Editor’s note: This is the third post in a series focusing on best practices for lead generation in the online education industry.
The tide is changing in higher education. A more diverse student population can be found at most college campuses throughout America. The opportunities — and challenges — for universities to find, enroll and retain students have never been greater.
Two recent reports underscore this emerging reality.
A press release from the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) reported that a surprising 92% of current students meet one or more standards of a non-traditional student. A glut of undereducated employees in the workforce — 90 million of them, according to APSCU — has helped widened the gap in the labor market. With an expected 85% of new jobs requiring a postsecondary education, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for higher-learning institutions to close the gap.
Institutions are facing challenges with student recruitment, retention, employer advocacy and more while striving to gain a competitive advantage.
Through years of admissions management experience I have gained an in-depth understanding of the ever-changing realm and unique marketing challenges of private higher-education.
What’s the silver bullet to achieving online marketing success in higher education? While it may seem rudimentary, the quick answer is clear: put the student first. Develop and maintain a student-centric approach. This requires higher education marketers to make all decisions with the student experience as the main priority.
SMX London is right around the corner, and the conference agenda is packed with some great panels discussing everything from prioritizing marketing efforts to advanced tactical recommendations. Search and social media are two intertwined topics on which there will be a great deal of discussion.
This panel discussion will focus on the implications of Graph Search on SEO, including the opportunities and challenges it will present advertisers and publishers.
As part of the discussion, I will present a history of Facebook advertising as it pertains to the evolution of search within Facebook. I’ll how Graph Search fits into the direction Facebook is going with its search and advertising options. Of course, knowing how and why an advertising medium has evolved can provide some very strong clues into what the future of marketing through Facebook may look like. (more…)
SEO is no longer just about driving traffic; it’s about building a brand.
When marketers consider branding, search engine optimization typically doesn’t come to mind. SEO has long been used as a vehicle for driving highly qualified visitors to brands’ websites. But SEO is no longer just about driving traffic; it’s about building a brand.
There is often a power struggle within organizations as to how advertising dollars should be spent on branding versus SEO. Rather than fighting that tug of war for SEO budget, marketers can position SEO as part of their overall branding effort rather than a silo marketing channel.
Marketers’ requests for investment in SEO are made easier when they make the case for SEO’s brand- and online reputation-enhancing qualities. With that in mind, MediaWhiz has written a new guide for marketers to use to tap into SEO’s inherent brand-building powers.
The guide represents a new and innovative way of thinking about how brands and marketers can best use SEO strategies and tactics to enhance their brand’s reputation, public image and search engine rankings.
Learn why brand authority trumps paid search. Explore how to use SEO tactics to improve your brand’s online and offline reputation. Round out your SEO knowledge with best practices for leveraging SEO’s brand-building powers. All that and more can be found in MediaWhiz’s new white paper, “Leveraging SEO’s Brand-Building Powers.”
With the mass of customer insight available to brands adding another weapon to a chief marketer’s arsenal, Marketing Week asks whether their job titles should reflect this. If you believe the surveys, the pressure to improve the return on the money invested in campaigns has combined with an explosion of data to squeeze creativity from the role of chief marketing officer and turn it into “chief data and marketing officer.”
Many brands, marketers and industry pundits contend that the great battle in social media is over mobile. The chant from tech giants, New York Times technology columnist Nick Bilton writes, is “mobile, mobile, mobile.” But there’s a greater evolutionary force at play: photos. From Facebook’s revamped Newsfeed that places an emphasis on photos to Twitter now commandeering users’ photo sharing via its own proprietary photo app, the battle isn’t just for the mobile Internet. The real battle is for photos on the entire Internet. (more…)
By Keith Trivitt | @KeithTrivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
Growth in the email marketing industry shows no signs of abating. Analyst firm Forrester Research forecasts U.S. email marketing spend to reach $1.7 billion in 2012, a 12-percent increase over 2011. Fueling that growth is the increasing combination of email with social media and direct marketing that many businesses are using to deliver more targeted and relevant campaigns to consumers.
Much of this improvement is based on data and learned information about customers.
New technology has created an evolution for direct mail marketing, allowing companies to seamlessly integrate it with email marketing. This delivers better leads for brands while ensuring their direct mail and email marketing campaigns are actually read by consumers.
Recently, MediaWhiz President Ed Kats was asked by Inc. magazine to offer his thoughts on how companies can effectively integrate direct mail marketing and email marketing. Below is a summary of his responses:
Know your audience and business model and then integrate direct mail marketing and email marketing to either be a 1-2 sales punch or complimentary to each other. For example: direct mail is meant to compel customers into a store through the use of coupons or advertisements. An email is generally meant as an “Act now!” retail sale for non-considered / non-essential purchases. For considered purchases (those that consumers think about purchasing before going to a store or brand website), companies should use direct mail and email marketing in tandem to drive consumers to either call or visit a website and “learn more” about the product.
