Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

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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 
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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.
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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
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Competitive Website Reviews and Secret Shopping Projects
Hello in November to everyone reading this issue.

We are well into the fall admissions season for traditional students here in the U.S. and it is fitting that the New York Time Education Life supplement for November includes 4 articles that focus on different parts of the admission process. If you don't get the Sunday NY Times, you can find everything online at nyti.ms/1Ws5DXl

The supplement includes an article reviewing the issues around a proposed new admissions process that caused no small amount of controversy at NACAC 2015 in September. You can skip everything else in the supplement and go right to A New Coalition of Elite Colleges Tries to Reshape Admissions at nyti.ms/1k5UR8h

I am still in awe at the title appropriated by the group of 80+ schools: "Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success" leaves no high ground unclaimed. Fortunately, the title has not awed the critics into silence.

On a more practical level: Do people on your campus think social media marketing is more important than your website for successful student recruitment? If so, send them to 4 Top Marketing Lessons for Student Recruitment at bit.ly/1PAwtER 
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Conference Event in November

The AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November is just two weeks away. You can still register and add my Sunday afternoon Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial at bit.ly/1mIBYqb 

Invite a friend or colleague to subscribe to this newsletter. Just 30 seconds at bit.ly/aRePLm 

If you are not already a Twitter follower, join me at twitter.com/HighEdMarketing for daily marketing updates.

And now here are your November marketing news and notes.
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Cartoon of the Month: Your Marketing Toolkit

What is the most important element in a successful marketing campaign? Laugh at the possibilities in the Cartoon of the Month at bit.ly/1XKc2dP 
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"The New Math of College Rankings": Especially for Wall Street Journal Readers

For families who have the most money to spend on a college education, the WSJ is providing advice on how to best select a college with "return on investment and graduation prospects" in mind. In other words, focus on how a college or university will provide ROI on the cost paid.

The November 2 article highlights 8 websites that parents can visit to find ROI content. Wise marketers will read this article, review what is available on their website, and wonder how they can help potential students and their parents complete the task the WSJ article is encouraging them to research elsewhere.

Suggestion: See how your school fares on the 8 websites listed by WSJ at on.wsj.com/1Q6WWge 
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World University Rankings: U.S and U.K. Dominate Top 25

The Times Higher Education rankings for 2015-2016 perhaps are not surprising, although no Ivy League university made the first five. Two countries other than the U.K. and U.S. have universities listed in the Top 25 at #9 and #19.

Check the ranking criteria and search the 800 listed universities by individual countries at bit.ly/1l4oNSp
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Niche Rankings: Top 100 Test-Optional Colleges in the U.S.

Here is a new list of public and private sector schools that do not require either ACT or SAT scores to make an admissions decision. Bowdoin College heads a list that ends with Walsh University.

A "show details" link grades each school in 10 areas that start with academics and end with campus safety, including "value," "professors," and "campus quality."

See the rankings from Niche, a lead-gen site, at bit.ly/1GIpsTo 
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Reducing Tuition at Utica and Rosemont Colleges: What Do We Call It?

Is reducing your tuition level by 40 percent or so a "tuition reset" as the colleges prefer to call it or a "cut" or "slash" as has been reported in newspaper and TV reports? 

The difference shows just how nervous a school can be when flying in the face of prevailing sentiment that a high sticker price conveys a high-quality image. Both Utica and Rosemont are attempting a realistic approach in the face of tuition discounting that NACUBO reports as now averaging about 48 percent. 

Time will tell if the lower sticker price approach works. Meantime, neither school likely is happy with the "bargain basement education" label used by CNBC in a report at cnb.cx/1GIsdE9 
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Brand Evolution in Higher Education: A Brief History

Take just a few minutes to read this fine review of higher education from the 1600s to the present, prepared by Sean Carton to keep everyone rooted in reality as we continue to debate who should go to college and the value of a college degree.

You can find "The Brand of Higher Education: Context for the Conflict" at bit.ly/1Mdi6rb 
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Mobile Marketing: Google and Why "Every Second Counts"

Do you have skeptics on your marketing team who do not yet believe that "every second counts" in online marketing, especially on mobile? Ask them to read the AdAge article outlining new plans from Google to boost speed expectations from mobile users. 

Check your web pages at Google PageSpeed Insights after you read "Google is Making the Mobile Web Faster" at bit.ly/1Phtm6Y 
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Social Media Marketing: Check Your Landing Pages

If you marketing plans call for students to journey from a social media site to become an inquiry, the quality of your landing page likely will decide your success. Nothing will kill marketing ROI faster than a bad landing page.

