by Sean Devlin, Front Rush
So by now, everyone (including your prospects, Coach) has seen, received, or sent a branded email template.
These are the emails that are sent with pictures of the team, links to the school’s websites, images of the coach, and other information we find that recruits like. We wanted to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of these templates today, and try to give you – as a college coach who may be wondering if those graphic-rich emails are still something smart to send – some insights on how to use them.
Here is the first rule and really the only rule you need to remember:
The content of your email (the stuff that you write) is far more important in obtaining a recruit than whatever pictures, action shots, or links that a branded email template can provide. To clarify…the words that come from your brain and are typed into the email are much more impactful, over time, than the email templates that either you create or that a third party company builds for you.
If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. How many recruits have committed to you after the first email that you sent them? Zero. Recruiting is about relationship building. Its the consistent, ongoing emails, phone calls, and messaging that helps you ‘sell’ the recruit - not a single email that “wows” them. You should spend more time thinking about the content of the email than thinking about the pictures and action shots of the team that brand it. The action shots of the team provide a specific purpose, but we’ll discuss that in a moment. For now, take a moment and internalize the fact that the content that you write is the most important part of any correspondence with a prospect – and the consistency with which you send it helps establish you firmly in their mind over the long run.
So, what role do branded email templates play in the overall recruiting message? There are several, and they are important:
(1) It provides your program with a professional appearance especially on an initial email. For a low cost, you can make an impact on a recruit with hand picked action shots and customized branding that is consistent with the visual message that your school/program is attempting to portray.
(2) It allows you to begin the branding process of your school with the recruit. Logos, school colors, imagery, and more will now have an association from the recruit’s perspective (in other words, they know who you are by associating you with those visuals I just mentioned).
(3) It provides a visual call to action or ‘button’ that you want them to click directly from the email and do something for you. This could be to fill out an online questionnaire or visit your athletic page, or another type of call to action you deem appropriate. Having something to click easily is far easier for a prospect to take action on than text that they will have to decipher.
(4) You can track who is opening your emails. You can judge their interest level, what links they are clicking, how many times, if they forward it to someone else…and more. It gives you the ability to gauge the interest of a prospect at various times throughout the process.
(5) They can (and should) compliment the stuff that you wrote in the body of the email. The images (like a picture book) can help to tell a story of your program.
(6) Branded, graphic emails are now considered the norm among recruits. Most high-level, Division I programs use them. If you want to be viewed as on the same level as those programs, we have seen it smart to use graphic-rich emails.
There are more advantages than disadvantages in using those branded email templates, Coach. They are still a big part of the overall recruiting story you should want to tell, and helps you keep track of their interest in you and your program. Both of those reasons should be important to serious college recruiters.
Sean Devlin is the lead technical architect of the popular contact management database, Front Rush. Yes, they can help you produce branded, graphic-rich email templates to use with your prospects. But that’s just the tip of the giant Front Rush iceberg! Visit Front Rush online for a complete rundown of their awesomeness, and find out why they are the #1 choice of college coaches around the country.