When used for customer relationship management (CRM) campaigns, businesses should plan their event calendar well ahead of time and make sure they have different conversations with customers across direct mail and email marketing that are complimentary to each other. It’s important, however, that those marketing pieces are segmented by tactic and channel to ensure quality and consistency with how your customers have responded to direct mail and email offers in the past.
What are your tips and best practices for integrating email marketing and direct mail marketing campaigns? Share them in the comments section.
Some marketers love to bash Facebook ads. We saw it in the immediate aftermath of General Motors pulling its $10 million cache of ad buys just days before Facebook’s IPO. We continue to see it as the company’s stock price stumbles.
The truth is, Facebook is finally developing new, exciting ways to deliver real value to online advertisers. It’s time for marketers to recognize that value and get serious about Facebook ads.
In recent weeks, the company has announced a number of prominent changes to its ad platform, including a real-time bidding exchange, mobile-only ads, and a rumored ”want” button that would “only work with content identified as relating to a purchasable product.”
Facebook also has increased its outreach to the advertising industry. Through various public and private campaigns, it is working to educate marketers about its multitude of ad options and addressing their concerns about the need for more precise data and analytics. At the Cannes Lions festival last month, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, made the rounds touting the social network’s various ad options.
The key to the success of all of Facebook’s new ad options is segmentation. Segmentation gives marketers the ability to analyze and make real-time media buying decisions based on data available through Facebook’s interface. For agencies, segmentation marks another opportunity to optimize, target deeper and increase conversion rates. The segmentation and retargeting opportunities now exist that will enable Facebook ads to be profitable for brands.
Web hosting company HostPapa’s new infographic comparing email marketing and social media marketing has given marketers a new lightning-rod topic to debate.
Despite no shortage of proponents in each camp, we think the conclusion is simple: it’s pointless to compare email marketing with social media marketing. Each has a unique value. More importantly, we believe that email and social media should be used in tandem, not against each other, for effective digital media and marketing campaigns.
The problem with comparing email marketing and social media marketing is apparent: one (social media marketing) is a brand strategy while the other (email) is a direct-response strategy. Each requires the other in some form to be effective, and each builds off the other for greater value and efficiency.
The infographic isn’t without merit. It offers some valuable insight marketers can use to understand how, when and where to use and integrate email marketing and social media marketing to improve their lead-gen and digital engagement efforts.
But first, it’s necessary to look at the facts.
Email Still Generates Results
Email marketing continues to produce eye-popping results. According to HostPapa, business spending on email marketing campaigns has increased 60 percent in the past year, accumulating 17.4 percent of U.S. brands’ digital marketing budgets in 2011. Email open rates continue to rise, too, improving 12.6 percent in Q1 2012, according to a report by Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association.
By Keith Trivitt | @KeithTrivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
Of all the hot trends in digital marketing — Facebook advertising, the future of display ads, mobile payments — perhaps none is getting more attention at the moment than mobile search. As developed nations continue their march into the era of the mobile-dominated Web, mobile search marketing has taken on an increasingly important role for brands, marketers and advertisers.
According to IBM and other industry observers, 2012 is shaping up to be the year of mobile. Direct Marketing Newsreported in May that mobile commerce accounted for 13.3 percent of all online sales in Q1 2012, up from 7 percent a year ago. The growth and power of mobile commerce is further magnified by data from IBM showing that mobile traffic to retailer sites made up 17 percent of all online traffic in Q1 2012.
It’s also a topic we love to talk about, both internally among colleagues and externally with clients, analysts and the media. The latter is where we recently had the opportunity to discuss this fascinating industry trend.
By Steve Goldner | @SocialSteve | Senior Director, Social Media
There is no shortage of debate on social media ROI. Social media sales attribution is difficult given the reality of Facebook privacy settings and the challenges of tagging media that brands don’t own. This is true for many word-of-mouth consumer behaviors.
For example, how easy is it to attribute a customer visiting a new restaurant because of a friend’s recommendation?
But that doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t measure social media and get meaningful information on the performance of their campaigns. Like an old boss once told me, “That which is not measured, does not get done.”
When utilized properly, social media generates awareness, consideration, loyalty and advocacy — all of which can be measured. Brand managers and CMOs should be concerned with seeing measurable results in each category.
The four consumer psycho demographics listed below are inherently tied to the ultimate key performance indicator: that of sales. Consider the following parameters that can be easily captured and measured:
Awareness: Number of brand and URL mentions.
Consideration: Website visits, page views, Facebook and Twitter click-throughs, social network page views, Twitter replies and blog views.
Loyalty: Fans, followers and community members, RSS subscriptions, Facebook interactions, Twitter mentions, blog/community comments and return visits to site.
Advocacy: Retweets, re-blogs, brand mentions, comments on a brand’s assets and Facebook “likes.