Create a separate landing page for every ad or post that you expect people to follow to become an inquiry or register for an event. Never drop people into a regular website page. That might sound obvious, but I have seen graduate programs in Integrated Marketing Communications drop people right into a home page with no obvious place to take the desired action.

Read the Social Media Examiner recommendations and/or listen to the podcast for "How to Optimize Landing Pages to Boost Social Media Conversions" at bit.ly/1P6v3Wa 
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International Student Recruitment: Impact of Cost on U.S. Success

Cost is the factor most likely to keep students accepted to U.S. universities from enrolling here, according to a recent Eduventures report. For 2015, about 47 percent of students accepted to a U.S university declined the invitation. 

Nearly two-thirds gave "I can't afford it" as their reason not to enroll. About one-third said they might enroll at a later time. And a surprising 23 percent said they did not know enough about the school that accepted them.

The countries most often selected as U.S. alternatives: Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Germany.

More details from the research are at bit.ly/1NhkzTq 
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Twitter vs. Instagram: Which Will Best Boost Your Marketing Results?

The answer to that question is complex. Instagram, says author Dominque Jackson, is better for engagement within the network. Twitter is better at creating engagement outside the network.

See the reasons and review detailed demographics of the people using each site at bit.ly/1Mf20Jk 
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Pell Grant Enrollment: Variations in Enrollment and Graduation Levels

How serious are universities about enrolling low-income students? A new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy suggests that some schools are more serious than others.

In addition to four universities in California cited for strong performance with Pell Grant students, universities in four other states made a "Strong Student Outcomes" list: Indiana Wesleyan, Grand Valley State in Michigan, Stetson University in Florida, and University of Tennessee - Knoxville.

For a detailed review of how 18 universities are meeting the challenge of enrolling and graduating Pell Grant students at varying net price points see the report at bit.ly/1PhIEIJ 
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Most Popular Topic in October Newsletter: Growing a New a Brand Reputation

It takes generations to grow a brand reputation and not nearly as long to lose one. The Cartoon of the Month gives pause for thought to anyone thinking about a rebranding campaign at bit.ly/1QVq2Nq 
________________________________
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 

Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
Expert Marketing Communications Website Reviews
Writing Right for the Web: Webinars, Conferences, and Campus Workshops
Competitive Website Reviews and Secret Shopping Projects
Communication Audits
Greetings in October to everyone reading this.

Here in the U.S. the fall recruitment season for 2016 high school students is in full swing as the admissions profession debates how to improve access for lower income students while still meeting pressures for adequate revenue from tuition and high graduation rates. 

The 2015 NACAC meeting ended last week and the admissions world is engaged in a vigorous debate over the value of a plan for a new "Coalition" admissions application system that will launch in January. Down below you will find a link to a detailed review of the plan as well as to a 2015 survey on the challenges facing the admissions directors today. 

Admissions debates aside, university websites are still the most important element for successful student recruitment, more so than printed publications, social media and, for many students, live people. See why that is true at "4 Top Marketing Lessons for Student Recruitment" at bit.ly/1PAwtER 
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Conference Event in November

The AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November is almost here. Early registration discount is open until October 19. 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 

If you are not already a Twitter follower, join me with 7,000 others attwitter.com/HighEdMarketing for daily marketing updates.

And now here are your October marketing news and notes.
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Cartoon of the Month: Lifecycle of Your Brand

Are you planning to invest in a "rebranding" campaign? Circulate this cartoon at your first planning meeting for realistic expectations of what you might achieve. Visit bit.ly/1QVq2Nq 
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Rate My Professor: 25 Highest Rated Universities and Community Colleges

Someday in my website prowling I will discover a school that includes a top ranking from Rate My Professor among the usual list of rankings achieved. 

Rate My Professor is now showing the Top 25 universities and Top 25 community colleges with high faculty ratings. The university leader is University of Mississippi. The top community college is Santa Barbara City College.

See if your school is listed when you visit bit.ly/1GtoYuw 
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New Elite Coalition Application: An Admissions Debate

The just-ended NACAC meeting included a packed session to hear three representatives of the 83 elite colleges and universities that in January 2016 launch a new admissions application procedure talk about why they are taking this step. The group has named itself the Coalition for Affordability, Access, and Success. 

The Coalition website at bit.ly/1VBXGJw includes a list of the current members.

Based on tweets and feedback from on person who was present, the plan was not well received. If you are not yet up-to-date with the various points of contention, the best place to start is a detailed report from Inside Higher Ed at bit.ly/1JPjf2r 
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Admissions Director Survey: Honesty, Professional Challenges, and More

The 2015 survey of admissions directors by Inside Higher Ed is out with a plethora of interesting information about the challenges facing the profession today.

