Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

Recently in Advertising Category

February greetings to long-time and new readers. 

The 2106 eduWeb Digital Summit Call for Papers is extended until February 7. Review the 5 track choices and send a presentation proposal this week. Start at bit.ly/1Or24vf and plan to join us in Denver in August.

My December article on "6 Great Website Examples" for connecting quickly on a website starts with a very unusual home page from Xavier University. See how Xavier and 5 other schools distinguish themselves at bit.ly/1mfWFMl 
____________________________
Conference Event in February

Whether you are planning a major website update in 2016 or will just keep making incremental quality improvements, register for the Academic Impressions conference on "Higher Ed Web Redesign" starting February 29. I will do sessions on "Top Task Website Examples" and "Web Writing." Check the full program and register at bit.ly/1NE7VyH 

Join 7,110+ followers on Twitter at twitter.com/HighEdMarketing for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your February marketing news and notes.
_______________________________
Cartoon of the Month: Creativity and Brand Reality

Does the reality of your brand create special challenges for the agency you hired to promote it with an "original, interesting, memorable" campaign?

That's the theme behind the Cartoon of the Month at bit.ly/1nqNMQJ 
_____________________________
Deceptive Advertising and DeVry University: Implications for Higher Ed Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission has filed suit against DeVry University for deceptive advertising. One specific concern is with claims about employment after graduation, including jobs in graduates' fields of study.

My friends in advertising have often asked me how colleges and universities can make the claims they do in recruitment materials. The DeVry suit suggests that every school should review ads, publications, and websites to eliminate marketing claims that cannot be substantiated.

The text of an FTC statement on the suit and a rebuttal from DeVry are at bit.ly/1PIFTmy 
______________________________
Advertising Online: Preferred Ad Formats in 2016

Mobile advertising continues to grow in higher education and elsewhere. But what format is most in favor in the advertising world?

Native advertising is projected to decline from a 2015 high point while still remaining the most preferred format by 42 percent of advertisers. Interest in both rich media and banner ads also is declining. Interest is growing in interstitial ads that take up the entire mobile screen. Will that boost even higher the growing use of ad-blockers? 

More on what to expect in 2016 advertising online from Mobile Marketing Daily at bit.ly/1TEENpw 
______________________________
Email Popularity: Why a "Most Reviled" Technology Still Thrives

Here is a review of email use and popularity since the first one was sent (and had to be printed to read) in 1971. Today, Adrienne LaFrance reports in The Atlantic, it thrives because it is a perfect medium for smartphones in the mobile era. More on the email we love to hate at theatln.tc/1PpqCVP 
______________________________
Writing Right for the Web: Creating Great Headlines

Ken Bowen at Marketing Experiments has summarized major research from 2015 in "The Surprising Sensitivity of a Single Line of Text," with special attention to headings on email and landing pages that increase visitor conversions. When you visit you will notice a more generous version of my 5-second rule. Ken says you have 7 seconds to connect as your page opens.

My favorite finding: Section lists 3 principles for effective headlines, including an admonition to make sure that a headline matches the current motivation of the person who receives it. In other words, is it really best in the first response to an inquiry from a high school student to invite that person to visit campus?

Whether you aim for 5 seconds (or less) for an immediate impact, your online communications with potential students will benefit from attention to the Bowen article at bit.ly/1mb8raE 
______________________________
Recruiting International Students: 5 Steps to a Better Website

If enrolling international students is important to you, be sure to compare your website content with the 5 steps outlined by Megan Brenn-White in "5 Ways International Students View Your Website Differently."

Pay special attention to creating content that speaks to the three top concerns of international students and their parents: funding, campus safety, and safety in the areas around your campus.

Find more wise advice when you visit bit.ly/1mbbQWS 
______________________________
Top 200 International Universities: A Times Higher Education List

Is this perhaps one list too far? The U.K. publication has reviewed the number of international students and staff and the number of journal articles authored with someone from outside the host country to create a this list of the 200 most international universities.

