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Going
on Prospective Students
Tony Rose, Executive Strategist, UX/Content | @TonyRoseUX
USER-CENTERED WEB FOR HIGHER ED
“The more people you cater to,
the less relevant and
meaningful your content
becomes—for everyone.”
Rick Allen, “Defining ...
What does it mean
to go “All-In”?
That’s relative;
this is absolute
Traditional thinking:
“Prioritize
content for your
primary users”
Going
Going All-In means focusing on
one user group
(…at a time)
What does it mean to go “All-In”?
Focusing on one user group
“We know who you are,
we know why you’re here,
we have what you’re looking for,
and we’re going...
“Students perceive the audience
to be students, but still find the
messages mostly to be about
marketing the institution”
...
(Do they know why I’m here?)
(Do they know who I am?)
Were they all-in for me?
(A CASE STUDY)
(Are they going to help me?)
Do they know who I am?
Do they know why I’m here?
Do they know who I am?
Are they going to help me?
(eventually…)
Removed a university
from consideration after a
bad experience with their website
Emily Cretella, 7 content marketing stat...
Removed a school from
their prospect list because
of a bad experience
Katrina A. Meyer, Stephanie Jones, “Information Foun...
16
Plan accordingly
First you need
to know why you
need them
Traditional thinking:
“Step one
is to know your
audience”
Going
Plan accordingly
Branding
Marketing
Positioning
Messaging
Plan accordingly
Properly positioning your
institution takes work,
but will improve your marketing
by reducing
the alternatives.
Philip Mor...
What are we doing that
makes sense? Do we have the
right people in the right
seats? How much content
do we really need to ...
Build a process, not a website
Plan accordingly
Share the responsibility
Constituents/contributors
Campus community
Leadership
Building a process, not a website
Always include students in
that process
Up-front
In-process
Pre-launch?
Post-launch
(Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think)
Buil...
Evolve from day
one
Traditional thinking:
“First create
your web-
site, then
maintain it”
Going
26
“We know who
you are”
Your users are not an audience
“We know who you are”
They’re not your mom
“We know who you are”
Writing for your mom :
Start at the very beginning and
don’t leave out a thing
Emphasize all the best things
about you
And...
Start with their situation and get
to the point
Emphasize and contextualize
what’s important to them
And they’ll still rea...
They’re not you.
“We know who you are”
Thinking from another perspective
Thinking from another perspective
They’re all that
“We know who you are”
Narcissistic,
overconfident,
entitled, stunted, and
lazy
Ashley Hennigan, The Prospective
Student User
Cornell University
...
Millennials in particular…
The “most
educated generation
to date”
?
What about
everyone else?
37
Everyone can be
primary, in their
own place
Traditional thinking:
“Establish
primary,
secondary, and
tertiary users”
Going
A place for everyone
Why should we isolate content
for different users?
For ME
For EVERYONE
A place for everyone
What should we put there?
User-specific content
(But not ALL of it)
Guidance
Feeds
“[exclusively] Audience-based
navigation demands additional
cognitive effort from users”
Katie Sherwin, “Audience-Based Na...
A place for everyone
User types are defined not only
by who they are, but by what
they are trying to do
Northampton Community college
Cornell University
Harford
Community College
Central Carolina
Community College
University o...
“We know why
you’re here”
44
Position yourself
immediately and
meaningfully with
prospective
students
Traditional thinking:
“Feature your
latest activi...
What will
they
remember if
they only
stay for a
few
seconds?
Positioning by example
(“My dad and his
friends on the roof”)
What will
they
remember if
they only
stay for a
few
seconds?
Positioning by design…
Is your “Welcome” page really
welcoming?
Taking in the first person
Structuring by org chart
Jargon/lingo
Making an immedi...
Making an immediate impression
Focus!
“We know why you’re here”
Focus!
Simplicity isn’t a goal
unto itself
It just helps you focus on what’s important.
Users come to DO something. Why ma...
Getting burned by lack of focus?
(ANOTHER CASE STUDY)
Getting burned by lack of focus?
(ANOTHER CASE STUDY)
Partonize me >
Tell me what to do >
Congratulate yourself >
Alert me...
(Guess which one had been sued)
Getting burned by lack of focus?
(ANOTHER CASE STUDY)
“We have what you’re
looking for”
55
Lead with the
information you
know they want
Traditional thinking:
“Provide and
organize all the
information they
might fi...
Information most
valued by students
pertains to
decision support
“We have what you’re looking for”
(But can you find it?)
Organize by topic, not name
Provide multiple avenues
Contextualize
(But can you find it?)
What about the rest?
“We have what you’re looking for”
Pick up or create
the content called
for by the new
structure
Traditional thinking:
“Apply existing
content
according to t...
What about the rest?
What are we going to do with all this
content? (ONE LAST CASE STUDY)
“Shouldn’t we start working on
t...
Reasons to include certain content
It will engage the people
we need in order to fulfill
our objectives
According to our p...
NON-reasons to include certain content
But what do you tell people?
“We have what you’re looking for”
What do you tell people?
Appeal to a higher authority
Share the responsibility
What do you tell people?
We have to stick to the plan
(You approved it; we’ve been sharing it)
Shall we add all this other...
What do you tell people?
“We’ll have to test that!”
Focus on the people you need
Build a process, not a website
Include your students
Write for them, not for you or your mom
...
Are YOU All-In?
70
WEBSITE
www.digitalwave.com
EMAIL
sarah.ailes@digitalwave.com
FACEBOOK.com/
digitalwavetech
TWITTER
tonyroseUX
BLOG
guestr...
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Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 1 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 2 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 3 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 4 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 5 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 6 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 7 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 8 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 9 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 10 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 11 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 12 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 13 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 14 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 15 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 16 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 17 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 18 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 19 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 20 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 21 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 22 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 23 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 24 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 25 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 26 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 27 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 28 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 29 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 30 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 31 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 32 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 33 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 34 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 35 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 36 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 37 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 38 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 39 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 40 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 41 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 42 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 43 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 44 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 45 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 46 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 47 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 48 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 49 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 50 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 51 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 52 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 53 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 54 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 55 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 56 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 57 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 58 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 59 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 60 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 61 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 62 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 63 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 64 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 65 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 66 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 67 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 68 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 69 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 70 Going All-in On Prospective Students Slide 71
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You have a precious few seconds to make an impression on your most important, and most impatient, users. Is your content doing everything it can to attract, engage, and connect with them, or are you diluting your message by trying to be all things to all people? Going "all-in" means focusing exclusively on your prospective students, quickly distinguishing your institution through meaningful content, targeted messaging, and an emphasis on interactivity.
Presented at the eduWeb Digital Summit in Denver, August, 2016

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Going All-in On Prospective Students

  1. 1. Going on Prospective Students Tony Rose, Executive Strategist, UX/Content | @TonyRoseUX USER-CENTERED WEB FOR HIGHER ED
  2. 2. “The more people you cater to, the less relevant and meaningful your content becomes—for everyone.” Rick Allen, “Defining Target Audiences: Who Are We Talking To, Really?” 7/28/15 meetcontent.com/blog/defining-target-audiences-who-are-we-talking-to-really/
  3. 3. What does it mean to go “All-In”?
  4. 4. That’s relative; this is absolute Traditional thinking: “Prioritize content for your primary users” Going
  5. 5. Going All-In means focusing on one user group (…at a time) What does it mean to go “All-In”?
  6. 6. Focusing on one user group “We know who you are, we know why you’re here, we have what you’re looking for, and we’re going to help you.”
  7. 7. “Students perceive the audience to be students, but still find the messages mostly to be about marketing the institution” Katrina A. Meyer, Stephanie Jones, “Information Found and Not Found: What University Websites Tell Students,” Fall, 2011 http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall143/meyer_jones143.html
  8. 8. (Do they know why I’m here?) (Do they know who I am?) Were they all-in for me? (A CASE STUDY) (Are they going to help me?)
  9. 9. Do they know who I am?
  10. 10. Do they know why I’m here?
  11. 11. Do they know who I am?
  12. 12. Are they going to help me? (eventually…)
  13. 13. Removed a university from consideration after a bad experience with their website Emily Cretella, 7 content marketing stats that should shake higher education – and 5 ways to act on them http://cursivecontent.com/
  14. 14. Removed a school from their prospect list because of a bad experience Katrina A. Meyer, Stephanie Jones, “Information Found and Not Found: What University Websites Tell Students,” Fall, 2011 http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall143/meyer_jones143.html
  15. 15. 16 Plan accordingly
  16. 16. First you need to know why you need them Traditional thinking: “Step one is to know your audience” Going
  17. 17. Plan accordingly
  18. 18. Branding Marketing Positioning Messaging Plan accordingly
  19. 19. Properly positioning your institution takes work, but will improve your marketing by reducing the alternatives. Philip Morgan, “Positioining Crash Course,” philipmorganconsulting.com
  20. 20. What are we doing that makes sense? Do we have the right people in the right seats? How much content do we really need to create, and how often? — Kristina Halvorson Marcia Riefer Johnston, “Content Strategy for Marketers: Insights From Kristina Halvorson” contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/09/content-strategy-halvorson/
  21. 21. Build a process, not a website Plan accordingly
  22. 22. Share the responsibility Constituents/contributors Campus community Leadership Building a process, not a website
  23. 23. Always include students in that process Up-front In-process Pre-launch? Post-launch (Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think) Building a process, not a website
  24. 24. Evolve from day one Traditional thinking: “First create your web- site, then maintain it” Going
  25. 25. 26 “We know who you are”
  26. 26. Your users are not an audience “We know who you are”
  27. 27. They’re not your mom “We know who you are”
  28. 28. Writing for your mom : Start at the very beginning and don’t leave out a thing Emphasize all the best things about you And she’ll read every word. Twice.
