Email sucks. Now that we have your attention (and my mother’s ire for using one of her least favorite words), let’s explain what we mean.
The medium has revolutionized the way in which personal and professional correspondence takes place. But it does a terrible job organizing things in a project-specific way.
The longer a thread becomes, or the longer the task being worked on takes, the warts of email begin to emerge. When everything is organized by date and time – and not by project – chaos can ensue.
These email inadequacies can hamper your efforts on longer projects. Recruiting is one such project.
Relying on email can lead to the following in the recruiting process, which we will break down below.
- No visibility. Disorganization becomes unavoidable when players, parents and club staff can not see what the others are doing, short of endless CCs or shared inboxes.
- Attachments. Ever sent an email and realized you forgot to send the attachment you mentioned? Recruiting is predicated on these attachments.
- No Analytics. Without effective engagement tracking – seeing who is opening and interacting with your email – there is no way to see emerging trends or target efforts according to interest received.
Organization: It’s Important
Communication is the crux of the recruiting process. It’s the backbone of the entire machine. Interactions between student-athletes and college coaches – often facilitated by club staffers and buoyed by parents – is how everything starts and ends.
Given the importance of communication to a student-athlete’s recruitment, it’s easy to see the shortcomings of email as they relate to visibility. Players, parents and club staff can not see what the others are doing, short of endless CCs or shared inboxes.
The result is a scattered, tangled mess which at best results in unnecessary back-and-forth and at worst results in isolated communication that can hamper or derail efforts completely.
For example, club staffers must be CC’d on any correspondence to even see the notes being shared between a family and a college coach (assuming they are using a shared inbox, which isn’t necessarily the case). Student-athletes then have no idea if the club coach has seen the note unless they respond, which isn’t practical when dealing with many players at scale. It’s already an uphill battle for a club staffer to actively assist their student-athletes.
However, even if your club goes above and beyond – responding to every message and monitoring their inbox hourly – other issues exist. College coaches may respond and forget to reply-all, meaning missed messages; or may reply in a new thread, thus making searching for previous emails imperfect.
Information is difficult to find in any number of locations; from different folders to different threads to different inboxes entirely. It’s hard to easily locate specific conversations in the past, even using a search bar or folder, because different threads with different contacts may be discussing the same topic.
The result: Multiple email threads, with different people on each thread, where each thread covers different but overlapping topics and where no one person can follow the steam throughout.
Platform Solutions: Visibility
It doesn’t have to be this way. On our platform, project-based visibility allows everyone to be on the same page. All messaging is handled through the Built-In Messaging Center on the platform.
Club staffers can see activity in real-time in one thread, ensuring that nothing is missed.
This automatic organization allows student-athletes, parents and club staffers to have 20-20 vision into the messages being sent and received. There is no chance of missing notes, and club staffers can more easily be involved with no extra effort on the side of the family.
The Built-In Messaging feature and visibility on our platform stops this immediately. It allows the process to be seen in a project-specific way, thus eliminating the issues of an email inbox organized by date and time.
You can learn more information here about how to take charge of your recruitment.
Attachments: The Extension Problem
The relief of sending an email you’ve worked hard on to a college coach has set in; you’re finished! Finally! As you bask in self-satisfaction, you decide to observe the masterpiece, which begins with a nice greeting and includes the tactful line “You can see this information in the attachments below.”
Then, the sinking feeling of the roller coaster beginning it’s big decent sets in: You didn’t attach anything. Uh-oh. What now?! Another email must ensue, and already the chance you had at nailing your first impression has been squandered.
The recruiting process requires providing a coach with everything they need to recruit you. At the very least, that means a highlight reel and academic transcript. As no doubt many have experienced, email can be a tough place for attachments.
Outside of the user-error issues of forgetting to include them (which can happen when sending messages to many coaches), there are the logistical quagmires as well: Every tried to attach a large video file to an email? Ever tried to open a file someone has sent you, only to have the formatting or file type not supported by your device?
In a process heavily reliant on the vital information (transcripts, highlight reels), email presents many challenges that can hinder your contact with college coaches.
This is before considering the problems club staffers face in attempting to assist a student-athlete.
Want to let a college coach know you may have a player that fits their needs? Great! Now you just need to play email and phone tag with the family to get their video and academic information.
Here is what a coach sees when you contact them. One link. All of your information.
Platform Solutions: Zero Attachments
The last thing you want in the recruiting process is to make a college coach search for your information, or have the attachments you included not function properly on their end.
Our platform solves this problem immediately. In building your player profile, you include all of your pertinent information front-and-center. You upload your academic transcript and an unlimited amount of video to your profile.
What results is all of your relevant information housed on your own personalized URL. When sending messages to college coaches utilizing the Built-In Messaging System, your link is automatically included, so there’s no chance you forget anything the coach needs.
For club coaches and staffers, the “Link-To” functionality allows the instant population of this link by clicking on the player or player’s name when writing your message. No back-and-forth to find the information, and no annoyance trying to include it in your email.
In the Dark: Operating Blindly
Ever found yourself hitting the refresh button waiting for a reply to an email you have sent? Searching through your spam folder in case the “response” went there by mistake? Sending a follow-up email asking if your previous note was received?
When it comes to communication, there is no worse feeling than that of the unknown. Bad news or good news, knowledge can at least catalyze a future plan. This could not be more true in a process that necessitates action – like recruiting.
Email offers no way to track engagement. Sending an email to a college coach, you have no idea if they opened your message, viewed your academic information and watched your highlight reel.
A kind of paralysis may set while waiting on a response, as the specter of the unknown hampers proactivity. In the recruiting process, time is essential. It’s a zero-sum game: There are a finite number of spots, and one student-athlete taking that spot means another cannot.
While this is not meant to suggest rushing is the best course of action (it’s not), it meant to suggest that focus should be where the interest from college coaches exists. The “fish where the fish are” mentality.
Platform Solutions: Analytics
Without effective engagement tracking – something email does not provide – there is no way to see emerging trends or target efforts according to interest received from college coaches.
On our platform, you can see which coaches have viewed your information and watched your video. This information is vital, as it allows you to target the school or schools that are showing real, genuine interest.
For club staffers, robust analytics provide insight into the activity of your teams and organization. Seeing the amount of work a student-athlete is putting into his or her process allows help to be targeted accordingly.
In 2016, everything is being tracked; from the amount of steps you take per day to the amount of people watched the Super Bowl. Extending this tracking to your recruiting process can assist be of great value.
Knowledge is power.
Email is an outstanding resource, a way to communicate quickly and efficiently for a variety of personal and professional reasons.
Recruiting, however, is not one of these reasons. The longer nature of the process necessitates communication that is more organized, better equipped and more efficient than the medium provides.
By switching from email to a platform that takes the issues of email and flips them to your advantage, the recruiting process will become more manageable, more efficient and ultimately, more successful.