Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… August 2021

August… No colleges likely expected a COVID mutation to threaten disruption of their Fall 2021 on campus education plans but here we are. Hoping that we get full certification of vaccines ASAP to help the schools that have and will mandate vaccination. May this break the right way for everyone.

Creating a strong(er) marketing website? Pay careful attention to keeping your visitors happy with rapid task completion. Gerry McGovern continues his webinar series August 18 on “Top Tasks Questions and Answers: Ask Gerry McGovern.

Join 876 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Request membership at

Follow along with 7,200+ people for my daily marketing updates on Twitter.

Forward this newsletter to a friend. Only email required here to subscribe for a personal copy.

And now, your news and notes for August.
Cartoon of the Month: “Personalization Privacy Paradox”

Yes, “personalization” in marketing can be great. But people are often wary of excessively intrusive attempts to collect their personal data. What’s a marketer to do?

Learn a new term (“zero party data”) as you explore recommendations on how to best collect data that allows personalization without overly annoying the people you are collection it from as you focus only on “the data consumers willingly share about themselves.”

Visit “The Personalization Privacy Paradox.”
COVID-19: U.S. colleges and universities requiring a vaccine

University Business keeps updated information for colleges and universities at “State-by-state look at colleges requiring COVID-19 vaccines.”
Student Recruitment: The 2021 E-Expectations Report

The latest version of the popular E-Expectations Report (for high school students only) is out from RNL What’s always important is the info on the “most influential sources” in how students decide on where to enroll.

The most important source remains the college website. But pay special attention to the next two sources among the Top 10: (2) “results from a financial aid or scholarship calculator” and (3) “statistics or salaries of recent college graduates.” Consider these the equivalent of “top tasks” for potential students. Ask yourself how easy it is to find this information on your website. Especially “salaries” by academic major.

Also deserving attention: the extent to which interest in a specific academic program drives interest, especially for high school sophomores. Yes, sophomores.

Download the 29-page report at “2021 E-Expectations Trend Report.”
Student Recruitment: 2 Innovations from Liberal Arts Colleges

Most private colleges are enrollment challenged today and the impact of cost is a particular severe. And thus, we sometimes see especially innovative steps taken to meet the challenge.

  • Hope College is raising funds to allow it to “fully fund” costs of an undergraduate degree while a student is enrolled. It will then ask graduates to make significant contributions to help “fully fund” a following generation of students “out of gratitude for what they’ve received.” The plan was approved by trustees earlier this year and fund-raising is in progress. More at “Hope College Launches ‘Hope Forward” Strategy to Fully Fund Tuition.”
  • Augustana College in Illinois has started a pilot project to guarantee transfer students “the average income for their academic field for the first five years after graduating from Augustana.” In this first year 20 new transfers are expected to participate. Plan details in text and video are at “Transfer Student Income Assurance Program.”

Social Media Marketing: 2021 demographics for 7 sites

Higher ed marketers can’t afford not to pay attention to social media marketing. To help decide the direction of your efforts, Campus Sonar has published the demographics for 7 sites: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Quick take: While the overall review is helpful, remember that not all social media sites are equally important. High school students responding to the E-Expectations survey have a clear preference for Instagram for both “daily use” and “college planning.” YouTube is in 2nd place.

Review the demographics at “Campus Sonar Brain Waves.”
Advertising: Cost of a master’s degree in a TV ad

Unusual TV ad seen Monday morning from Capella University: cost of a master’s degree included in an ad promoting a “Flex Path” opportunity. “Earn your Master’s degree in 14 months for $14,000.” Scholarships are often mentioned in TV ads like this but this is the first time I’ve seen cost included.

The message is repeated on the website, with caveats. See “With Flex Path you can earn your master’s degree in 14 months for $14,000*
Usability Studies: How many participants?

For confidence in the results of a quantitative usability study for your website, how many participants should you have? The folks at Nielsen Norman admit that their recommendations have changed over the many years they’ve been doing this. The current recommendation: 40 people.

Assumption here is that 40 participants will give an accurate answer re successful task completion within 15 percent of what will actually happen. If you don’t need that degree of accuracy, you can use fewer people. Add more people and you are wasting money.

Details of the Nielsen-Norman thinking re UX testing are at “How many participants for quantitative usability studies?”
Higher education books: 7 new in August

Jeff Selingo has compiled a list with short descriptions of 7 new books on or relevant to higher education that are being published this August.

Scan the list to find one or more of interest to you at “An August of Books about College—Debt, Athletics, and Getting In.”
Writing Right for the Web: 11 tips from Seattle University

To return to an old favorite that’s still important: writing and presenting content on your website is critical to whether or not people will read your content. People do read on the web. If you follow the right principles.

Seattle University gives people 11 easy-to-scan tips for effective writing. My favorite is “Make your text skim friendly” as visitors will first scan a page for highlights.

Everyone should have on their website the equivalent of Seattle’s “Writing for the Web.”
Most Popular in July Newsletter: “Forget the Funnel” for “Full Circle Marketing”

The “funnel” idea never seemed a good one to me. In its most basic form, it suggested that the best way to meet an enrollment goal was to increase inquiries. And the best way to do that was to buy more ACT and SAT names. And to visit more high schools. And college fairs.

That’s changing today as more attention is being paid to converting people to move through a recruitment cycle. Fewer inquiries? Not necessarily a problem if what’s left are better inquiries.

In that context, Sean Carton asks us to think about “Full Circle Marketing” as he outlines how “The Digital Age Difference” has made many traditional recruitment activities based on the “funnel” concept obsolete.

Consider ways to adapt your recruitment activities to the new world as you review the 10 steps in a “full circle” marketing plan at “Forget the Funnel.”

Leave a Reply

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