More Proof It's Vital That You Include Non-Sport Topics in Your Regular Recruiting Message
Ready for a counter-intuitive fact that goes against popular thinking? The higher the division level, the more important it is to talk about more than just the sport.
A message we got from one of our longtime Division I clients highlights the point I’m making in the headline:
Do you read your emails 10 times? I know I don’t.
But, prospects do…more often than you realize, actually. Why? It matters. This feedback from a recruit gives us clues:
They’ll consume content you give them when it’s outside of your sport, if you send it. The problem is, most coaches don’t create a regular message for their recruits, and when they do create and send it, the topic is usually based around the sport they play. Don’t do that: Tell your story regularly, and center it around more than just the sport you coach.
Did you notice that both the recruit and his/her parents were involved in reading the messaging? That’s significant, especially because most messaging is only sent to one or the other - and yet, they share the content of the messaging with each other. So keep this in mind: When you put out something that they aren’t hearing from other programs competing with you for that prospect, you win the attention battle. And, when you don’t, there’s a vacuum that gets created that another program may fill.
Parents and recruits are trying to define you and ‘brand’ you. When you talk more than just about your sport, you deepen the definition of your brand. Is that something that you’re looking to do? This is the way to do it, according to our two decades of research.
“Every time we learn about (name of school), we are even more certain that it is the right place for me…” Two main points that you have heard us echo over the years:
In more than 9 out of 10 cases, the recruits are making this decision along with their parents. Not a surprise for us to see that comment made, but an alarming number of college coaches are ignoring this reality, to their detriment.
Your prospects, along with their parents, are continually looking for proof that they are making the right decision. They have a feeling they are at first, perhaps, but non-sport messaging like this confirms their initial feeling, and builds the needed proof for them to get to the point where a recruit can say "this is a place I would absolutely love to spend a decent part of my life.” Isn’t that what you’re wanting, Coach?
They don’t say this about your admissions messaging, usually (unless they’re working with us, of course…and more and more are). Why? Because admissions messaging is written in way too formal language, and more importantly, not coming from you as their future coach. Athletes make their decision differently than regular college student applicants, and the tone and pace of those incoming message is important.
It has to be a written message. It’s hard to re-read your social media post, or show it to your parents, if you’re a prospect. When it’s a letter or an email (like the one above, which they do read, contrary to the myth that many coaches have bought into) it can be shared and discussed. Plus, its tangible proof that you’re interested in them, and value them. Tell your story by writing it, and then send it to your recruits every 6 to 9 days. It works.
The process I’ve just outlined is the most proven, most effective way to make the case that you and your program are the best choice for the prospect. And a core part of the process involves painting a picture of what the non-sport aspect of you and your campus are all about.