Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… April 2012

A happy April to everyone as our mild winter fades away here in

This past week I have been working on my upcoming workshops on
digital marketing strategy. From that review you can find 5 questions about
digital marketing (including Facebook advertising, content strategy, and whether
or not “digital marketing” even exists) in a new blog post at

The first digital marketing
tutorial is set for the J.Boye Web and Intranet Conference in Philadelphia in
May. Check my session description as well as the entire higher education track

This week I’ll begin updates
for my May 24-25 conference on “Writing Right for the Web: Improving Your
Content.” Folks from Hawaii to Long Island and several states in between are
signed up so far. Join people who want to make their website a better place
after you review the program at

We’ve been tweaking my website
over the past few weeks. One result: you can now go direct from my home page to
Slideshare to review and download earlier conference presentations. Start at

And now here are your marketing
news and notes for April.
Completion Rates: New Report Shows Highest States and Metro

Wise people can disagree about degree completion rates as a
measure of institutional success but smart marketers should know how rates at
their schools compare with competitors and others in their state. For better or
for worse, inquisitive legislators and media folk are likely to ask.

Lumina Foundation has a new report on degree completion rates in each state and
in major metropolitan area in the U.S. that shows modest recent gains. The
highest state is Massachusetts. The highest major metropolitan area is
Washington, D.C. The lowest state is West Virginia. The lowest metro area is
McAllen, Texas.

Find more when you visit

Freshmen Admissions Rate at
Harvard: New Low of 5.9 Percent

In the world of Ivy League
admissions, less is better, proving continued brand strength in that limited
competitive environment. The admissions rate for this year’s freshmen class fell
to 5.9 percent from 6.2 percent last year.

The reason, reported in an
article in Harvard Magazine, is the reinstatement of early-action admissions for
this year’s class. Harvard admitted about half the desired number of new
freshmen through early admission and expects a higher yield from those students
than from the entire admitted group a year ago without early admissions. And
thus, Harvard reduced the admit rate to 2,032 students selected from 34,302

Read more in the Harvard Magazine article at
Tips for Starting a Direct Marketing Letter

Pat Friesen is a
proverbial “old pro” in direct marketing copywriting. If you want to create high
impact email and traditional letters, you want to read her article on “48 idea
starters for letter and email openers.”

It is hard to pick a favorite
from her list. I almost went with #48, “Keep the first paragraph to three lines
or fewer.” That’s good advice for your web pages, not just your email letters.
But for a personal favorite, I settled on #46: “Limit 75 to 80 percent of the
words to five characters or less.” That takes discipline, does it not?

Find your favorites at

Alumni Magazines Online: Doing it
Right for Your Readers

If you still need strong arguments on your
campus for the value of creating a “made for the web” version of your alumni
magazine, you will find them in a presentation by Cameron Pegg at the University
of Queensland.

Join the crusade to ban the use of PDFs and flip tech
solutions to move print publications to the online world after you read “From
the letterbox to ‘likes’ – the online evolution of alumni magazines” at
View Book Online: Add the Kindle Fire

If you are joining the move to
a tablet version of your view book or alumni magazine, be sure to plan on a
version that works on the Kindle Fire as well as the iPad.

Why? Read the
Mobile Marketer story on Kindle brand strength, sales level, and price advantage

For-Profit Sector Enrollments Are
“Shrinking” in U.S.

The Chronicle highlighted changes in the
for-profit higher education sector, comparing results from 2010 and 2011 at 12
institutions. New student enrollment fell at all but one and revenue and income
were down at most but not all. In some cases, the changes are likely the result
of tightened admissions practices to improve degree completion rates and other
measures under increased scrutiny.

When you scan the list, remember that
“Apollo” is primarily the University of Phoenix. Check changes for revenue,
income and total and new student enrollment at

Power of the Brand for (free) Online
Courses: 90,000 in First Class MIT Course

MITx is a new venture
started in Decmeber by MIT to explore the frontiers of what is possible in
online education. The first course, “Circuits and Electronics,” started in
February with 90,000 enrollments from around the world.

Courses are
non-credit, but it is possible to earn certificates to certify completion of a
course. An article from MIT estimates that students will spend about 10 hours a
week watching video lectures and completing homework assignments for “Circuits
and Electronics.”

Is this a marketing model for anyone else? Of course it
is. Are you well respected for a business or health care specialty in your
primary marketing area? Consider offering similar courses to gain additional
visibility for your degree programs. Give people a live example of the best you
have to offer and you may likely find more enrolling for a complete master’s
degree program.

More details from MIT are at

10 Engagement Boosts for Your
Website Pages

No matter what you already know, you’ll likely find a
new point or two among “10 Useful Findings about How People View

Lurking in the back of my mind but not getting enough
attention was #3: make the text size for the first paragraph on a page larger
than the rest makes it much more likely that people will read it.

the list for items that might give you another rung up on the online marketing
ladder at

Email Recruitment Newsletter:
University of Alberta

You’ve heard me say before: email isn’t dead,
it is alive and well and (should be) an important part of your student
recruitment communications plan.

One of my favorites is the monthly email
from University of Alberta sent to potential international students. The March
issue starts with 6 easy to scan headings that link to highlighted academic
programs, scholarships, social media and more.

See the March issue at
Popular from the March Newsletter: “Pin Your Brand to

Pinterest has had a meteoric rise in social media
popularity. A Brandon Uttley article on four reasons why “It’s time to Pin Your
Brand to Pinterest” drew the most attention in the March newsletter. If you
missed it, visit

Conferences and Webinars in

Attend a conference in 2012 to share questions and answers with
people who are building a competitive advantage in higher education

May 8-10, Philadelphia: J.BoyePhiladelphia12 Web and Intranet
Conference. Tutorial presentation: “Digital Marketing Strategy: 2015 and Beyond”
and a regular session: “Top Task Website Design: Lessons from University
Research.” Check the program and register at

May 24-25, Atlanta:
Academic Impressions Conference: “Writing Right for the Web: Improving Your
Content.” Program details and registration at

July 11-13, Chicago: ACT
Enrollment Planners Conference. Visit the conference website at

July 30-August 1, Boston:
eduWeb2012. Conference website is at

Expand the marketing skills
of people on your campus. Host a campus workshop on any of the conference topics
listed here.

Contact me at or call me at
That’s All
for Now

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson,
Ph.D. (
Bob Johnson Consulting,
Bob Johnson Consulting,

Increase your online marketing success with these 5 services.

• Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
• Writing Right
for the Web: Webinars, Conferences, Campus Workshops
• Expert Marketing
Communications Website Reviews
• Competitive Website Reviews
• Search
Engine Optimization Reviews 

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