The job market is buoyant but with massive changes in how clients buy and candidates search for jobs, traditional recruitment has never been tougher.The time is now for you to embrace digital marketing in order to gain a competitive advantage in your sector.
Become a Lean Mean Marketing Machine
Sales is often inefficient. This is especially true when you're working at the top of the funnel, busy identifying prospective clients and candidates. The process involves finding the right data and the right people, and then getting past the gatekeepers before you even get the opportunity to sell.
Marketing changes that. It's an approach and strategy that gets your message in front of hundreds or even thousands of relevant people in your target market. Using social media and other digital channels, you can create avenues for prospective candidates and clients to approach you. And the best part? It will cost you less. According to HubSpot the cost of generating a lead through marketing tactics like creating content, making your website easily found online, and using social media to promote your brand is 61% less than outbound sales tactics like cold calling.
Yes, it takes time to build your marketing engine with blog posts, social media updates, and engaging website copy, but once you have it running, you'll be more profitable. You can then invest that money in technology, people, or other resources that will give you a competitive advantage.
Amplify Your Brand and Turn it Up to 11
With such fierce competition in the market we all know that you need to have a clear, differentiated brand. Your brand comes across throughout the sales process in every interaction you have with candidates and clients so you need to make sure you're in control of how it's communicated. That's where marketing can help. By creating relevant content (blogs, social media messages, website copy), you can shape your audience's perception of you and your agency.
When it comes to personal branding, marketing provides plenty of options to amplify it online. For example, if you’re aiming to position yourself as an expert in your niche then you can create relevant marketing content. Some good avenues to explore are blogging (many recruiters have successfully used LinkedIn’s Pulse to build their individual brand), sharing valuable industry insights on social media, or interviewing relevant influencers on your own podcast.
If you’re focusing on your agency’s brand, you can do all of the above but you may also want to have a more comprehensive content marketing plan. This should be relevant to both candidates and clients in your market. As well as a regular blog, you can create downloadable industry insights in the form of whitepapers and eBooks and both of these strategies can be a valuable source of contact information that can turn into leads. Of course, it’s important to share and market your own content out on your agency’s social media channels and your e-mail list, but you should also aim to get your content shared by other websites and influencers in your industry too. This means your content can reach a wider audience, alongside being validated by leading voices within your niche.
With content marketing, your primary objective is to attract and engage as many people in your target audience as you can, creating a warm pipeline of contacts that are interested in your brand. Once you have them warned up, you can be much more effective in any sales conversations you want to have with them. So, forget the cold calls. Instead, engage with prospects that are much further down the pipeline, who are already interested and engaged with your personal or agency brand. This leads to far more efficient interactions with both candidates and clients, saving everyone time, and maximising the return on your efforts.
Social Media is Essential
When it comes to communicating with clients and candidates, a recruiter's first thought is usually the phone. But, cold calling is a very well-trodden path where you will compete daily with all of your competitors for a few seconds of clients or candidates time to land a pitch on them. Don’t get me wrong, some of the time it works, but it’s a lot less effective than it used to be.
So, if you build a relevant following on the right social media channels, when you start conversations with any prospective candidate or client they’re already warmed up to you. Although it’s true that there are no gatekeepers on social media (you can approach prospects directly), don't make the mistake of using it like the phone where you pitch when you get a connection. Social Media is a longer game and you need different objectives if you want to be successful.
Create a Reputation for Excellence
Your main focus should be to increase your brand and get people interested and engaged with what you’re talking about. Instead of ‘always be closing’ you need to think ‘always be helping’. Share valuable content that helps people and they’ll start talking to you about it. You can worry about pitching them (once they ask for your expert opinion) in an offline call or meeting further down the line. And that’s by far the best part about using content marketing. You create an expert reputation and prospects approach you because they trust what you’ve got to say.
Think that social media is a fad? Well a recent survey by A Sales Guy found that 78% of sales people who used social media outsold their peers. So it might be time to turn to the phone less and use social media channels more.
Marketing can add value to your recruitment process by making you more efficient, you can attract more clients and candidates at a lower cost, filing more jobs. To be successful you’ll need to take a longer term view and start speaking to people via different channels to the ones you’ve used in the past. It’s all about changing your perspective on how you sell. Build trust by showing why you’re an expert and use marketing techniques to amplify your reputation – this will lead candidates and clients to approach and engage with you.
Alan is an advisor here at Firefish with experience in both sales and marketing.