Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

E-expectations: Marketing Lessons for Online Student Recruitment

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the E-expectations research with college-bound high school students that started in 2005. Stephanie Guyer from Ruffalo Noel Levitz and Lance Merker from OmniUpdate presented the results at the eduWeb Digital Summit in July. You can read and download their slides here.

These "top marketing lessons" are the 2015 findings that deserve special attention as people work to fine-tune student recruitment marketing strategies. From the first time a potential student visits a college website to the end of the recruitment cycle, the lessons learned from the E-expectations results will increase conversions at each critical point.

The 4 top marketing lessons
  1. Your website is your most important online component. 
  2. Don't expect too much from social media. 
  3. Email is important throughout the recruitment cycle. 
  4. Texting is growing in value.
Websites: Tops in online importance and more important than print
  • A college or university website is still the most important online element in student recruitment, more so than social media and at times more important than real people. Consider these findings:
    • Nearly 100% of seniors and juniors say they find "reliable" information on your website. Nearly 50% of seniors and 42% of juniors believe that the quality of a higher ed website reflects the quality of the educational experience at the school that created it. 
    • If juniors have a question about your school, 70% are will turn first to your website for an answer rather than call a counselor at your school or ask at their high school or send you an email. Percents change for seniors who presumably know more people at a college that interests them, but 57% of seniors still turn first to your website to answer a question.
    • Your website has more influence on what potential students think about your school than your print publications (or magazine rankings or college planning sites). That's true for both seniors (80% web, 33% print) and juniors (77% web, 38% print). Ranking and planning sites are far behind.
Social Media: Mixed reviews for content reliability
  • Students are mixed on the value of social media. A high percent of seniors (39%) and juniors (52%) did not agree with this choice: "I find reliable info through college social media" sites.
    • Don't expect lots of activity on social media. While just over 60% of seniors and juniors said they have "liked" a site, only about 20% of seniors and less than 10% of juniors commented on what they read. (That's normal. Most people who visit social media sites "read and leave" without any other "engagement.")
    • Facebook remains the most important social media site, with just over 50% saying it was "best" for college research. YouTube is visited more often, but only about 30% said it was best for research. Everything else was lower yet. If social media resources are limited, focus first on Facebook.
Email: A valued key to successful marketing
  • Email, of course, is far from dead. 
    • More than 80% of juniors and seniors trust the emails they receive from colleges.
    • Nearly 100% will open an email from a school that interests them. And about 60% say they will open an email from a school they don't know.
    • More than 60% check email on a smartphone at least daily. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly as they open on the small screen.
Text Messages: They belong in the communication mix
  • Texting can grow as a recruitment tool.
    • More than 70% of seniors were willing to receive text messages, but only 28% had received one from a college. One reason: relatively few schools ask for permission to text. Few make it a clear choice on the admissions page as does St. Mary's University.
That's all for now.

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Greetings in August. And best wishes to everyone preparing for freshman move-in days this month. May all goes as planned, swiftly and smoothly with a fair sun shining on a cool day.

This month we begin with notes on two university home pages with very different approaches to creating the all-important first impression on new visitors.

Most people come to a home page to leave it as quickly as possible and move along to task completion. That is why my favorite new home page feature is at Xavier University: a large, centrally placed search box to Find Programs, Activities, And More on the site. For sure this is a bold departure from most new higher education websites. Test it at bit.ly/1SWaUPQ 

New websites with images that take up all of the real estate as the home page opens sometimes use "Scroll" prompts to try and make sure that people do not leave if the opening image fails to catch their fancy. The prompt at Fordham University is special: it hops up and down for a bit to get your attention. Check the action at bit.ly/1KMw4Rz 
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Conference Event Upcoming

Registration is open for the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November where I will do a Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial Sunday afternoon. The website is at bit.ly/1mIBYqb 

Invite a friend or colleague to subscribe to this newsletter. Just 30 seconds at bit.ly/aRePLm 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for August.
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Cartoon of the Month: The Power of Polarization

When you try to please everyone, do you excite anyone? Our Cartoon of the Month explores the marketing downside of trying not to offend anyone. Cartoon and comments are atbit.ly/1E4GTqo 
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Best Value Colleges: 736 Schools Get Letter Grades, A to C

We just might have a ratings dilemma from this Money Magazine list. If a school makes is included but only gets a C+ or B grade in the value-added column, how to spin the result when many others have a B+ or an A?

