Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… November 2012

Hello in November… and congratulations to everyone who had to struggle back to
normal operations after Hurricane Sandy.

Gerry McGovern is giving a free
webinar on November 7 on how Top Task Management can improve your website. Put
more marketing power in your website. Register at If you cannot make the webinar, see
slides from my August presentation on Top Task Design for higher education at

Website Management
Principles: Gerry also has a survey in progress to learn your thoughts about the
most important principles for successful website management at Take the survey and you will get a
copy of the results.

Email for student recruitment: My secret shopper
saga continues in a new blog post detailing 13 emails received from 5 colleges
and universities since my last September update at

Less than a week from now
many of us will be in New Orleans for the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of
Higher Education. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new
ones. You still have time to register at for my Sunday afternoon Digital
Marketing Strategy tutorial.

And now, here are your marketing news and
notes for November.
World University
Rankings: 2012-2013

New world university rankings are out from Times
Higher Education, using “13 carefully calibrated performance indicators.”

California Institute of Technology wins first place. Specific ranking
order is given for the first 200 institutions, followed by 200 more in alpha
order. The alpha group ends with University of Wyoming.

See if your
university is listed among the 400 when you scroll the list at

Surprising? Many Senior
Administrators Say Higher Education Is Not Worth the Cost

Just over
40 percent of high ranking college and university administrators in the U.S.
believe that students are not receiving an education worth the price of what
they are paying, according to poll results released by Time Magazine.

poll also shows that public opinion by a wide margin (73 percent) supports
tuition price caps from the Federal Government because there is little faith in
the ability of higher education to control cost increases.

That is an
interesting combination that may also reflect why majorities of both senior
administrators and the public believe there is either a “crisis” or a “severe
crisis” in higher education today.

Read more details at

Online Inquiry Forms: 6 Short &
Simple Honor Role Examples

The shorter you make an online inquiry
form the more people will complete it. The best approach: let people see the
entire form when the inquiry page opens so they know right away that it will not
take long to complete.

Honor Role examples from 6 colleges and
universities that get it right for both graduate and undergraduate recruitment
are at

Retrenchment in the For-Profit

Nothing lasts forever, including enrollment growth in the
for-profit sector. By now you have likely heard that University of Phoenix is
closing nearly half of on-site campuses across the country. Phoenix enrollment
has dropped from a high of 476,500 in May of 2010 to 328,400 in August of 2012.

The reasons are varied, from not-so-good publicity about degree
completion and student debt to skepticism about the value of the investment, to
increased competition from the not-for-profit sector for online students. And
enrollment increases are happening at some for-profit schools.

The Wall
Street Journal has a good overview of what’s happening in the churn at
TV Campaign for Online Students

One reason the for-profit sector has
enrollment challenges is a more aggressive effort from schools like UCLA to
enroll online students. Here in Michigan, for instance, we have seen television
ads for the past few weeks from the venerable UCLA Extension program, with a
special focus on certificate programs in specific career areas.

your review of the UCLA effort by watching a TV ad on YouTube at

Facebook and Mobile

If you are thinking about advertising on Facebook (and
you should at least be thinking about it) then you will want to read the AdAge
update on the progress FB is making in the mobile sector. The nutshell:
advertising on smartphones is more restricted than on regular computers but the
ROI for FB has been higher from mobile since the effort began in

Mobile advertising remains a challenge. But expect strong
investment over the next 12 months by FB and others to explore how to make it
work. For now, update yourself in the AdAge article at and plan to pay close attention to
what happens as 2013 opens.
Conversion Rates by Industry: Education Average is 8

Marketing Sherpa is out with a chart on website conversion
rates divided among 10 industry clusters. Education here is mixed with

Note the caveat that appears with the chart: conversion is
measured in different ways in different industries (and even within a single
industry.) Spend a minute or two to scan conversion rates that start with 10
percent for Financial and Professional Services at

Email Newsletters: Responsive Design
Brings Benefits

Not long ago Jakob Nielsen was chastised by
responsive design advocates for suggesting that responsive design might not be
the right approach for every website in the mobile environment.

is back in October with a new review of email newsletter effectiveness for
smartphones. And in this case, he recommends a responsive design approach for
the relatively small number of people who read newsletters on their phones
rather than on desktop or laptop computers.

Email newsletters still have
a role in marketing communications. For more on how to make yours more
effective, visit the Nielsen Alertbox report at

QR Codes: 5 Successful Marketing

Back in the beginning too many people jumped on QR codes
because it was the cool thing to do and often were disappointed when results did
not meet expectations.

Failure often was the result of using QR codes in
the wrong place, using them to send people to regular website pages that didn’t
work on a smartphone, or just bad landing pages. Now, you can easily find people
who have dismissed QR codes as lacking any usefulness at all. That is as silly
as chasing after the latest shiny object when it first bounces in front of

Read about successful QR campaigns at
Why a Marketing VP is Bored

Speaking of chasing shiny objects,
Pinterest just might fall into that category.

Rachel Weiss is the VP for
Digital Marketing and Strategy at L’Oreal and she has been watching and learning
about Pinterest since what she calls the “Pinterest craze” started early in the
year. Right now she does not think it is a very good platform for brand

Learn about why Rachel is bored with Pinterest (and what she
thinks of Facebook, Google, Google+, and Foursquare) at
of Antarctica: Laugh or Cry?

Decide whether to laugh or cry for
higher education marketing after you visit the University of Antarctica website
at and explore “Big
Opportunities” on the “Big Continent.”

Yes, this is not a real
university. But it will make you wonder about what is possible and what is not
when the marketing impulse takes website content creation a bit over the top.

Some of what you find will make you laugh. And sometimes you might think
you are looking at your school in a
Most Popular Topic in the
October Newsletter: Email Student Recruitment Responses

The most
visited item in the October newsletter was my blog post updating the ongoing
review of how 6 colleges and universities are using email in response to an
online inquiry. Check notes on 17 responses received in August and September at

My Last Conference in

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.
All for Now

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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