Mobile marketing… conference notes for higher education

Mobile Marketing in Higher Education: notes from summer conferences

Mobile marketing is still on my brain after my flight back from San Antonio and eduWeb11 yesterday. Before various random thoughts disappear, several things come to mind after mobile sessions at ACT Enrollment Planners Conference, Carol Aslanian’s graduate recruitment conference, and eduWeb.

Mobile apps vs. mobile websites: no longer the first question asked

  • Mobile apps or mobiles websites: when I started doing mobile marketing workshops in 2010, this was the most common question. Today, it doesn’t rank nearly as high. In my pre-conference workshop and in several mobile presentations at eduWeb this year, the emphasis is on the benefits of investing in a mobile website.
  • The rapid and continuing rise of Android phones has played a major role in this. Apple’s advertising bombardment re “There’s an app for that…” fueled the first wave of interest in “we’ve got to have one of those or the cool kids won’t think we’re cool” mania. Apps still have a role in online marketing, but the need to do at least two separate apps for Androids and iPhones brought some new reality into the cost of it all. 
QR codes: expanding use but beware of taking people to a regular website page
  • More people already are using these than expected, from advertisements to view books to signs on the front of campus buildings. As expected, use rate is low. Here in the U.S. most people don’t yet have smartphones (about 35 percent according to Pew Internet) and most of those don’t yet have QR code readers. So this is a great time to start exploring. Use of QR code readers will increase. But how fast it will increase isn’t clear. Watch to see if QR readers are included on the iPhone5 this fall.
  • If you do add QR codes to advertising, for heaven’s sake make sure that people who do use them don’t end up on a regular website page where no engagement point is immediately visible. If you force people to “finger flick” to see what’s on your landing page, your conversion will decrease. Guaranteed.
Content Migration, Top Tasks and Mobile: Potential Huge Management Issue
  • Be honest: at least 50 percent of the content on the website of any large organization including higher education isn’t needed. Website content is often added, seldom removed. 
  • The holy grail for “mobile” is creation of a single website that people can use equally well from a smartphone or a laptop or desktop computer. Is that really possible? Maybe, but not if you try to stuff everything from your “regular” website into a mobile environment. “Mobile” is a great reason to kill content that’s been around for far too long and adopt a new focus on the “top tasks” that people using sites actually want to do. 
Writing Right for the Web: Even More Important Now
  • Jakob Nielsen got it right in a recent Alertbox: for mobile, “short is too long.”
  • Mobile will increase the value of web content editors. Not only do we have to focus on top tasks, we also have to reduce how much we say about them and do an even better job of using subheads and bullet points to break up dense blocks of text.
Presentations on Mobile Marketing
That’s all for now.

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