Schools scored at B- include Cooper Union and Rice, Vanderbilt, and Yale Universities. C+ schools include University of Chicago, Grinnell College, Washington University in St. Louis, and Haverford College. Babson College appears first with an A grade, listed in second place overall.

As you might expect, earnings after graduation compared to degree cost play a role in the methodology, as do loan default rates and graduation rates. For more on rankings and methodology visit ti.me/1VXvVy9 
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CFOs on Higher Ed Financial Future: Inside Higher Education Survey Result

A majority (56 percent) of higher education chief financial officers believe that news reports of a crisis in higher education finances are accurate but 81 percent do not believe their school is in near-term danger of closing. For 82 percent, the primary path to surviving the crisis at their school is increasing enrollment.

Read more and download a copy of the 37-page report at bit.ly/1I8DDkE 
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Digital Marketing: 3 Investment Circles

People often ask about how to best spend their money to bolster digital marketing efforts. The answer, of course, will vary from one school to another.

Start with this exercise: check your present spending against the "Digital Marketing Trifecta" of Earned Media, Owned Media, and Paid Media outline in the infographic at bit.ly/1CA6RqH 

Pay special attention to where the circles overlap. Keep one important point in mind: your website is still the core of your digital marketing success. Spend resources elsewhere but do not starve the website to do it.
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Cost of Regulatory Compliance: Vanderbilt Clouds an Important Issue

Yes, not every regulation devised for higher education is worthy. Many if not most people will agree with that. And yes, regulatory compliance costs money. 

But Vanderbilt University contributed nothing to a serious discussion when Chancellor Zeppos testified in February before a Senate committee chaired by Senator Alexander from Tennessee. The shocking news was that regulatory compliance added about $11,000 to the cost of annual tuition for each Vanderbilt student.

Reporters and policy folk were curious about the details. Until July Vanderbilt did not release any. Few people had access to the study. Now we learn that most of the cost ($117 million of $146 million) was attached to research grants that did not increase student tuition. And not all of the remainder directly increased tuition costs either. Did somebody forget to tell the Chancellor this before his misleading testimony?

Read more from Inside Higher Education at bit.ly/1M7C8Ez 
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Mobile Advertising: Indiana University Online on CNN

While browsing through CNN news updates on my iPhone there appeared in the news flow an ad from Indiana University Online for the Bachelor of Applied Science Program under the heading "Your Future is Waiting." It is not obvious from the ad, but the program was developed for community college graduates who have a degree in a similar field.

Both the landing page for the ad and the website for the Applied Science program encourage use of an available chat feature. Email and phone contact options are also available. 

This was the first mobile ad for a university that I have seen. The program description is atbit.ly/1IBlUMZ 
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Moody's Gets Optimistic: Financial Stability Returning to Higher Ed

Stability does not equal prosperity. Moody pegs tuition revenue growth at about 3 percent per year going forward, compared to about 7 percent in pre-recession years. And it is still predicting financial problems for about 20 percent of colleges and universities, especially smaller schools.

More in the Washington Post summary at wapo.st/1IiN1Au 
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Website Design and Grocery Shopping: 10 Things to Do and Not to Do

This insightful article opens with an accurate comparison between visiting a website and visiting a grocery story. In both cases, most people want to enter and leave as quickly as possible while getting done the things they came to do. Anything that interferes with that journey is wrong. 

From that point, this Next Web article lays out 10 steps to consider that will help you before you start on the path to a new website or start to make incremental changes in your present site. It is also a good screening guide for new hires, be they people or agencies.

My favorite "do" point is this: "Provide instantly recognizable navigation." My favorite "do not": "Letting the design of the site hinder site readability."

