Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… September 2014

As you read this newsletter I am getting ready to leave on Friday for our annual Carewords partners meeting in Barcelona with Gerry McGovern and 20 or so other folks who do website analysis based on our top task approach to website content and design. 

Read about what we do and how we do it at 

And a note on mobile from a recently completed Carewords survey of future university students: about 75 percent said they most often used desktop or laptop computers to access the client website. About 21 percent most often used a smartphone. The few remaining were using tablets. 

If you are attending the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November, plan to include my Monday afternoon Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial. See the events 

How are you dealing with the growing “affordability” issue on your website? See how American University, Strayer University, and Wellesley College are meeting the challenge 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for September.
Social Media Marketing: 10 “Totally Surprising” Facts

Test your social media marketing expertise and see how many of these 10 facts you already knew or at least suspected were true. 

The infographic includes the most popular time for RTs on Twitter to the best days to post different types of content on Pinterest to the belief of most marketers that words are more important than visuals. The full list is at 
Competitive Intelligence: Where Do You & Your Competitors Lose Admitted Students?

Here’s a new resource from the NY Times that lets you type in the name of U.S. colleges or universities to see how many of their admits were also admitted to other schools and how many of those were lost to those schools.

The system is not complete. Not every school is available. The database includes 104,000 students who applied for admission since the 2012-13 academic year, is limited to high school graduates, and is not a random sample of accepted students. 

But chances are good that your school is included in the mix of Ivy League schools, flagship and regional public universities, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges. You are likely to find interesting information on relative brand strength among a host of schools. Purdue University, for instance, trumps IU-PU Indianapolis, Ball State University and Butler University but does not do well against University of Michigan – Ann Arbor or University of Wisconsin – Madison. 

See if your school and your competitors are listed when you visit 
Advertising to Teens: Get Ready for Snapchat Ads

When people talk about where teens are active on social media, Snapchat almost always comes up. Facebook is still tops but Snapchat is indeed among the leaders

You have a chance to test the impact of Snapchat advertising this fall. To decide if you want to add this to your marketing mix, check the business deck that Snapshot was showing this summer around the advertising world. It features the best ways to use Snapchat for maximum impact, including how to create and use a business account.

The “Snapchat business deck” is at 
US News Ratings: Detailed Review of How Northeastern University Rose from 162 to 49

If discussion on how to improve your US News ratings happens on your campus, you must read about the extraordinary effort at Northeastern University that moved the school from a 162 position in 1996 to first break into the top 100 in 2006 and to advance since then to 49 in 2013. Research, patience, and perseverance played a role. 

For the details of what worked for Northeastern read the Boston Magazine article 
College Ratings Systems: Welcome the New York Times

The NY Times plans to enter the college ratings game this month with a new approach that rates schools by the extent of the economic diversity of their students.

Will this matter to people when selecting a school to attend? That is hard to say. But the data assembled in a single easy-to-compare location might pose a PR challenge for schools where reality differs from declared goals. 

Read more about what to expect at 
Website Colors: What Colors Convert Best?

Gather some friends and have everyone pick the colors that they think will best motivate people to take the desired action steps on your website. Then visit to see what works best.
Content Strategy for Mobile: Debunking 5 Myths

Dave Lloyd nailed it in this article that explores 5 myths that are out and about the land by people claiming special expertise in a supposedly new arena. Dave’s overall point: what is “best practice” for mobile is not much dif
ferent than what is “best practice” for a larger screen device. 

My favorite myth, “Responsive design is a mobile content strategy,” was almost beaten by “Mobile users want only short content.” Review those myths and others at 
College Ratings in 1911: A Bureau of Education Score Sheet

When you need a break from campus talk about the U.S. ratings take time to visit “A Classification of Universities and Colleges with Reference to Bachelor’s Degrees” in a Chronicle article that reprints public and private college and university ratings from 1911 from “Class I” to “Class IV” schools.

You’ll find many familiar names here. Some of the standings will surprise you; many will not. I had fun tracking through Jesuit universities. None were in Class I but several were in Class II. Boston College and Holy Cross were ranked ahead of Georgetown University. 

The list was compiled by a “specialist in higher education” at the “Bureau of Education” in Washington. Check the ratings at 
Recruiting International Students: More on Using Paid Agents

Using paid agents to help enroll international students is a customary practice in Australia and the U.K. but has been controversial in the U.S and remains so despite the NACAC decision to not oppose the practice.

The great majority of the 27,000 international students who responded to a recent survey reported satisfaction with their agent experience. Satisfaction dropped as fees increased, but not below 75 percent.

Find more on survey results and a link to download the original report from the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education in the U.K. at 
Bucknell University Website: Notes from 4 Higher Ed Web Developers

Bucknell launched a new website earlier this year based on innovative design and navigation elements that deviated from the approach most often taken by higher education websites. Creating a distinctive site was the goal from the start. The goal was met. 

Read comments from web developers at Gettysburg College, UC-Berkeley School of Law, Ursinus College, and SUNY-Albany at 
Most Popular Topic in August Newsletter: 189 Words that Convert

By a huge margin, the most popular item last month was “The Big List of 189 Words that Convert: Write Copy that Gets Your Customer’s Attention Every Time.” If you missed it, 
Conference Presentation in November

November 10-13, Austin, TX: AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, Monday tutorial on “Digital Marketing Strategy.” See the program at 

Plan a custom presentation on your campus. Host a workshop on any of my conference topics. Review highly rated topics for 2013 and 2014 topics are at and contact me at or 248.766.6425.

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