Marketing investments for recruitment businesses should be based on the impact it will have on your sales, and how much it will help increase brand awareness longer term.
Whether you are a business owner doing research, or an MD in a recruitment company looking for information before you make your investment decisions – welcome, we’ve made it easy.
These five investments will have a positive impact on your sales this year. Guaranteed.
Kicking off your marketing strategy for 2021 should definitely be content. For the last few years, content has consistently been the key factor all marketers have focused on, and for good reason. Not only does content directly impact your appearance in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but it also ties in to all other marketing investments. Social media, email, pay-per-click, PR – they all link back to the content you are producing.
Content can be explained quite simply. It literally refers to the content you are creating and sharing with your audience. This can be the written words on your website, the videos you are sharing on social media, the white-papers you are producing to download – the list of content options is endless. That being said, for your content to be useful and relevant to a specific audience, it needs to be produced with intent.
Prior to producing any content, ask the following questions. [To illustrate the point, I’ve added my answers about this content you are reading]
- Who is my target audience?
[Recruitment business Owners, CEOs, MDs, Heads of Marketing, Marketing Teams]
- What problem(s) will it help this audience with?
[Provide them with a focus on where to invest marketing budget this year]
- What is the goal of this content?
[Attract new customers (target audience) to buy our services as experts in recruitment marketing and increase the awareness of Marmalade Marketing with prospective customers]
- What is my call to action (CTA)?
[Contact me to discuss how outsourced marketing support can be a catalyst to business growth in recruitment]
- How will I track the results of this content?
[Total number of conversations generated. Readership of content on website plus reach of content via email campaign, social media campaign, digital pr and outreach and ranking in search engines for “recruitment marketing investments”.
- Will this content benefit our organic search search engine listings?
[Yes – it will be used to reach out to relevant social media profiles and blogs to re-publish it with a link back to the source. Links within the content will direct readers to our services pages passing any relevant search engine indicators to these]
This will help you to produce the most direct, targeted and intentional content, instead of churning out content and throwing it into the digital abyss, hoping for some results.
By using the approach above, you will be in a strong position to then distribute your content.
This isn’t Field of Dreams, sorry Costner fans.
TOO MUCH CONTENT GOES UNDISTRIBUTED
Consider this traditional marketing approach: Investing £25,000.00 to produce a TV advert but not investing in the advertising slots between your favourite soap. For reference, one 30-second slot between Hollyoaks would cost you £10,000.
You must pair your content production investment with an appropriate distribution budget. Think of this as what you’ll spend on channels – for example search engines, email, social media, paid/sponsored promotion. As a rule of thumb, invest the same amount in distributing content as you do in producing it.
Given that 93% of all online interactions start with a search engine, it is vital that your content is written or produced in a way that will favour your site on Google. So, what is it that your audience is searching for? Other than looking at search terms in Google Analytics that have driven users to your site, it’s important to think outside the box in terms of what your audience could be in need of, but not directly searching for.
Understandably, 67% of marketers have reported an increase in the use of virtual events, webinars and online courses over the last year. With remote working now the default for many marketers and recruiters, creating content that can be accessed online doesn’t mean you need to stop at blogs posts and tweets.
Creating a webinar, for example, to answer questions from your current and potential clients is a great way to generate engagement with your target audience. If you are wondering how to create digital content that will lead to an increase in sales, consider hosting a webinar on one of the following topics.
- How to keep recruitment costs down in 2021
- How to choose a recruitment partner for your business
- Red flags in the recruitment process
- How to make hiring and onboarding quick and easy
If you haven’t quite reached the webinar stage yet (although we encourage you to research this and consider it during 2021), there is a huge variety of B2B content you can create to attract more business. Speak to your marketing team, or the agency you are working with (or us, obviously), about the possibilities around the following:
- Blog series – you can create a written blog series on any recruitment topic you think is useful and relevant to your audience
- Videos – the options are endless, but start with recruiters discussing industry trends, work processes, specific products or doing a Q&A
- Social media – create images, short clips, gifs and polls for your social channels that all link back to a specific page on your website
According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top technologies used by B2B organisations to assist with content marketing are analytics tools (88%), social media publishing/analytics (81%) and email marketing software (78%).
This is important to note, as although content should be one of the main pillars of your 2021 recruitment marketing strategy we’ll reiterate this vital point: do not skimp on distribution.
- EMAIL AND MARKETING AUTOMATION
Email marketing is as important to your marketing strategy in 2021 as it ever has been.
ROI = 3,000%.
It is staggering that so many recruitment companies undervalue email marketing. In our experience, this stems from the spray-and-pray methods the industry has used for so long. This approach has seen diminishing returns but persists. Using email to mass-email prospect clients on your database with a CV is technically email marketing, but it isn’t wise. You may get a quick-fix. The client who is in the right place at the right time to hire might reply. What about the thousands that weren’t interested but saw your brand?