Check more on those and 8 other elements in "10 Do's and Don'ts of UI and UX Design atbit.ly/1KMgrcO 
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Test Drive an Online Degree Program: Drexel University Recruitment

If you are a person considering an online degree program but unsure about handling the delivery format, will you take advantage of an opportunity to test drive a "new interactive online classroom"?

That is the option Drexel University is offering in an email to previous inquiries that also announced the launching of 40 new programs over the last 18 months. 

The landing page for the test drive is at bit.ly/1KMMb1n and the landing page for the new programs, from certificate to doctoral level, is at bit.ly/1gFirqR 

Register to take the drive yourself until August 23. 
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Digital Marketing Strategy: eduWeb Digital Summit Workshop

My Digital Marketing Strategy workshop at eduWeb Digital Summit is online now. Review the slides and download a copy at bit.ly/1KuQGe8 
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Most Popular Topic in July Newsletter: Kill Your Web Sliders

Web design fads come and go as people struggle with the latest and greatest. One that is disappearing, although not quite fast enough, is the use of home page carousels or sliders. If you have a recalcitrant person on your campus who still loves these, circulate "Quick Conversion Tip: Kill Your Sliders" at linkd.in/1G8lbl1 
________________________________
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

Increase your marketing success with these services. Contact me for details at bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com 

Communication Audits
Expert Marketing Communications Website Reviews
Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
Writing Right for the Web: Webinars, Conferences, and Campus Workshops
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July greetings to everyone. Here in the U.S. we are looking forward to our holiday weekend. In Michigan, we even expect good weather! For Canadian readers, happy Canada Day today.

The most unusual news for July is that the University of Phoenix, in an effort to run faster than the avalanche that has been sweeping away its enrollment from a peak of more than 450,000 in 2010 to just over 200,000 now, is planning to downsize to a new enrollment level of 150,000 and new admission standards in search of a higher degree completion rate. 

Associate degrees are out and more physical locations will close. Various clich├ęs come to mind, but we'll pass on those and just suggest reading about a major strategy change atbit.ly/1GJXS1o 
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Conference and Webinar Events in July and November

Gerry McGovern offers a free webinar on Top Task Identification on July 8. Learn more about how you can identify top tasks to set content priorities and navigation paths. Register atbit.ly/1g7WsrT 

The 5th "Writing Write for the Web: Improving Your Online Content" conference with Academic Impressions takes place in San Diego July 13-14. Still time to register atbit.ly/1ALgKx9 

Registration continues for eduWeb Digital Summit in Chicago in July. Check the program details, including my 3-hour pre-conference Digital Marketing Strategy workshop, atbit.ly/1AAtDbf 

Registration is also open for the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November where I will do a Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial. The website is atbit.ly/1mIBYqb 

Invite a friend or colleague to subscribe to this newsletter. Just 30 seconds at bit.ly/aRePLm 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for July.
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Cartoon of the Month: Will Tech-Savvy Growth Hackers Replace Marketers?

Silicon Valley is buzzing over the power and potential of growth hacking. Will growth hackers replace traditional marketers? Start with the marketing cartoon at bit.ly/1CGVA20 
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Increase Conversion with Better Online Forms: 14 Steps to Success

From the Nielsen-Normal Group comes a 14-step checklist to improve the form completion experience on your website. As a special fan of online enrollment inquiry forms, the first step was my favorite: Is this field absolutely necessary? Remember, the shorter the form, the higher the completion rate.

The other 13 steps are divided into Description, Visibility, Filling it in for the user, and Typing sections. Compare each step with your online inquiry, campus visit, application, and donation forms when you visit bit.ly/1HOU3gm 
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Anatomy of a Landing Page: Medill School at Northwestern University

No matter how good your online advertising, the landing page that appears after an ad generates a click is critical to converting visitors to inquiries. The Medill School got some things right and some things wrong in a landing page for the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications that followed a banner ad on a site I was visiting. 

The major mistake: on either my laptop or my smartphone the type size for primary text is almost impossible to read, violating the "do not make them squint" maxim. 

