5 Selected Frameworks for Teaching and Promoting Digital Literacy

5 Selected Frameworks for Teaching and Promoting Digital Literacy New NMC Report Provides a Rich Look at Digital Literacy Models, Exemplars, and Explorations Within Higher Education I spent a good deal of time with this excellent report this weekend, exploring the…

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Education and Technology Tweet Compilation, w/e 09-09-17

Education and Technology Tweet Compilation, w/e 09-09-17 Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers. This week in the wrap … dig deep into Digital…

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Courting the Reluctant: Admissions Marketing to Those Who Won’t Commit

Courting the Reluctant: Admissions Marketing to Those Who Won’t Commit

Marry You?! I’m Just Here for the Speed-Dating Round!

Traditionally, higher education website lead gathering has gone something like this: “Susie Prospect, fill out my lengthy and detailed web form so that I can market to you.” It may not seem like you’re asking for that much of a commitment, but for today’s prospective traditional student, you might as well pop out the diamond ring and propose in the middle of the speed-dating round. They’re just “playing the field.” They want to remain in control, and that means remaining anonymous for as long as possible. Asking them for more than a name and email address can send them scurrying somewhere else. And they WILL find what they’re looking for somewhere else if you don’t provide it.

From Speed Dating to First Date: The Admissions Marketing Funnel

As good admissions counselors, enrollment professionals and higher education marketers, you’ve been taught that if you don’t know the demographic details of your prospect, you can’t market appropriately and effectively and that your admissions marketing efforts could be wasted. While having demographic details can certainly help focus your admissions marketing efforts, there are general principles that can be applied that will help move these undefined prospects from “speed dating” in general to considering a “date” with your institution specifically. Here are a few suggestions.

Start Small

Most prospects will trade a name and email address for something they consider valuable. A downloadable e-book, guide or resource that will aid in the prospect’s college search is a great place to start. Note: Make sure it is truly useful information and not just a commercial for your institution.

Next Step

Once you have a prospect’s email address, you have their permission to market to them. However, this is not the time to “go for the ask!” Continue to provide truly useful and helpful information that will aid them in their college search without asking for anything in return.

Just a Little More

Once you have delivered several pieces of truly useful and engaging content via email, you’ve earned the right to see if that prospect would like to learn more about YOU.  This can be done with a higher-value deliverable that will be attractive enough for the prospective student to be willing to complete a more detailed contact form in exchange. Consider tailoring the deliverable based upon the information you receive. For example, high school freshmen and sophomores might receive a different deliverable than high school juniors or seniors.

The Successful Proposal

By delivering truly valuable material, you have earned your prospect’s trust and built rapport. In return, they’ve entrusted you with more detailed information, and you can now market more specifically to their demographic and eventually “propose” a “committed relationship” with your institution. And you’ll all live happily ever after.

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7 Professional Marketing Hacks on a Shoestring Budget

7 Professional Marketing Hacks on a Shoestring Budget

No way around it: it’s challenging to do content marketing right within the limits of ever-shrinking  budgets. But thankfully, results aren’t tied directly to money spent! Here are 7 professional hacks to getting big dollar marketing results on a shoestring budget.

(And if you don’t have a budget yet, read this post first.)

Hack #1. Realize that everyone’s on a tight budget.

This mental hack is key to successful private higher education marketing, where prestige is part and parcel with the education you’re offering.

Envy is a silent killer.

The constant “grass is greener on the other side” mental refrains we tell ourselves bogs our creativity down as we wallow in self-pity. Don’t let that happen to you!

Remember, everyone’s on a tight budget.

No one feels as if they have all the money they need to do their job right — so there’s no use in dwelling on the “what if’s” and “if only’s.”

Besides, your biggest competitive advantage is being different than all the rest.

Hack #2: Take inventory of your marketing and media assets.

You remember the old stories: Moses delivered the Jews from slavery with only the rod in his hand. David killed Goliath with his slingshot and five stones.

Point is… Despite the fiscal crunch you feel, you’ve got resources you might not be considering.

Inventory all the physical and content assets your department already has, like:

  • Recorded seminars and lectures
  • Lighting and audio equipment
  • Books, articles, and research your executive staff, board members, or faculty have created
  • Original music and art from students
  • Student testimonials
  • Past blog posts, infographics, page copy, ebooks, etc.

You’ll discover that you’ve got more in your hand to work with than you thought — and by repurposing this content you’ll save thousands of dollars.

Hack #3: Develop a robust marketing strategy.

