Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… August 2023

August… Quite the weather events these past weeks. Hoping that everyone is doing well despite the heat and floods and more we are experiencing.

Notable Marketing Quote: “The ballpark minimum amount you should invest to support a new program is $150,000 per year.” Details from Seth Odell, CEO at Kanahoma.

HE Connect Liverpool 2023: Janus Boye’s first higher education conference last year in the U.K was a success. See 11 top people participating in the September 26-27 program “tailored for digital leaders in higher education” at the conference website.

Join 912 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Join us 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 marketing news and notes for August.
Cartoon of the Month: “Threads” as Shiny New Object

Is Threads a classic case of folks chasing after a shiny new social media object?

Tom Fishburne helps answer that question at “brands on threads.”
Websites & Student Recruitment: What’s Most Important

What web content is most important to potential students?

Ologie has just published results from 890 surveys completed by potential college students. Four content subjects (from 9 tested) scored above 70 percent:

  • Do they have my major?… 79 percent
  • Can I afford it?… 79 percent
  • What kind of career options will it give me?… 76 percent
  • What classes will I be taking?… 72 percent

Those are the Top Tasks students want to complete when they arrive at your site. Most schools do well on “major” and fail on “afford.” “Career options” content varies but only a few schools have that for individual majors.

Other content areas were below 60 percent. “How big are class sizes?” was last at 25 percent.

Review the 45-page report, including design and writing tips, at “Your website should work for future students. It doesn’t
AI & Advertising: TikTok Script Generator

Anna Sonnenberg at Social Media Examiner gives us a concise guide on how to use AI for TikTok ads. She notes that Meta and Google will soon offer a similar service, but TikTok is the first.

To start you need (1) Industry, (2) Product Name, and a (3) Product Description. You’ll select length, format, and keywords. And soon you’ll have content to review.

More on a new approach to ad content at “How to Make Better TikTok Ads: TikTok AI Script Generator.”
Landing Pages: Examples for 4 Higher Education Audiences

What types of landing pages work best for different audiences?

Terminal Four gives us these examples:
“Standard content for all visitors”

  • “Traditional students”
  • “Adult learners”
  • “International students”
  • “Parents of prospective students”

Examples are from Georgetown University (“An Education for the Mind & Heart), Howard University (“Excellence in Truth and Service”), MIT, McGill University (“Made to challenge conventions. Made to take the world forward”), University of Glasgow, and University of Toronto.

Visit “How to tailor university landing pages to suit your audience.”
College Results: Easy-to-Use Data from Education Trust

Starting with a map of the United States, this is an easy way to see key data about your school and compare it to a selection of comparable schools selected by Education Trust. Or you can ask for a comparison with individual schools that you select.

A sample of what you’ll find:

  • Gender and ethnicity for enrolled students
  • 6-year completion rates by ethnicity
  • Admission rate
  • Median debt of graduates
  • Median income 10 years after graduation

Check the data from your school and others that interest you at “The Education Trust College Results“.
Email Marketing: Still Important in 2023

In the distant past someone first said email marketing was dead. Today, email is alive and well as an important way to communicate with potential students.

Email marketing of course has evolved. That’s how it has stayed alive. Compare your current email use with recommendations from Bart Caylor at Caylor Solutions.

My favorite was simple but often ignored in my secret shopping: “Use short paragraphs.” A close second: use academic program interest that Bart includes under the “Don’t Send Everyone the Same Emails” heading.

More at “Email Marketing Best Practices for Higher Education.”
Marketing Survey: “Senior-Level Professionals” in Higher Education

Simpson-Scarborough has opened this year’s survey of high-ranking professionals in higher education marketing. Don’t be intimidated by the “CMO” in the survey title. As you start the survey, you’ll see a variety of acceptable positions listed throughout a college or university’s marketing system.

Take the survey if you are interested in marketing budgets. How many of the $$$ questions asked can you easily answer?

To start visit “The 2023-2024 Higher Ed CMO Study is Open!
Higher Education Finances: A Professor’s Reading List

If you’re interested in anything related to higher education finance you will want to scan a reading list from Robert Kelchen, head of the department of educational leadership and policy studies at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

This was prepared for Kelchen’s 2023 Higher Education Finance course. You will not find a textbook; things change too rapidly for that. You will find articles sorted by a variety of topics, including:

  • The financial viability of higher education
  • Financial aid policies, practices, and impacts
  • Student debt and financing college

Select your reading from the full array at “My 2023 Higher Education Finance Reading List.”
Web Design: Accordion Design on Desktops Pages

Accordion design first came into vogue on mobile website versions. Since then, it has become common on desktops as well. Does that help visitors complete tasks? Or not?

The Nielsen Norman Group reviews in detail content presentation that will benefit from accordion design and content that does not. Examples include a Northeastern University (“A university like no other”) admissions “required materials” page.

The NN/g summary: “While accordions can simplify long content pages and minimize scrolling, they diminish content visibility and increase interaction cost. On desktop, use accordions for content-heavy pages where users will not need to access content under several accordions.”

The details and examples at “ Accordions on Desktop: When and How to Use.”
Most Popular in July Newsletter: “AI & Student Recruitment: ChatGPT recommends 7 steps to improve results”

How might you use AI in student recruitment? Why not, as a starting place, ask ChatGPT. And thus, this question: “How can universities use AI for student recruitment?”

The 7-step answer included points that were not surprising. “Predictive Analytics,” for instance recommended using AI to sort inquiry pools to discover those most likely to enroll.

Overall, most answers focused on how AI can help people spend their recruitment time more efficiently.

Check the 7 steps and details on each one at “How can universities use AI for student recruitment?”

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