Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… May 2012

May greetings to everyone. As you read this I am on my way to Grant MacEwan
University in Edmonton, Alberta, my second visit to a most energetic and
enterprising university.

This is also my week to finish details for my
digital marketing strategy tutorial at the J.Boye Web and Intranet Conference
( next week as well as the material for
my 2-day “Writing Right for the Web Conference” May 24-24 ( The early registration discount for
web writing is open until May 4.

And now here are your marketing news
and notes for May.
Do Loans Count
as Financial

This is not a new question, but it is receiving increased
attention in today’s economic climate where people are more concerned about
assuming debt of any sort.

Bloomberg added to what is a growing public
relations challenge by calling out four universities in an article titled
“Colleges Confuse Students with Letters Offering Aid That’s Debt.” A subhead in
the story refers to the financial aid award letters reviewed as “Manipulative
and Deceptive.”

How do your award letters compare with those sent by
Drexel, Bradley, and Butler universities and the Missouri University of Science
and Technology? Start with the April 24 Bloomberg article at

Mobile Marketing: 10 Tips for
Effective Email in the Mobile World

Once again, let us make this
point: email is far from dead. Indeed, it is thriving. But effective email today
is not what it was 5 or 10 years ago.

The direct marketing experts at
Target Marketing offer 10 best practices for email design that will bring higher
open rates from people reading them on a mobile device. The very specific advice
includes maximum pixel width, recommended fonts, best font size for headlines
and text, and where to place the call to action.

But my favorite was
included at the end: be sure to bring people to a mobile-friendly web page. If
you do not do that, your conversion rate will suffer. Read more on “10 Email
Design Best Practices for a Mobile World” at

Mobile Marketing: Cannot believe I
read this department

An exec at some sort of mobile marketing place
said in a Mobile Marketer article that while having a mobile-friendly web
presence in support of a mobile campaign might be nice, it was not necessary as
forcing a person to “scroll around the campaign to get the message” might
increase engagement.

Perhaps. I have also heard rumors about pigs that
fly. To get both sides of the story, see “Why are marketers forgetting to
optimize their mobile campaigns” at

How Quickly Do You Call a Potential

At for-profit higher education schools, 69.7 percent call a
potential student within one hour of receiving the lead information. Just over
20 percent call in less than 5 minutes. Rapid response times like that indeed
give competitive advantage with people interested in more than one

How does your response time compare? If you ask for and receive a
phone number or email address, many if not most people expect you to use it. And
the faster you use it, the better.

You can find more response time data
and similar information on recruiting at for-profit institutions on the
ForProfitEdu website at

Differential Tuition: Interest Grows
to Enhance Revenue

How to make more money from tuition is a topic at
colleges and universities throughout the land these days. Successes and failures
with several models are reviewed in an InsideHigherEd article, “Tuition Model
Quietly Spreading” at both universities and community colleges. Visit

Interest may increase
faster as people study results at Western Michigan University.

WMU is
charging undergraduate Fine Arts students and junior and senior year business
students higher tuition per course, whatever the individual course. Yes, if you
are a Fine Arts student you will pay more to take a course in American History
than a history major. What was the result in the first year? For the College of
Fine Arts, tuition revenue increased $1.4 million. For the Haworth College of
Business, tuition income increased $2 million. Read more from WMU at

Web Management: Centralize or
Decentralize Content Creation?

Higher education began to adopt
Content Management Systems not long ago with an expectation that individual
units throughout the university would take responsibility for content creation.
More often than not, those expectations have not been met.

If this is an
issue on your campus, read my interview with Nancy Boudreau, director of web
content management at Sacred Heart University, on their experience from the
introduction of a new CMS over the past 7 years. While Nancy notes “some
success,” she also notes why there is now a move back to more centralization:
the need to “ensure the quality of content.”

Nancy shares more about what
worked and what did not over the past 7 years in her interview at

E-book Reading: Rise in Popularity

New research from the Pew Internet and American Life
Project reports a continuing rise in the popularity of reading books and
magazines electronic versions. E-book users also read publications in print and
have clear preferences for when one format is better than another. For instance,
69 percent prefer print to share a publication with someone else and 83 percent
prefer an electronic version when they want to get something

Both of those states have implications for the communication
plans of higher education marketers with potential students of any age. For more
on the changing world of electronic reading, see the Pew Internet report on “The
rise of e-book reading” at

Social Media Metrics for Marketing

Where should you spend your social media time and money? An
article in 1to1 Media recounts the varied experiences over the past few years by
Carnival Cruises, American Airlines, and Cirque du Soleil. While this is not the
higher education sector, there are lessons to learn here.

The most
significant lesson: despite the apparent popularity of a particular form of
social media, that popularity does not mean every organization should invest in
it. In the cases here, for instance, Carnival eliminated Twitter. Cirque du
Soleil abandoned FourSquare after initial efforts did not meet expectations but
has increased investment in YouTube.

For more on media metrics deemed
important, check “The Most Actionable Social Media Metrics” at

Google Advertising

If you advertise on Google, a new “Near Match” feature now in
beta testing may increase your cost-per-click by giving you exposure to people
who search for content that is close to, but not quite the same as, what you are
offering. What does Google suggest you might expect? A 6.5 percent increase in
clicks and a 9.8 percent increase in impressions.

AdAge explains what is
happening in “The Next Shift at Google Could Have Big Impact on Advertisers” at

How Students Search for Online
Education Content

Students are wiser users of online learning sources
than we might recognize. A recent conference presentation reports strong use of
free resources from MIT and Stanford University, for instance. Pre-med and
health science students favor the Mayo Clinic as a resource.

The caveat
for traditional higher education: students often use these resources due to
“dissatisfaction with their own professors.”

Read more about how the
authority of traditional higher education is crumbling in ‘Free Range Learners’

Most Popular Topic in the April

The most popular topic was the entry on “10 Useful
Findings on How People View Websites.” If you missed it, you can read it now at

Conferences 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. Pre-conferences workshop on “Digital Marketing
Strategy: Planning for Present and Future Success” and regular session on
“Increasing Online Inquiries: Key Steps to Improve Search Optimization for
Academic Programs.” Visit the conference website at

July 30-August 1, Boston:
eduWeb2012. Pre-conference digital marketing workshop and regular session
presentation on top task website design. 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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