Not complicated… Robust. Complicated means that you’ll never get around to it because there’s just too much to do. Robust means that it covers all the basics of good marketing such as:

  • Messaging: What values and offers should your marketing present to the audience?
  • Personas: Who are your target audience(s) and what are their needs?
  • Focus groups: Acquaint yourself with your target audiences by spending time with them getting to know  their preferences, perspective of your school, and needs.
  • Conceptualization: Colors, typography, layout, navigation design, and more are a part of the conceptualization process.
  • Wireframes: Get your concepts onto paper through hand sketches, vector graphics, or a keynote slidedeck. Bottom line is that everyone needs to see how the copy and design will look for your marketing materials to begin creating the content.

By taking the time to nail down all the components of your marketing strategy, you’ll save money by not wasting it on marketing campaigns and tactics that would never have worked anyway.

And notice you haven’t even spent a dime on these hacks so far!

Hack #4: Create an enrollment-focused website.

Private colleges and universities have a plethora of departments, programs, and initiatives that you could possibly communicate to your audiences.

But for the greatest results from your marketing, you must restrict your website’s primary focus to the needs of enrollment.

Enrollment is the watershed team for all of your departments.

When enrollment succeeds in their goals, so too will student services, academics, sciences, human resources, business operations, and alumni relations and advancement.

By focusing on enrollment, you’ll save money on creating media and pages for other departments while generating revenue for those departments through higher enrollment numbers.

Hack #5: Craft content that is user-focused and answers questions.

Content is the No. 1 way to market with a shoestring budget — hands down.

Per dollar spent, content marketing generates 3X the number of leads than paid search does. And content marketing drives higher conversion rates than traditional marketing by 600 percent!

Content makes you and your organization the authority on whatever you choose to publish, if it consistently answers the questions people have when they come to your site.

Traditional advertising isn’t dead — but it’s so expensive that it can easily kill your marketing budget in one fell swoop.

In contrast, creating content that answers your audience’s questions doesn’t cost much at all.

All of this is under $2,000 — and you don’t even need all of it to begin creating irresistible content that will attract your audience to your website!

But it does cost a lot of work.

Marketing on a limited budget takes creativity, discipline, scrappiness, and a willingness to be ok with authenticity over perfection.

Hack #6: Use all your marketing channels to drive traffic to your website.

Content does you no good unless your target audiences consume the content. They’ve got to be able to find it and share it with their friends who’re also likely to have the same questions.

So use your social media channels (free!) to constantly drive traffic to your website.

Never let your social media profiles be the home for your content. It’s online “property” you’re renting, not something you own, like your website.

And don’t forget to use your print materials like direct mail and brochures to drive traffic to your online content!

If you’re already budgeting to create that mailing or magazine, use it to foster success in your digital marketing efforts.

Hack #7: Outsource the work.

This is going to sound self-serving, because, well… I run Caylor Solutions, a marketing agency for private colleges and universities that improves communication, enrollment and development efforts through strategic brand, marketing, websites, print and digital executions.

Disclosures aside, I’m bringing this up because in so many situations, hiring an outside marketing partner is the most economical way to lift your marketing results.

I love what I do, and it pays the bills. But…

A big reason I started Caylor Solutions is because of the value it brings to marketers like you on shoestring budgets.

By outsourcing, you can…

  1. Hire the best for half the cost. If you hired a marketing executive with the experience and background that the individuals in an agency represent, it would cost you twice as much as hiring an outside agency to do the work.
  2. Get a team, not just an individual. For less than the price of hiring a marketing executive, you get an entire marketing team of strategists, writers, designers, and more.

There are many more reasons to consider an outside agency like Caylor Solutions to improve your marketing results, even on a shoestring budget — but these are the main economic reasons.

So don’t let a strained budget stop you from driving your college or university forward in its marketing and enrollment goals!

Start using the hacks I’ve listed for you here — and if you want to talk about outsourcing with an experienced agency for private colleges and universities, let’s talk.

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This Is Not Just Another Essay About Race

This Is Not Just Another Essay About Race The American education system is rooted in racial inequity. Critical-thinking teachers can help, writes one assistant principal.<img src=”http://ift.tt/2vgsJ8j&#8221; height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=””/> http://ift.tt/2wG17gj

Education and Technology Tweet Wrap, w/e 08-19-17

Education and Technology Tweet Wrap, w/e 08-19-17 Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers. This week in the wrap, there’s an Augmented Reality…

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Why #Hashtags Are Critical to Your Social Media Success

Why #Hashtags Are Critical to Your Social Media Success Your Social Media Campaigns May Be Missing Out

Our most recent social media blog included several regarding hashtags. Retired educator Joan Gustafson started the comment discussion by asking: “Still not sure about using hashtags….I “get” it and know why people use them…but do people really “search” for info using hashtags? #notsureabouthashtags #whynotsearchgoogleratherthashtags #andIthoughtIwasdonewithhashtags :)”

Others echoed the sentiment of “do we really need them?” and “unclear about hashtags.”

I wanted to write a blog post focused on getting to the bottom of why and how to use them.