Three good points: eyes are attracted immediately to the 4 bullet points used to present reasons to enroll in the program; the inquiry form is only 5 lines long; there is a phone number for people energized to call immediately. A second weak point: the pages opens with 8 long lines of marketing-speak text that just is not needed here. Most eyeballs will run to the bullet points and the inquiry form.

For me, a nearly 3-minute video is too cute, too slow, and too long. And although placed at the bottom of the page, it might distract people from moving directly from bullet points to inquiry form.

Test your own experience when you visit the landing page at bit.ly/1GVj0VB
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Kill Your Website Sliders: 5 Reasons Slides Hurt Your Website

A website design fad that started about 2011 may finally be disappearing from marketing-smart websites.

If you want to make the case on your campus that carousels hurt your website marketing strength, circulate the 5 reasons offered by Joel Klettke. Pay special attention to the 2nd reason: people ignore them. Or perhaps you will get a better reaction to the 5th reason: they do not work well at all on mobile.

More on the 5 reasons you should drive a stake through the heart of this fad atlinkd.in/1G8lbl1 
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Alverno College: Weekend College Is Out, Hybrid Programs Are In

Alverno College has long been a pioneer in higher education delivery innovation, starting over 40 years ago with one of the first Weekend College programs at a time when this was considered a radical approach to accommodating adults in search of college degrees.

Now the college, faced with declining weekend enrollments, has decided to move on, creating new degree programs with a hybrid course mix of online learning and a Wednesday evening on-campus class. While not as audacious a move as that early Weekend College, the change shows the flexibility that is critical for colleges like this to survive and thrive in higher education today. 

Next step: clean up the still-present website pages that are recruiting new weekend students.

More on the change in priorities at bit.ly/1IG1Nxj 
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Rising College Costs: Detailed Review from CNBC

Detailed reviews like this one with short text and easy-to-follow graphics illustrate why higher education is not going to win a public relations battle over rising tuition costs. The title shows right where things start: "Debt by Degree." 

While the reasons included are not new(lower public funding, the gap between rising family incomes and rising tuition costs, an excess of administrators and amenities, an aversion to debt and more) the clear presentation of everything in one place is unusual and reminds us of everything involved in discussing the issue. Visit cnb.cx/1LANwXY 
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Student Recruitment: Influence of Parents

It still amazes me that although most people recruiting traditional-age students recognize the role parents play in selecting a college, almost no school has a communication plan for the parents of potential students.

An infographic from Boston Interactive outlines the similarities and differences in communication channels used by parents and their college-bound children. Points of note: the value of phone calls to parents, the status of Facebook and YouTube as the most important social media sites for both groups, and the high value both groups place on academic program and cost content on a website.

More on what moves parents and what does not at bit.ly/1K8Wn1Z 
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SEO Success: Get the Periodic Table

Have you ever used The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors? Did you ever want the myriad of elements needed for successful SEO results available on a single easy-to-scan page?

If you answered "No" and "Yes" get yourself a copy of the Search Engine Marketing guide atselnd.com/16ZXRL2 
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Mobile vs. Desktop Viewing: One is Growing, One is Stable

We all know that Internet access from smartphones continues to grow. What we might not be as aware of is that Internet access from desktop computers is stable. In other words, it is a mistake to assume that growth in one device means the death or even decline of the other. You still need eggs in both baskets.

More on this from Jonathon Low at bit.ly/1APP3qq 
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Evaluating Your Institutional Website: Conference Presentation on SlideShare

My 3 presentations at the Academic Impressions conference on strategic recruitment communications are online now. You will find one on "value messaging" and another on "affordability and financial aid" after you start your visit with Evaluating Your Institutional Website at bit.ly/1IJECES 
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Most Popular Topic in June Newsletter: Why Branding is a Waste of Money

This is a great almost tongue-in-check description of the process branding firms use with a client who believes that "rebranding" will solve marketing problems.

