Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… February 2017

A fine February to everyone. I will tell myself every day this month that spring arrives in March. 

We now have 334 members on the “Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content” group on LinkedIn. If you are on LinkedIn and work at a college or university, join us. Request your membership and check the latest post on top tasks for faculty and staff, current students, and alumni.

What do people like and dislike about your website? Ask them. Our free web visitor survey is here.

The eduWeb Digital Summit is set this year for August 7-10 in Boston. The Call for Papers is open until February 15. 
New project: Evaluating direct marketing “search” mailings

My review of the mailings sent by 206 colleges and universities to a 2017 high school graduate highlights a rare approach from Case Western Reserve University in the third installment. If you have not read the first two, start with the opening post here. Or go direct to the Case Western story and link backwards.

Mark your calendar for the 2017 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education: November 12-15 in Atlanta.

Join 7,360+ followers on Twitter at for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for February.
Cartoon of the Month: Customer-Centric Marketing and Pixie Dust

Can organizations ever practice real customer-centric marketing? Yes, but not without major cultural change in most marketing approaches. This month’s cartoon spoofs marketing efforts that do not quite get it right. Higher education is no exception. Visit here for a laugh today.
Branding Campaigns: Patience and Persistence Needed

You do not need to search far to find articles about college and university brand campaigns. Brand enhancement has become the gold star of higher education marketing.

It is less common to find a brand campaign follow-up report that speaks to the critical need for persistence and evaluation over several years as a campaign unfolds. In this case, it was three years before “unaided brand awareness” increased.

More on how to continue a higher education brand campaign after the initial launch excitement is past.
5 Clear Definitions: Sticker Price, Net Price, General Fees, Program Fees, Cost

People who do not work at colleges and universities continue to complain that leaning about the true cost of education at a particular school in a burdensome task. And it is.

Using the definitions in this Inside Higher Ed article by Matt Reed with the right numbers for a particular school will help every potential student complete a top task early in the college exploration process: can I afford this place.

See 5 definitions that bring clarity to an unclear topic. 
Advertising Online: 7-Point Guide to Facebook Ads Pricing

If you already advertise on Facebook or are reviewing the possibilities for 2017, take a few minutes to read this concise review of 7-points that will help you plan and evaluate a Facebook campaign. Included are benchmark cost-per-click numbers for many countries, with Australia the most expensive at nearly $.80 per click; the U.S. is $.28.

More on how to better spend your limited advertising resources.
Video and Text Content: Which is Most Engaging?

Yes, video content is important. But before you put too much marketing emphasis on video, review this report that long-form text content is more effective with web visitors than video. The report compares engagement with video, short-form text, long-form text (more than 1,000 words), and slideshows. 

We note that this general report matches the report in the 2016 E-Expectations survey from Ruffalo Noel Levitz that high school students prefer text content over video on college websites.

Find a summary of the report and a link to download the full report here.
Web Design: 10 Question Quiz from Nielsen-Norman Group

Take this quick 10 question quiz, especially if you are thinking about a new website design or major enhancements. Have your web team take it and discuss the answers you agree and disagree about. And of course, if you work with an external web agency, have those folks take it as well.

My two favorites: What is negativity bias? and Which of the following is true of hamburger menus? See those answers and 8 more.
New Tuition Reduction: 25 Percent at Immaculata University

Immaculata has joined two other Philadelphia area schools (Rosemont at 43 percent and La Salle University at 29 percent) in making a significant cut in the sticker price tuition level for undergraduates.

Congratulations to Immaculata for not using the “reset” word. Video and text content introduces the reduced pricing.
Most Expensive Colleges: State-by-State in the U.S.

University Business uses tuition + room and board prices to identify the colleges and universities in each U.S. state with the highest sticker prices. Where it matters, both in-state and out-of-state tuition is included. No other fees are used.

See how your sticker price compares with the highest in your state and those around you. 
Call to Action Buttons: 25 Words That Work

Colleges and universities should pay special attention to the 3 points grouped under “Give a reason in your call-to-action text” to increase the number of people who complete on-line inquiry forms. Too often the reason is just a very vague “get information about us.” 

More words that will increase your online response rates.
Blessedly Brief Inquiry Forms: Do You Have One?

If you have convinced your college or university to adopt a truly short online inquiry form, your story might help Rachel at Agnes Scott College do the same. See her question after a recent Link of the Week selection at Roosevelt University, along with a reply from Aaron Rester on what worked at Roosevelt.

Share your insight on blessedly brief inquiry forms. 
Software Product Management: A New Forum

Do you know someone who works in software product management? 

Janus Boye, founder of the J.Boye Group in Denmark, is starting a new forum for software product managers in the U.S. The first meeting is February 23 in New York City, with later meetings this year likely in June and October. 

Read more about the new group, limited to just 20 members. 
Most Popular Topic in January Newsletter: Communicating with Gen Z

If you recruit high school students, this article in Ad Age will help you do that better. Learn about brand wariness, cost consciousness and more in “Welcome to the Gen Z Challenge.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D. 
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

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