Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… April 2017

April. The countdown to May 1 enrollment deposits begins in earnest now that acceptance letters for new freshmen are out and about from schools that do not do rolling admissions. We will soon learn which enrollment marketing innovations were effective this year. And which were not.

Mark your calendar for the 2017 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, November 12-15 in Atlanta. Call for papers is open until April 14.

Registration for EduWeb Digital Summit in Boston in August is open. Review my Monday morning workshop, Top Task Content and Design: Strategy for Website Success.

Join 382 members of our Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn. If you work at a college or university, request membership now. 

Do you know what visitors like and dislike about your website? Before you start your next website revision, get feedback on 13 important points with our free web visitor survey.

Join 7,380+ followers on Twitter at for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for April.
Cartoon of the Month: Content Marketing and Content Shock

Has the content marketing obsession gone too far? Are people ignoring more and more of what comes along in the flood? Surveys suggest that is exactly what is happening.

Tom Fishburne cites one survey as he urges more “craft” and less “crap.”
College Rankings 2017: Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education Report

The two newspapers combine here to rank 1,060 U.S. colleges and universities. The top 50 are so are pretty much the usual cast of characters. Listings get more interesting after that.

Watch how the listings change (or do not change) as you easily sort by academic program area.
Voice Search on Your Website: Start Planning Now

If there is one new capability you should be planning to add to your website, make it voice search capability. You do not want to be the last school in your competitive set to do this.

Skeptical? Start with “OK, Google, How Do I Optimize My Site for Voice Search” from Wordstream.
Google Analytics: Focusing on Website Behavior

Do visitors act on your website the way you think they do? Or want them to do?

Social Media Examiner explores how the Behavior section can help you better understand what people do after they arrive at your website in “Google Analytics: How to Analyze the Behavior of Your Site Visitors.”

Read the outline or listen to the podcast.
Financial Responsibility Scores: 3,376 Ratings

How does your college or university compare to your competitors? Sort by state, city, or zip code. Download the Department of Education file.

Top score is 3.0. Do not feel bad if you missed a perfect result. Yale University was rated at 2.7.
Facebook Advertising: Click-Through, Cost, and Conversion Rates in 17 Sectors

How well should you expect your Facebook ads to perform? Keep expectations on your campus under control starting with a review of click-through rages that run from a high of 1.60 percent for “Legal” to a low of .47 percent for “Employment and Job Training.”

The average click-through for “Education” is .73 percent. Stick to custom advertising and you should beat the average.

The average conversion rate for “Education” is second highest at 13.58 percent. Click-through, cost-per-click, and conversion rates for the 17 sectors are here. 
Website Speed: Yes, It Does Make a Difference

“If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors.”

Not many colleges and universities can afford to lose that many potential students when they first visit the website. But not many schools pay serious attention to speed. If you have speed skeptics on your campus, try circulating “How Page Load Time Affects Conversion Rates: 12 Case Studies.”

Test your home page mobile and desktop speeds on Google Test My Site. Your goal is to be closer to California Lutheran University (89/100) than Bennington College (11/100).
Virtual Reality Marketing: 4 Mistakes to Avoid

The verdict is not yet in on how important virtual reality will be as a marketing tool. But it never hurts to know as much as possible about VR possibilities and pitfalls.

Check the report from Advertising Age on 4 mistakes that anyone new to VR should know.
Gerry McGovern: The Surreal, Crazy World of Branding Kills Website Success

If you are just a bit skeptical that a traditional branding approach should dominate your college or university website, read this March article with special attention to the notes on language, photos, font sizes and colors, and more.

When you next meet with your marketing and communication team and your top leadership team, share what you read when you visit.
Marketing Tools: 64 Small Business Tools That Colleges Might Use

For any college or university that has a staff equivalent to a small business, this is a collection of marketing tools that is easy to scan and might offer solutions you have not yet discovered.

Tools are grouped into 8 categories so you can find an area of special interest: Analytics, Content Marketing, Lead Capture, SEO + PPC, Email + Marketing Automation, Design, Project Management, and Social Media. WordSteam picks a “Tool of Choice” in each category.

Discover a new tool that might help your marketing success.
Most Popular Topic in March Newsletter: Logo Controversy at Quinnipiac University

You never know what part of a new logo will generate outrage. At Quinnipiac, it was proposing a change to improve the school’s market position that included a lower case “u” in university. Really.

See the proposed change, the result after the outrage, and ask yourself about the likely impact on market position. The description of the fuss and two logo examples are here.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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