by Jayson Schmidt, Preseason
Does the website for your athletic department properly tell your story?
An athletics website does lots of things. It tells you who won the game, how it was won, and who’s on the roster. Visually, it has the right brand colors and logos, but if you’ve ever wanted to use it as a recruiting tool, it will fall short.
Those websites are templated and designed for simple efficiency. They’re usually handed off to an employee that has to learn a backend system while also being functionally limited.
The primary news headlines on athletics websites around the country are about what they’ve done and not who they are. After that, the user is served whatever ad Google thinks is cheapest; at my old school, it was usually for advanced lung cancer or the Mayo Clinic. Then a couple images that aren’t mobile optimized, followed by a bunch of logos for businesses that sent a $250 check to your school.
When you consider that these are things a recruit sees on your website first, that’s a big problem.
Not to mention, a recruit will likely have to click through multiple links to get to where they actually need to go. Every additional link clicked is a barrier to the next steps in the process. If the goal for a recruit is gathering information, they may abandon a process that becomes too cumbersome.
All of this does not help you own your brand and recruit better.
Remember the three E’s for your recruit’s digital experience––– easy, efficient, and enticing. If you aren’t getting that from your department’s athletics website, it’s time to build something better.
The trends that will shape recruiting over the coming year come from a variety of contributing factors – most notably the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the growth of video on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, and the rise of virtual recruiting. Now more than ever, unifying an increasingly digital approach to recruiting is paramount. In one centralized location, you can have information, virtual tours, links to camps, and more.
Unlike athletics websites, you’re not sharing space with any other program, so your unique spin on why you coach and how you do things is never lost in the shuffle. You can also change content at a moment’s notice, like your primary call to action.
#ProTip: A call to action (or CTA) is a piece of content (like a button, image, or text) that prompts users to perform a specific action.
For example, depending on the time of year, you can change your CTA to suit your needs:
- January: Recruit forms
- April: Recruiting event locations
- June: Camps and clinics
- September: Virtual tours
- November: Applications
With messaging that is created to convert, you no longer have to worry about whether a recruit has enough information to move forward in the process.
Recruiting sites also give you consistent messaging. At Palm Beach Atlantic, we found that our staff was sharing the same information over and over again. Sending recruits to specific pages allowed our messaging efficiency to increase while giving those players more information and an opportunity to explore at their own pace.
Your recruiting site can be a single landing page or a multi-page solution. It must be simple and should be beautiful, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The goal is to give yourself time back in the long term and create consistent results.
Next week, I’ll outline how recruiting sites can become the engine to your recruiting process and how to make one yourself.
This article is the fifth in a series on athletics branding written by Jayson Schmidt, a former NCAA Division II head coach and managing partner of Preseason, a creative agency that helps colleges win.
Struggling with your brand or just simply want an edge on the competition? Preseason can elevate your story and deliver it to recruits, fans, and donors.