Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… September 2011

September greetings to everyone as the first weeks of the new semester begin almost everywhere. Best wishes for happy, successful students in the weeks ahead.

On the professional development scene, there is still time to register for my September webinar on top task completion and website design at

Look down below for upcoming conference sessions in October and November, from Australiato Chicago to Denmark. The season ends in December with updated webinars on Writing Right for the Web at

Hope to see many of you in the months ahead. And now here are your marketing news and notes for September.
Tuition Discounting with Groupon

Was it inevitable that someone would try this? 

National Louis University is offering a 57 percent tuition discount through Groupon for new students who enroll in Intro to Teaching, with the caveat that completing the course does not guarantee admission to the university. The discount reduces the usual price of $2,232 to $950.

Space available is limited. As of Sunday afternoon 18 registrations had been bought.

The offer is open until September 14. The Groupon ad is at 
The Short Life of a Social Media Post

How long after you post it are people likely to see something on a social media site? According to stats reported by Search Engine Land, less than 3 hours for Twitter, just over 3 hours for Facebook, and nearly 7.5 hours for YouTube. After that, things get lost in the sea of ongoing posts.

What happens if you post the same item again on Twitter? Will many more people see it? Will many people complain if you repeat? Check the answers in the article at 
End of the Comprehensive Website

If you want to make people happy with your website, mobile or traditional, reduce content to what is needed for people to complete their top tasks on your site. By conservative estimates of people in my presentations this year, adopting that approach would reduce higher education content by at least 50 percent. How many pages do you remove from your website each year?

Will that ever happen anywhere in the web world? It just might. One major local government association in the United Kingdom is officially recommending adoption of a top task approach to members.

Read more from Gerry McGovern about the emerging top task revolution in website design
For-Profit and Not-For Profit Degree Completion Rates

How do adult students fare at 18 universities that specialize in programs for them? How much difference in degree completion rates is there between Regis University and Capella University? Between Charter Oak State College and Kaplan University?

Compare degree completion rates and much more for three schools at a time when you visit the College Choices for Adults website at
5 Tips to Generate New Friends on Social Media

You may still find some people who tell you that the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers you have does not mean anything. Gary Stein disagrees in a column that makes a good case that while the sheer number of social media friends is not the only important factor, from a marketing perspective being ignored is not the best path to brand success.

Gary offers 5 ways to build your base of friends. I had two favorites: use email to invite all your contacts to be a friend of your school and make sure links to your social media sites are on all outgoing communications.

Read the rationale for why more friends are better and review the other three recommendations when you visit 

By the way, follow me on Twitter at 
Professional School Email Admissions Newsletter

The Boston University School of Management is a marketing-oriented place, from the website home page itself to continuing online engagement with potential students.

The September edition of the email newsletter includes “7 Keys to Finding an MBA program that fits your personal business plan” to prominent invites to join School of Management social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Read a strong example of how to cultivate prospects online at 
Presidents vs. Public on Online Education

Our friends at Pew Resear
ch have another study that marketers should read: public opinion is not nearly as positive about the value of online courses compared to classroom courses as are university presidents. Among people under 30 years, 67 percent believe online instruction is inferior.

What does this mean for schools moving to expand offerings in online programs? What enrollment expectations does your president have?

Marketing suggestion: given public skepticism, do not take expanding online enrollment for granted. Plan now to expand positive experience stories from your current online students.

Visit the Pew report on The Digital Revolution and Higher Education at 
7 Ways to Reduce Your Online Conversions

If you are investing in any type of advertising to bring people to a website, read “Hidden Friction: The 7 Silent Killers of Conversion” by Austin McCraw to increase your ROI.

Two sample killers: offering more than one action option and using confusing color combinations on your landing pages.

Learn more about these and find the other 5 elements at 
Writing Right for the Web: University Magazine Example

Johns Hopkins University knows how to do an online magazine. The latest issue done right for the web is at

Scroll down to the bottom of the first page to a link to a Digital Replica Edition presenting the print version via flip technology. Which version do you think people are more likely to read?
Jakob Nielsen on Mobile Web Content

If you are about to start planning for a mobile website on your campus, add the August Alertbox report “Defer Secondary Content When Writing for Mobile Users” to the list of required reading.

The question is simple: How much content is too much content? The answer is also simple: “Short is too long for mobile. Ultra-short rules the day.”

Get everyone on your mobile website team to visit
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.

September 28, Magna Publications, Webinar: “Top Task Completion: The Key to Marketing in the Mobile Era.” Register now at 

October 11-14, Australian International Education Conference, Adelaide: “Going Mobile: New Strategies to Promote Your Institution” pre-conference workshop. Review program, register 

October 20-21, Carol Aslanian Research – Education Dynamics, Chicago, IL: “Ramping Up Your Online Programs: Marketing Tactics that Work.” Register at

November 6, AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, Chicago, IL: “Mobile Marketing in Higher Education: Getting Ready for 2012 and Beyond” pre-conference tutorial. Link to the program PDF and register at 

November 8-10, J.Boye Conference Aarhus11, Aarhus, Denmark: Tutorial on top task analysis for mobile communication and regular session, “Websites and Brand Strength: Achieving a 90% Customer Rating.” Review and register at 

December 6, 8: Academic Impressions Webinars: “Writing Right for the Web: Social, Mobile, and Traditional Websites.” Registration is open now at 

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. ( 
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: Webinars, Conferences, Campus Workshops
• Marketing Communications Website Reviews 
• Competitive Website Reviews 
• SEO for Effective Marketing 
• Marketing Analysis for Google Analytics

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