Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… August 2013

August greetings to everyone and especially to new subscribers from the ACT Enrollment Planners Conference and eduWeb2013. 

The eduWeb conference ended last week and you can find an eclectic collection of my 6 top marketing take-away points online in a new blog post at 

Slides from my eduWeb workshop “Advertising Online: Strategy and Tactics for Enrollment Success” are on SlideShare at 

ACT presentation slides for “Increasing (or Decreasing!) Inquiry Conversion: Best and Not-So-Best Email Marketing Examples” are also on SlideShare at 

My conference season is over until November, when I will take Writing Right for the Web overseas for the first time to the J.Boye Web and Intranet Conference at in Denmark. Then I will push jet lag aside for the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education and a digital marketing strategy tutorial at the next week. Hope to see many of you in Aarhus or Boston.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for August.
Search Trends in Higher Education: New Google Report

Google is reporting a 4 percent increase in searches related to higher education over the past year, a sign of increased demand. Areas of highest growth include: public universities offering MOOCs and geo-searches for programs at schools close to home. Searches for MBA degrees did not grow but this remains the highest search topic overall.

Flat over the past year: searches that include for-profit universities.

Higher education searches from mobile devices increased 49 percent.

Read more about what search can tell us about interest in higher education in the article by Jessica Lee at 
Enrolling Low Income Students: NY Times Calls Out “Some Elite” Schools for Lack of Effort

The NY Times makes as assumption here: many wealthy universities with high endowment levels should be enrolling more students with Pell Grants than they are now doing. Why are Pell Grant levels not higher? Some schools just do not work hard to get them higher.

Vassar, Amherst College and Emory University, with Pell Grant enrollment levels over 20 percent, get high marks. Washington University in St. Louis and Washington and Lee University, with Pell enrollments under 10 percent, do not do nearly as well. 

Check to see how your school compares after you read the article at 
Website Load Times: Getting Slower, not Faster

Here is the latest update on a dangerous marketing trend: websites are getting slower to load rather than faster. That is a special problem as more people use mobile devices to access websites.

If you need more ammunition to make speed a priority for your website, add the article by David Moth to your list and highlight the note that an increase of 1 second in download time makes conversions drop 7 percent. More at 

If you have to trade beauty for speed, go for speed.
Cost and Revenue Solutions in Higher Education: The NACUBO Conference

Chief business officers are busy exploring new ways to raise revenue and control costs. Possible options include expanding outsourcing of operations not directly related to education, from housing to arena management to endowment investing. The discussion is built around the premise that the current business model for higher education is broken. 

Down at the bottom of an InsideHigherEd report is a note on one area that remains a third rail untouched by business officers: increasing faculty work load. 

For more on the scramble to increase revenue and lower cost, read the NACUBO report 
Reluctance to Pay: High Income Parents Spending Less on Higher Education

You know many colleges and universities face a difficult future when even high income parents show increasing reluctance to meet higher prices for a college degree.

Schools with powerful brand positions will not suffer nearly as much as second-tier private sector schools trying to control tuition discount rates. The bubble might not be about to pop but news like this tells us it is leaking air.

More about the recent Sallie Mae research is reported at
Social Media: Facebook Activity by Community for July

The reality: most Facebook fans will never see the items posted on their favorite pages. A much smaller percent actively engage and even fewer than that pass along stories about what they see.

Average percent of fans reached by a Facebook post varies between 10 and 20 percent dependi
ng on how many fans you have. If something is important, post it twice a day for increased visibility. 

Check more on Fans Reached, Engagement, and Storytellers by community type at
Viral Marketing in Higher Education: A Survey

Cameron Pegg at Griffith University is running a survey on viral marketing practices in higher education and is seeking responses from people around the world for a presentation at an Australian higher education marketing conference.

Complete the survey now at to get a copy of the results after the survey.
The Conversation Prism: Great Map to Social Media

Way back in 2008 Brian Solis crafted the Conversation Prism to sort out the primary purpose for the almost infinite number of social media sites that existed then. Now Brian is back with a 2013 update that sorts sites by three primary roles according to how people use them: Adapting, Listening, and Learning.

Download a digital version in the size that suits you (or even order a printed poster version!) 
Most Popular Topic in July Newsletter: Sliders and Carousels on Home Pages

Most popular topic in the July newsletter made me smile: “Get rid of those sliders and carousels” starts with data from University of Notre Dame. 
Director of Web Initiatives: Oberlin College

Oberlin is searching for a person to lead their web team within the communications division. Applications are due August 6. Details of the opening are at 
Conference Director: Academic Impressions

Academic Impressions, offering conferences, webinars and more to higher education professionals, has an opening for a Conference Director. Details are at 
New Conferences Presentations in 2013

November 5-7, Arhus, Denmark: “Writing Right for the Web” tutorial and “A Need for Speed: Responsive Design in a Mobile World” at J.Boye Web and Intranet Conference. Details at 

November 10-13, Boston: “Digital Marketing Strategy: Building Brand Strength and Enrollment” tutorial at AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education at 

Plan a custom presentation on your campus. Host a workshop on any of my conference presentation topics. Contact me at or call me at 248.766.6425.

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