vermont
St. Michael’s College in Vermont is searching for a Director of Marketing and Communications, a cabinet level position reporting to the president. Responsibilities cover the usual brand, research, and communication areas and include the website.
For details visit smcvt.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=14275
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!
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” (2 hour 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.” Register at www.magnapubs.com/calendar/344.html
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
November 15-17, Boston, MA: AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, “Marketing in a World without Paper: Creating a Recruitment Communications Plan in a World without Paper” (3 hour Sunday workshop). Details and registration are in progress.
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