The Holiday Break is a Great Time to Get Ready for College Recruiting – Part 2

In this post, we’ll talk about your USP or Unique Selling Proposition.  This is a marketing term that companies use when crafting their marketing strategies.  It seeks to define what separates their product from all of the others on the market.  It will work in college recruiting too!

So, with that said, you’ll need to think through what sets you apart and then how you update your site to reflect your USP.  When you’re thinking this through, think in terms of your target customer – a college coach so that you can get recruited.

Let’s take a quick example of a running back in football.

Your target customer is looking for someone who is:

Fast – Speed is the number one thing a college coach will be looking for in a running back.

Size – You get even more attention if you are FAST and BIG.  Think of Bo Jackson.  A big, punishing running back with incredible speed.

Strength – Legs in particular but upper body strength would also be important.

Balance and the Ability to Change Direction – Think of Barry Sanders.  He made some of the most unbelievable plays with his change of direction.  You can go online and see countless clips of this and still be able to keep his balance.

Intelligence – Coaches like smart players – on and off the field.  So, if you have not only football smarts but classroom smarts, you can set yourself apart.

Durability – College football is a punishing game.  If you’re injury prone or don’t keep yourself in top physical condition, you’re not likely to get a look at a top tier D1 school.  If, on the other hand, you are durable and really stay in top shape, a big plus.

This is just a quick example.  But, enough to craft a USP.

A USP for an athlete that checks these boxes might look something like “Big, strong, punishing back with world class speed and intelligence to match.”

So, if you check all of those boxes above, then you’ll want to target  your website and highlight how you measure against those things.  But, how?

Front page – Best to put your key stats right on the front page.  Publish your height/weight, 40 yard dash time, vertical leap, bench press, squat, etc.  The right stats will get the attention of the coach.  And, you have about 15 seconds on that front page to do that.  So, make it count.  Remember, your goal is to get an interview or visit with the college and everything you do should be squarely aimed at that goal.

About Me Page – Here’s where you’ll add in the story behind the stats on the front page and add in more details of how you measure up to the USP.  Talk about what you do in the off-season to get stronger, faster, etc.  Tell a story of dedication and how you have worked your whole life and high school career to prepare for a college career.  Also, talk about the kind of teammate you are and how your leadership will be a difference maker.

Schedule and Stats – Really a good idea to have thorough stats here.  By game and season is a great idea.

Video – Any great product gets more exposure and credibility with third party endorsements.  Nothing will speak louder than a highlight video backing up what you said in the “About Me” page.  So, you need to spend a lot of time finding the right plays and pack them into a 2 – 3 minute video that will show the college coach that you are someone they should consider.

News – On the news page, you should include as many articles as possible where the local media has written about you.  You can cut and paste that right into your profile or link to the article from your site.  Very powerful testimonials from an unbiased source can help you.

Your Email to a College Coach – You need to write an attention grabbing headline which gets the coach interested in looking at your site.  You can even borrow heavily from your USP to write the email which might look something like this:

In the Subject Line  – 6’2″, 215 lb. Running back with 4.4 speed.

“Dear (Coach Name) –

My name is XXXXX.  I am a Junior Running Back at West High School.  I am very interested in playing for (College Name) and believe I can make a difference and help you win games.  As you will see on my site, I have dedicated myself to becoming the best athlete and teammate I can be.  I know I still have a lot to learn and will commit myself to getting better if I am fortunate enough to make your roster.

On my website, (website here), you will get more information on my career and learn a little more about me as a person. 

I would welcome the opportunity to meet you and your staff.  I look forward to hearing from you.”

So, get started putting your USP together and if we can help you, drop us a line.

 

John

 

 

The Holiday Break is a Great Time to Get Ready for College Recruiting – Part 1

With the Holidays upon us, now is a great time to take some time to organize your college recruiting approach and get ready to start marketing yourself to college coaches.

Think of Yourself as a Product

When Marketing a product, the first thing you have to think about is what that product offers (you) and how that matches the target customer (a college coach) and how it’s going to make their life better (wins):

– If you’re a fullback, it could be size, the ability to block and strength

– If you’re a running back, size, strength, speed, ability to change direction and hands for that swing pass

– If you’re a point guard, the ability to lead, distribute the ball, take is to the hoop and create for other players

– If you’re a 2 guard, the ability to get open and knock down the three

– If you’re a pitcher, a fastball that moves up and in, a 12-6 curve ball or a cutter that moves down and away and forces a lot of ground balls

These are just a few examples.  These can be applied to every high school sport and position.  The point is that you need to determine what it is that sets you apart from other players and getting that crystal clear in your mind so that when you get the chance to speak to a college coach, you can clearly articulate what you bring to the table and how that is going to help him or her win games.

It’s similar in the product world.  If you think about some of the things that you have purchased, what is it that made you purchase them?  Think about your cell phone or your computer.  List all of the things that set it apart from the other products you considered.  Now, put yourself in the college coach’s position and think of all the “cell phones” (players at your position) and how you are a better choice than your competition.   In marketing, we call that a USP or Unique Selling Proposition.

So, the assignment is for you to go to work on thinking through that.  If you want to learn more about USP’s, just type “Unique Selling Proposition” into Google and see what comes up.  Then, spend some time and develop your unique selling proposition.

In Part 2 later this week, we’ll discuss what to do with your USP as you develop your profile.

Happy Holidays to all of you.  Enjoy the time with your families and friends.

John