Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… May 2017

The May 1 enrollment deposit deadline has arrived here in the U.S. and everyone will soon have an updated read on how close they are to meeting 2017 freshman enrollment goals. For many, this recruiting season will continue with “summer melt” control even as the 2018 cycle is well underway.

Registration for eduWeb Digital Summit in Boston in August is open. Early registration discount until May 14. Review my Monday morning workshop, Top Task Content and Design: Strategy for Website Success. 

Mark your calendar for the 2017 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education November 12-15 in Atlanta. Add my updated 2017 “Digital Marketing Strategy” Sunday tutorial to your schedule.

Join 407 members of our Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn. If you work at a college or university, request membership. 

Do you know what potential students like and dislike about your website? Before you start your next website revision, get feedback in just 5 days on 13 important quality points with our free web visitor survey. Make your website a better place to visit.

Join 7,410+ followers on Twitter for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for May.
Cartoon of the Month: Interested in Native Advertising?

Native Advertising, known by some as “online bovine waste,” is attracting more and more online marketing dollars. That might not be a wise move.

If you are thinking about adding native advertising to your marketing mix, first read this cartoon and commentary by Tom Fishburne.
Mobile Speed: Rankings for 1,762 Colleges and Universities

How do you compare to your competitors in this ranking that combines speed and usability scores of 1,762 schools in the United States?

While most schools score an adequate usability rating, an appalling number get a “0” rating for speed. But many schools manage at least 70. And do not miss the 9 that score 90 and above.

See the University Mobile Web Rankings.
Truly Selective Admission Rates: 30 Colleges and Universities

Admission to a college or university in the U.S. is not difficult. Admission is unlikely at only a handful of schools as you can see in this listing that compares 30 low admits rates in 2016 and 2017. In most cases admit rates decreased.

Only one university of the 30 admitted more than 30 percent of applicants. See a cluster of the truly selective, from a high of 32 percent to a low of 4.6 percent and compare their admission rates.
Top College and University Websites: 5 Featured in Inside Higher Ed Article

In April I had the pleasure of an interview with Inside Higher Ed based on looking back at predictions made 20 years ago by Kenneth Hartman in a pioneering book about how students would use the Internet for college selection.

The interview was a chance to highlight schools that stand out for features that help students get information they need to make better choices.

Five of the schools I mentioned made it into the article. For special home page use of a “search” tool, Xavier University and Bellarmine University. For a 7-step cost estimator, Wellesley College and Williams College. For mobile download speed, California Lutheran University.

See “Students Seek Information, But College Don’t Always Provide.”
3 Web Site Design Trends: The Rise of Voice Search

If you are pondering the future of your website, be sure to check this Website Magazine article on 3 future design trends. Pay special attention to the first one for an introduction to the importance of voice search in how people will expect to “navigate” your site in the not-so-distant future.

Be the first in your competitive set to introduce voice search capability. Start here.
Tuition Discounting: New Research Report

Few colleges and universities will talk in public about their need for tuition discounting to maintain market position. Thus, it is refreshing to see discounting research presented at the American Education Research Association annual meeting.

One result: 60 percent of schools that discount lose net revenue for every additional student enrolled. That is a road to perdition. And there is a not surprising but true closing comment by an enrollment vice president that tuition discounting is OK when it results in higher net revenue.

The research covers 2003 to 2012. We know that the trend to higher discount rates has not changed since then. Details from the Iowa State University researchers are here.
New Marketing Role: Chief Anthropologist

Understanding how people behave will play an increasing role in marketing strategy. And I have just encountered the first marketing agency that will have a Chief Anthropologist to guide research and recommendations in that area.

What does a Chief Anthropologist look like? See the description and expectations.
College Presidents: 2017 Survey Reports What Bothers Them and What Does Not

College and university presidents worry about meeting enrollment goals. Most think campus race relations are OK. Not many are worried about financial stability over the next 5 years. But many are not so confident about the next 10 years.

Learn more about what bothers college presidents and what does not when you download the 26-page 2017 Survey of College and University Presidents.
Future of College Marketing: What Happened to Branding?

Jeff Selingo wrote an article for The Atlantic in April about the challenges that college admissions people face in meeting enrollment goals and learning how to best take advantage of the increase in available data about potential students to do that.

You will not find a mention anywhere about the role “branding” plays. Jeff likely did not write the headline for the article. But after reading this you might start to believe that meeting enrollment goals depends more on the nuts and bolts of student recruitment operations, including smart use of the data available from students when they register for ACT and SAT tests, than big branding budgets.

Read “The Future of College Marketing.”
Slow Websites: 5 Results that Hurt Marketing Success

Are you having trouble convincing people on your campus or at your marketing agency to pay attention to website speed? An article by Paul Boag reviews the penalty points in “Why performance is the best way to improve user experience.”

Start with the 3rd point and how it impacts student recruitment: “Poor performance reduces user satisfaction.” Can you afford to have future students unhappy after their first visit to your website?

More performance improvement incentives from Paul.
Most Popular Topic in April Newsletter: Content Marketing Overload

Content marketing is great. If everyone says it, it must be true. But that belief too often generates a flood of marketing-oriented content in the illusion it will produce more “engagement” with people who view it.

Cartoonist Tom Fishburne brings sanity to the mania for more content.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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