My most interesting point: No respondent said they reported false admissions data but 92 percent said that other admissions directors do that. 

Second most interesting: At a time when merit scholarships are in question vs. need-based aid, a large majority of both private and public sector directors are in favor of merit aid. Not surprising given enrollment and profile pressures. Merit aid is not disappearing anytime soon.

Download the 41-page report at bit.ly/1ja9JSL 
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Content Marketing Infographic: 75 "Essential" Stats

Overcome your possible reluctance that there might indeed by 75 "essential" stats and review what is offered at this easy-to-scroll list. Yes, almost everybody is doing content marketing at an incredible and an increasing volume. But you might be surprised to see which social media site is most popular for distribution, the unsolved challenges, and what marketers think are the most important ROI measures.

Pay special attention to "Content Marketing from the Audience Perspective" when you visitbit.ly/1FSY2tr 
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Gerry McGovern on Content Marketing: Do Marketers Get It Right?

As always you can count on Gerry to cast a skeptical eye on the communications that marketers create. There is, Gerry believes, "far too much of ego, vanity content that is high on hyperbole and low on information."

Run a hyperbole check on your content marketing efforts after you read "Is content marketing just the same old marketing?" at bit.ly/1OTE1G2 
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College Scorecard: Great New Competitive Resource

If you have not yet visited the new College Scorecard to compare your results on key college selection points with those of your competitors plan to do that soon.

We can expect to see increased use of this data by potential students of every age. Early reports for high school students: people are impressed by how easy it is to use. Average Annual Cost, Graduation Rate, and Salary After Attending are the highlighted results for individual school searches.

Start with a check on results for your college or university at collegescorecard.ed.gov/ 
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On the Light Side: 24 Creative Vintage Ads

Our friends at Guerilla Marketing bring us a marvelous collection of 24 creative ads from the olden days at bit.ly/1jLmP8K 
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Social Media Marketing: Use and Demographics at Top Sites

Where should you best spend your resources in social media? The folks at Pew Internet can help with their detailed review of the usage and demographics for Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Facebook use has leveled off the past three years but is still far higher than other social sites among all age groups. Pinterest remains most popular among women. Start your visit atpewrsr.ch/1LesRcs 
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Reality Writing: Tuition Resets vs. Tuition Reductions, Slashes, and Cuts

In some parts of the world, including Utica College, schools do not have tuition cuts or slash or reduce tuition to gain a better competitive position, they have a tuition reset. In a world that favors reality marketing and transparency in general, that seems an overly PR sensitive word to use.

Whatever the word used to describe the action, see the description of a "bold new affordability initiative" reducing tuition by 42 percent at the Utica College FAQ page at bit.ly/1Lew0cg 
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Recruiting International Students: The U.S. High Cost Penalty

More than a few schools in the U.S. regard international students as the equivalent of a tuition-increasing golden goose. A new Eduventures survey of students admitted to U.S. universities for 2015 suggests that the golden eggs might not flow as freely in the future.

Among the 47 percent of U.S. admits who decided not to enroll, 65 percent said the top reason was an inability to afford the cost. Of those that did not enroll in the U.S. 21 percent stayed in their home country and 13 percent enrolled in another country.

More information from the research is at bit.ly/1NhkzTq 
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International Student Satisfaction: Rating 18 European Countries

Based on 17,000 reviews by international students, Study Portals has released the 3rd annual ranking of 18 European countries for the satisfaction level of their international students. This year Ireland was in first place and France was last.

Individual universities within each country are included in the report. Maynooth University was tops in Ireland. See how the other 16 countries were listed and check for your favorite schools at bit.ly/1QkF3Z1 
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Net Price Calculator: Making it Easy to Find

Why do high school students and their parents not use net price calculators more often? One possible reason is that on many higher education websites they simply are not easy to find.

Not long ago I found only my third example of a school that joins University of Delaware and Lynn University and places a visible link to the NPC on the home page: Bellarmine University.

Bellarmine is the most visible of the three: in the center of the page in large type atbit.ly/1KrmZL8 
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Most Popular Topic in September Newsletter: Marketing to Younger Generations

The perils of "Marketing to Younger Generations" in the Cartoon of the Month won visitation honors. Laugh at bit.ly/1fRJ36r 
________________________________
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.
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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.
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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 
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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 
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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
December and the holiday season are upon us. Early season greetings to everyone reading this. Thanks for your support throughout the year. Merry Christmas. 

Just over 50 people attended my AMA tutorial at the Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. I will be taking the session on the road next week to Costa Rica and the Universidad Hispanoamericana. Slides from the original presentation are at slidesha.re/1x1WxCd 

More than 1100 people attended the AMA marketing symposium this year, a record number. Six lessons I took from sessions and keynotes are at bit.ly/1Au0ylw 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for December.
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The Common Application: Too Common for Elite Schools?

