Winter is a tough time to recruit:
For most of your prospects, you’re either trying to get a final “yes” from a Junior or Senior, or working to figure-out how to keep the conversation going with a Junior (or Sophomore).
A lot of coaches are always searching for the right way to do that. Many of those same coaches have abandoned email as a primary way of doing that, and the reason they give is because “kids don’t check their emails anymore’. That’s mostly true…most of them will only check their email accounts once a week.
However, a majority tell us that email is still the preferred method for receiving ongoing information about a school or program. That means it belongs in your recruiting strategy, Coach.
And if that’s the case, how well you communicate in your email will largely depend on whether or not it gets opened and responded to.
So in a sense, much of the success (or failure) rests on how well you write your email subject line. Why? Because according to our research, when they check their email (which is usually only once or twice a week for most prospects) they tend to judge whether or not your message is worth their time by the subject line (the same way we adults do as we’re filtering through our Inbox).
So the question then becomes, “How much thought do you put into the subject lines in your recruiting emails?” It’s an important question, because the degree of creativity you put into your email subject lines is most likely directly proportional to the number of times your email gets opened by your prospects.
It’s something we factor into messages that we create. For example, when we produce our Total Recruiting Solution plans for clients around the country, subject lines are something we pay close attention to. Why? Because our job is to get more prospect click-throughs for our clients. And, great subject lines are a big key to that.
So, if you want to take this little aspect of your recruiting a little more seriously in an effort to get more prospects to open more of your emails, here are some ideas that we’ve seen work:
- Ask a question. Make it short, and create curiosity. For example, “Is your room at home as nice as our new on-campus suites?”
- Chop-off half the sentence. It might prompt them to wonder what the other half says! For example, “My athletic director wanted to know if…”
- Make it really, really short. Short words or phrases get attention. In this case, because most subject lines are long and rather mundane, something short and odd looking gets attention. For example, “You”. Or, “Deadline”. Or, “Scholarship”.
- Don’t make it so formal. If you’re sending out a newsletter, don’t make the subject line “ABC State Baseball Newsletter”. Borrow some old-time newspaper headline energy and write something like “EXTRA! The Inside Story on That Crazy 5th Inning”. See the difference?
- Be different every single time. There are no subject lines so wonderful that they should be used over and over again. Take a few minutes to be creative. Don’t be boring.
Oh, and speaking of boring:
Please, do something different with your “out of office” auto-reply emails. What an opportunity to be creative and show your recruit some of your personality! Yet most coaches don’t take the time to have some fun with that email that goes out to peers, parents, your team and – most importantly – your prospects. Take a look at what your message says…and then take two minutes to make it a little more interesting.
Little things? Absolutely. But the more I consult with college coaches, and see what makes one program good and another program great, the more I realize that getting the athletes you really want usually comes down to those “little things”.
Writing emails and other recruiting communication is easy if you’ve read our two recruiting workbooks for college coaches. They’re loaded with insightful tips, new ideas and great techniques for creating better letters and emails. To get these recruiting guides, click here.