The first U.S. university is M.I.T. at number 90. From the comments to the article, more than a few people are skeptical about the value of a list like this and the criteria used to compile it. Decide for yourself after you review the 200 schools at bit.ly/1mbgSmf 
______________________________
Creating a SUNY Brand: Stony Brook Not Yet on Board

Creating a system-wide brand with national recognition has long been a goal of State University of New York chancellors. At the same time, New York's four major research universities (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook) have not been especially eager to adopt the "SUNY" affiliation.

A new campaign video for Stony Brook University illustrates the SUNY brand challenge. See if you can find any reference at all to a SUNY connection when you watch the video at bit.ly/1RinBbO 
______________________________
Website Obesity: You Really Must Read This Plea for Restraint

No illusions exist in my head that John Allsopp will succeed in convincing people to dramatically reduce the weight of websites collapsing under ads, tracking codes, new video and photo features and much more. Not enough people care that "heavy pages tend to be slow pages, and slow pages mean unhappy users."

But maybe, just maybe, if you get people you know to read "The Website Obesity Crisis" you might encourage at least some level of restraint that is missing on many if not most websites today, including higher education sites. Is your site obese? Do you really think responsive design solves your mobile challenges? 

Journey along with John as he rails against website pages that surpass the weight of Russian novels at bit.ly/1UHyylh 
______________________________
The Alpha Generation: An Early Introduction from AdAge

What is the Alpha Generation? They are the folks between just born minutes ago and two years of age.

AdAge has decided it is not too early to be thinking about the challenges Aphas might bring with them to the marketing world. Laugh along with writer David Berkowitz and pray that current behaviors will fade away when you visit "13 Things to Know about the Alpha Generation" at bit.ly/1JWwG84 
______________________________
The Mobile Revolution: Net Yet Complete for High School Students?

Last week I completed a CCI survey of potential future freshman students in the inquiry pool of a Midwestern university. We asked a question about the device types used most often to access the university website. Desktop or laptop computers were used most often by 62 percent. Smartphones were used most often by 30 percent. Just 8 percent said they preferred tablets.

A qualitative question asked people to list the most important tasks they visited the site to complete. Most often mentioned were academic program content and cost and affordability.

What is a CCI survey? See our Customer Carewords page to "Find out what's really annoying your customers" at bit.ly/1nEJq8H 
______________________________ 
Most Popular Topic in January Newsletter: 7 Marketing Resolutions for 2016

Before you start chasing after Virtual Reality this year, pause to review the marketing resolutions in this Tom Fishburne cartoon at bit.ly/1OJzCGU 
________________________________
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
Greetings in December. And a special welcome to new subscribers from my Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial at the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education last month. Review the complete set of tutorial slides at bit.ly/1N2cNgG 

The Call for Papers for the 2016 eduWeb Digital Summit in August is open until January 15. Review the 5 track topics and prepare a presentation proposal. Start at bit.ly/1Or24vf 

Make time on December 8 for a new Gerry McGovern webinar on Measuring the Customer Experience at your website. More than anything else online, the experience people have at your website will influence what they think of your school. Register at bit.ly/1lUOFR0 
____________________________
Conference Event in February

Are you renewing your website in 2016? Attend the Academic Impressions "Planning for a Higher Ed Website Redesign" conference in February. Check the details and register to join us at bit.ly/1NE7VyH 

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/HighEdMarketing for daily marketing updates.

And now here are your December marketing news and notes.
_______________________________
Cartoon of the Month: The Danger of Mixing Content Marketing and Brand Promotion

In rushing to feed the "content marketing beast" are organizations failing to edit content to deliver what is of interest to the intended audience? The Cartoon of the Month is at bit.ly/1NE9RHx 
______________________________
Social Media Strength: Top Media-Savvy Universities in the U.S.

If you like infographics you will love this view of the top social universities in categories that include total online mentions, facilities, professional schools, Twitter mentions and followers, and Facebook likes.

As you might expect, size and reputation help. Start your scan at bit.ly/1Or9oHx 
______________________________
Advertising Online: The Ad Blocking Challenge

If you advertise online the strong trend to use ad-blocking software, especially among Millennials, raises new challenges to a decent ROI from your advertising dollars.

Visitors to gaming sites are most likely to use ad blockers, at 26.5 percent. Visitors to education sites are at 16.9 percent adoption. Both charities and government sites are under 5 percent.

Discover a useful resource when you download the 17-page "2015 Ad Blocking Report at bit.ly/1YEhpvv 
______________________________
Content Marketing and Your Website: Two Priority Goals

Two goals are most important to the success of a content marketing strategy. First, reduce the content of your current website by at least 50 percent to improve search and navigation. Second, focus on making it as easy as possible for visitors to complete their top tasks.

What quickly dooms content marketing? The wide-spread addiction to "ego content" that is difficult to escape. Think welcome messages from presidents and deans and "Disney World" photos and stories.

Gerry McGovern writes more in "Less Content Marketing, More Quality Content" at bit.ly/1lqFdEx 
________________________________
Student Recruitment: Communicating with Latinos

The Pew Research Center has published a new report on the challenges of conducting surveys among the Hispanic population in the U.S. If you or your agency are planning marketing research surveys that include a sampling of potential Hispanic students and their families, "The Unique Challenges of Surveying U.S. Latinos" is required reading at pewrsr.ch/1lUQqhi 
______________________________
Financial Struggles in Higher Education: Another Pessimistic Moody's Report

Moody's is back with a November report based on a survey of 169 private sector universities and 129 public sector schools. The report: 50 percent in the private sector either expect falling tuition revenues or gains of less than 3 percent. Similar "softness" was reported in the public sector.

Continuing price-sensitivity and fewer students in the Midwest and Northeast again were cited as the culprits, fueling increased tuition discounting to maintain enrollment levels.

Bloomberg Business summarizes the report at bloom.bg/1Tp3GWy 
______________________________
Digital Marketing Strategy: 9 Key Questions

Sean Carton is a smart fellow. And he has just written a blog entry to help marketers navigate their way through the sometimes arcane world of digital marketing strategy, with a special focus on avoiding magical declarations from digital oracles masquerading as high priests. 

Study and answer the 9 questions from Sean "when developing a digital strategy" to keep your plans as realistic as possible. My favorites were Question 4 (What resources do we have available?) and Question 7 (If we do this, what are we going to do less of?) because both force the strategy discussion down to the real world.

Visit and review each important question that Sean asks in "How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy" at bit.ly/1PpB0xW 
______________________________
Net Price Calculator: A New Easy-to-Find University Example

At most college and university websites, finding the Net Price Calculator from the home page is still rare even though cost information is a top task for many if not most potential students. Carroll University joins a tiny group of four schools I have found so far, with versions for both freshmen and transfers.

Visit bit.ly/1NEhXQ9 
______________________________
A Most Unusual Scholarship: For Terrier Lovers Only

Hiram College athletic teams are known as the Terriers. And starting in 2016 up to 5 new freshman students can receive a one-time $1,000 scholarship based on how well they show a love for terriers.

To win, students will need a photo or a 15-second video showing their terrier affection. While the bull terrier is the official Hiram mascot, love for any terrier makes a person eligible. More at bit.ly/1QQk0kL 
______________________________
Advertising in the 1980s: 5-Minute Summary from AdAge

Did people like this really exist in the 1980s? It, for sure, was not a time of reality marketing.

Spend just 5 minutes to go back in time and watch a mash-up of TV ads from the 1980s at bit.ly/1SsI1vP 
______________________________
Most Popular Topic in November Newsletter: Marketing Lessons for Student Recruitment

Since it was published in August more than 1,400 people have visited "4 Top Marketing Lessons for Student Recruitment" at bit.ly/1PAwtER 
________________________________
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. Tell me about your most important challenges at bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com 

Communication Audits
Expert Marketing 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
September greetings. A bright new 2015-16 academic year is underway almost everywhere. Let us all enjoy the feelings that come with welcoming new students, opening new classes, and awaiting fine fall weather. 

In the digital marketing era the website is the most important element for successful student recruitment. See why that is true at "4 Top Marketing Lessons for Student Recruitment" atbit.ly/1PAwtER 

My partner Gerry McGovern is interested in what you think about how organizations adapt themselves to the Digital Transformation underway. Take his 60-second survey at svy.mk/1fRO9jc 
____________________________
Conference Event Upcoming

The program for the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November is online now. Add my Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial Sunday afternoon when you register 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 September.
_______________________________
Cartoon of the Month: Marketing to Younger Generations

Check this cartoon for a reminder of why it is not always best for an organization to adopt the language and look of a particular generation in an effort to gain acceptance. See bit.ly/1fRJ36r 
______________________________
Content Marketing: Sorting the Definitions

How much of content marketing is "really just convoluted advertising"? And is producing more content a strategy for effective marketing?

Those questions are posed by David Germano as he reviews the variety of definitions and practices used by people with different marketing backgrounds. Do not miss his link to 40 "anecdotal perspectives."

If you are serious about content marketing have your team read and discuss the article you will find at bit.ly/1Q4lEfi 
______________________________
10 Innovative College Presidents: How Does Yours Compare?

Washington Monthly has compiled a list of 10 college and university presidents it believes may well shape the future of higher education. The list begins with Mark Becker at Georgia State University and ends with Cheryl Hyman at City Colleges of Chicago.

The complete list and reasons for selecting each president is at bit.ly/1VsNh4D 
______________________________
Bold and Brassy Landing Page: Best Campus Visit Ever at Best University in the State

Take a moment to visit a landing page for an online ad that "guaranteed" the campus visit to this school was the "best ever." The landing page itself makes the claim that this is the "best university" in the state.

The faculty is "outstanding," the campus is "gorgeous," and the facilities are "first-class." Visit a landing page for potential students that knows no restraints at bit.ly/1JxJgUe 
_______________________________
Tuition Discount Rate: Still Climbing at 48 percent for 2014 Private-Sector Freshman Class

How high is too high? NACUBO reports that 89 percent of full-time freshmen in 2014 received a discount of some sort, based on either need or merit. Price sensitivity is cited as a continuing factor. Many if not most private colleges cannot maintain the number or blend of students they seek without substantial price discounting. In 2008 the average discount rate was 39.9 percent.

More details are in the Inside Higher Education report at bit.ly/1NRLm5o 

Money Magazine notes that the size of the average discount increases with higher acceptance rates and adds mentions of Freddy Krueger and retail store discounts at ti.me/1O4f0o7 
______________________________
Writing Effective Headlines: 5 Tips from Nielsen Norman Group

Headlines, whether for email, web pages, or search results, play a key role in marketing conversions.

An August Alertbox tells us that "Headlines are Pick-up Lines" and offers "5 Tips for Writing Headlines that Convert." My two favorites: "Do not succumb to cute or faddish vocabulary" and "Omit nonessential words."

See 3 more tips to help improve your web writing at bit.ly/1N3Fcke 
______________________________
Digital Ads in Higher Education: Not Working Well in the U.K.

Decide for yourself if this translates to online advertising in the U.S. and elsewhere, but do read the results of a recent survey reported in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education.

Only 26 percent of university-bound students said they trusted higher education ads. Social media did even worse at 14.4 percent trust level. University websites did better at 46.6 percent. Printed publications were trusted by 42.8 percent.

Read more on the survey results at bit.ly/1JpZRMJ 
______________________________
College Tag Lines: 88 that Create Poetry

Would college tag lines disappear if someone could figure out how to calculate the ROI from the time and money spent creating them?

Whatever you think of their marketing value, check this enterprising effort to combine 88 higher education tag lines into a single poem. Poetry starts with "Change Your Life. Start Here" and ends with "You're One of a Kind. So are We."

See if your school in included among the 88 when you visit bit.ly/1IAgJMI 
_____________________________
Defining Affordability: The Lumina Foundation Makes a New Effort

Policy proposals to make higher education more "affordable" are sprouting from presidential candidates but the definition of how much cost is affordable to how many people is elusive.

The Lumina Foundation is proposing a new formula that asks families to save a percent of disposable income over 10 years along with a student work load while in college of 10 hours per week.

One Lumina goal was a definition that was "easily understandable." See how close you think they came when you start at bit.ly/1KnV81D 
______________________________
World Without FAFSA: Is That Possible?

An "Economic View" column by Susan Dynarski, a professor at the University of Michigan, in the NY Times argues that more low income students with the ability to complete college would actually attend college if the FAFSA were not required for financial aid consideration. 

Dynarski highlights a bi-partisan proposal in the U.S. Senate that would reduce the present FAFSA to just two questions. Indeed, she questions whether any version is needed at all noting information already available from income tax returns.

The highest anticipated benefit would be an increase in low-income students attending college.

Decide if you agree or disagree after reading the article at nyti.ms/1Uiluqo 
______________________________
Comparing Graduation Rates: Pell Grant Students vs. All Students

How do 6-year graduation rates compare at the schools enrolling the highest numbers of Pell Grant students? 

In many cases, the rates are remarkable close. Harvard leads the way with 97 percent completion for Pell students matching the overall rate. At Cornell, there is only a .5 percent difference. Other highly selective schools have rates over 90 percent for both groups. Yale, we must note, was not on the list. 

Perhaps more of note: the 69 percent Pell rate at DePaul University nearly matches the overall 70 percent rate. At a few schools, Indiana Wesleyan is one, the Pell rate is higher than the overall rate.

Review the full list at bit.ly/1UnUBw8 
______________________________
Most Popular Topic in August Newsletter: Prominent "Search" Feature on Xavier Homepage

Xavier University makes a bold departure from the usual home page design by placing a large "Find Activities, Programs, and More..." search box on top of the opening image. See bit.ly/1SWaUPQ 
________________________________
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
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 
____________________________
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.
_______________________________
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 
______________________________
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 
______________________________
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 
______________________________
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.
_______________________________
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 
_______________________________
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 
______________________________
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 
______________________________
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 
______________________________
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. 
______________________________
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 
______________________________
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
Competitive Website Reviews and Secret Shopping Projects
A February hello to subscribers new and old as admission application deadlines have arrived or are approaching for many of you. Best wishes that the quality and quantity of the applications meets your goals.

Attend the Academic Impressions conference on "Improving Your Strategic Recruitment Communication Plan" with myself and Paige Booth (St. Edward's University) and Michelle O'Donnell (Mount St. Mary's University) in Houston June 1-3. Details at bit.ly/1zfTZCb 

The Call for Papers for the eduWeb Digital Summit in July in Chicago is extended until February 19. More about the conference and the paper submission process is atbit.ly/15YaQhp 

Know someone who will like this newsletter? Send them to subscribe at bit.ly/aRePLm 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for February.
________________________________
Top Online Bachelor's and MBA Programs: US News and World Report

New rankings came out early last month, with Penn State World Campus in first place for bachelor's programs and a three-way MBA tie for first: Indiana University Bloomington, Temple University, and UNC Chapel Hill. 

Bachelor's programs ranking elements include Faculty Credentials and Training, Student Services and Technology, and Student Engagement. MBA program ranking use those criteria and add Admissions Selectivity.

See the US News rankings at bit.ly/17iDQRr 
________________________________
9 University Websites: Top Task Design Champions

Top Task website design is based on a simple principle: the most prominent words and links on website pages should reflect the top tasks that bring visitors to those pages and help people complete those tasks as quickly as possible.

