Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… March 2011

Early spring greetings to everyone. We are still looking at snow here in Michigan but the days are longer, the temperatures warmer and the first crocus is not long away.

The higher education landscape is in flux these days, from the U.S. to the U.K. and just about everywhere else. Combine that with continued technology advances and opportunities are plentiful for innovative and fearless marketers. There is no better place to meet marketers and share experiences in the brave new world than at an upcoming conference.

You can still get an early $100 discount for Carol Aslanian’s adult student recruitment and retention conference in Chicago, March 31 to April 1 at

For a conference with an international cast of speakers, attend the J.Boye Philadelphia2011 in May for the higher education track and much more at

Interested in presenting? Marketers are welcome at eduWeb2011 in August and the call for paper proposals is open until March 18 at

And now here are your marketing news and notes for March.
WikiLeaks for Higher Education

From Australia comes a new website seeking information from within universities similar to what’s been revealed from the WikiLeaks site about governments. The Unileaks motto: “Keeping Education Honest.”

While the initial interest reportedly is on universities in Australia and the U.K, the website already has an “Open Letter to American College Presidents” rotating on the home page. The letter promises not to publish rumors but only “hard evidence of malfeasance and corruption.”

Check what’s happening at
Mobile Marketing: 4 Tips for Student Recruitment

Mobile apps and sites for student recruitment will expand greatly in 2011 as more schools realize it is a mandatory part of the marketing communications mix. But how is this new tool used most effectively for student recruitment?

Think first of showcasing your academic programs right from the mobile home page. Plan now to escape the danger of linking people from a clean mobile home page to an academic program page on your regular website.

More in my blog post at
Gerry McGovern Podcast on Content Strategy vs. Task Completion

Content strategy is a hot topic for 2011. My Customer Carewords partner Gerry McGovern has been writing and speaking about content for 15 years now, but he is a bit afraid that the new emphasis on content strategy might divert attention from the real end goal of task completion.

His podcast interview and transcript in advance of an upcoming London content strategy conference is available now at
Jakob Nielsen: New Research on Reading Mobile Content

In his latest Alertbox update, Nielsen presents research that reinforces the obvious: it is much more difficult to read online content from an iPhone size screen than from a regular computer screen or an iPad.

When designing your mobile site or app, that means paying extraordinary attention to site design and essential content. Check “Mobile Content is Twice as Difficult” at
The “Research Model” in Higher Education

As the higher education landscape shifts here in the U.S., the future of regional public universities with academic structures modeled after national research universities is in doubt.

That’s the premise of a Chronicle of Higher Education article that highlights the history of Winona State University since 1858. The possible future: for-profit institutions forced to change operations to adopt more selective admissions and deliver a higher quality education will pose a new marketing challenge to regional public universities that are slow to shed the high cost trappings of research universities. Enrollments will shift.

Read “The Dangerous Lure of the Research-University Model” at
SEO: 15 Questions to Improve Your Search Results

Stoney deGuyter gives us 15 questions (and his answers) to improve the visibility of your website for search engines in a 3-part series.

Start with “What is the most important element of a successful SEO campaign?” (site architecture) and skim through to the end, stopping at what most intrigues you. His advice on page title tags was not a surprise but I had not thought about the possible impact of bounce rates on search standing.

Begin your visit at
Social Media Site Popularity

If you have limited staff and dollar resources for social media, use Hitwise stats to help you stay focused on Facebook and YouTube.

Everyone knows Facebook dominates social media with over 60 percent of social media visits, but not everyone realizes the importance of video. That becomes more obvious when you see that YouTube wins 19.5 percent of social media traffic.

MySpace clings to third place at a distant 1.5 percent of traffic.

Follow the Hitwise weekly updates at
Michael Wesch in 2011

The Kansas State University professor is still creating videos that challenge the traditional higher education student classroom experience, in this case edited from student submitted videos.

Agree or disagree, he makes you think. See “The Visi
ons of Students Today” at
8 Ways to Fix Higher Education: Vote for Your Favorite

The “fixes” for what ails higher education in this Washington Post article range from ending merit aid to a cap on athletic subsidies to restoring general education curriculums.

Read the article, vote for what you think is most important, and find out how others have voted at
4 Worst Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Yes, even major corporations can launch really poor marketing efforts in social media, or so says Rebecca Lieb at AdAge. That includes VW, Cisco, Dell and more.

Learn what you should not do in social media marketing at
Applications Plunge, College is Happy

Everyone knows there has been an application race underway for years now, fueled in part by the ability of direct marketing campaigns to generate high numbers of low yielding applications late in the admissions cycle.

Ursinus College gained NY Times notoriety when applications dropped by nearly 33 percent after increasing in two years (2005 to 2007) from 1,725 to 6,179. What happened? Ursinus ended a “fast app” campaign responsible for the application increase.

Read more about the rationale and the new enrollment expectations at
Online Magazines Done Right for the Web

I am a big fan of online magazines created in a web-friendly style likely to engage visitors. No PDF or flip tech formats. Examples this month from Biola University and Harvard University prove that there really is no excuse for not getting it right, regardless of institutional style and resources.

Visit the winter issue from Biola at and the March/April issue from Harvard at
My Upcoming Conferences and Webinars in 2011

Attend an upcoming conference to share questions and answers with people like you who are building a competitive edge in higher education marketing. Join me at these events.

March 31-April 1, Education Dynamics Carol Aslanian Conference: Converting Credits to Degrees: 38 Million Adults to Recruit, Chicago, IL: “Creating (or Re-Creating) an Adult-Friendly Website.” Review program and register at

May 3-5, J.Boye Conference Philadelphia 2011, Pre-conference tutorial “Mobile Communication Challenges in Higher Education” and “Susquehanna University: Achieving a 90% Positive Web Rating.” Register at

May 19, May 26: Academic Impressions Webinars: “Writing Right for the Web: Social Media, Mobile, and Traditional Sites.” Register for one or both at

June 8-10, SUNY CUAD Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY: “Mobile Marketing in Higher Education: Challenges & Opportunities” and “Future Students and Their Parents: Exploring a 90% Positive Website Rating.” Visit

July 20-22, ACT Enrollment Planners Conference, Chicago, IL: Pre-conference mobile marketing workshop and regular conference session. Details online soon.

Improve 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 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *