Somewhere on the bottle of shampoo you have in your shower, there is a tried and true line of instruction that was developed decades ago as a way to get consumers to run out of the product sooner, thereby raising profits through the corresponding increased shampoo sales.
“Lather, rinse, repeat.”
When advertising agencies figured out that adding the word “repeat” to the instructions on a shampoo bottle resulted in increased sales, it established a truth that has yet to be proven wrong when it comes to consumer (that’s us) buying habits: There is an ongoing need to repeat actions in order to get results.
The same holds true for things like radio advertising. If your athletic department buys radio advertising to promote upcoming games or fundraising events, the advertising representatives probably made the case that the ad would need to be aired five to seven times per day. Why? Because the average radio listener would need to hear that ad at least four or five times before they decided to take action on attending the event.
Think about your own buying habits, Coach. How many ads or references from friends before you decided on what car to buy? Or what brand smart phone to use? Or what shampoo to buy? I’m guessing it took more than one interaction with an advertising message for you to decide to buy that particular brand.
The moral of the story is pretty simple: Repetition in advertising works.
Which brings us to your recruiting message…
The trend we see most often when it comes to how college coaches tend to communicate with their recruits involves cramming as much information about the college and their program into one email or letter as possible. That’s the wrong way to do it – and most coaches, deep down, know it. They just don’t know how to do it differently.
We’ll change that today.
There are several rules we follow when we work with coaches one-on-one as clients in helping them create a consistent, interesting recruiting campaign for their recruits. Use them to develop your own brand of repetition and consistent messaging for this next recruiting class:
- Make sure you are communicating foundational, logical facts to your prospect every six to nine days. Without this first point in place, a coach risks inconsistent recruiting results. Our research, outlined in our two recruiting guides for college coaches, solidly indicates that when a prospect sees ongoing, regular contact from a coach, not only do they engage with the messaging on a more regular basis, but they also make the judgement that the coach is interested in them, and values them. Those feelings are what every coach should want their recruits to feel.
- If you have negatives associated with your program, or big objections that many prospects bring up in the recruiting process, address it early and often. Don’t run from it, and don’t wait for them to bring it up (or sit back and hope they don’t bring it up). Consistent, early discussion about it gives you the chance to re-define that objection. And, it gives you a greater chance to turn their opinion of you around. Lather, rinse and definitely repeat, Coach.
- Short, logical, fact-based repetitive messages. That’s what your prospect needs in order to get to the point of being able to choose you over your competitors. Remember that initial recruiting letter I described many coaches sending out? The one where every little fact about your college and program is crammed into one message? Don’t do that! Instead, take one concept and address it from many different angles. Spend a few weeks talking about one topic, and take your time in repetitively making your point to your recruit. It works, Coach.
- Repeat your name and your college name often. Advertisers have followed this psychological principle for decades. Why? Repetition of who you are, and associating that with positive connotations, produces results. A good example of this principle at work are the commercials for online computer repair giant pcmatic.com – they manage to say their brand name a whopping 16 times in their one minute television commercial, not including the visual references to their name. Why? They need people to remember their brand, and associate trust with it.
- Mix it up. Your recruiting campaign needs to feature a regular flow of mail, email, phone contact, personal contact (like a home visit and/or campus visit) and social media. This generation reacts to a good combination of all of these facets of recruiting. If you focus only on one or two communication methods with your recruits, you are leaving the door open for a competitor that will utilize all of their communication resources. Our studies show that this generation of athletic recruit wants – and needs – a variety of communication types.
- Social media is personal. Be careful how you use repeatedly use it. The shiny new toy for college recruiters that is social media is ripe with possibilities – and pitfalls. Communicating with them the right way on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to form a personal connection with that recruit. Social media is very personal for most kids, so doing it the right way means a faster way to connect with those recruits. On the other hand, a coach who feeds a steady stream of game results and player-0f-the-week press releases will lose the attention of a prospect quickly. Show the personal, behind-the-scenes personality of you and your program – that’s what recruits are looking for (we’ve designed a free research study on how high school prospects use social media in recruiting, Coach…download it here).
Repetition is one of the least used – and most effective – strategies that a coach can utilize in their recruiting message. Follow these rules in creating a consistent, ongoing conversation with your recruits and watch what happens when it comes to your results.
Dan and his experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help you develop a consistent, research-based message for your recruits. Click here for a detailed explanation of how we do that, or email Dan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.