Embedding Local Videos on your Site

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Branding, Embedding, Higher Education, Video, YouTube | Posted on 29-08-2008-05-2008


When I ran across a music video on a local Ning site called Smaller Indiana, I knew it had a place on our site.  The song, by Jon McLaughlin, is titled ‘For You, From Me’. The music video was made exclusively for the city of Indianapolis, and it is a great visual of the city.

When you think about it, you’re aren’t always just selling your campus to a student.  You’re selling the area, the city, the location.

I embedded the video on our site on a page titled ‘Around the Town‘ and another called ‘A City of Opportunity‘. You can see it by clicking either link. Indy.org also shared the .m4v file on their site, so I plan to build a branded Butler flash player to remove the Smaller Indiana link from our site and the potential that someone will click away from our site after watching the video.

What videos are out there, either on local visitor/tourist sites, YouTube, etc., that you could embed into your site?

Twitter, Your Free Text Messaging System.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Branding, Concepts, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, RSS, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web | Posted on 20-08-2008-05-2008


A lot of discussion lately has revolved around how/why/if/should Twitter be used in Higher Ed. While my recent research of nearly 300 incoming freshman shows that……..2 students use Twitter, I want to go back to a point that I made in my last post about this topic.

Does the student even need to know what Twitter is, or that they are using it?

Here’s a freebie for you.

Twitter Text Updates. Twitter was essentially designed and built around SMS, but seems to veered from that. Let’s not forget about this powerful feature. Here’s my step-by-step guide to get started. I can’t lay it out for you any more than this.

Read the rest of this entry »

Legally Drinking Before College? Maybe…

Posted by Chris Potts | Posted in Ethics, Higher Education, Thoughts | Posted on 20-08-2008-05-2008


So many of you may be aware that in the past several weeks there has been an age-old nationwide debate re-surfacing regarding lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. This time, however, colleges and universities are squarely in the middle of the debate as there is a petition circulating among collegiate presidents, urging federal and state lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age.

I was surprised to read the other day in the Indianapolis Star a summary article about this, where Butler’s president Dr. Bobby Fong came out in strong support of this measure and has signed the petition – much to the chagrin of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and some other organizations (see: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080819/BUSINESS/80819011 for the full story).

I don’t know enough of the facts and haven’t thought about this enough yet to form my own rational opinion. But my question is: should colleges & universities be on the leading edge of this national debate, and if so – how (if at all) will it affect what we do as recruiters?

Clearly there are numerous implications should the drinking age actually change from 21 to 18, arguably the most noticeable differences being seen on college campuses; I suspect that is why many college presidents are weighing in. But I wonder if any college or university who publicly supports (or voices opposition against) this proposal will suffer the consequences in public image? If this is true then CLEARLY this will impact recruitment efforts.

Our Director of Admission has recently warned us that we may get calls and/or e-mails about this Indianapolis Star article, and so we are attempting to get a formal statement from our Marketing and PR folks about how to handle such contacts. I am curious to see how this all develops over the next couple of weeks and months – and welcome any comments from you, the readers of this blog.

5 [More] Higher Ed Web Blogs You Probably Haven’t Heard of Worth Reading

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Blogroll | Posted on 18-08-2008-05-2008


To extend the .eduGuru’s list of 5 Higher Ed Web Blogs You Probably Haven’t Heard of Worth Reading, here are is my addition of 5 blogs you should probably check out.

Higher Education Blogs

  1. Admittedly Dutch – I met Andrew Meyers at the Innovative Educators Conference in June. Andrew works as both a recruiter and “web efforts coordinator” for Hope College, a liberal arts college of about 3200 students. Kudos to Andrew for taking on the extra responsibilities that will help Hope be successful with web-based recruiting.
  2. He Types, She TalksMatthew Levy and Rachel Beanland are the dynamic duo coming from the University of Richmond. I met them at eduWeb in July and their whole team was a blast to hang out with. Rachel and Matthew work in the School of Arts & Sciences together, Matthew in web strategy and implementation and Rachel as the Director of Communications. Together they implemented http://groups.richmond.edu, a quickly growing Ning-based social network for the campus. Check out their unique blog for more info. It’s great
  3. The “C” Word – Ahh yes, the dreaded C word… college. Join the adventure of this team blog from 5 students who are making their way through the college admissions process. Just check out this small sample:

    As a whole, the orientation experience has so far helped make this whole crazy college thing seem more real. And I feel like I’m more emotionally ready to hit campus in the fall, now that I’ve completed at least some of the obligatory sitting-in-a-chair-pretending-to-mess-with-my -cell-phone-because-I’m-too-terrified-to-go-up-and-talk-to-anyone. I don’t entirely know what I’m doing, but I kind of know who to ask. I haven’t found that BFFAEAE just yet, but schedules permitting I think I have people I can eat meals with unawkwardly.

    PS: BFFAEAE = Best Friend Forever And Ever And Ever. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. LOLZ.

  4. More Than RankingsKathyrn Spruill is an account executive with Stein Communications. She got her undergrad and MBA degree from Tulane, and also worked in the Admission Office pre and post Hurricane Katrina. Her blog is full of tidbits and helpful hints, as well as some new startup sites on the radar. Check it out!
  5. Stony Brook BlogChris D’Orso is by no means new to the admissions blogging scene, but you need to subscribe if you haven’t. He posts primarily about his school, but it’s still great content and he usually ties it back to the larger higher ed picture. Plus, he just posted an ‘Ask a Ninja’ video. What’s cooler than that?

And for fun…..

5 Higher Ed Blogs That I Want to Return:

  1. UMarketingGuru – Wha?! There can’t be 2 gurus, can there? I don’t think the blogger listed as Chatohaze is related to the .eduGuru, but you never know. From what I can tell, the blogger switched universities and then dropped off the blogosphere. Come back!
  2. eRelevant: Morgan hasn’t blogged much for awhile on the higher ed side of things. We were both at Stamats 2006, which I found out 2 years later. Whoops. Hope to hear from you soon.
  3. EduDesigners.com - 404′d!!! This blog and site was around for a few weeks, then it vanished. Karine had an interview with John, but the site disappeared shortly after.
  4. Thomas Knoll has a blog on the CSP website, home of the amazingly awesome Freshly Squeezed. He blogged for awhile, but stopped shortly after he moved from the web department to the marketing office. Seems to be a common trend. :(
  5. Animatty.com – Another quality blog that disappeared into thin air. The writer was from Australia and had a great blog going. If you’re out there, please come back!

Think you have some great blogs to share? Keep things going and post them up!

Let’s Kick It Up a Notch

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Recruitment, Thoughts | Posted on 15-08-2008-05-2008


It’s finally Friday, and here’s my thought of the week. In Higher Ed, mediocrity is embraced and accepted way too much. I’ve only worked in higher ed, but I can’t imagine this cutting it in other workplaces.

We all know that higher ed is a notoriously slow environment, but why does it have to be that way?  Aren’t we controlling our own destiny?  Wouldn’t it be so much greater to kick things up a notch and really make some moves in the industry?  Won’t the team that actually embraces this be miles ahead of their competitors?  Why are we constantly measuring ourselves against other universities that are moving at the pace of a snail as well?

Who wants to break through?  Which schools are going to be the movers and shakers and utilize all of the resources available? Why talk a good game when nothing is actually going to happen?

I’m not quite to the point of frustration yet, but it’s taxing to swim against the tide day in and day out.  Do we really need a 13-person committee for that? Should small changes really take 2 weeks?  I don’t think it just ‘that time of the year’ where we’re at the end of the summer and gearing up for the new recruitment cycle.  It’s an entire culture.  And what a lofty goal to actually change it, because as I said, it’s embraced and accepted too much.

I threw this question out on Twitter this morning and got several responses, but sometimes 140 characters is not enough space to have a conversation.  So let’s chat. What are your thoughts?

Integrating Social Media into your Recruitment Strategy

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Technology | Posted on 14-08-2008-05-2008


Last week I went to Great Falls, MT to give a keynote presentation at the annual MPSEOC Conference. It was a great time and I met a lot of people at colleges all across the state of Montana.

My talk was titled Rock Enroll: Integrating Social Media into your Recruitment Strategy. The inspiration for the title ‘Rock Enroll’ came from Mike and Josh at Allegheny during our Philadelphia layover fiasco at the end of July. Thanks guys!

Yesterday I put together a slidecast using my slides from the presentation as well as the audio from uStream. The quality is not that great, I basically played the uStream video and recorded the audio into GarageBand. Clips from the short video I showed at the beginning is not their either, but I narrate quite a bit of it. So if you have 57 minutes to spare and want to check it out, see the embed below.

As with every presentation, there are things I wish I had said, said differently, or left out. But as I mention near the end of this talk, thanks to all of these tools the discussion does not have to end at the conference. I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions; I am constantly refining and revisiting these presentations in my mind to make them better.

Or, if you just want the video, you can watch it here. If you’re in RSS and don’t see the embed, the slides are here.

And of course, feel free to view previous presentations or contact me for your upcoming webinars or conferences.

Split Test Your Emails: A or B?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Concepts, Email, Thoughts, Usability | Posted on 11-08-2008-05-2008


At eduWeb I chimed in about A/B testing on emails during the Q&A Session of Kyle James’ presentation (that’s me around 27:40).  I just wanted to share an example of a recent test that I did.

The email was to announce that our online app was available.  I knew from last year’s send that the subject line was fairly effective (“Butler’s Online App Now Available!”), so I wanted to take a look at the content and see where I could actually push more students to click through and take action.

For the 2007 send, it went to 14,650 students, and the results are below.

For 2008, we have 17,566 students to email.  Rather than do it the same as last year, I first ran an A/B Test. I left the first email the same as last year, and for the 2nd one I used a button graphic to see if it would help clickthrough rates increase.

Test A: Same email as last year.

Test B: Added a visual clickthrough.

Results: Each test was sent to 3,500 random students on 8/7/08.  The winning test after 36 hours would then be sent to the remaining 10,566 students.

Test A: 3,282 successful. 339 opens (10.3%), 72 click throughs (21.2%) as of 8/11
Test B: 3,292 successful. 719 opens (21.8%), 273 click throughs (38.0%) as of 8/11
2008 Send: 9,454 successful. 1,378 opens (14.6%), 449 click throughs (32.6%) as of 8/11

And for comparison,
2007 (1): 14,650 successful. 5,137 opens (35%), 853 click throughs (16%) after 1 month
2007 (2): 9,513 successful. 1,232 opens (13%), 270 click throughs (22%) after 1 month

So in first 4 days, we have had 47% of the opens as last year (2,436), and 93% of the click throughs (794).  These numbers will continue to rise as the days and weeks go on.  Based on early #’s, I can say that Test B has been a success, 34.4% click through rate to date compared to 17.6% click through rate over the course of last year’s entire campaign. Those are results.

Even if we don’t do a 2nd send this year, I think we’ll get close to the amount of opens we had last year cumulatively.  I might do a 2nd send with a different title to see how that affects open rates, using the content from Test B to continue to push click throughs higher.

I started thinking about the button after reading Designing The Obvious on a flight last week. It was a really good book and made me think more about how I can incorporate more design-friendly aspects into emails.

I’d encourage you to consider an A/B test in the future and see how you can make the most of your email campaigns.  This isn’t a new technique, but it’s usually overlooked.