Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… December 2019

December. Best wishes for fine days leading to end of year holidays as we get ready to celebrate the start of a new decade. Stay well.

The Call for Papers for the 2020 eduWeb Digital Summit is open until January 15. The 2020 event is August 3-5 at Utah’s Snowbird Resort. See the proposal details.

Improving the marketing power of your website? Believe in the proverbial “continuous quality improvement”? Find out what potential students like/dislike about your site. Feedback in 5 days on 13 quality points with Gerry McGovern’s unique Customer Centric Index (CCI) survey approach.

Join 770+ higher education professionals on the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Request membership at Guy Stratermans has introduced a new service from the Customer Carewords partnership that “can help Higher Education websites & intranets with identifying and measuring the user experience.” Check the details when you visit.

7,300+ people get my daily marketing updates on Twitter at

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And now, your December marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: “A Golden Age of Metrics” creates “KPI Tunnel Vision”

Data is great. Until we have so much data that the flood obscures what’s most important and we settle for what’s easiest to understand. Have each person on your marketing team list 5 Key Performance Indicators… and compare the results. Settle on the 5 most important tor measure your marketing results.

More on the dangers of KPI excess from Tom Fishburne at “KPI overload.”
Direct Response Marketing: 10 Principles to Increase Conversions

From my secret shopping efforts, it is obvious that many colleges and universities might be better attention to the use of traditional direct marketing principles in their student recruitment contacts.

TargetMarketing helps that effort by reviewing 10 direct marketing principles to help increase the percent of your inquiry pool the moves through to enrollment. My favorites include #1 (“Write in a Direct Response Style”) and #3 (“Don’t Allow Branding Guidelines to Interfere With Performance.”)

More on how to boost enrollment conversions throughout a recruitment cycle at “Why the 10 Principles of the Direct Marketing Mindset Still Matter.”
Artificial Intelligence: A New Way to Produce Your Blog (and other) Content?

No one quite knows the future role of Artificial Intelligence in marketing communications. That said, we should expect that it will grow.

For one example of what’s possible, check the blog posts from Barry Tyree. Barry is a person created by a content marketing agency. See for yourself what’s possible when you read his AI-generated posts (the most recent is “What Photo Filters are Best for Instagram Marketing” at “This Marketing Blog Does Not Exist.
Writing Right for the Web: 30 Seconds on the power of the “You” word

How often do you find “students will…” out and about on your website?

A great 2020 project for website improvement: Replace “students will…” with “You will…” to connect better with potential and enrolled students. Especially at small, private colleges that profess intense personal attention for students.

Skeptical? See content strategist Tracy Playle’s 30-second video on “the power of using the word ‘You’”.

Follow Tracy on Twitter for regular 30-second content tips.
Communicating with Parents: Your 12 Minute Guide

Parent communications, right from the start of an inquiry, can boost final enrollment numbers. Indeed, they can help to identify inquiries likely to enroll from those who are not: students who provide parent information at the start are 45 percent more likely to apply and enroll.

If you don’t have a parents’ communication program now, start one.

The folks at Mongoose have written a strong primer on the best timing and content to build impact with parents, remembering that parent influence is strongest at the start of a recruitment cycle in creating a small number of colleges to consider.

Details are at “Communicating with parents of prospective students.”
Student Website: A “Boldly Bankrupt” University of Cincinnati

Students at the University of Cincinnati show how challenging it can be for a university advancement office to control messages that are sent to the public in a student-run website.

Message highlights include the deficit of the university athletic program, the lack of people with a background in education on the board of trustees, and the salaries of the president, provost, and chief investment officer. The not-so-brand-friendly message opening the site: “New buildings, corporate partnerships, and a $30 million athletics subsidy are making our administrators rich while students and faculty are left in the dust.”

Explore more at “University of Cincinnati: Boldly Bankrupt.”
Out-of-State Scholarships: Top 10 Public Universities

Public universities for more than few years how have been seeking to boost out-of-state enrollment with tuition discount scholarships.

U.S. News lists the top 10 schools where out-of-state students are most likely to receive awards. The highest amount is from University of Hawaii-Manoa at $18,650. The lowest amount is from University of Tennessee-Chattanooga at $6,465. Four of the 10 were in Ohio.

The list, including the percent of out-of-state students receiving aid (from 90 percent to 73 percent), is at “Colleges Where Most Out-of-State Students Get Aid.”
MBA Enrollment: A Mixed Message

Overall, applications and enrollments at most MBA programs in the U.S. declined over the past two years. That includes new student applications at the “Magic 7” top tier schools: Chicago, Penn, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, and Columbia. Enrollments at these schools were fine.

A move from two-year to one-year programs for full-time students hasn’t worked as well as expected. Enrollment also decreased in the faster programs.

Online programs were a (relative) bright spot: apps increased at 50 percent of those programs and were steady at another 10 percent.

InsideHigherEducation presents an MBA enrollment overview where you can also download the full 84-page GMAT report (“Application Trends: Survey Report 2019”). Start at “More Ominous Signs for M.B.A Admissions.”
Website Design: The “Department of Useless Images”

Every website page does not need an image. Particularly if those images have no relationship to the content of the page. See, for instance, the photos on the Furman University “Tuition and Fees” page used with Financial Aid and Net Price Calculator content.

Be marketing-smart and eliminate photos you don’t need. Visit Gerry McGovern on how “The Department of Useless Images” can reduce the effectiveness of your website.
Most Popular Topic in November Newsletter: Digital Admissions 2019

Evaluate how you devote resources in your high school student recruitment plans after you read this 32-page report from mStoner and TargetX.

You’ll find that 92 percent of the students responding said a college website was more important in their college search than social media sites. You’ll see a reaffirmation that academic program content is the most important element on your site… followed closely by cost of attendance and financial aid content.

More (video, email, texting) to guide your recruiting efforts at “Digital Admissions 2019.”

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