Was it inevitable that as use of the Common Application became more common, some elite schools would look for an alternative?

A group of highly selective private colleges and universities and a handful of similar public universities is considering a 2016 alternative. Criteria for membership would include a high academic quality enrollment profile and the ability to meet full financial need of potential students. Initial schools in the discussion include Harvard, Yale, Carlton, Williams, Vanderbilt, William and Mary, Illinois, and North Carolina.

More on the possible changes, including other schools in the initial "Coalition" studying the move, in a Chronicle report at bit.ly/13zsua7 
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Marketers Must Read: Northeastern University Teen Survey

Do you still not have clear information on affordability and success after graduation on your website?

Northeastern University has released the latest in a series of higher education reports, in this case based on a survey of 1,000+ teens, over half of whom (54 percent) say they plan to attend a four-year college or university while 11 percent say they plan to attend a two-year school. 

One section of the survey asked teens to identify the factors that were most important to them in selecting a college to attend. Heading the list at 77 percent was "affordability" followed by "job placement rate and/or average graduate salary" at 70 percent.

Download the complete report in PDF format at bit.ly/1FFPaBh 
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Gerry McGovern: On the Decline in Marketing Value of the (Traditional) Home Page

Marketers spend so much time agonizing over the design and content of a home page as it really was the most important real estate on a website. But it is not.

Very few people, if any, visit a website home page to gaze at the splendor of it all. Most will start a visit someplace else if they can find the desired content through a search. And if they must start at a traditional home page, they do not want revolving carousel images, rotating news releases or anything else slowing down their journey from the home page to what really interests them.

Join Gerry as he expands on why "Every page you have is a home page for someone" atbit.ly/1CwnClr 
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Tuition Discounting Increases: No Relief in Sight in 2015

Declining enrollment prospects for less selective private sector colleges and universities and regional public universities will force continued reliance on discounting to maintain enrollment. That will in turn restrict revenue growth in nearly 50 percent of higher education schools. That's the prediction in the latest update from the bond raters at Moody's.

Read a brief summary of the report at bit.ly/1zFDZqc 
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Communicating Online: Keys to Video Usability

Video content continues to increase in popularity and YouTube remains the second most popular social media network. That said, the key to success as always is in the execution.

The Nielsen-Norman usability folk have a new "Video Usability" report on creating successful videos that starts by making a clear distinction between entertainment and informational videos. Blur that distinction in your creative process and you are likely to fail. 

Key points include telling people what to expect in the video and starting strong from the first second. A Penn State video that gets it right is included for review at bit.ly/1qOY7l0 
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National Survey of Student Engagement: 2014 Report Available

Student engagement with faculty is not related to the selectivity of a college or university: that is the finding for 2014 that the NSSE authors are highlighting on their website. This year 622 schools participated in the survey.

Check to see if your school has participated. Ask to see the results if it has.

You can download the full report at bit.ly/T01Hbn 
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Content Marketing: 3 Examples from History

From some presentations, you might almost think content marketing was a recent discovery related only to achieving success in the online world. But is anything in marketing completely new? 

Brian Honigman gives us "3 Lessons in Content Marketing from the Past" (Jello-O, Westinghouse, General Mills) to keep things in perspective and challenge your creativity to match them today at bit.ly/1A5qQrd 
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Writing Right for the Web: Is Calibri a Better Font than Ariel?

Which Test Won asks readers to pick which of two examples was more effective.

A recent email contest noted that the example using Calibri received 70 percent more clicks than the example using Ariel. People commenting also noted that the Calibri example had more white space between the text lines. 

Presentation makes a difference. See the contest, the results, and the comments atbit.ly/1FFRS9T 
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A Landing Page Challenge: Find the Master's in Nursing Program

If you are investing in online advertising, extend the investment to create a special landing page that repeats and reinforces the message in the ad. Do not, ever, just drop people into an existing page on your website. That is a quick way to kill any chance of a decent ROI on your ad.

Take this challenge: find information on the Master's degree in nursing that Oakland University was advertising online when you visit the landing page for Graduate Admissions atbit.ly/1yUyS5C 
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Bates College: Reviewing a New Home Page

For an entertaining and informative review of Bates College home pages in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014, see the review by the always insightful Jens Larson at bit.ly/1zp0yjm
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Most Popular Topic in November Newsletter: 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing

By a wide margin, the most visited item was a cartoon on sinful ways of social media marketing, starting with lust and ending with wrath. Sloth, gluttony, pride, greed, and envy complete the set at bit.ly/1tAMzXr 




Bob Johnson
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