  29. 29. Start with their situation and get to the point Emphasize and contextualize what’s important to them And they’ll still read as little as possible Writing for prospective students :
  30. 30. They’re not you. “We know who you are”
  31. 31. Thinking from another perspective
  32. 32. Thinking from another perspective
  33. 33. They’re all that “We know who you are”
  34. 34. Narcissistic, overconfident, entitled, stunted, and lazy Ashley Hennigan, The Prospective Student User Cornell University www.slideshare.net/ashleyhenn/ux- and-the-prospective-student-user Millennials in particular… Nice, accepting, informed but inactive, cooperative Josh Sanburn, “Millennials: The Next Greatest Generation?” Time Magazine nation.time.com/2013/05/09/millennials- the-next-greatest-generation/ The “most educated generation to date” Kate Meyer, “Millennials as Digital Natives: Myths and Realities” Nielsen Norman Group www.nngroup.com/articles/millennials- digital-natives/
  35. 35. Millennials in particular… The “most educated generation to date” ?
  36. 36. What about everyone else? 37
  37. 37. Everyone can be primary, in their own place Traditional thinking: “Establish primary, secondary, and tertiary users” Going
  38. 38. A place for everyone Why should we isolate content for different users? For ME For EVERYONE
  39. 39. A place for everyone What should we put there? User-specific content (But not ALL of it) Guidance Feeds
  40. 40. “[exclusively] Audience-based navigation demands additional cognitive effort from users” Katie Sherwin, “Audience-Based Navigation: 5 Reasons to Avoid It” www.nngroup.com/articles/audience-based-navigation/
  41. 41. A place for everyone User types are defined not only by who they are, but by what they are trying to do
  42. 42. Northampton Community college Cornell University Harford Community College Central Carolina Community College University of Pennsylvania University of Tulsa Harvard University
  43. 43. “We know why you’re here” 44
  44. 44. Position yourself immediately and meaningfully with prospective students Traditional thinking: “Feature your latest activities to keep the content fresh” Going
  45. 45. What will they remember if they only stay for a few seconds? Positioning by example (“My dad and his friends on the roof”)
  46. 46. What will they remember if they only stay for a few seconds? Positioning by design…
  47. 47. Is your “Welcome” page really welcoming? Taking in the first person Structuring by org chart Jargon/lingo Making an immediate impression
  48. 48. Making an immediate impression
  49. 49. Focus! “We know why you’re here”
  50. 50. Focus! Simplicity isn’t a goal unto itself It just helps you focus on what’s important. Users come to DO something. Why make them hunt for it?
  51. 51. Getting burned by lack of focus? (ANOTHER CASE STUDY)
  52. 52. Getting burned by lack of focus? (ANOTHER CASE STUDY) Partonize me > Tell me what to do > Congratulate yourself > Alert me about a potential danger >
  53. 53. (Guess which one had been sued) Getting burned by lack of focus? (ANOTHER CASE STUDY)
  54. 54. “We have what you’re looking for” 55
  55. 55. Lead with the information you know they want Traditional thinking: “Provide and organize all the information they might find useful” Going
  56. 56. Information most valued by students pertains to decision support “We have what you’re looking for”
  57. 57. (But can you find it?)
  58. 58. Organize by topic, not name Provide multiple avenues Contextualize (But can you find it?)
  59. 59. What about the rest? “We have what you’re looking for”
  60. 60. Pick up or create the content called for by the new structure Traditional thinking: “Apply existing content according to the new structure” Going
  61. 61. What about the rest? What are we going to do with all this content? (ONE LAST CASE STUDY) “Shouldn’t we start working on these (80,000) pages?”
  62. 62. Reasons to include certain content It will engage the people we need in order to fulfill our objectives According to our plan Validated through testing
  63. 63. NON-reasons to include certain content
  64. 64. But what do you tell people? “We have what you’re looking for”
  65. 65. What do you tell people? Appeal to a higher authority Share the responsibility
  66. 66. What do you tell people? We have to stick to the plan (You approved it; we’ve been sharing it) Shall we add all this other stuff too? We do have a place for this… (maybe) And my personal favorite…
  67. 67. What do you tell people? “We’ll have to test that!”
  68. 68. Focus on the people you need Build a process, not a website Include your students Write for them, not for you or your mom Make everyone else primary too Share the responsibility Stick to the plan and evolve (the exceptions may be your downfall) The bottom line “We know who you are, we know why you’re here, we have what you’re looking for, and we’re going to help you.”
  69. 69. Are YOU All-In? 70
  70. 70. WEBSITE www.digitalwave.com EMAIL sarah.ailes@digitalwave.com FACEBOOK.com/ digitalwavetech TWITTER tonyroseUX BLOG guestroom.com/tonyrose LINKEDIN.com/ in/tony-rose-0804b0 Let’s keep the conversation going

You have a precious few seconds to make an impression on your most important, and most impatient, users. Is your content doing everything it can to attract, engage, and connect with them, or are you diluting your message by trying to be all things to all people? Going "all-in" means focusing exclusively on your prospective students, quickly distinguishing your institution through meaningful content, targeted messaging, and an emphasis on interactivity. Presented at the eduWeb Digital Summit in Denver, August, 2016

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