Education Technology Tweet Wrap, w/e 12-09-17

Education Technology Tweet Wrap, w/e 12-09-17 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 … we congratulate one of…

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3 Education Website Performance Killers

3 Education Website Performance Killers

Feel like your higher education website performance isn’t what it should be, but can’t put your finger on the cause? Here are three of the most common reasons higher ed websites fail.

Your design is impeccable… your copy is tight and right on the mark with brand guidelines… your page load speed leaves your competitors in the dust… your site navigation is easy and intuitive.

So why in the world is your higher education website not pulling the traffic volume you want, bringing in the leads you need, or the donations your development team is looking for?

Website performance issues like these are not only frustrating, they can cripple your enrollment, development, or alumni programs (among others). That’s why you’ve got to get to the bottom of the problem, fast.

That’s exactly what we do here at Caylor Solutions. Through our proven three step process, we help higher education marketers, development officers, alumni professionals, executives, and enrollment officers identify and resolve the obstacles holding them back from their organizational goals.

So let me share with you the three most common reasons that higher education websites fail — because more than likely, it’s one of these performance killers that’s eating away at the marketing results you know you’re supposed to be getting.

Website Performance Killer #1: Scattered Objectives

A school’s website cannot be all things to all people. Problem is, higher education institutions by nature have multiple audiences to market to.

Even more challenging is satisfying multiple internal stakeholders. Like so many higher ed marketers, I’m sure you’ve fought the battle of everyone wanting their space on the home page. They all have their own objectives, dreams, and needs for the website — but someone has to have the final say.

So do you design your website to speak to all of your audience and internal stakeholder needs, or do you choose one and ignore the rest?

The good news is that your home pages can most certainly perform well addressing more than one audience. Bad news is that it cannot possibly address the needs of every department who’s putting in a request.

Today’s savvy users demand clarity and ease of use. They expect the site to serve their needs above all else, not the needs of internal stakeholders.

Scattered objectives will kill your website’s performance. You must identify what’s most important to your organization’s long-term objectives and eliminate all other competing objectives for your website, and more specifically, your home page. (Hint: Meeting your audience’s needs is always the best thing you can do for your organization.)

Website Performance Killer #2: Revenue Comes Last

Think about all the companies that dominate the larger marketplace. Google. Apple. Walmart. Amazon. What is one thing common to all of their digital marketing strategies?

They put revenue first.

They don’t do anything that doesn’t somehow move their audience towards actions that lead to purchases. And here’s a little secret (one that I’m sure you’re well aware of by now): education is driven by revenue as well.

Determining your primary source of income — more than likely enrollment — should help you focus your energies and provide a clear answer when asked “Why is my link not on the home page?”

Hopefully this isn’t a hard sell to your internal stakeholders. Everyone is benefited when school revenue goes up. So put revenue first in your higher education website.

Website Performance Killer #3: Unclear Path to Conversion

Once you have identified your target revenue drivers, look for ways to build a funnel of conversion. Conversion funnels are the ideal series of pages or content that your audience would likely go through to come to the decision to enroll or donate (See? Revenue first!).

Conversion funnels are made up of series of content like emails, landing pages, forms, blog posts, videos, etc. The thing that makes them funnels is that you’ve thought through what the optimal path is for your audience to take to come to their decision. Here’s an example of how a funnel can work:

Perhaps your email highlights a question that your audience has, which leads to a blog post that further answers their question and asks them to fill out a form, which leads to a phone call, or another video.

The types of arrangements of content you can create are endless — but they must ultimately lead to conversion!

If you view each marketing channel (like email, blogs, videos) as a separate, standalone marketing activity, then your paths to a decision (conversion) will be unclear to your audience, and that will kill your website’s performance.

Performance Enhancers

These higher education website performance killers are hard to spot at times, and even harder to resolve. But the team and I at Caylor Solutions would be happy to come alongside you to help you reach your organization’s goals.

Our team of brand strategists, designers, writers, and social media experts will put their decades of experience in higher education marketing, enrollment, and development to use for you to get you the marketing results you need to drive revenues for your school.

Ready for a marketing performance boost? Get ahold of us today.

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Seven Ninja Hacks for Your Alumni Blog

Seven Ninja Hacks for Your Alumni Blog

Keeping your alumni blog up-to-date is a building block of your alumni marketing strategy. But it can be a bit of a pain for an over-worked, higher education marketer like yourself. So leverage these 7 ninja hacks to make your alumni blog a big success.

Ninja Hack #1: Become one with your alumni blog.

For most marketers, the day they began blogging was an exciting day full of promise. Creativity was high, and it was all so new.

But after a couple months… your first year… two years in… blogging just gets old. That’s when you can forget why you started blogging in the first place, and you let it go. You miss deadlines and skip posts.

