Building Useful Mailing Lists (That Aren’t Annoying)

Recruiters are always looking for a new way to stand out from their competitors, but one of the best ways to improve your visibility in the marketplace is also one of your oldest tools… Email. Used well, it has all sorts of benefits for your business, used poorly, it’s just an annoyance for your clients and candidates.

A good mailing list can have massive returns for your business:

  • They help to draw in new talent (both active, and passive)
  • They promote any new jobs or opportunities you’ve got coming up
  • They develop your current candidates’ knowledge to make them more effective in an interview situation.

Don’t forget your client base either! A well-managed mailing list that keeps them abreast of the latest trends in their sector will keep you in their good books, and promote your own expertise.

So where do you start when setting up a great mailing list?

Make sure your content is useful

This is a no-brainer, but the ways in which you make a mailing list useful vary depending on what stage of their journey the recipient is in. If you’re creating a mailing list for candidates on the job hunt, you should be filling it with job adverts, information about the job market, and advice on how to get noticed.

Every recruiter sends out job adverts. To stand out, you need to send out job ads PLUS valuable insights and information. If a client is starting to hire people outside of the country to work remote, your mailing list should contain information on what’s important to remote workers. If they’re looking to attract talent from other sectors, you should send them information on that demographic. Always ask yourself: ‘are most of the people on this list going to find the content useful?’ If the answer’s yes, you’re on the right track.

Identify your audience and target it

A single mailing list cannot be everything to everyone. If you try and put together a list for candidates, potential candidates, and current clients, none of them will want to read it because their needs and experiences are different. Instead, identify the needs of each persona and create a mailing list for:

  • Potential candidates – Demonstrate expertise/promote specialist sectors/occasional high profile job adverts
  • Current candidates (one list per sector) – Relevant Job ads/information on how to prepare for interviews/sector news
  • Clients – insights into their sector/success stories/tips for job retention

Don’t send too many

Mailing lists only work when people take the time to read them. If you send emails too often, people start to view them as spam and delete them immediately (or even worse, unsubscribe). If in doubt, start slow, with an email a month, and then ramp it up. The moment you start to see people unsubscribe, or stop opening the email, go back one step.

There’s no perfect sweet spot for mailing frequency, so always have one eye on how a list is performing in case it needs some tweaks. It’s also a good idea to give those people who subscribe to your mailing list a choice of different frequencies. They’ll feel more in control - and less like they’re being spammed – it also offers them another choice other than unsubscribing. ‘Not happy with our weekly digest? Why not try out monthly option’.

Think about the markets, as well as the people

Whilst thinking about the people who are receiving mail is crucial to a successful mailing list, the real key to getting an amazing return on your time is to consider the market your audience is in.

People in tech are going to be interested in completely different information than people in nursing. A graduate fresh out of university is going to need different advice than a 10 year veteran looking to make a career change. The more targeted you can make each mailing list, the more personal and tailored it will feel to the person reading the email. As relationships become more and more crucial to a successful recruitment agency, this personal touch can make all the difference. If you're really serious about building your relationships better, consider investing in a CRM that allows you to segment your mailing lists further using talent banks. That way you can be sure that you never send the wrong content to the wrong people, and keep your best candidates informed at all times.

Are you using mailing lists at the moment? How do you split up your different audiences? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Alex Blott

Alex is a freelance marketer and podcast host working in Glasgow.

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