Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… July 2018

July. Canada Day and July 4th celebrations are behind us. Final enrollment efforts for 2018 freshmen continue as the new campaign for 2019 unfolds. Admissions offices never rest.

This is the first monthly newsletter sent via MailChimp. If you experience any problems, let me know. The format continues close to the original. MailChimp shows me every country where someone opened an email. Never knew I had a Link of the Week reader in Oman. Or Iran. If you know someone who might like to subscribe, they can it do more easily now. Forward this to a friend. Only email required here.

Registration for the 2018 eduWeb Digital Summit (July 23-25, San Diego) continues. Attend my workshop on the marketing promise and peril of the GDPR privacy rules from the European Union. If you think that’s an ocean away, California has just taken similar action. Register at

Join 629 higher education professionals on the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Add your membership at

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

Join 7,520+ people on Twitter at for daily marketing updates.

And now here are your July marketing news and notes.


Cartoon of the Month: Privacy vs. Personalization in Online Advertising

We want our online privacy. We want online ads that interest us. Explore the resulting dilemma with Marketing Cartoonist Tom Fishburne at “The Personalization Gap.”


eMarketer April Survey Report: “Users are Souring on Ad Tracking.”

Let’s follow the Cartoon of the Month with actual survey data on what people think about being tracked online. A small majority (53 percent) said they don’t want to be tracked at all. And 35 percent said they don’t mind being tracked “as long as they protect and use my data responsibly.”

Almost 70 percent said they favored adoption in the U.S. of privacy regulations similar to those in the GDPR from the European Union. Find more privacy-related details to help plan your online retargeting ads.


Facebook Advertising: 7 Advanced Step to Increase Success

Given the reality that people are not overly happy about most online advertising, it behooves every marketing to be careful about who sees the ads, how they are crafted, and how success is evaluated.

Charlie Lawrence at Social Media Examiner starts with an emphasis on Look-a-Like ads that mirror as best as possible the people that you know are already interested in your college or university. That’s the best way to guard against needless scattering of online ads that will only annoy people and waste money.

More on Facebook ads at “7 Advanced Facebook Advertising Tips to Improve Your Campaigns.”


College Costs at “Elite” Schools: Total Annual Costs by Family Financial Profile

The NY Times breaks family income into 6 levels (Poor, Lower-Middle, Middle, Upper-Middle, Affluent, Very Affluent) and reports how a student in each group might expect to meet the cost amount: parents, student job, student loan, financial aid.

The “elite” schools in the study are the 32 that offer the MyinTuition cost estimator on their websites. Results for each family group at each school (from Amherst College to University of Virginia) are shown.

More in the in-depth NY Times article “Top Colleges are Cheaper Than You Think (Unless You’re Rich).

Explore the MyInTuition cost estimator used for the story.


Google and College Search: Did You Check Your College Results Yet?          

In the search world, Google dominates. And now Google is entering the world of college search with the goal of making it “easier to explore educational options and find a college that meets your needs.” Every time someone searches for a particular college the result will include information on “admissions, cost, student life and more.”

Chances are that many if not most people will accept the Google data before what’s on your website. For instance, if you say you are a “selective” college will potential students believe that if they see an 80 percent acceptance rate?

If you haven’t already viewed your results, do it now. Add your top 3 competitors. Not the aspirational ones. The competitors that actually win the same students you are recruiting.

An overview of the Google plan is at “Start Your College Search with Google.”


People Profile Stories: A 6-Step Guide

People like to read stories about other people. Especially when those people share similar interests and goals. But stories can’t read like public relations pieces. And the format has to be easy to digest in a very impatient online world.

Whether you’re already adding student, faculty, and alumni stories to your marketing efforts or planning to do that soon, check the 6-step guide from John Frizzera at idFive. “How to Write a Compelling Alumni, Donor, or Patient Profile Story.”


Technology Adopters: Not Just Millennials

Whatever the age of the students you are recruiting or the alumni you are cultivating, don’t be afraid to use the latest technology techniques.

Pew Research Center reports that Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are heavy users of social media and smartphones. Millennials are more likely to use Instagram (52 percent) and Snapchat (47 percent). Facebook use remains strong for everyone.

More on the Pew research FactTank report,


Branding with Video: Examples from Jesuit Universities

Students from Jesuit colleges and universities tell why they enrolled at a Jesuit school in a series of vignettes across three short videos prepared by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in collaboration with colleagues at the schools.

Each video features several students and lasts about 60 seconds. Links to the 2nd and 3rd videos are visible on YouTube as you watch the first one here.


Website Language, Yet Again: Kill the Jargon

The folks at Nielsen-Normal group this week reminded us about the imperative of making website content easy to understand: Visitors “should always be able to understand meaning without having to go look up a word’s definition in a search engine.”

The Anna Kaley articles is aimed at UX professionals. But her message is equally apt for professionals in any college or university department. Many college bound high school students, for instance, are not clear about what an “undergraduate” student is. And what, pray tell, is a “bursar”? Or “disbursement” of financial aid funds?

For marketing success, keep the language clear, simple, and easily understood by people who don’t work in colleges and universities. More at “Match Between the System and the Real World.


Campus Tours: Wise Notes on Parking, Greetings, and More

For all the research that exists on the importance of campus tours to enrollment decisions, the variation in quality from one school to another is amazing. Yes, a campus visit likely means a potential student is seriously interested in your college or university. But odds are that you are not the only campus being visited. You can still lose the enrollment contest.

After 12 or so campus tours, Jens Larson offers several notes to help make sure the visit experience you provide is reinforcing interest and not hurting it. Three points: “Just be nicer” when you welcome people; “make parking simple” (and free); and “For all that’s good and holy, add more signage.”

More on campus tours at the U of Admissions Marketing blog.


Top Tasks Master Class: Gerry McGovern in Chicago

Gerry is doing a Top Tasks Master Class in Chicago August 29 at the An Event Apart conference.

Details: “Top Tasks: Helping You Deliver a Better User Experience.”


Most Popular Topic in June Newsletter: Reviewing 4 Online MBA Inquiry Forms

Each of our online MBA programs (American, Dayton, Simmons, Syracuse) uses the same recruitment service provider with subtle differences in their inquiry forms. See what is most important to each school in the May 10 blog post.

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


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