Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… May 2018

May. At long last the warm weather has arrived. And so too has deposit day for new freshmen. May you reach your goal. And may your summer melt be low.

Review of email and social media from online MBA programs at American, Dayton, and Syracuse universities and Simmons College continues. In the 6th installment are 34 Syracuse University emails received from September to February. Double back to the Simmons College report from two week ago.. Visit and scan the Syracuse email topics and frequency.

Registration for the 2018 eduWeb Digital Summit (July 23-25, San Diego) is open.

Gerry McGovern offers a free Top Tasks Overview webinar on May 16. Read what Gerry will cover and register. 

Join 619 higher education professionals on the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Read New UNO (University of Nebraska – Omaha) Home Page Focuses on Top Tasks from the director of digital communications.

Updating your website in 2018? First find out what potential students like and dislike about it. Feedback in 5 days on 13 quality points is yours with Gerry McGovern’s unique survey approach. See “How it works.” Questions? Ask me.

Join 7,500+ people on Twitter at for daily marketing updates.

And now here are your May marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: 5 Stages of Data Privacy Grief

Concerned about the impact of privacy concerns on your online advertising?

Tom Fishburne suggests that ads will still work if people are interested in the ad topic. Follow the transition from “Denial” to “Acceptance.”
New Research from GMAC: Recruiting Part-Time MBA Students

Graduate Management Admissions Council reports a growing interest in cohort programs to the point where potential students will trade program flexibility for perceived benefits of advancing together with a new group of students.

Cost? Yes, that’s still an important concern as employer reimbursement diminishes.

Read report highlights and download a PDF of the 40-page report.
Content Strategy: 6 Reasons to Write Long Articles

Short articles? Or long articles? Ezequiel Bruni defines long-form articles as 2,000 to 5,000 words before reviewing 6 reasons to favor them over a shorter approach. He starts with “Increase Engagement” and closes with “SEO” in “6 Reasons to Adopt a Long-Form Content Strategy.”
Recruiting Teens: Text Content is More Important Than Video

Yes, teens love video. But not so much on higher education websites as they explore their college options. In that case, they prefer text.

That is an important message from the Mythbusting Websites research from mStoner and Chegg. Video can plan a role, especially on academic program sites. But before investing scarce resources in video make sure that your text content is relevant, easy to scan for first impressions, and free of jargon known only to higher education professionals.

More on the importance of video to teens on college websites.
Facebook: 31 Stats Marketers Need to Know

Yes, Facebook has problems. But it remains the most significant social media play for higher education marketers no matter the age of the people you are recruiting. If you have an online advertising program, Facebook is still your first choice. We will know more in 6 months or so re the percent of current users who abandon it.

If you face opposition on campus, “A Long List of Facebook Statistics that Matter to Social Marketers” from Hootsuite is required reading. My favorites among the 31 points included: 34 percent of teens think Facebook is for “old people” but 76 percent of 12 to 17-year olds use it.

If you are recruiting Millennials, 88 percent of people in the U.S. between 18 and 29 use Facebook.

Visit the easy-to-scan Hootsuite collection.
New GDPR Privacy Rules: NACAC Recommendations

NACAC highlights 6 principles it believes are most important to colleges and universities to comply with new European Union privacy regulations by the end of May.

Review with caution. For instance, NACAC notes that data collected must be “obtained for specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes.” But the GDPR definition of “legitimate” strongly favors the privacy of potential students rather than the desires of the university recruiting them. How, for instance, will your request for “gender” benefit a student you are recruiting? If you cannot show that, you cannot require an answer.

Check the NACAC guidelines.
College Pricing: Tipping Point Between OK and Too Expensive

High school students form first impressions from the sticker prices of colleges and universities. As we might expect, the acceptable price points differ quite a bit between public and private sectors.

New Eduventures research confirms the price advantage of public sector universities, even after substantial tuition discounting in the private sector. The acceptable price point for publics before scholarships and grants is $12,000. The upper level sticker price point for privates is $36,000 and the optimal price point is $29,000 before people mark a school as too expensive to consider.

More on the Eduventures findings and the need for earlier attention in the recruitment cycle to “cost and affordability” content.
Voice Search: Importance of “Natural Language” and More

People are already searching the web by voice rather than typing. And that move will spread in the near future. Are you getting ready?

The folks at Higher Education Marketing in Montreal outline the steps you should take to do well with Google and other search engines in “Voice Search Optimization for Higher Education SEO.”

Review your readiness against the examples here (including several U.S, and Canadian universities) not the least of which is the need to understand that people will search differently using speech than they do when typing a query. Another reason to slay the jargon on your web page, from title tags to headlines and everything else. Learn and use the “natural language” that people outside higher education use to complete their top tasks at your site.

Start your move to voice search readiness.
Test-Optional Admissions: New NACAC Report

Quick summary: The authors make no firm recommendation on how important ACT and SAT scores are to the college admissions process but do conclude from this study of results at 28 test-optional schools that diversity and graduation rates increased.

If you are having a discussion on your campus about “going test-optional” download the 86-page “Defining Access: How Test Optional Works” report.
Tiny Colleges in Peril: College of St. Joseph

The message from the president at College of St. Joseph was clear: The college hoped to increase full-time enrollment from 199 last year to “over 250” this fall but “Right now, acceptances and deposits for next year are not great.”

With an endowment of just $3.1 million, there is no financial margin when enrollment falls. More on the process and timeline to review possible closing at the Rutland Herald.
Most Popular Topic in April Newsletter: Generation Z and College Choice

The Forbes article “5 Reasons Generation Z Will Be ‘Generation Smart” About College” includes academic and cost concerns.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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