Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

October 2011 Archives

October greetings to everyone, as hard as it is to believe that September is already behind us. 

The AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, a premier event for higher education marketers, will be here soon in November. Plan to attend and include my Sunday morning mobile marketing tutorial. Check the program and register at 

Right after the tutorial I am off to Denmark and the J.Boye conference, where I will do a session on the marketing value of a top task orientation to website design. Conference details are

To boost your marketing success in the competitive world of online programs, register for Carol Aslanian's October 21-22 seminar in Chicago on "Marketing Tactics that Work." Presenters and their topics are at 

And now here are marketing news and notes for October, from an invite to participate in a new Pew survey on the future of the Internet to 15 tuition discount plans to a new online view book and more.
Top 10 Universities with Twitter Klout

Not sure how seriously to take Klout rankings of Twitter influence, but for a fun read visit the latest Top 10 list from the folks who rate impact on Twitter. Texas A&M is first with a 73 rating and Marquette is 10th with a 65 score. Size matters. No small colleges on this list. 

Scan the Top 10 universities at
Pew Survey on Future of the Internet in 2020

Even if you don't take the survey, it is worth a visit to see the questions being asked, including the future state of higher education, about what the online world will look like in 2020.

"The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center are conducting an ongoing survey that asks people to share their opinions about the potential future impact of the Internet.

"It takes about 20 to 25 minutes to answer questions tied to eight intriguing issues about the potential future of education, money, our homes, and more (please use Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari as your browser)." The survey is at: 
How Fast is Your Mobile Website?

Given the impatience level of a typical person visiting a website, the faster your pages load the better chance you have of keeping someone on your site.

If you already have a mobile site, how fast does the first page load? If you are planning to have one, what is your target speed?

To compare, check the speeds of the 30 fastest commerce sites. You will find that the variance is huge, from less than 4 seconds for the Sears leader to many in a 20 second range. If you achieve 10 seconds or less, you will be in good company.

Check the Top 30 list at
SmartMoney Highlights 15 Tuition Discounts

SmartMoney magazine writes about the "growing number" of colleges and universities offering tuition discounts in an article that reviews discount practices at 15 private-sector colleges and universities. Priority attention goes to a 66 percent discount for "academically qualified students" at Seton Hall University.

To see how your plans compare, visit
International Student Recruitment: 2 Paths to Success

Regional public universities and small private universities might learn from these examples of how to increase international enrollment if that is a marketing goal.

Missouri State University has increased from 31 students in 2004 to 701 in 2011 by focusing on a single academic program and a single country in a successful bid to raise additional tuition revenues. Westminster College, on the other hand, has used financial gifts to provide need-based aid to the "overwhelming majority" of students from 66 different countries.

Read more about the two paths at
Mobile Marketing: Practical Notes on QR Codes

If you are planning to experiment with QR codes, take a few minutes to read practical advice from Brian Klais on how to optimize the size and density of your codes so that they work best for the people you expect to use them.

Brian's column complete with graphics is at

Personally, this is still my favorite caveat: if your QR code is going to a website, make sure the page is mobile-friendly for smartphone viewing. If you drop people into a regular web page, your chance for success is much lower.
Mobile Marketing: New Usability Report from Jakob Nielsen

Nielsen is just out with a new Alertbox reporting on a gradual improvement in mobile website task completion since his first review in 2010. His conclusion: If mobile website usability improves at the same rate as it has for regular websites, the success rate for mobile will match today's regular website success in 2026.

Two major points might help you get to the Promised Land before 2026: design for a small screen and limit the number of features you put on that small screen. Read more from this expanded round of usability tests at
Recruiting Without Paper in 2011: Washington State Drops the Print View Book

Two years ago at the ACT Enrollment Planners Conference and the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education I did pre-conference sessions on Recruiting without Paper. The iPad did not yet exist. We had some great, speculative conversations.

Most discussions since then acknowledge the increasing role of online communications, and add the note that print is not dead. The result: many electronic publishing budgets fail to grow while view books roll off the presses. Print might not be dead but there is still the key question of where to invest scarce resources when everything is not possible.

Washington State University has just taken a leadership position and replaced a print view book with an online version. Check the result when you follow the link to WS.You 
5 Killer Website Tips

Michael Klein at the University of Saskatchewan brought my Carewords partner Gerry McGovern to his campus last fall to talk about creating effective websites. This September he wrote about the 5 things that he remembers as most important from that visit.

From a marketing perspective, my favorite is number 4: Great websites are audience focused. Sounds easy but in truth few higher education sites reach that goal.

Read more about how to strengthen your website at
Search Engine Optimization: Be Human

Horst Joepen reminds us in a Website Magazine article not to obsess about various fads to optimize our websites, from keyword stuffing to link frenzy. Instead, focus on the human side of things, especially writing good content and making it easy to find.

For a clear approach to an SEO plan for your website visit
When Marketing Weakens Websites

Marketing weakens websites when promotional content interferes with easy access to the top tasks that web visitors want to complete on your site.

Web visitors are impatient people. They do not come to your website to read about your commitment to academic excellence, mission statements, or the detailed history of your school.

For more on how a top task orientation can improve the marketing strength of your website, see my new blog post at 
My Upcoming Conferences and Webinars in 2011

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.

October 11-14, Australian International Education Conference, Adelaide: "Going Mobile: New Strategies to Promote Your Institution" pre-conference workshop. Review program, register 

October 20-21, Carol Aslanian Research - Education Dynamics, Chicago, IL: "Ramping Up Your Online Programs: Marketing Tactics that Work." Register at 

November 6, AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, Chicago, IL: "Mobile Marketing in Higher Education: Getting Ready for 2012 and Beyond" pre-conference tutorial. Link to the program PDF and register at 

November 8-10, J.Boye Conference Aarhus11, Aarhus, Denmark: Tutorial on top task analysis for mobile communication and regular session, "Websites and Brand Strength: Achieving a 90% Customer Rating." Review and register at 

December 6, 8: Academic Impressions Webinars: "Writing Right for the Web: Social, Mobile, and Traditional Websites." Registration is open now at 

Improve 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
That's All for Now 

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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