And many of those that are fail to do it correctly.
The result? Lack of response, which leads coaches to believe that letters don’t get read. (Our clients know differently).
So, how do you take a better approach to writing messages on paper and getting a better response than you would if you sent them by email, text or social media? That’s what I wanted to go over with you today, Coach. Of course, you have to make sure to mix in your own personality and specifics, but here’s a good six-step process to guide you into creating a solid next-generation recruiting letter for your new recruits:
- Length matters, so keep it short and to the point. Today’s teens have grown up with text messaging as their primary way of written communication, which means they are used to hearing on-point, straight-forward communication from whoever is sending them something. Don’t add fluff. In fact, you should follow this rule: The longer the letter you write, the less effective it will be.
- Focus on topics besides just their sport. One of the big things our latest research has shown is that your prospects want to talk with you about other things besides their sport. That desire starts fairly quickly after the initial contact, and lasts deep into the recruiting process. Coaches make the mistake of initiating too much casual conversation solely centered around the prospect’s sport or current season, and not enough about what they’ll actually be basing their decision on: Your campuses’ social life, education, the support they’ll receive on your campus, and other non-sports factors. Spend time talking to them about those topics in between talking to them about your sport.
- Short paragraphs. Two to three sentences, max. It makes your letter easier to read, and what you do convey to them will stand a better chance of being remembered. Plus, it helps move their eyes down the page compared to long paragraphs that could cause the reader to start skimming your message, or give up on it altogether.
- Add personal insights, opinions and stories from your personal, athletic and coaching life. Part of what prospects talk about wanting to discover during the recruiting process is who you are as a person. That includes all aspects of your life! Give your opinion, share personal stories, and take them inside your locker room as much as possible throughout your letter you’re writing to them.
- Tell them what to do next. Throughout the message, it’s your job to tell them what they need to do next in the process. Always be leading them to the next thing you want them to do…that could be as simple as asking them to reply, or telling them what the next phase in the process holds for them. They’re looking for you to guide them, Coach. Don’t disappoint.
- Consider adding a P.S. As we’ve discussed in our recruiting workshops from time to time, adding something handwritten at the end increases the likelihood that they’ll read the whole message. It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to create curiosity. Done correctly, that’s what it will do.
If you use those six points as the framework for your next recruiting letter, you’ll connect much better with this generation of student-athlete prospect. And in the process, you’ll create separation between you and the rest of your competition for the prospect you really want.
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