Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

July 2010 Archives

My mobile marketing workshops at the ACT Enrollment Planners Conference last week and eduWeb2010 on Monday attracted some great people, ready to share questions and experiences with everyone attending. Before leaving for Carol Aslanian's graduate marketing seminar in NYC tomorrow, time for some quick notes on mobile marketing and higher education.

First, a special thinks to Suzanne Petrusch and her team at St. Mary's University and Dave Marshall at Mongoose Research for assembling recruitment cycle conversion data that was of special interest to people at the workshops. Here's my summary of the St. Mary's experience using text messaging as part of the communications mix with potential new students since last November:

  • Relatively few inquiries (about 4 percent) opted in for text messaging at or near the start of the recruitment cycle. That confirms findings in the 2010 E-Expectations research that college-bound high school students are wary of receiving text messages for student recruitment.
  • But, and this is a very major "but": almost everyone (about 80 percent) who did opt-in early for text contacts continued along and applied for admission.
  • Almost 50 percent of the people sending enrollment deposits by the end of June were people who had signed to receive text contacts.

Texting Offer Identifies Best Prospects Early

The learning here: offering the texting option was a great way to identify early in the recruitment cycle the people who were already very interested in St. Mary's and were willing to commit to a "text relationship" from the start. While this was destined to be a higher-than-normal yield group, identifying the most likely future students as easly as possible so they are not lost among (in this case) 35,000 total inquiries is an important role for mobile marketing to play.

Experience Your Site from a Smartphone

One item from the E-Expectations survey seemed a major surprise to many people: more than 20 percent of college-bound high school seniors have used a smartphone to access a higher education website. Why such a surprise? After all, somebody has been buying all those iPhones and Androids over the last 12 months.

  • The real question should be this: how many people will not return after the experience they had on that first visit? Be sure to check your web analytics to see (1) how many new visitors are arriving at your site from a mobile device and (2) how the bounce rate for those people compares to the bounce rate for people arriving from a regular computer.

More next week on mobile apps vs. mobile websites, but there is a bottom line here: you will need a mobile-friendly website in the not distant future.

Mobile Marketing Presentation on SlideShare

The eduWeb version of the workshop, "Mobile in the Marketing Mix: Crafting a New Communications Strategy," is online now at SlideShare.

Look for more "notes on mobile" next week. More then about the frequency of the texting and other items that people brought up at the workshops.

That's all for now 

 

Best wishes for a fine July 4 holiday weekend to everyone here in the U.S. We expect fine weather in Michigan and I hope you all enjoy the same.

Topics that impact higher education marketing are in the news everywhere, from Senate hearings on for-profit schools to private and public sector tuition increase levels to strategies for using new communication tools. Those areas and more are included here in the July newsletter.

These past weeks I've been crafting new mobile marketing sessions. Join me at pre-conference workshops to explore a future that is already here for some schools at the ACT EPC conference July 21 at www.act.org/epc/ or eduWeb2010 on July 26 at www.eduwebconference.com/

My partner Gerry McGovern is presenting a free July 7 webinar on Web Marketing in the 21st Century. Register in advance at bit.ly/cRvGH8

If you recruit graduate students and you always wanted to visit the Harvard Club in NYC, your stars have aligned. Plan to attend Carol Aslanian's July 29 one-day seminar on marketing to graduate students. Register at bit.ly/cD34VS

And now here are your July marketing news and notes.
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Controversial New Research: ROI for Degrees from 852 Schools

As higher education marketers we are used to the usual stats showing that people with more education earn more money in their lifetime. The facts seem so strong that they have become a fixture in the "value proposition" about the benefits of borrowing for a degree.

Business Week is attacking that marketing element as "vastly overblown" in reporting new research (that includes people who start but never graduate from a 4-year school) to show that life time earnings vary greatly from school to school. Elite schools produce the highest overall earners while public universities are the best values. PR people will want to see the public presentation at yhoo.it/apTQPq

Find the ROI from 852 schools among 18 pages of interactive tables at bit.ly/bYS3IC
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University Website Gets 90% Positive Rating

Amazing. That was how Gerry McGovern reacted after we looked at ratings from 301 parents and potential future students in our most recent CCI (Customer Centric Index) survey client.

We've had other good results but never anything quite this strong. People were even positive about how "search" worked. That has never happened before.

As far as I know, there is no contest that gives website awards based on evaluations by people who actually use the website. Learn more about why Susquehanna University did as well as it did in my blog post at bit.ly/aGHyOw

Note the last item below: Susquehanna has just opened a new Web Content Manager position and is accepting applications.
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Private Sector Tuition Increase in 2010

NAICU is reporting an average increase level for next year of 4.5 percent as showing a strong effort by private colleges and universities to control tuition costs. That amount is still higher than the CPI increase and not everyone agrees that enough cost control is underway.

Read the opinions at bit.ly/bietQD
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Tagline Award Contest for Non-Profits

Do you have a tagline that you are especially proud of?

Enter your institutional tagline or a tagline done for a special campaign in Getting Attention's 2020 tagline contest for non-profit organizations. Read about past contests and enter this year when you visit bit.ly/9vhr8B
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2010 Noel-Levitz E-Recruiting Practices Survey

The 2010 version is online as a 14-page PDF to download at bit.ly/cnjtsz

One finding increases even more the importance of making a strong first impression when potential students visit your website: "secret shopping" continues to grow in popularity. That means carefully crafted communication plans designed to convert an inquiry to an applicant have less and less role to play. Your website had best make a strong first impression.

If you are waiting for the 2010 E-Expectations of college-bound students, that is promised for July.
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Groundswell Survey on Social Media

The folks at Groundswell bring us great books and reports on how people use social media.

Now they are conducting an online survey on how organizations use social media. Complete the survey and get a copy of the results. If you agree that is a fair return for your time, answer the survey that starts when you link to bit.ly/bQ96Td
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Alumni Engagement Online

Academic Impressions interviewed me last week about techniques to engage young alumni in the online world.

Read about 5 website and social media steps covered in the interview (starting point: make it easy for them to complete popular tasks on your website) at bit.ly/bR2CVq
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Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites

If you do not have time and resources to do both, how should you best spend your time? A panel discussion group at a recent Mobile Marketing Forum engaged in a "great debate" on that point.

My favorite opinion: mobile access to websites will increase dramatically over the next 12 months so best to make sure your website offers mobile visitors a pleasant experience. More at bit.ly/c1yeWW

Do not be that proverbial frog in the pot on the stove. Check your analytics report each month to track how many people start a visit to your site from a mobile device. Be sure to compare the bounce rate (percent leaving your site without going anywhere else) for mobile visitors with the rate for people arriving from a regular computer.
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Do Millennials Read?

Yes, the do. But not quite like those of us who are not of that generation.

Interesting note: people 15 to 24 years old spend much more time reading than people 25-64 years of age. That rather splits Millennials in half but the main point is clear.

Marketers take note: Millennials are scan readers everywhere, not just online. More at bit.ly/9Q6VvT
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For-Profit Sector faces New Pressure

Senate hearings are underway now that question the extent to which for-profit colleges and universities provide employment results consistent with the fees charged and student debt incurred. Interest is fueled by the fact that Pell Grants worth $26.5 billion go to for-profit schools.

Get the flavor of the issue (including 20 comments) when you read the InsideHigherEd report of the first day hearings at bit.ly/9YLTDo
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Strong Online Magazine: Professional School Example

It is always good to see examples of online magazines "done right for the web" rather than falling for the lure of flip technology to move a print publication online.

The McCombs School of Business does fine work using the blog format to bring "Texas" magazine online. Read the latest issue at blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu/magazine/
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Links to 76 Higher Education Mobile Sites

If you are planning a mobile site soon (and you should be doing just that) or already have one and want to check on what others are doing, visit the list of 76 links at bit.ly/ifVmk
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Web Content Manager Position in Pennsylvania

Susquehanna University is hiring for a new Web Content Manager spot.

The scope includes social media as well as the regular website. Details are online now at www.susqu.edu/offices/33868.asp
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My Upcoming Conferences and Webinars in 2010

Attend an upcoming conference to share questions and answers with people like you who are building a competitive edge in higher education marketing. Join me at these events.

July 21-23, ACT Enrollment Planners Conference, Chicago, IL Pre-conference workshop, "'Mobile in the Marketing Mix': Myth and Reality for 2010 and Beyond" and conference session: "International Student Recruitment: Best Practice Website Features." Program details and registration at www.act.org/epc/

July 26-28, eduWeb2010, Chicago, IL Review the program and register for my mobile marketing pre-conference workshop at www.eduwebconference.com/

July 29, Education Dynamics Aslanian Group Seminar, Marketing to Graduate Students, New York, NY. Register at bit.ly/cD34VS

November 3, webinar: Academic Impressions, "Writing Right for the Web." Details are coming this summer.

Increase ROI from your online marketing. Expand the writing, editing, and search marketing skills of people on your campus. Host a campus workshop on online marketing.

Contact me at bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com
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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

Start now at www.bobjohnsonconsulting.com/whatwedo.html





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