Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… June 2017

June is upon us and for many colleges and universities that means a final push toward September enrollment goals even as recruitment for 2018 is well underway. Good luck to everyone striving to limit proverbial summer melt.

Registration for eduWeb Digital Summit in Boston in August is open. Include 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 428 members of our Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn. If you work at a college or university, request membership.

What do potential students like and dislike about your website? Before you start your next website revision, get feedback in 5 days on 13 important quality points with our free visitor survey.

Join 7,430+ followers on Twitter at for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for June.
Cartoon of the Month: The Emperor’s New Marketing Plan

Tom Fishburne warns that marketing agencies have a vested interest in getting clients to invest money chasing shiny new objects. Promise to exercise self-restraint after laugh when you visit Tom’s cartoon.
Marketers Must Read: Mary Meeker 2017 Internet Trends Report

Mary is back again with a new annual report on what to expect on the Internet. Take the time to move along through this in search of what might most likely impact higher education marketing. Pay special attention to the 69-slide section on online advertising.

And note that voice search has reached 20 percent and that accuracy is high. Not long from now many people will expect to arrive at a university website and ask for “academic programs” to see a list. Will you be the first in your competitive set to offer this service? Or the last?

Plan a better future after you read the 2017 Internet Trends Report.
11 Champion Websites: University and Colleges Creating Great Experiences

From home pages to admissions, registrar, library sites and more, see how 11 colleges and universities earn champion status for making task completion as easy as possible.

Scan the list of 11 champion features and follow the links to your favorites.
Text Messaging: Policy Guideline for Non-Emergency Plans

When and what to text? If you do not have a clear campus policy on how people should contact future and current students with text messages, this guideline template from Mongoose Research is a good place to start. If you already have a policy, check the details with the recommendations here.

Important tips: Only talented texters should text. Text too often and people will stop paying attention. Opt-in permission is important even if not legally required.

Download the text messaging policy template.
Recruiting Online Students: New University of Phoenix TV Ad

Despite a huge drop in enrollment and revenue over the past few years, University of Phoenix still has more dollars than most to spend on advertising.

A new Phoenix ad uses Rosie the Riveter to highlight the ability of working Moms to accomplish great things. Read the AdAge commentary and watch the 60-second spot.
Tuition Discounting: NACUBO Reports “Historic Highs” in 2016

How high can tuition discounting go in the private sector? The 2016 average for “full-time, first-time” students was 49.1 percent, up from 48 percent in 2015. More than a few schools are over 60 percent.

Smaller schools of less than 4,000 students are the highest discounters and see the lowest increase in net revenue. Remarkably, 44 percent report that the current discounting policy is sustainable. More details and a link to the full report.
Online Advertising: Forrester Report Says Invest with Caution

Investment in online adverting, first on large screens and now on mobile, has grown tremendously in the past few years. This new Forrester report suggests that we temper our enthusiasm and lower our expectations. The lessons learned by Procter & Gamble and other large spenders apply to colleges and universities as well.

With 38 percent of adults in the U.S. using ad blockers, precise targeting and careful messaging are more important than ever. Find more on how to spend wisely on online advertising.
Virtual Reality: Marketing Hype or Wise Investment?

Opinions differ on the potential of VR as a practical marketing tool for anyone except hard-core gamers. Prudent people will move with caution here. Even avid promoters suggest it will be at least 4 years before VR is a significant force.

If you are trying to decide on whether or not to make this investment, add to your reading list the Social Media Today article on “Why Virtual Reality Will Never be the Future of Marketing and Advertising.”
Inquiry Form Clutter: Skip the “How Did You Hear About Us?” Section

While on a secret shopping trip I came upon a university inquiry form with 18 possible answers to the “How did you hear about us” question.

My friends in the ad world continue to tell me that this is extremely unreliable information. Remember, the longer the inquiry form, the fewer people will complete it. If you are asking this question, a quick step to help reduce inquiry form clutter is to eliminate it.
Website Design: 3 Image Mistakes on Mobile Web

Nielsen-Norman Group report on “Big Pictures on Small Screens” warns against 3 common problems and offers 3 solutions: “Remove, Resize, or Reorganize.”

Designs that work on a large screen do not always work well in the mobile world, responsive or not. Images, particularly those that force excessive scrolling or push key words too low on a page, can kill marketing success. Check your image use against the warnings and solutions.
International Student Enrollment: Canada is Booming

University of Alberta has this year seen a 27 percent increase in accepted offers from international students. Strong increases are also reported not only at schools like University of Toronto and University of British Columbia but also at less prestigious universities.

Political climates in the U.S. and Europe are seen as helping Canada achieve a stronger international recruitment position. More in The Globe and Mail article.
Most Popular Topic in May Newsletter: What is The Future of Higher Education Marketing?

The “branding” word does not appear once in this Jeff Selingo article that focuses on better use of available data to build tactical student recruitment programs. How can you build a better future in higher education marketing?
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

Increase your marketing success with one or more of these services. Contact me for details at

Top Task Website Research with Gerry McGovern
Communication Audits
Expert Marketing Communications Website Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *