Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

August 2008 Archives

A fine late August greeting as fall semesters begin to open for everyone. May all your new students bring the optimism and enthusiasm that makes this a fine time of the year.

I'm just back from Ireland and the 2nd annual gathering of Gerry McGovern's Customer Carewords partners. We spent two days reviewing the impact of Carewords research programs on websites around the world. Gerry and I will recount the benefits of Carewords for the higher education sector in an upcoming October 8 webinar. Join us at www2.gotomeeting.com/register/266542922

October is an exciting presentation month, including events from Wyoming to Boston in the same week. My first presentation on social networking and online marketing is a keynote address in Jackson Hole (www.ncmpr.org/cp/web_forms/dis4_confreg08.asp) for NCMPR's District 4 members, followed by 2 presentations at Carol Aslanian's conference on adult student recruitment (www.aslaniangroup.com/events/default.asp.

October also features another presentation of this year's most popular topic, "Writing Right for the Web." Register for the Academic Impressions event at www.academicimpressions.com/web_conferences/1008-web-writing.php

This is the first monthly newsletter that will reach all 4,000+ subscribers since the May issue. Technical challenges created by a software update kept the June and July issues from reaching about 50 percent of you. Accept my apologies. All is working fine for this issue.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for August.
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25 New College Websites from mtvU

College bound students have a new way to check on social activities at and around colleges as they explore and make decisions about where to apply and enroll. The "Daily College Guides" will offer searches for restaurants, concerts, parties and more. The initial launch includes 25 schools, with plans to add 25 more by the end of the year.

Check what's available for the first 25 colleges at www.campusdailyguide.com/

The "Daily College Guides" are yet another example of how the boundaries around traditional organizational websites are crumbling. People who want to see a list of available student organizations don't have to puzzle out each college's navigation any more to discover where this information is hidden on the site.

Do you have an important competitor using this service? Think about adding this to your online marketing mix if you do.
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2008 Email Marketing Benchmarking Survey

If you have a few minutes, visit view.exacttarget.com/?j=fe6615727160037e7716&m=fefb157274630d&ls=fe3a15757565007c741577&l=fec110707d6c0574&s=fdf515727c67017a73157677&ju=fe2315747d640c7b721076 and complete MarketingSherpa's 2008 survey of email marketing practices.

Topics covered include the impact of social media, how people track results, and whether the use of email is becoming more or less important in marketing plans.

Your prize for completing the survey is a 38-page PDF on 12 mistakes made by almost everyone in their email newsletters. Mine arrived about 3 seconds after completing the survey.
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Competitive College Admissions: What Students Think

The Education Conservancy has published results of research among students competing for admission to selective colleges. After a caveat about "focus group based, qualitative effort of limited scope," the report lists 20 areas of concern about the college admissions process.

For higher education marketers, the first item on the list is an important one. Students don't like much about college recruitment efforts today, especially the tactic of being encouraged to apply to schools that are not likely to accept them. Reading the tea leaves here, this is another example of the need for less "Lake Wobegon" and more realism in college marketing activities.

Read the full "College Admissions: What Are Students Learning?" report at www.educationconservancy.org/research.html
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Canada Increases Competition for International Students

Canada is changing immigration rules for international students to make it easier for many of them to remain in the country after completing their degrees. Canada aims for a stronger competitive position against universities in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Read more about the changes at www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/22/canada

About 83,000 mostly full-time international students study in Canada now.

For a strong example of how a Canadian university presents itself online, visit "University of Alberta International" at www.international.ualberta.ca/
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Tips for Segmenting Email Contacts

Every once in a while someone declares that email is dead as an effective marketing tool. And maybe makes the announcement on Twitter.

Email isn't dead. But it does have to be relevant to the people receiving it to get them to pay attention. Stefan Pollard offers good advice on the best ways to collect information that you can use to make your email more relevant and therefore generate more response.

A sample tip? Check the keywords that people use when they search online and use those words in your email. That's a quick and easy way to identify keywords that might also be "carewords." For instance, 15 people search for "masters degrees online" for each one that searches for "online graduate degrees." Which do you think will work better in the subject line of your email and on your landing page?

See the full list of Stefan's tips at www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3630580
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NSSE and US News and Reality Marketing

One of the best the best things that happened several years ago was the addition of selected results from the National Survey of Student Engagement to the annual US News college rankings issue.

This year, 372 schools included data at www.usatoday.com/news/education/2007-11-04-nsse-how-to_N.htm

That means that many of the 774 colleges and universities don't make their data available in this forum. Indeed, many schools don't make the results available to faculty and staff on their campuses. Check nsse.iub.edu/nsse_2008/2008-colleges.cfm to see if your school participated in the 2008 survey. If you're listed and haven't seen the results, ask when you can. In this time of reality marketing, every marketing plan needs to know that claims are not being made that the NSSE results don't support.

For an ongoing example of how you can use NSSE results for positive marketing impact, see the Elon University website at www.elon.edu/e-web/news/nsse/
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Check CollegeData for Admissions Profiles

For a look at what the public might know about who you admit and who you don't, check the data about your college or university at College Admissions Tracker at www.collegedata.com/cs/admissions/admissions_tracker.jhtml

At the start, you'll see a list of the "Top 50 Colleges" based on profiles submitted to the site for the current admissions year. These 50 start with Cornell University (306 profiles) and end with Fordham University (101 profiles).

For an unscientific glimpse of future trends, try the tool that lets you check profiles out until the college graduating class of 2016. Yes, you'll find just a few that far away. But you'll find quite a few more listed for 2015. And you can work backwards for the class that will graduate in 2009.
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Twitter as a Marketing Tool

If you can craft effective marketing messages in about 140 characters, then you might want to explore adding Twitter to your marketing communications tool box.

For a quick video discussion on the merits and limitations of Twitter from the Search Engines Strategies conference, visit videos.webpronews.com/2008/08/19/ses-michael-twitter/

See how Twitter is being used now by the Distance Learning program at Northern Arizona University at twitter.com/NAUDL
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7 Steps to Monitor Online Public Relations

Are you concerned about what people say about you online?

Andy Beal is co-author of "Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online" and he's outlined basic steps to protect your brand in an interview report at www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=30793&pop=no

The article includes links to software you can use to monitor what people say about you. Beal notes that so far nothing is available for Facebook and MySpace. You'll have to watch those the old fashioned way by searching regularly for what people are posting.

Open access to this article until September 2.
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Social Media and Email Marketing: Make the Message Mobile

Integrating the "old" forms of online communication like email with the social media world is a prime topic in marketing communications right now.

The article by Anna Billstrom at www.marketingprofs.com/8/email-marketing-social-media-email-newsletters-billstrom.asp?sp=1 is Part 1 of her guide to how to best make integration work.

One important take-away is the warning to keep things simple, from graphics and to content. Many people will view your messages on iPhones and other smartphones so the things you can include on a regular website aren't going to communicate nearly as well in the smaller mobile marketing world. Limited graphics and short paragraphs are vital.
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That's All for Now

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D. (bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com)
President and Senior Consultant
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
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Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

Increase your online marketing success with these 6 services.

• Customer Carewords Research with Gerry McGovern
• Writing Right for the Web On-Campus Workshops
• Marketing Communications Website Review
• Competitive Website Reviews
• Content Copywriting Services
• Usability Analysis

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