When you’re a tired traveler, and you’re virtually immune to all forms of marketing that a hotel chain can throw out you, their sales message needs to be simple.
It needs to hit you over the head, and get straight to the point if they have any hope of making you remember them from the other two gazillion hotel options we have.
So I’m giving credit to the folks at Hampton Inn for playing by those rules with a simple, inexpensive and direct message when this weary traveler checked into one of their hotels on the East coast not to long ago.
The yellow sticky note caught my attention right when I walked into the room, mainly because it was out of place. I’m notgoing to lie, it alarmed me at first. When you see a sticky note on the headboard of a hotel bed, there’s a flurry of frightening possibilities that rush through your mind as to what is written on the note awaiting you upon your arrival
“Let us know if it still smells like a horse in here.” Or, “Per the health department inspector, no free breakfast in the morning.”
This one was a little more positive:
“Duvet covers and sheets are clean for your arrival”
My first reaction upon reading it was, “So what? You want me to get excited about you doing your job?”
But a few weeks later, I’m struck by how that simple message has resonated with me. Every time I think about reserving a room at a Hampton Inn – a rather mediocre chain in a sea of hotel options, some less expensive and some more expensive – I honestly go back to the idea that I know I’ll get clean, fresh sheets when I stay there. I don’t remember if they charged me for a bottle of water, or how big their flat screen TV was, but I do remember that they delivered on the fresh sheets promised in the sticky note (believe me, I double checked before I crawled into bed…you make a promise like that, and I’m going to hold you to it!)
And therein lies the valuable lesson for serious college recruiters.
How you communicate your message, and the degree of simplicity in which it is delivered, is key to making sure it sticks with your next class or prospects. Here are the ideas you should take away from the sticky note on the hotel bed:
Aim for something that looks out of place in your message. Whether it’s an email, a letter, a social media message, or even a phone call, your first task as a marketer of your program is to get your reader’s attention. Most coaches do a poor job of that (or end up in the news for taking it to an extreme). The sticky note worked for Hampton Inn…maybe you could use one in your next letter? Or what about a big, bold P.S. message in your next email (did you know your prospect will read the P.S. first, and then likely read the rest of the message to find out what you meant in your P.S.?) Grab your prospect’s attention by using something that seems out of place.
Keep it simple. There wasn’t a slick, glossy brochure waiting for me with how committed the Hampton Inn staff was at keeping my room clean. Nope, it was just a simple Post-It note stuck to the headboard. Simple gets remembered. Are you getting straight to the point and keeping it simple like all of our research shows you should?
Be direct. If you want to tell your recruits that your off-season training program sets you apart from everyone else in your conference, tell them. If you’ve got proof that your college’s degree has made the difference in the lives of the guys of your team, tell that story. Don’t dance around the main idea you want to get across: Use simple language, and don’t waste time getting to the main point (Tip: Most of the first paragraphs in your letters and emails are pure fluff, and aren’t needed. Delete it. Just start with the second paragraph, because I’ll bet that’s where you start getting down to business, right?)
Communicating properly with recruits is something that coaches often over-think, and they miss the mark. That’s why you might be finding it so hard to get the attention of the recruits you really want (and why our clients have a better reach and connection with their prospects when we put these rules in place in their recruiting system).
Follow these four rules as you write your next recruiting message, and watch what happens.
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