Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… July 2018

June. For most colleges and universities here in the U.S. deposit conversion efforts for new students continue as nearly everyone also works to limit “summer melt” from existing commitments. Not fun. But critical. Best wishes to everyone for success these next weeks.

A note on our email delivery service. At the end of June, TargetX, the long-time provider for this newsletter, is “sunsetting” the service. Starting sometime in June in a Link of the Week email you’ll see a new format as we transition to a new provider. Expect an update email in the next two or three weeks.

Review of online marketing from MBA programs at American, Dayton, and Syracuse universities and Simmons College focused on the very similar inquiry forms used by each program in the 7th installment. Check the differences and similarities in requested information and potential GDPR compliance problems in the latest segment. 

Registration for the 2018 eduWeb Digital Summit (July 23-25, San Diego) is open. Plan to attend my workshop on how to take advantage of the marketing communication challenges of the GDPR privacy rules from the European Union. Register now for the eduWeb conference.

Gerry McGovern’s Top Tasks Overview May 16 webinar is available for replay.

Join 623 higher education professionals on the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Request your membership here.

Updating your website in 2018? Set priorities after you first find out what potential students like and dislike about the current site. Feedback in 5 days on 13 quality points is yours with Gerry McGovern’s unique survey approach. Visit “How it works.”

Join 7,515+ people on Twitter at for daily marketing updates.

And now here are your June marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: “Shifting Priorities and Digital Transformation”

What is most likely to change marketing priorities on your campus? Budget review? Research results? Or something else?

Marketing cartoonist Tom Fishburne posits the most likely factor.
Internet Trends for 2018: Mary Meeker is Back

If you have never read an annual Internet trends report by Mary Meeker, start now. She has been doing this for 23 years.

In her 294-slide format you’ll find information that interests you. And information that doesn’t. Set aside 30 minutes or so for a first perusal for useful insights on Artificial Intelligence, data personalization, privacy challenges, social media usage, voice search, and much more.

The treasure trove is on Slide Share or download your own PDF directly.
Communicating with Parents: Key Points for Gen-Z Parents

Parents play an important role in the college selection process, especially at the start. That’s true now. That’s been true for a quite some time. But few colleges and universities have active parent communication plans.

If your marketing and recruitment team needs inspiration and top tips to create parent communications, start with a report from Mongoose that focuses on the information that is most important to them. My favorite: “Address cost directly and let them know financial assistance is available.” Parents visit websites. Don’t frustrate them by avoiding cost early in the recruitment cycle.

Download the easy-to-read 17-page “Communicating with Parents of Prospective Students” review.
Student Recruitment List Buying: Do You Really Need Those Names?

Last week I went back to reread an October article by Jens Larson at Eastern Washington University: “I hate list buying and list buying is stupid.”

Every college and university president should take a moment and read this. The result might not be an end to list buying. But with any luck, the number of names purchased from list sellers might fall to new lows.

Few people will agree with everything Jens says. I don’t. But from the “search” collections I’ve seen over the past couple of years, most of it is accurate. Too many schools wasting too much money buying too many names with minimal chances of enrolling the people who are contacted.

Wise words from Jens Larson.
Trust in Marketing: About as Low as Possible

The more your student recruitment messages rely on a traditional marketing style, the less likely people are to believe them. Beware of hype. And exaggeration. And unsubstantiated claims.

That’s my takeaway from an eMarketer survey report ranking the media trust people using the Internet have in 26 different organizations and professional services. “Marketing & advertising” was last at 3 percent. Only 3 were higher than 30 percent (Banks, hospitals, healthcare providers). None were higher than 50 percent.

Where, we wonder, would higher education rank?

Survival recommendations for “Dealing with Media Trust Meltdown.”
May 1 Admissions Date: Most Schools Still Recruiting

The NACAC list of 400+ schools that still have open spaces after the traditional May 1 deposit deadline doesn’t tell the real story about the college recruitment cycle.

A 2017 Inside Higher Education survey shows that with the exception of public research universities, 4-year schools in every other segment have not reached their freshmen enrollment goal by May 1. And the percent meeting goal each year since 2015 (42 percent) is declining. 2017 was only 34 percent.

Indeed, only 59 percent of public research universities have reached goal by May 1. Even at that application-rich level, recruitment will continue well into the summer. More from Inside Higher Education on summer recruitment.
Email Marketing: 5 Tips to Increase Open Rates

By now almost nobody thinks that email is dead. Email remains an important marketing tool. But we do have to get people to open the email.

Garrett Moon offers “5 Tactics That Will Increase Your Email Open Rates.” When you visit, pay special attention to the 9 phrases that will increase open rates and the 9 phrases that will decrease them.

Compare your email with Garrett’s tactics.

A personal point here for after the email is opened. Put spaces between paragraphs for easier reading. Simple. But often not done in the college and university recruit emails I collect.
Web Design: 5 User Interface Mistakes to Ruin Your Marketing

You will see a stat at the start here: visitors form an opinion of your website in 50 milliseconds based on the User Interface.

Whether or not you plan significant website changes soon, check the 5 UI elements that will decrease the number of visitors who will take the desired action steps on your site. My favorite was #4: “Long, Unnecessary Forms.”

More on forms that work best and 4 other elements to consider.
Advertising Online: Mixed Opinion Re Personal Data Use

A May 2018 survey reports that 53 percent of “U.S. Internet Users” are against marketing use of personal data to send them advertising messages. And 35 percent say “Yes, as long as they protect and use my data responsibly.”

In the same survey, about 70 percent said they favored a U.S. privacy law similar to European Union GDPR regulations for the European Union. The most popular GDPR feature was the right to request deletion of all the information collected about a person. “The right to disappear.”

More from the Janrain report, including the 3 highest reasons people said “No.”
Most Popular Topic in May Newsletter: Syracuse University Email for Online MBA Recruitment

My review of email communications from online MBA programs continued with 34 emails received from Syracuse University between August 2017 and February.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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