You are probably sending your recruits some information about you and your program that you are really proud of.
And you’re missing a golden opportunity.
Because they aren’t reading the way you’re hoping (or assuming) they are reading it.
I’m talking about your game and season updates that you send your prospects: You win a big game, and out goes the email with the game summary and recap written by your sports information director, linked to your college website. Your star Senior wins Player of the Week honors, and you link to the story on Facebook. Local T.V. has highlights of your team’s winning play, and you send out the video to your entire prospect list.
And on the other end, your prospects rarely read it. And if they do, they are probably more than a little bored by them.
According to the feedback and research we’ve done over the years, one of the biggest non-factors in the decision making process for your typical recruit is the regular season update email updates that you send them, primarily because most teenagers aren’t avid readers of news. Especially when it’s written. Studies show that teenagers don’t typically read newspapers, or even any long text articles online.
The bottom line – as sad as it is for me to say as the only person on my block who still stumbles out in his robe every morning to pick-up the morning newspaper – is that today’s generation just doesn’t care that much about your game results, and they certainly don’t want to read articles about something they don’t care that much about.
Which brings us back to those updates that you send your recruits: Are there ways to actually get them engaged with those updates, and get them to care about how your season is going?
We think so. Here are seven ways that we’ve seen coaches improve the way they update their prospects on a regular basis:
- Always…ALWAYS…give your summary ahead of the actual article. If you’re going to forward your prospect an article about your team, make sure you give them your take on the outcome before the actual article. One big reason why: First, it’s unlikely they’ll read the actual article. They’ll just rely on your summary, and see the link to the article as proof that you’re view is accurate.
- Instead of the article, send a video. After the win (or even a loss) send them a short video from either yourself or a couple of players on your team. Your prospect cares much more about hearing directly from you or their future teammates for a few seconds instead of an article that was in the newspaper.
- Print it out and mail it. Would you believe that most prospects read printed articles you send them instead of a link that you send them? It’s true. By the way, when you send them that article, I’d recommend that you highlight a key paragraph that you’d want them to focus on, and add a quick personal note to it.
- Limit it to once every two weeks (at the most). The one sure way to wear-out your prospect is to send them your game and season updates every week. Don’t subject them to that. Try to limit updates (even the improved versions we’re suggesting here) to once every two weeks, at the most. It might seem like you’ll be missing a lot, but not to worry…they don’t care that much about your day-to-day operation all that much yet, and they certainly don’t want to have to try to keep up with you on a weekly basis.
- Ask a question. In every communication plan we create for our clients, we work hard to make sure that regular communication creates a reaction from the prospect receiving those messages. The same should hold true for your season updates. Try to work in questions with your game updates. Seriously, coach…how cool would it be to get actual reaction from your prospects after they read your updates? (Trust us, it’s a good feeling).
- Make your updates shorter rather than longer. If you don’t want to make any of these more in-depth changes, try to drastically shorten the game updates you send your prospects. No more than three paragraphs. Please. And, one of those paragraphs should be a quote from you or one of your players about the game.
- Give them a preview of what’s coming next. I’m not talking about your next game. I’m talking about what they need to look for in their mailbox or Inbox from you in the coming days. The worst thing a coach can do is to send out a game update as a stand-alone message. Try to tie it in to your upcoming messages, which is hopefully a part of a complete compelling story that you’re telling them.
There is a better way to send out your game updates, Coach. In fact, you can turn your run-of-the-mill game updates into lead-generating messages that can get your prospects more focused on what you have to offer them.
Need more tools to help you design a more on-target recruiting strategy? There are lots of great resources that college coaches have relied upon for years, and you can get access to them, too. Just click here to take a look at our best selling training DVDs, recruiting guides for coaches, and in-depth research studies.