In this blog post I have collected 9 strong top task examples from Australia, Canada, and the U.S., including home pages, admissions, parents, donor options, faculty profiles, scholarships, and academic programs. Visit bit.ly/1Cm8uoR 
________________________________
Advertising Online: 6 "Deadly Errors" to Avoid on Facebook

This is a report from a person who has been advertising on Facebook since ads started in 2010 and reports losing about $250,000 by not paying attention to the 6 points listed here.

If forced to pick a single place to start my favorite is "Ignoring New Features and Ad Types" since a response rate is often higher for early adopters than after everyone is using a new technique. See which ones are most important to you at bit.ly/18FPsyE 
________________________________
Students of Color: Enrollment Success from Start to Finish

Jon Boeckenstedt at DePaul University loves to dive deep into data and he has done a masterful job to show how success in "diversity" enrollment efforts can be judged by the percent of minority students receiving an undergraduate degree.

In "Which Colleges Graduate the Most Students of Color?" you can quickly search by individual ethnicities, Carnegie status, state, and public or private status. Check your school and your competitors at bit.ly/1CnQImm 
________________________________
FAQs: Improving the Visitor Experience

Just about every college and university website has one or more Frequently Asked Question sections.

Jakob Nielsen has a new Alertbox report on "An FAQ's User Experience Deconstructed" that might help improve the visitor experience at your site. Improvements noted here include the use of video, jump links to quickly scan questions and get to answers of interest, attention to new content, and links that are easily visible from the general text.

My note: pay attention and remove an FAQ when you know it is not getting frequent attention. I am always puzzled about FAQ lists that start with "When were you founded?" or "What is your mission?"

Compare your FAQ pages with advice from Nielsen at bit.ly/1ylwP7U 
________________________________
Social Media: Demographic and Use Research from Pew Internet

Start off 2015 with a review from Pew Research on demographics of people using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

As you knew, just about everybody has a Facebook account. Everything else is under 30 percent of adults 18 or older. Gender use is comparable for each one except Pinterest, where women at 42 percent still far outnumber men at 18 percent. People with a college degree or more dominate at LinkedIn.

Those details and more are at pewrsr.ch/1JX1roT 
________________________________
Top 15 Advertising Campaigns in 2015: AdAge Selects the Best

Take a break from higher education marketing to check the ad campaigns of 2015 that AdAge has selected as the best to date.

A UNICEF campaign is in 15th spot and Dove takes first place. Details on those and 13 others are at bit.ly/1C1PPyn 
________________________________
Writing Right for the Web: Gerry McGovern on the "Pair Writing" Technique

Your web content will improve when two people write major content together, preferably a content specialist and a marketing person with a joint interest in top task priority.

That is the essence of a new Gerry McGovern article on "How to do pair writing well" atbit.ly/1AgeVdK that gives details on how to adopt this technique on your campus. 

If you like the article you can also register for a February 11 webinar at bit.ly/1CnXOHE on best practices in a pair writing program based on the experience of two of our Carewords partners.
________________________________
Admissions Innovation: Early Report on Goucher and Bennington Colleges

Serious deviations from standard admissions criteria seldom happen but both Goucher and Bennington have made national news in this area: Goucher for accepting 2-minute video profiles to judge and Bennington for allowing students to submit, in essence, whatever information they want without requiring high school transcripts.

A report by Inside Higher Education has both schools doing well this year, although it is too early to know whether early action and early decision application increases are due to the criteria changes. See the details on the results to date at bit.ly/1FRflu3 
________________________________
Cartoon of the Month: Beware of Data Manipulators 

Do you live in a world where too many people refuse to change anything without data that proves the value of the change before it happens? Or try to use data to destroy a new idea before it is tested?

If so, laugh or weep with the Tom Fishburne "Give me a moment to find unbiased data that supports calling you and your idea stupid" cartoon at bit.ly/1z1fku0 
______________________________
Most Popular Topic in January Newsletter: "What Your Website Needs in 2015"

The run-away favorite topic last month for wise people who know a website needs constant attention was this Website Magazine article at bit.ly/13hBtgg 
________________________________
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




Bob Johnson
Blog Contents
Recent Entries Categories Monthly Archives