But you must become one with your alumni blog. You must remember why you started and how it connects with your goals as an alumni marketer.

Blogging is a proven marketing strategy that helps you:

  1. Drive traffic to your website,
  2. Convert that traffic into leads,
  3. Establish authority in the area you want your school to be known for, and
  4. Drive long-term results across all your marketing channels like email, website, and even direct mail.

Remember that pivotal moment in young grasshopper’s life when Mr. Miyagi gave him his first lesson in martial arts? At first, “Daniel-san” didn’t get it. It was just a boring chore that wouldn’t help him accomplish his goals.

But then there was this beautiful moment in the movie when it all came together for Daniel. In that moment, Mr. Miyagi showed him how much progress he had made—and how it all was working to move Daniel toward his goals.

That’s what your blog is like. There’ll be days you don’t see it working at all. But you must keep blogging consistently!

Become one with your alumni blog.

Ninja Hack #2: Answer your alumni’s questions.

As we talked about in this post, every journey on the Internet starts with a question. By brainstorming the various questions that your alumni audience would look to you to answer for them, you’ll…

  1. Increase click-through rates in your emails,
  2. Drive traffic to your website,
  3. Improve your search engine rankings, and
  4. Make your alumni much, much happier.

Ninja Hack #3: Automate your alumni blog.

Around here, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of automation. In fact, I save up to 5 hours a week on my social media marketing using automation tools.

Finding ways to get technology to do the repetitive tasks for your alumni blog will not only save you time in blog production, it will take a lot of the monotony out of the process—which means you’re more likely to get it done.

If you use WordPress for your alumni blog, leverage WordPress’s blogging functions to make it streamlined….create a post template and then WordPress will automate the table of contents, organize your tags and categories, and even let you publish via email if that works for your team.

And you should consider creating an RSS-driven automated campaign in your email management provider. By doing so, your email management software will automatically pull the blogs that you’ve posted, assemble them into an email newsletter (complete with your awesome feature images), and publish it to your email list.

With an RSS-driven email campaign set up, you’ll drive traffic from your email list to your blog and produce consistent content for your email audience.

Ninja Hack #4: Run in a pack. (i.e., Guest blogs)

Do ninjas run in a pack? Well, even if they don’t, you should. By having alumni write guest posts, you can tap into their audiences and drive more traffic to your alumni blog.

Each time you publish a post written by an alumnus, have them share it with all of their friends and followers on social media. Also consider posts from beloved professors and others within your alumni affinity groups. This is an incredible way to add value to your alumni readers and expand your followers.

Ninja Hack #5: Use rich media.

Rich media such as pictures, gifs, videos, and infographics are like using ninja stars. They are powerful tools that grab attention and pull your readers into the post.

Text-heavy blogs are hard to get through—most people avoid them and read something else. Rich media will break up the text and make your alumni blog more inviting and engaging for your audience.

Ninja Hack #6: Be real.

You may represent an academic institution, but your alumni really don’t want to read academic treatises when they come to your blog. So write in a casual, informal style.

Also, write about the human, emotional, or relational side of things. You’re more than a news channel, so be sure to tell your alumni how your current students, grads, and faculty felt when they received that award, got accepted to your school, got their financial aid, or when they gave to your school.

Ninja Hack #7: Post content that matters.

The Internet has evolved a lot since the late ‘90’s. But unfortunately, there are a lot of alumni blogs out there that still read like online diaries rather than a professional college or university publication. You must remember ninja hack #2– your alumni blog is a way to answer questions and publish valuable content.

The objective is to create content that’s so useful that your alumni keep coming back for more. So post resources and tips that add value like resume support, tips for networking, interviewing skills, new job opportunities, etc.

Time for a Comeback

Your alumni blog might be in need of a serious makeover, or you might just need to crank up production again. No matter what’s ahead of you, the important thing is to get your blog rolling again.

Inbound marketing is a game of careful, patient consistency. One killer post isn’t going to meet your marketing goals. It’s the consistent publication that will set you apart and keep your audience coming back week after week.

Could you use a few marketing ninjas to help you revive your alumni blog? Get ahold of us.

The call is free… and we won’t make you wax our car.

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Betsy DeVos Sounds Off on Workforce Readiness, Alternatives to College

Betsy DeVos Sounds Off on Workforce Readiness, Alternatives to College Though school choice remains a central part of the education secretary’s policy message, she has used recent appearances to emphasize the need for learning beyond the usual post-high school route.<img src=”; height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=””/>

When It Comes to Sexual Harassment, Schools Are Not Immune

When It Comes to Sexual Harassment, Schools Are Not Immune The cascade of sexual harassment and assault allegations against high profile men in politics and entertainment have prompted women in education to say their field is not immune from the problem.<img src=”; height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=””/>