XpertTip No.117: How many clicks does it take?

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Today I have a simple but important tip for those of you looking to increase traffic to your student blog site.

Sounds totally elementary — but make sure it’s not hidden!

Location is the first thing I check when clients ask me for help with their blogs.  Unfortunately, it often takes me longer to find the page than to offer my suggestions.

Always leaves me thinking “If I do this all the time and know the ‘usual’ places to look — and I ...

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XpertTip No.116: What the heck is Cloud Computing?

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Have web services like Amazon and Google rocked your online world?

Welcome to “Cloud Computing” — where the power of the Internet gets unleashed to provide unprecedented access to the information you need and want most.

Not familiar with the term?  You will be soon.  Cloud Computing is changing the way companies (and admissions offices) do business.

And since our Student Recruitment Manager (SRM) gets its power “from the clouds,” it’s important for me to try and make the concept a little less, ...

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XpertTip No. 115: Don't miss this conversation

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Have you heard?

Our CEO Brian Niles is going to be joining Abby Laporte, daughter of Leo Laporte from the popular “TWiT” podcast (This Week in Tech), as she and other high school seniors share their thoughts on the college search process.

It’s definitely a don’t-miss opportunity for all of us admissions-folk.

Brian and Abby’s video feed will be streaming live on Monday, July 13th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (one week from today).

You don’t need to register to participate — just click ...

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XpertTip No. 112: Facilitating change this summer

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It’s common knowledge that to achieve different results, you have to make different decisions. And this year more than ever, clients have been coming to us to help jump-start that process.

Brian Niles has even joined many of you for staff retreats and other meetings to facilitate discussions about change and “rebooting your recruiting process.”

The results have been so positive that we’ve decided to offer his help with a special discount for clients — and there’s still time to make arrangements ...

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XpertTip No. 111: Summer planning checklist

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It’s that time of year again — spring cleaning has blossomed into full-blown summer planning.  And we all know fall will be here quicker than you can say “college fair.”

To help you make the most of this much-needed planning time, here’s a quick list of TargetX-related “stuff” it’s time to refresh:

  • Email letterheads/html templates
  • Email communication plan(s)*
  • Email content (for messages you know you’ll be sending, like open house invitations, incomplete app reminders, etc.)
  • Fall chat schedule
  • Fall event information
  • Blogs/bloggers
  • Social network content (ongoing)
  • Campus visit:  ...
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XpertTip No. 110: Blogs: Your most important weapon

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Lately I’ve had lots of conversations with clients interested in chatting about blogs and whether or not they are still an effective part of the recruitment mix.

If you’ve got similar questions, don’t miss Newt Barrett’s “Six Reasons Why Your Blog is Your Most Important Social Media Tool.”

In his post for Sys-Con Media’s Web 2.0 Journal, he argues that your blog is “the most important weapon in your social media arsenal,” and that blogs are “much more powerful than ...

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XpertTip No. 109: Social network content ideas

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Last week’s Free on Friday topic, “Combat Summer Melt with Social Media,” opened a veritable floodgate of questions — most of which had to do with how to encourage more participation within a social networking environment.

The short, easier-said-than-done answer is that you have to provide fresh, relevant content on a very regular basis — content that solves problems and answers questions while simultaneously entertains and invites members to post, comment, share, tag, upload, vote and more.

Overwhelmed? You’re ...

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XpertTip No.108: "The TargetX Bowl" Photo Contest

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“He’s taller then me and louder than me — plus he knows just as much about evaluating campus visits. He’s got that “Elon” eye you know!”
– Experience Evangelist Jeff Kallay, describing Trent Gilbert to me last February

Last week, our “Experience Evaluator” Trent Gilbert dared to go where no higher ed blogger has before — he tackled the tough topic of toilets (the nasty ones in some visitor centers, to be exact).

Trent’s post sparked such a spirited ...

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XpertTip No. 107: Mad Chatters

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“How can I contact my roommate? What are the dates for orientation? Can I register for classes yet?”

May 1 might be history — but there are still plenty of questions left on the minds of interested prospects and newly-deposited students. And online chats can be a great tool to help answer them.

Thousands of prospective students are already registered to participate in online chat events over the next few weeks. I’ll bet most of them will have “POS” syndrome as ...

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XpertTip No. 106: New email features available

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Attention TargetX Email users: New features are available to you at no additional cost. Have you checked them out yet?

Since it’s my job to keep you guys up to speed, today I thought I’d let you know that SRM Email is out of beta and that we’re ready to start helping you plan for the transition to the new platform. Consider yourself upgraded — minus the multi-year commitments and pushy salespeople.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the ...

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XpertTip No. 105: Green stories, great content

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Move over “rose-colored glasses” — seems these days everyone prefers to see green.  Green initiatives on your campus, that is.

In honor of Earth Day this week, I thought we’d take a quick look at the “greening” of higher ed.  And from what I’ve learned, there’s no shortage of stories to tell.

At Albion College in Michigan, they’re encouraging students to exchange a bag of recyclables for reusable tote bag.  Scripps College in Claremont, California is researching transforming ...

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XpertTip No. 104: Calculate Your CTOR

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“The proposition for e-mail marketing in the Web 2.0 world is simple: a low-cost medium with a good return on investment that can be easily tracked.”


Last week’s eMarketer study agrees that email isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, its relatively low cost and ability to deliver measurable results only underscores its value as a communication medium.

But you can only take advantage of email’s inherent ...

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XpertTip No.103: TargetX on the road

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TargetX headquarters is located in bucolic Bristol, PA (just north of Philadelphia).

We’re housed in the historic Canal Works building, an converted industrial seed mill that offers a nice juxtaposition to our “futurecasting” admissions marketing/ technology shop.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit us here for a demonstration, training, brainstorming session or any other type of pow-wow, you know that at the heart of the experience is spending quality time with our people. It’s something we think sets us ...

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XpertTip No. 102: "Must-read" for better email campaigns

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I’d definitely put Karlyn Morissette in the category of “web ninja” — especially in the realm of email marketing (not to worry, dinosaurs — that’s a compliment;)

In a post on her popular blog this morning, she filled us in on how she goes about implementing successful email campaigns.  Her “Email Marketing Framework” is a must-read for any of you struggling with email strategy and execution.

Karlyn’s main idea?  “Make your template nice and clean, but don’t spend ...

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XpertTip No. 101: Student Blogs: Fill in the Blanks

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When it comes to social media, Chris Brogan is one of the coolest kids in the sandbox. Mostly because he gets that the zeitgeist of the web is social — it’s about people and conversations, not technology.

He recently did a great post entitled “20 Blog Topics to Get You Unstuck.” It made me think of all of those student bloggers out there, anxiously staring at blank screens and wishing some “admissions blogger muse” would enlighten their ...

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XpertTip No. 100: If tips were years…

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…I’d have a century!

My dear readers, today marks a very special occasion: my 100th Xpert Tip. I’ve been at a loss for weeks trying to think of a creative idea or interesting way to mark this momentous occasion.

Originally, my plan was to do some sort of “Top 100 list” of things I love about working in higher ed or ways to improve your admissions marketing efforts.  But listing one hundred things is a pretty tall order (not to mention the ...

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XpertTip No. 99: May one Schmay one?

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This time of year, you’ll usually find me furiously brainstorming for some nuanced idea I can relate to help you gear up for May 1.

In the past, I’ve hailed it as that “all-important first day of May” and described it as the “ominous deadline.”

Call it what you will — but the now (in)famous admissions deposit deadline has come to symbolize the end of the road for the year’s recruitment cycle, with the obvious question “Did you make your class?” looming ...

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2009 Xpert Summit Wrap-Up

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Wow. What a fantastic time we had in Las Vegas with everyone who joined us for this year’s Xpert Summit.

Around here, we haven’t stopped talking about how much we learned and how great it was to get the chance to have some face-to-face time with so many cool kids (yeah, that’s you;)

One of the biggest highlights for all of us was Friday’s “Conversation on Yield.”  We all picked up more than a few tips — and many of you ...

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XpertTip No. 98: Great minds

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You know the saying: “Great minds think alike.”

I consider it an honor that in preparation for today’s tip, I ended up thinking just like Brian Niles. We both came away from the closing “Conversation on Yield” at this year’s Xpert Summit with the same nugget to share.

The idea? Allow students groups like your ambassadors or bloggers to register for classes early as an incentive (if you can’t afford to pay them much — or at all;)  Brian did ...

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XpertTip No. 97: TargetX 'After Hours'

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Before you get too excited — we’re not talking about opening a night club (although that would be pretty cool).

We are, however, available to provide 24-hour technical support in case you find yourself in a serious predicament. Fortunately, this type of thing doesn’t happen often — but in the wacky world of the web, I find it’s best to prepare for the worst.

Do you know how to contact TargetX “after hours?”

Most of you know our hallowed headquarters ...

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XpertTip No. 96: Harvard recruits

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Currently, eight Presidents of the United States have studied at Harvard University — no doubt they have a knack for attracting and enrolling the nation’s best and brightest.

But how does Harvard do it?  A BusinessWeek article from 2006 gives some insight.  I stumbled upon it via Guy Kawasaki’s “How to Change the World” blog, where he posted just yesterday about the marketing lessons he took from the article on Harvard’s recruitment process.

After the initial ...

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XpertTip No.95: Data disasters

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Last week I received a pretty nice email from CVS Pharmacy explaining how easy it would be to transfer my prescriptions online.

It was well-designed, with a nice graphic and very clear call to action. It even had a coupon at the bottom offering me $5 off my next purchase. Score.

One major problem: I’m already a CVS customer! I’ve been getting my prescriptions filled there for at least a decade.

Naturally, I was annoyed. I felt taken advantage ...

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XpertTip No. 94: Yield Better Results

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“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.” – Bill Murray as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day (1993)

We’re officially into the second month of the new year — and already another Super Bowl is history and the soothsaying rodent has had his moment in the sun (literally).

But regardless of the prediction from Punxsutawney, on campus, the Spring semester is well under way.  And for us admissions folks, ...

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XpertTip No. 93: Sharing the knowledge

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Most of you know that, along with our tools and services, we like to provide “best-practice” information in an effort to educate and help you recruit more effectively.

Pardon my bias, but as a result, I maintain that our clients are some of the best and brightest in the business.  And part of my job is to make sure it stays that way;)

If you are a loyal XpertTip reader — my sincere thanks.  You’re incredibly kind to devote time each week ...

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XpertTip No.92: Take it personally

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In 1998, TargetX hit the scene with the first email broadcast tool exclusively for higher education.

Back then, the ability to merge demographics into the subject line or body of an email was considered revolutionary.  Marketers everywhere could hardly contain themselves with thoughts of pushing out messages and achieving direct marketing nirvana.

Oh, how things have changed!  More than a decade later, merging my first name into the subject line of an email not only fails to impress me — it’s downright ...

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