If you’re a college coach, you probably do a lot of traveling through airports.
I know I do. I can’t say for sure, but I think I single-handedly was responsible for U.S. Airways being able to merge with American Airlines recently.
On a recent trip through San Francisco on the way to work with one of our clients, andfacing a few hours to kill in between flights, I spent some time in the airport bookstore. And it was there that I found the inspiration for today’s recruiting training.
It’s the books. The titles, specifically. They hold great lessons in how to get the attention of your recruit through great email subject lines, as well as headings and first paragraphs in your letters to prospects. I think what these examples will show you is that if you don’t capture the attention of your recruit early on, it’s tough for them to get through to the rest of your message.
Here are some examples I thought were great:
“The Joy of Dirt”. Huh? There’s joy in dirt? Apparantly so.
Here’s what you can take-away from this example of a great headline: Contradict your prospect’s expectations in what they’re reading from you.
Link expected negatives with unexpected positives. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your prospect’s attention and sell your story to them.
As if “Freakonomics” wouldn’t get your attention on it’s own, the word SUPER really draws your attention.
And notice the subtitle…”global cooling”? “Patriotic prostitutes”? And my favorite, “Why suicide bombers should buy life insurance.”
The lesson you should learn here: Bold curiosity gets our attention. When you think about all the books on the shelves to choose from – just like all the programs your recruit has to choose from – you’d better be bold with your message, or get ready to have a tough fight on your hands to get your prospect’s attention.
Nazi’s playing tennis. How could I not look closer?
The key here is the word “terrible”. It’s a great use of our natural attraction to things that are negative or forbidden.
How you should use it: Focus on the negative once in a while. I’m not talking about negative recruiting, I’m talking about negative imagery. “Fear of loss” of the best housing…a chance to commit early…all of these things are powerful motivators for this generation of college prospect.
Oh, and the little secret that I usually only share with coaches that are a part of the On-Campus Workshops we conduct throughout the year? Kids like being approached with negative questions: Ask them what they like about something, and they’ll have trouble defining it for you. Ask them what they don’t like, and they’ll have no problem talking forever about it. Try it…you’ll see what I mean.
No, you shouldn’t focus on the word “sex”.
Focus on the word “how”. We all love to understand the “how” of something, and your prospects are no different.
So do this: In your next email subject line, include the words “how to” at the start. If you reveal some secrets, or promise to if your recruit reads your message, you’ll see significantly more opens for your emails.
For example: “How to make sure you get the best dorm room here at State University.”
What happens when your headline or opening sentence is dry, dull and even a little boring? You get shoved aside for something more interesting.
Notice what this headline doesn’t have that the others do? Curiosity. Engagement. Lifting up the reader.
For most college recruiting emails and letters, this is the book equivalent. And the outcome described in the book is probably what awaits you when it comes to your recruiting fortunes.
Your opening headline, subject line or first paragraph is crucial to the success of your recruiting campaign. Pay attention to it in the same way that book publishers spend tens of thousands of dollars testing headlines and images to try and get their author’s book to stand out from the crowd as you walk down the aisle.
You’ve got the same challenge. The good news is, you don’t need tens of thousands of dollars to test out your message. All you need is a little creativity, an extra ten minutes of your day, and the willingness to commit to the task of making your recruiting message “covers” something amazing.
Your recruits will notice the difference.
Looking for more secrets on how to write messages that stand out from your competition? Register for one of the biggest and best recruiting conferences on the planet: The National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. Click here for all the details.