Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter... June 2012

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June greetings to everyone, including new friends from the Writing Right for the Web conference in Atlanta.

The ACT Enrollment Planners Conference is about the best value for money events in the enrollment management field. Registration is open now for the July event in Chicago.

Dave Marshall at Mongoose Research is a pioneer in mobile marketing for higher education. We have co-authored a White Paper, “Leading Strategies for Mobile Communications in Higher Education,” with a special emphasis on student recruitment. Download your copy (no sign in required) at tiny.cc/n65dfw

If you are an enrollment management specialist, you do not want to miss the ACT Enrollment Planners conference in July. Check the schedule and download the program at www.act.org/epc/ Attend my new pre-conference session on digital marketing as well as my regular session on search engine optimization for your academic programs.

Early bird registration discount for eduWeb12 in Boston is open until June 15. Check the program and register early at tiny.cc/nuu8ew I’ll be doing my digital strategy workshop there, as well as a session on top task website design.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for June.
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What is the ROI on a Degree from Your School?

Are you ready for this? Bloomberg Business Week is promoting results of a report on the ROI of 1,248 colleges and universities in the U.S. You might not agree with the unusual methodology, but you should read through what has been done here to help people decide if an investment in higher education is worth the ROI 30 years after graduation.

A key comparison point is to earnings of the upper level of high school graduates without college degrees rather than all high school graduates.

Harvey Mudd College leads the group at $1,545,000. Judson University closes the group at a minus $161,000. Decide if your results will help or hinder your next marketing campaign. See where you fit between the top and the bottom at tiny.cc/74i6ew
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Video Trailer for University Magazine

Will this spread to online view books and annual reports? The Harvard Medicine magazine is using a video trailer on YouTube to introduce upcoming articles in the next issue.

The role of video continues to expand in online communications. Watch this example at tinyurl.com/7hj8dwe
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3 Steps to Kill Your Website

The ability of website visitors to scan the content on your web pages in 5 seconds or less is critical to the success of your online marketing.

When websites have too many key pages that make a quick scan impossible, websites die. To help your website live, check it for three traits that make scanning impossible and make eliminating them a content strategy priority. Visit tiny.cc/ehx6ew
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Facebook: Building Brand Engagement

Not everything works equally well on Facebook, especially “touchy-feely conversational strategy.”

What are the best things to do on Facebook that will generate more hard-to-get “shares” and send your message on to more people? Facebook tells us to use more videos and more pictures.

Questions also generate higher responses, with the exception of those that start with “Why?” Better to use “where” and “when” and two others you will find in the AdAge article at tiny.cc/jlt8ew
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Websites in a Mobile World: Is Responsive Design the Holy Grail?

Responsive Design seems the favorite 2012 solution to converting regular website content so that it is web friendly for people using mobile devices.

Jakob Nielsen created quite a backlash on Twitter with a new Alertbox report suggesting that responsive design will work in some cases, but might be less useful when the change is from large screen desktop viewing to much smaller smartphone screens. If you are considering a responsive design solution to the mobile dilemma, check the Nielsen caveats at tiny.cc/qgo8ew
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Need Blind Admissions Ends at Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University, concerned about the increasing cost of the financial aid budget, has decided to end need blind admissions decisions. When the allocated institutional aid is spent, further admission will go only to people who can afford the Wesleyan cost without assistance from the university.

Is this a step to a new reality in higher education economics? Will this spread to more schools? The details and no small number of comments are at tiny.cc/0uo8ew
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Email: Tips on Writing Effective Subject Lines

How can you make sure your emails get noticed among the flood that inundates people every day?

An old adage is still true: pay special attention to the subject line. Tips in this article include the use of a [bracket] around the first word and continuing good advice to keep them short as if you were writing a Tweet, with the most important stuff in the first 50 characters.

Find more about those and a few others at tiny.cc/gmcefw
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Usability Testing: How Many People per Test?

Marketing budgets are limited at most schools. And so this advice in a new Jakob Nielsen Alertbox is worth reading. In most cases, Nielsen recommends 5 people as enough to get actionable results. For especially complex websites, put more money into more tests with 5 people rather than fewer tests with 10 people.

Are there exceptions? Yes. For the exceptions and reasons why fewer people works best most of the time, check the article at tiny.cc/ooaefw
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Military Funding for Tuition: 23 States Seek Tighter Restrictions in For-Profit Sector

Attorneys-General across the U.S. are asking for an end to counting military benefits for tuition as part of the 90/10 personal contribution to tuition income by current regulations.

What struck me was the political spread among those who signed the letter, including our conservative AG here in Michigan to Vice President Biden’s son in Delaware. The reason: restrict what “high-pressure recruiting tactics” toward military veterans.

For more on the reason behind the request, the Chronicle article is at tiny.cc/rto4ew
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Pinterest: 5 Tools for Marketing Success

Whether you have already added Pinterest to your marketing mix or are just thinking about it, you will likely find something of interest in this new article from MarketingProfs.

My favorite: a tool that lets you easily turn text into a Pinterest item. Imagine how the occasional use of words will stand out on a Pinterest page. Find more on how to track and measure the impact of Pinterest efforts at tiny.cc/qubefw
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Future of the Web and Intranet: The Votes on 6 Questions

People attending the J.Boye conference in Philadelphia last month were asked to vote on six questions about the future of the Web and Intranet. See how they voted on QR codes, Facebook, the influence of VPs for marketing and three others at tiny.cc/yes8ew
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Most Popular Topic in the May Newsletter

Most popular May topic was the entry on “10 Email Design Best Practices for a Mobile World.” If you missed it, read it now at tiny.cc/r9l8ew
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Conferences and Webinars in 2012

Attend a conference in 2012 to share questions and answers with people who are building a competitive advantage in higher education marketing.

July 11-13, Chicago: ACT Enrollment Planners Conference. Pre-conferences workshop on “Digital Marketing Strategy: Planning for Present and Future Success” and regular session on “Increasing Online Inquiries: Key Steps to Improve Search Optimization for Academic Programs.” Visit the conference website at bit.ly/tnvnhR

July 30-August 1, Boston: eduWeb2012. Pre-conference digital marketing strategy workshop and regular session presentation on Top Task Website Design. Conference website is at bit.ly/z391iU

November 11-14, New Orleans: AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. The Symposium website is at tiny.cc/unm8ew

Expand the marketing skills of people on your campus. Host a campus workshop on any of the conference topics listed here or “Writing Right for The Web.”

Contact me at bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com or call me at 248.766.6425.
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That’s All for Now

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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