We’ve all heard of the notion of “love at first sight,” but I imagine that most of us don’t believe that it really exists. Let’s talk about this phenomenon, and how it can teach us a great lesson about recruitment.

While I suppose it is possible that there are a few instances of Cupid being so accurate with his bow, that a new couple instantly falls in love and gets married soon after, the vast majority of marriages begin with a steady process of relationship building.

I don’t know of anyone that proposed marriage on the first date. Instead, people gradually get to know each other more and more, spending more and more time together, passing milestones as they progress in their relationship, and eventually there is a proposal and marriage.

The key here is that no one goes 0-60, from single to married, with no steps in between. If it did happen, we wouldn’t expect that marriage to last very long, now would we?

The same can be said about recruitment: few prospects go from unaware of your research to enrolled, with no actions in between. If they did, you wouldn’t view them as a high quality prospect. You’d expect them to only be interested in a quick payday, not interested in being an ideal participant.

Persons that are thoughtful and curious are not going to look favorably upon an ad that attempts to generate awareness and recruit for enrollment simultaneously. This is like asking for a first date and proposing at the same time; it scares away quality participants.

Instead, you have to approach recruitment marketing just like dating and relationships. Start by letting them know you exist, what you’re about, progress to why you’re interested in them, earn their trust, and then get them enrolled.

People that are going to make great participants are going to have questions, and until you answer the “who, what, why” for them, they’re going to be very skittish. If you propose at first sight, they’re going to walk away and likely never consider enrolling.

Building trust is crucial to recruitment, just like building a successful relationship. Focus on building this trust, and your enrollment will benefit.

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