The author of this Forbes article suggests a better approach is to save your money and invest in better stories about the experiences people have with you. See more on "Why Most Branding is a Waste of Money" at onforb.es/1Az04ML 
________________________________
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

Increase your marketing success with these services. Contact me for details at bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com 

Communication Audits
Expert Marketing Communications Website Reviews
Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
Writing Right for the Web: Webinars, Conferences, and Campus Workshops
Competitive Website Reviews and Secret Shopping Projects
June greetings from Houston. I am here at the Academic Impressions conference on Improving Your Student Recruitment Communication Plan that starts today.

In April I started a new secret shopping project to continue reviewing how colleges and universities are responding to an online inquiry. My potential 2016 freshman selected 5 schools. All were in the private sector.

The response to date is the strangest I have yet received in two years of similar projects. So far, no emails have arrived from anyone. One college sent 5 print pieces in April and May. Another has sent a view book. And a third has sent a postcard encouraging a summer visit. From the other two, nothing has arrived either online or in print.

Was it the time of the year? April is a hectic month in the final conversion effort for 2015. I just might try again with a new name in June. Can you afford to ignore inquiries made on your website because they did not arrive at the right time of the year? 

More on this project as the year unfolds.
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Upcoming Conference Events in July

The 5th Writing Write for the Web: Improving Your Online Content conference with Academic Impressions takes place in San Diego July 13-14. Check the agenda, including a post-conference workshop on creating and presenting "academic" and "affordability" content, at bit.ly/1ALgKx9 

Registration is open for eduWeb Digital Summit in Chicago in July. Check the program details, including my 3-hour pre-conference Digital Marketing Strategy workshop, at bit.ly/1AAtDbf

Invite a friend or colleague to subscribe to this newsletter. Just 30 seconds at bit.ly/aRePLm 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for June.
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Cartoon of the Month: 5-Point Creative Checklist for Your Ad

Rigid adherence to creative checklists can make you forget the point of it all and kill your advertising. Check the Cartoon of the Month at bit.ly/1FeGgd2 
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Branding: Is it a Waste of Money?

Is spending big bucks on branding the marketing equivalent of searching for the Holy Grail or Unicorns?

A Forbes magazine article suggests that for colleges and law firms the usual brand promotion efforts will not alter what people think of a brand based on the experiences they have with it. Read more on "Why Most Branding is a Waste of Money" by Robert Wynn atonforb.es/1Az04ML 
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Freshman Admissions: Why Yield Rates Fall 

No one presents data better than Jon Boeckenstedt, in a way that normal human beings can understand. A recent effort sheds light on the history of declining yield rates in college admissions from 2001 through 2013. 

One reason is an increase in "soft" applications. Some schools boost application levels to look more selective than they might otherwise appear. Drexel University recently opted out of this race to illusion. 

Use Single School Statistics to compare your application, admit, and enroll levels since 2001 with your primary competitors at bit.ly/1Fl8SCk 
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Web IQ Quiz: Answer 12 Questions from Pew Internet

Compare how your knowledge of the web and Internet compares with that of others by age, gender, and education after you answer 12 questions posed by the Pew Research Center atpewrsr.ch/1HSTL9f
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Content Marketing: 6 Potential Pitfalls to Guard Against

Content marketing can be great. Or it can be not so great. John Unger discusses 6 potential mistakes to guard against. The first and sixth are my favorites: Failure to pay attention to first sentences and content that is too promotional.

More on those pitfalls and 4 others from Website Magazine at bit.ly/1HWCsRP 
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Brand Delusions: A 15 Minute Reality Check

Do people on your campus have delusions about your brand? 

See what you think after a 15-minute webinar on June 10 from Gerry McGovern on how to bring a better sense of reality into your brand discussions. Register at bit.ly/1LUcsHM
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Public Universities: Arms Race for Out-of-State Students

Just how fierce is the marketing competition among public universities for out-of-state students who will pay high out-of-state tuition rates? 

Fierce indeed, as a list of the top 50 public universities offering merit scholarships to students without financial need will show. Small individual scholarships can lead to a large increase in net tuition revenue. Not all awards are small. Schools with average awards of $10,000 or more include UT-Dallas and the University of Alabama. University of Vermont, Shepherd University, and UC-Boulder average more than $9,000 per student.

