Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… October 2012

October greetings to everyone on a beautiful fall day here in Michigan. And best
wishes for a fine conference experience to everyone headed for NACAC in Denver
this week. Be sure to visit with my TargetX friends who deliver this newsletter
every month at booth 518.

Looking for a great marketing conference to
attend in November? That, of course, would be the Symposium for the Marketing of
Higher Education, the leading higher education marketing experience for more
than 20 years now. If you go, plan to attend my digital marketing strategy
workshop on Sunday afternoon. Conference details are at

Writing Right for the Web
is still critical for effective online communications. Sharpen the skills of
your web content team for traditional websites, social media, and mobile. Join
my webinar October 30 and November 1. Check the outline at

If you know someone who
might like a personal copy of my newsletter, send them along to to subscribe in just 60

And now here are your marketing news and notes for
College Rankings: Top 177
Schools Rated by Alumni

Here is a new rating system created by a
former partner at McKinsey & Company to win monthly $5.95 subscriptions from
college-bound students and their parents by helping them “measure higher
education return on investment” as reported by alumni.

When you visit for
the state-by-state rankings of 177 universities already reviewed and the free
sample of detailed information about Xavier University, you will find an
emphasis on outcomes information based on facts (how many alumni reported they
were worth more than $1 million?) to opinion (was the value of the degree worth
the cost?).

Initial reactions on Facebook to the idea of rankings based
on what alumni think from a still small number of folk is positive. More about
The Alumni Factor approach, including the methodology, is at

Secret Shopper Update: Review of 19
Recruitment Emails since August 24

Email marketing is alive and well
at some of the six colleges and universities I have been secret shopping since
late June. And it is barely breathing at others.

One uniform mistake
that everyone is making: not a single email since July has made use of the
academic major of interest collected at the time of my online inquiries.
Everyone asks for this at the start (some require it to make an inquiry at all)
but so far there has not been a single reference to this important marketing
element. Strange.

For more on what does get talked about in email
recruitment contacts visit

MBA Applications for Full-Time
Programs: Worldwide Decline Continues

If your MBA program depends on
applications for two-year, full-time programs the GMAT news is not good.
Applications worldwide fell for the fourth year in a row. The 22 percent decline
in 2012 followed a 10 percent decline in 2011.

In the U.S. declines were
reported by 62 percent of MBA programs. Applications at specialized programs
such as management and accounting, on the other hand, increased at 75 percent of

For more on the trends visit

Google Research on Demand for
Higher Education

Google is presenting a report on demand for higher
education based on analysis of click stream data.

Opportunity exists: 90
percent of people searching for higher education online have not decided where
to enroll when they begin their search.

Mobile is important, but regular
computers still dominate. Search is the second most important tool in the
initial selection of schools to consider. Few people search by brand names at
the start. And yes, YouTube importance continues to grow. Use this report to
help convince any doubters left on your campus.

Brand is more important
as selection narrows. Do not miss slide 33 that reports the relative importance
of 8 brand factors. Most important: affordability. Least important: a strong
alumni network.

For more on an intriguing report, check the 38 slide
Google education report at

Facebook Marketing Strategy: Brands
are not People

What do you expect your Facebook marketing strategy to

Corey Mull presents a persuasive case that most people do not
want to create close relationships with brands even when they like the brand.
Why do they visit a social media site run by an institution rather than a
person? To get special offers, find facts, and learn what other people think of
the brand.

Few people think of a relationship with a brand the same as
they think of a relationship with another human being. Factor this into your
social media expectations. For more on why you should not try to make your brand
“more responsive, engaging, and human” on Facebook visit
Readability: Use this Tool Today

As I always say in my Writing Right
for the Web sessions, websites are not a place for great literature. And the
requirements of the mobile world make simplicity in writing more valuable than

Check the readability of your website site for grade level and
points like “percent of complex words” when you enter a URL at

Lower is better. I did my
home page: 9th grade reading level and complex word percent of 18.2
Credits for Competence: A
New Approach

Credits for competence have been a low visibility
offering at many colleges and universities for a long time. Now Southern New
Hampshire University is pioneering a new approach it hopes will win approval for
financial aid support from the Federal Government as well as accreditation

The plan will help SNHU and others to continue to increase
adult student enrollments while reducing the time and money cost to earn a
degree. If your school depends on adults for enrollment revenue, start tracking
this now. See the details at

College of St. Benedict: Accepting
Decreased Enrollment

Just how do you control the tuition discount
rate when your goal is to maintain enrollment?

The College of St.
Benedict is braving a different course and accepting a lower enrollment to
maintain a strong academic profile at a reasonable discounting cost. Enrollment
has decreased from 2,090 in 2008 to 2,027 while net tuition revenue per student
has increased each year.

That’s the path that more liberal arts
institutions are faced with over the next few years. St. Benedict expect
enrollment to decrease further. That’s also a more sustainable financial model
in the face of the changed economic environment since 2008.

More details
of a new way forward at
Media Research: Demographics on Who Uses What

The Pew Internet and
American Life project brings us back to reality with a new report on how many
people are using various social media sites. For people age 18-29, Pinterest at
16 percent of Internet users lags far behind Facebook at 83 percent.

marketing lesson: beware of shiny new objects unless the niche they are in is of
special interest. If you want to enroll more women, for instance, the value of
Pinterest increases. Nearly four times more women use Pinterest than

More for your social media marketing plans at

How to Sabotage Your Website: Gerry
McGovern on Dirty Magnets

A “dirty magnet” is a link that entices
people to follow it on your website but takes them to a place that does not
meet the expectations created by the link in the first place.

magnets are as bad as broken links. I find them often when reviewing higher
education websites.

How to use your visitors’ top tasks to uncover dirty
links on your website? Read Gerry McGovern on Avoiding the Dirty Magnet in
Website Design at
Popular Topic in the September Newsletter: Why Quit Social Media

The most visited item in the September newsletter was a blog post
by Erik Sass titled “9 Reasons to Quit Social Media Now.” See what you agree
with and what you do not at
a Laugh Today?

For a fun break today courtesy of AdAge, take 31
seconds to watch this 1989 Radio Shack TV ad for a $799 “complete transportable
phone system,” complete with a battery pack to hang from your shoulder. Use at
weddings, Boy Scout meetings, in speedboats and more.

Laugh along at

My 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

October 30, November 1: “Writing Right for the Web” webinar
with Academic Impressions. Review the program outline and register at

November 11-14, New
Orleans: AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. The Symposium
website is at Register for my “Digital Marketing
Strategy” tutorial on Sunday.

Expand the marketing skills of people on
your campus. Host a campus workshop on any of my conference presentation topics
or “Writing Right for The Web.” Scan the presentation topics at

Contact me at or call me at 248.766.6425 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 248.766.6425 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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