A few years ago, my wife and I took our family to Disney World for the first time. Upon arrival, we registered and each of us received a large button that proclaimed “1st Visit” surrounded by Micky, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald Duck. Our family was so excited we promptly pinned those on and set out. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, but throughout our week-long visit, it was the beacon that got us noticed. Whenever waiting for attractions or walking down the streets, characters, “cast members” (Disney’s word for employees) and others would seem to go out of their way to ask us if we were having an enjoyable time and if we needed anything. Only later did I realize that simple button was the signal to others to engage in an intentional way with my family.

Just as Disney uses the power of a button to encourage engagement with the right audience, your social media strategy can do the same. Rather than a button to wear on your apparel, you have the power of the hashtag to get you and your message noticed.

Hashtags Defined

According to Twitter, a hashtag is “any word or phrase with the # symbol immediately in front of it.” Hashtags were created organically by Twitter users as a means to organize the vast amount of content flowing through the social media channel. Hashtags also make it easier to follow a conversation about a particular topic or find a topic based upon the search function. Since the introduction on Twitter, most networks are using them in one way or another, including the following: Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest. Suffice it to say, hashtags are here to stay.

7 Reasons You Should be Using Hashtags

Now that we have established what hashtags are and their importance, here are seven reasons to start using them today:

1. Streams

Many social media users leverage dashboard tools such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to organize the information that they consume. These tools allow you to set up “channels” to monitor and organize your followers (e.g. donors, media, colleagues), manage outgoing communication drafts, and follow keyword hashtags.

Much of my content is discovered by my use of hashtags that I know my audience follows: #hesm (higher education social media), #HEmkting (higher education marketing) #ismarketing (independent school marketing), and #emchat (the hashtag used for a Thursday night chat by enrollment management professionals).

I discovered these hashtags by using Hashtagify.me, an online database that organizes popular hashtags and provides related and relevant hashtags to consider. I found my options by analyzing the hashtag #highered. Remember that choosing hashtags is an important process in your strategy, and you should find tags that are in circulation to associate with your organization.

2. Search

A number of users also take advantage of the search function within social media networks to discover accounts to follow based upon their hashtag usage. Hashtags can improve your search engine optimization within the network.

Many Twitter users leverage the hashtags not only in their communication, but in their profile descriptions for this reason. Much like the streams, search is a way for your message to be discovered and followed in an easy way for your users.

3. Gain Influencer Notice

Another reason to leverage hashtags is to gain the attention of influencers. Within the Hashtagify.me tool set, you’ll find the ability to identify the most influential users for a particular hashtag. This is important because every time an influencer retweets or engages with your communication, it is amplified to their audience and to possible followers for your organization.

Understanding and building relationships with these individuals can create dynamic opportunity for your messaging.

4. Advertising

Pay-per-click advertising within social media is heating up and producing strong returns on the investment. A strategy for amplifying your message is to include trending or popular hashtags with your advertisement.

Again, turning to online tools to best understand your target audience and the hashtags that they are using can yield improved results for your campaigns and conversions. This should be a part of your social media strategy.

5. Online Chats

In their book The Art of Social Media, Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick outline an excellent strategy for Twitter chats – organized discussions monitored by hashtags to allow users to follow conversations. I encourage admissions offices to consider developing and scheduling prospective student and parent chats throughout the fall months. This could also be used for advancement and alumni relations to organize meet-ups and other question/answer times with key leaders.

Developing your own hashtag as part of that chat strategy is recommended, and using popular hashtags to initially promote it would be part of the marketing strategy.

6. Newsjacking

During Superbowl XLVII, the power went out in the New Orleans Superdome. One tweet from Oreo Cookies stole the show and was remembered as one of the brilliant advertising moves of the night. They did not pay the millions of dollars for an elaborate 60-second ad. They used a tweet:

Power out? No problem. http://pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC

— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013

David Meerman Scott, in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR discusses the new trend of “newsjacking” and how by strategically using hashtags around a news event, an organization can essentially hi-jack some coverage by inserting themselves into the news stream. While this is not for everyone, nor should it be an early part of your strategy, it may be a future option for more mature social media experts.

7. Offline Promotion = Viral Opportunities

Indiana University leveraged hashtags as part of a brilliant admission promotion. The simple use of the hashtag #IUSAIDYES on bright, bold red envelopes produced a viral social media campaign when students began posting selfies with their acceptance letters:

hello BLOOMINGTON ❤️ #IUsaidYes http://pic.twitter.com/YS9UaHxEc3 — Jaye. (@jaayeee___) February 15, 2015

Creative thinking with hashtags may result in wider audiences for your marketing messages.

Hashtags are a key tool in your social media strategy. These seven ideas are just some of the reasons you should use hashtags and understand them in a greater degree. With planning and strategy, hashtags should become a regular part of your social media practice.

How are you using Hashtags? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

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