For more details download the New America Education Policy 26-page PDF at bit.ly/1Rw5Qmp
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Survey on Digital Governance: Take the Survey, Get the Results

My friends at J.Boye are conducting a short online survey to learn more about how digital governance works within organizations. To receive a copy of the results take the survey atsvy.mk/1G7hkuH 
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Insane Honesty in Marketing: Disney World Marketing Might Not Be Best

Do you practice Disney World Marketing, where everything is wonderful all the time? Or do you really want to differentiate yourself from everyone else?

Review the possible benefits of a more realistic approach that builds trust and believability when you read "The Power of Insane Honesty in Content Marketing" at bit.ly/1SHlFbD 
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Internet Trends: 2015 Report from Mary Meeker

As you speculate about what the online future might bring, especially the continuing move to a smaller and more mobile environment, add the latest annual report from Mary Meeker to your reading list. This is a must read for anyone interested in online advertising.

Start at bit.ly/1K0zJt3 
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Consuming Content: How Generations Do Not Differ

Generations differ quite a bit on the devices they use to access the web but they are remarkably similar in the type of content they prefer, regardless of device. 

Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials all favor blogs, images, and comments as their top 3 sources. Each generation counts quizzes, webinars, and white papers among their bottom 5 sources.

What is the best length for articles? Each generation favors 300 words.

Check more details at bit.ly/1KD4XYu 
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Mobile-Friendly Websites: Great Advice from Nielsen-Norman Group

A new Alertbox outlines significant differences between working on a website on a small smartphone screen rather than a laptop or desktop that responsive design by itself does not overcome.

Elements reviewed include the much shorter time of visits to small screen sites, the typing challenge, and connectivity limitations. See more to help you succeed on the small screen atbit.ly/1Bv553V 
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Most Popular Topic in May Newsletter: Telling a Good Story 

What makes a good story? And what can kill one? That's the focus of "Story Telling to Engage and Persuade." If you missed this infographic based on Emory University research visitbit.ly/1QAT0nA 
________________________________
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

Increase your marketing success with these services. Contact me for details at bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com 

Communication Audits
Expert Marketing Communication Website Reviews
Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
Writing Right for the Web: Webinars, Conferences, and Campus Workshops
Competitive Website Reviews and Secret Shopping Projects
Have you been as amused as I have been about the alarms these last few weeks during the build-up to Google's April 21 change to mobile-search ranking results? Did you believe that a devastating "mobilegeddon" was descending upon us? 

Yes, the change is important. No, it will not destroy your student recruitment results or your brand reputation. Put your danger in perspective. Check your analytics to see how many of your "new" visitors in the past year came to your website through a general search that did not include the name of your school. That is your danger point. Yes, you need a mobile-friendly website. But this search change is far from the most important reason. 

With any luck "mobilegeddon" will soon fade from use. Civilization continues.
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Upcoming Conference Events

Travel to Houston June 1-3 for "Improving Your Strategic Recruitment Communication Plan." I am looking forward to my new sessions on "values messaging" and "affordability and financial aid" as well as an updated presentation on evaluating your website. Details for all the sessions including a pre-conference workshop on "Integrating Recruitment Communications with Your Brand" are at bit.ly/1zfTZCb 

The fifth "Writing Write for the Web: Improving Your Online Content" conference with Academic Impressions takes place in San Diego July 13-14. Check the agenda, including a post-conference workshop on creating and presenting "affordability" content, atbit.ly/1ALgKx9 

Early registration is open for eduWeb Digital Summit, in Chicago in July. Check the program details starting with the 3-hour pre-conference workshops at bit.ly/1AAtDbf 

Invite a friend or colleague to subscribe to this newsletter. Takes just 30 seconds atbit.ly/aRePLm 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for May. 
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Cartoon of the Month: Challenges of ROI Data for Marketing 

How can marketers best meet the demand for data that proves results? It is not easy.

Our May cartoon selection will make marketers groan and chuckle at the same time. Visitbit.ly/1dIccAJ 
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Teens and Social Media: Facebook Still Dominates

Pew Research is out with a new "Teens, Social Media and Technology Overview" for 2015. 

Points that stand out: Twitter still dominates with 71 percent use, followed by Instagram at a distant 52 percent. Twitter use is up to 33 percent. Most teens use more than one site. When asked what site they used most often, 41 percent said Facebook and 20 percent said Instagram.

Differences exist by income level and gender. For full details, visit the report atpewrsr.ch/1CZMcZz 
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New "Value Added" Rankings: The Brookings Institution Measures Alumni Success

With the increased interest in "outcomes" information to measure the value of investing in a particular college or university, a new rankings system from the Brookings Institute might become especially popular. And not only by parents of college-bound students but also by some schools that rank unexpectedly high and can use this site as a recruitment tool.

Ivy League schools, for instance, do not dominate. Brown University is the first Ivy listed at 30th while Marietta College has the 18th position. Manhattan College ties with Stanford University to finish the top ten.

Review the methodology and search for your school when you visit brook.gs/1Pjjvum 
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Demand for Master's Degrees: About to Collapse?

Over the last few years many colleges and universities have drawn financial solace from increased revenues from master's degree programs as recent graduates sought a career-building competitive edge. Is that about to change?

Jeff Selingo thinks it is about to do just that, with serious financial consequences for many schools including his model, George Washington University. Why? Growth in lower-cost and faster online credentialing in specialty areas will expand rapidly. Jeff's article is atwapo.st/1JlV0e6

To see one example of the new competition, check the course offerings and video tutorials at Lynda.com (just purchased by LinkedIn) at bit.ly/1F2uM2G 
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Higher Education Public Sector Funding: A State by State Comparison

Need to know public funding changes for higher education in one or more of the 50 states today and changes since 2009, including net tuition as a percent of total revenue? Download the 50-page "FY 2014 Report" from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association at bit.ly/1AAlMKN 

Since 2009, FTE enrollment has decreased the most in Illinois, California and Michigan and increased the most in Idaho, Ohio and Oregon.
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Storytelling: Increasing Engagement and Persuasion

Most marketers agree that storytelling by current students and recent alumni is a critical part of the marketing communications mix in the student recruitment cycle.

A short infographic from Website Magazine reports on Emory University research findings on how specific words and phrases can increase or decrease engagement. Be especially wary of overused "buzz adjectives" such as "responsible" and "creative." And maybe "academic excellence" fits here as well.

More on how our brains react to what we read and hear at bit.ly/1QAT0nA 
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Website Design: Time to Get "Ruthlessly Simple"

The message from Scott McDonald writing in UX magazine is clear: "Simplicity" is the "next design battleground" in the web world. That headline tells us the battle will not be easily won. But for higher education marketers interested in success with potential students it is a battle worth waging.

Make sure everyone involved with the web on your campus reads and discusses "Four ways to a simpler you" at bit.ly/1AAjYl1 
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Website Navigation: Do People "Pogo stick" on your website?

I will confess to not having heard the pogo-stick term applied to web behavior before. In brief, it is what happens when people move from one page to another, do not find or cannot use the expected content, and hop back to the previous page. If your site has activity like this, it is not very web-friendly.

Our friends at the Nielsen-Norman Group will walk you through how to use your analytics program to find out if you have the problem in the first place. Read through the discovery process and recommended steps to fix the problem at bit.ly/1H0kSgl 
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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly: 5 Ways to Check

Mobile friendliness is indeed important, even if not as many schools will collapse from the April 21 Google SEO changes as the purveyors of "mobilegeddon" hysteria would have us believe.

Check your site from 5 different perspectives offered by Website Magazine at bit.ly/1zI2EzG 
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Most Popular Topic in April Newsletter: 15 Great Landing Page Examples

Nothing will kill the ROI on your advertising efforts faster than a bad landing page. Compare your landing pages with these 15 examples from HubSpot at bit.ly/1AO9ptb 
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Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

Increase your marketing success with these services. Contact me for details at bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com 

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