Posts

Stop advertising by accident with Scientific Advertising

A note from our Co-founder I’m sure you’ve been exposed to a number of Marketing books over the years. A couple of excellent books come to mind such as ‘Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind‘ by Trout and Ries and ‘Ogilvy on Advertising‘ by David Ogilvy, both great reads for anyone studying the art of […]

man telling a secret to shocked woman

Reputation is ¾ of Everything

I was leafing through Douglas Magazine, an excellent tome on local business issues. I came across an excellent article written by an old friend Mike Wicks, a reputable dude who has made his living in sales training, writing, etc… Mike’s article was about the value of a reputation from an empirical perspective. In other words, one can attach a financial score to a weak reputation and it’s not pretty. Mike’s article got me thinking about a few things on this topic;

Product Delivery is the premix for Reputation

My partner Shane Sparks and I are fond of saying “Nothing can destroy a crappy business like a great Ad Campaign.” The outcome of a branding effort is to leave the consumer with kind of a buyer’s insurance policy that they are making good choices. If a business is delivering crap, the branding efforts will not grab, and it will simply accelerate negative word-of-mouth. Read more

How Google is Driving Up Adwords Lead Costs

This is important if you use Google Adwords…

Over the past 6-12 months or so, we’ve seen Adwords lead costs continue to rise, despite several major advertisers (such as Corinthian) leaving the market.

It didn’t make sense. With less competition, why were bid cost, and as a consequence cost-per-lead, continuing to rise?

We believe we’ve cracked the code on why, and it’s Google. Specifically two things they’ve done. Read more

[Podcast] Marketing ROI – Low Cost, High Return Marketing Tactics To Increase Enrollment

In this podcast, we explore where schools are spending their marketing dollars and which choices are going to have the best ROI through low cost, high return marketing tactics. To see how the mentioned ScoreCard works, please do give us a call and we’d be more than happy to show it to you!

 
Check out our Podcast #28: “Marketing ROI – Low Cost, High Return Marketing Tactics To Increase Enrollment” to learn helpful education marketing strategies. With 1 click you’ll have access to over 30 podcasts featuring industry insiders espousing their wisdom to you – for free!

Listen to the Podcast Now!

[Webinar] How to Lower Your Advertising Cost Per Start

Over the past five years advertising costs and cost per start has more than doubled. In this webinar, Martin Lind of Velocify and co-founders Gregg Meiklejohn and Shane Sparks of Enrollment Resources share new research that sheds light on why the cost per start has taken off.

Mikal E. Belicove, Columnist, Today’s Campus Magazine called it “The most instructive and engaging webinar I’ve ever moderated.” Read more

[Audio & Notes] Things You Can’t Say or Write

“Things You Can No Longer Say or Write After July 1st” affecting US Title IV schools.
An audio recording and notes as presented from our Conference Call
Presented by Shane Sparks and Gregg Meiklejohn of Enrollment Resources Inc.

Employability

  1. Avoid using the BLS stats on national averages, if it does not accurately reflect local employment. Recommended to use local stats that are documented and avoid BLS generalized employment references
  2. Avoid salary claims – don’t make them unless you can prove it from graduate stats
  3. Avoid generalized placement statistics that are not accurate – whether it’s student, accreditor or government
  4. No Help Wanted advertising whatsoever – avoid posting ads in the help wanted section of classifieds and on “job postings” for sites such as craigslist, kijiji. Need to check to see if your lead providers and affiliates are doing this.
  5. Relationship to employers promoted to suggest connections IMPLY better job opportunities
  6. “Lifetime placement” – don’t make this claim in case the program may not be available in the future or for any other reason that you may not be able to stand behind this claim.
  7. What you don’t say can hurt you – preconditions of employment being one of them (criminal record requirements, existing medical conditions etc – policy needs to be in place pre-enrollment)
  8. Implied strong employment outcomes – claims needs to be based on documented outcomes
  9. Avoid terms such as “in Demand”, “Fastest growing career”, “high job placement”, “good jobs”, “high salary” and the like unless these are accurate and documented locally.

