Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… May 2023

May… The May 1 counting day for traditional students is past… and for most schools, yield season continues from now until well into the summer. May everyone who perseveres profit from your efforts.

Notable Marketing Quote: “Just because you want to grow, doesn’t mean you need more leads.” Seth Odell, Founder & CEO, Kanahoma.

Gerry McGovern & Top Tasks: Mark your calendar now for Gerry’s next “Top Tasks overview” on May 10. Here’s what’s covered:

  • How to identify what matters most–the Top Tasks
  • How to measure the performance of the Top Tasks
  • How to create a classification / navigation based on Top Tasks

Register now with name and email.

2023 eduWeb Summit: Dates for the conference are July 18-20 in Washington, D.C. Check the “Schedule-at-a-Glance.”

HE Connect Liverpool 2023: Janus Boye’s first higher education conference last year in the U.K was a success. See 8 top people participating in the September 26-27 program “tailored for digital leaders in higher education” at the conference website.

Join 915 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 May.
Cartoon of the Month: Focus Group Caveats

How much credence should marketers give to the opinions of people recruited to focus groups for “an afternoon of free snacks and a Starbucks gift card?”

More on the perils of relying overly much on focus groups at “focus groups and the oracles of eden prairie.”
Tuition Discount Rate: Increasing to “all time high”

NACUBO (National Association of College and University Business Officers) is out with this year’s “all time high” tuition discount rate, based on returns from 300+ private sector schools: 56.2 percent for first time undergraduates; 50.9 percent for all undergraduates.

Yes, in theory net tuition revenue is a better measure of financial health than the discount rate but the reality is that higher discount rates seldom lead to higher net tuition. This year, NACUBO reports that net tuition adjusted for inflation fell by 5.4 percent for first time undergrads and 5.9 percent for all undergrads.

Download the “2022 TDS Fact Sheet” and review the glossary and survey instrument at “NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study.”
Direct Admissions: One Indicator of Good Results

Inside Higher Education is reporting a good year for schools that admitted students who had not yet applied based on profiles matching those likely to enroll. Profile criteria might include grades, test score results, academic area interests, and geographic preferences. Students contacted were not yet inquiries in a recruitment system.

Results at Augsburg College (“Empowering Students to Empower Others”) are highlighted. Enrollment deposits have increased to 528, a 14 percent increase from last year. The report does not say how many of those were from the direct admissions effort.

Other specific college results are not available, but the article includes overall admissions offers made by clients of EAB, Niche, and Sage Scholars.

The headline might be a bit premature, but there’s more at “For Direct Admissions Pioneers, It’s a Good Year.”
Esports Marketing: 5 Tips & 2 Video Examples

If you have an esports varsity team (or are thinking about one) you’ll want to review 5 marketing tips from TerminalFour.

My favorites: “Smash misperceptions, especially with parents” and “Cross-promote with STEM and degrees.”

Don’t miss links to esports videos from Marysville University (“Flexible and Affordable”) and Miami University (“A Top 50 Public University”).

For 3 more tips and details on each one, visit “5 ways to market esports and improve recruitment.”
Instagram Marketing: What’s Working in 2023

Anna Sonnenberg at Social Media Examiner offers advice on how to tweak your existing Instagram marketing for even better results this year.

She’s divided her content into three sections, from first contact to lead generation:

  • 4 Types of Instagram Content to Improve Reach
  • 4 Types of Instagram Content to Increase Engagement
  • 3 Types of Instagram Content to Boost Lead Generation

Details for success in each area are at “Instagram Organic Content Strategy: What Works in 2023.”
Artificial Intelligence: Perils, Pitfalls, Potential and House Cats

AI is a genie out of the bottle. The future demands that you plan for its impact on everything from creating admissions essays to helping plan recruitment strategies.

Voltaire Santos Moran, executive vice president for creative at Carnegie, has written a read-worthy introduction to AI that starts in the 1950s and takes us quickly up to the “exponential growth” that’s happened since 2012. Voltaire hasn’t taken any Kool Aid. He notes that AI “has less common sense than a housecat.”

You’ll find references to recommended books and articles and advice on how to experiment with AI potential. Special attention to Step 3: “Experiment liberally but adopt carefully.”

Your May reading list should include “3 Steps for Higher Education Marketers to Harness Artificial Intelligence.”
ChatGPT: For Business Professionals, “Faster Work, Better Results”

Nielsen Norman Group is reporting the results of an MIT study with 444 “experienced business professional,” including marketers and grant writers. The result: “task time decreased, while rated quality improved substantially.”

Success happens when “a human checks the AI-generated text, then edits and corrects it.” The first ChatGPT result is a draft. Editing and correcting are essential.

Details on how the research was conducted including evaluation of the results at “ChatGPT Lifts Business Professionals’ Productivity and Improves Work Quality.”
Writing Right for Marketing: 12 Tips for Conversion Success

Maybe the reason potential students don’t read what’s written on your website is because too much of it is “drier than sand.”

That’s the opening message from Darek Black at the Content Marketing Institute as it moves along to present 12 tips to better communicate (and convert) potential students.

Four of my favorites (I didn’t see any I didn’t like):

  • Run from complex words
  • Snub the grammar police
  • Focus on “you”
  • Splurge on contractions

Review these and 8 other tips to improve recruitment success at “Write Like You Talk: 12 Tips for Conversational Content.”
Most Popular in April Newsletter: “Marketing Planning” & A 14-Step Guide

Tom Fishburne’s look at 6-slides typical of many marketing plan processes… and a link to what he calls “one of the best step-by-step primers I’ve seen on how to write a marketing plan.”

Refresh your marketing team activities at “Marketing Planning.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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