Financial Aid

  1. You’ll want to keep the tone to “financial aid for those who qualify”. Not promote your department as having an advantage in the application process. Keep things factual.
  2. Scholarships – need to be true (discounts are not representative of scholarships)
  3. Misinforming students right to refuse financial aid

Institutional

  1. Avoid terms such as “state of the art”, “modern”, “cutting edge” if this is not 100% representative of your school
  2. Small class sizes – needs to be 100% true
  3. Can not state approval or endorsement by the Department of Education to the quality of the education programs. It’s suggested that you apply this to your accrediting agencies as well if they are stated on any promotional material.

Program

  1. Avoid terms such as Start a Career in XXX in as little as …. – this would be a false claim as it’s likely not 100% true in all cases
  2. Do not claim program length without noting which study type it is (part time/ full time)
  3. Certified – avoid general claims to certification. If you mention certification, you must disclose the certification body and whether that particular certification will meet any preconditions of employment.
  4. Can not state any employment opportunities without disclosing if further training or certification is required and if your program meets the requirements for preparing for certification. Must disclose whether the program meets all employment requirements.
  5. Suggest credit transfers without disclosing any limitations
  6. Misleading statements about faculty expertise or experience

Overall: What you don’t say may hurt you – don’t leave out any details that could be misinterpreted or misleading. Base everything on fact.

Other info

  1. You need to monitor what others are saying about you as well as “indirect” statements about your school that are not factual will be a problem.
  2. Affiliates come to mind – need to monitor the conversion about your school on the web and protect your reputation. You may need to draft a cease and desist order to distribute if needed to cover your bases.

You can not use phrases like “lifetime Career Assistance” – or “grads can always take refresher courses” – no one can reasonably guarantee that their school will always be around or that they will always be involved in the same course offerings.

If you use Job Outlook statistics, make sure they are regional. National statistics could be a form of misrepresentation because those stats are not necessarily representative of the kind of job prospects graduates will have in your town. Any job stat should be genuinely representative of the community the grad will be entering into.

The DOE is asking for disclosure about things that might inhibit a grad from securing employment, for example, if a criminal record would make them unemployable in a given field. However the actual regulation says something about disclosing whether or a not a disability would make someone ineligible and the lawyer on the last webinar stated that saying something like a person with a disability would be unable to enroll in your school would open you up to way more problems than with the DOE – so this is one on which to tread lightly.

Scholarships must be scholarships. Meaning scholarships must be funding with criteria which students apply for. You can not use the word “scholarship” when you mean “discount”. For example, you can’t have a “$500 scholarship for those who enroll by May 1st.”

Be very careful about overstating the age and quality of training devises – schools should avoid phrases like “state of the art” unless being absolutely cutting edge is really their selling point. For example, if your computer labs use Windows 2007, you shouldn’t say things like “modern” cutting edge equipment.

A good thing to start thinking about is keeping records of the performance of your graduates because really, if you can’t prove something with your own grads – employment rate etc. – you probably can’t use it in promotional material.

Schools may need to start being transparent about whether or not their credits are transferable. For example, credits from a school that is “Nationally Accredited” rarely transfer to a “regionally accredited” school.

Picture Perfect Web Pages

How the Right Balance of Images & Copy on Your Website Can Mean a Big Return in Conversions

A number of us here at Enrollment Resources (ER) recently attended an interesting webinar put on by MarketingExperiments, an internet-based research lab dedicated to conducting experiments in optimizing sales and marketing processes. After the webinar, we got to talking about a topic that comes up again and again when we’re looking at and designing web pages: “Images vs. Copy.”

We’re always trying to help schools articulate their offering in a way that is clear, distinct, and speaks directly to the target market. Most often we do this through copy.

This webinar was a great reminder of the power that a good image can have (and the unfortunate power that a poor image can have too). Read more

Podcast

Podcast #11: Brand Based vs. Direct Response Advertising

“Brand Based vs. Direct Response Advertising” 

An audio recording as presented from our Conference Call Presented on November 1, 2012 by Gregg Meiklejohn & Shane Sparks of Enrollment Resources Inc.

In this concise talk, Shane and Gregg explore how branding is achieved, effective Direct Response Marketing for Proprietary Post Secondary, the role of Social Media and more.

Along this same topic, you can watch this great video with some straight forward words of wisdom from the greatest advertising man in history, David Ogilvy, on Direct Response Advertising and following your ROI – a worthwhile watch! Read more