We’ve seen this approach time and again, and other than the possible damage to brand reputation, it is often done blind. No tracking or analysis of the emails sent means you often don’t know how many people have actually received the email, let alone opened it. It’s a risky business that isn’t sustainable. But, off the soapbox for now.
If your business has invested in strategic email marketing – great. Now is the time to analyse your campaigns from last year, see what worked and what didn’t, and implement these findings into your strategy for this year. If you are yet to invest in email marketing, or you need to shake up your current approach, this is where the fun begins.
First of all, invest in the right email marketing platform for you. What is best for your business may not be what’s right for the next person, so make sure you do your research. Don’t forget to invest in a platform based on its features, not just the price. Some of the most popular email marketing software available:
We manage our client’s email marketing from ARM, our marketing automation platform, as an alternative to the list above.
After you’ve decided on the best email marketing platform for you, make sure you cover all of the following to maximise the impact generated via your campaigns:
In email marketing campaigns, personalisation matters. Why? Well, other than personalised emails generating 58% of revenue, it also helps to establish a personal connection with your audience. It is also worth mentioning that triple-checking your segmented data lists is essential, particularly with B2B marketing. Ensure the personalisation in the first name field is a person’s name, not a business name!
If you were to take a quick look through the emails currently in your inbox, the majority of marketing emails you come across will be image based, colourful, full of images, text, videos and links. This is understandable, given that businesses want to reach their audience with eye-catching, creative material.
However, with B2B marketing in particular, it’s always a good idea to incorporate text-only emails into your email marketing strategy. Not only does this tie in with personalisation (because it looks like it was only sent to the person reading it!) but it also makes for a quicker, easier reading experience.
Interactive emails are just as important as text-only emails in a B2B email marketing strategy. That’s the thing with B2B emails – it’s not a one-size-fits-all rulebook.
If your recruitment business is looking to target existing and potential clients through email marketing campaigns, consider interactive elements such as carousels displaying your “products” (or recruitment services). AMPs (accelerated mobile pages) will be brilliant for interactive emails, so make sure your company stays ahead of the curve.
Marketing automation means more than email marketing campaigns – it’s all about using software to automate marketing activities. This does include email, of course – so if you are invested in a marketing automation platform for your recruitment business in 2021, ensure that the email functionality is exactly what you want.
If you’re still unsure about investing in a marketing automation tool, the question is: why? Brands have already seen a 225% increase in the volume of prospects that converted to sales opportunities with lead nurturing automation.
When you mix email marketing with analytics, you can trigger hyper-personalised email campaigns that are based on user behaviour. It might sound complicated, but that’s why there are so many marketing automation platforms on the market now – to make the job easier, and to increase leads and sales.
Automation isn’t rocket science, but neither is it simple . Implementing a platform for the first time does require a good understanding of how the various moving parts need to work in unison. Like many things in marketing, it is very easy to think you need the new technology before you properly assess what your objective is.
Consider the golf clubs in your garage. Don’t go and buy Hubspot for a year before knowing what you plan to do with it, and you have someone who can implement it effectively. Talk to us about your objectives, use cases and plans and we can provide some objective insight into whether marketing automation is right for you.
SEO has long been a digital marketing buzzword that many have heard of, but not everyone knows the importance SEO still holds. 72% of online marketers consider high-quality content creation as the most efficient SEO tactic, but content is just one of the various ways SEO can directly impact your company’s sales.
For example, semantic SEO is the best way for your target audience to find the precise results they are looking for. Search engines, such as Google, need context to understand a search query and to generate relevant results. This context is created by using words and phrases that expand on the original search term the user has typed into their chosen search engine.
By incorporating adjacent phrases, subtopics and related questions alongside the answer to the query a user has searched for, you are creating a “hub” of information, giving your site a better chance of being noticed by Google.
A user types in “how marketing can generate clients for recruitment companies”.
If you have a landing page on your site with this title, it is important to answer similar, relevant questions that relate back to the original query, in order to maximise on semantic SEO.
Other headings you could include on the same landing page are:
- Why marketing is vital for recruitment
- How social media can support your recruitment strategy
- Email marketing campaign ideas to generate new clients
- Why your recruitment website needs to be optimised
- Using video for recruitment marketing purposes
For a business to successfully use semantic SEO, the person creating the content needs to have an extensive understanding of why people are searching for that type of content. By answering more questions than the user has searched for, you are positioning your business as a thought-leader within your industry.
Not only does this have a positive impact on SERPs, but it also demonstrates that your company is knowledgeable and trustworthy. Creating original, valuable content that aligns with your audience’s possible search queries can have a powerful impact on your overall sales.
Along with semantic SEO, it is also important to incorporate digital PR – also known as “outreach” in the marketing world – in order to generate high quality links to your site. Whilst digital PR doesn’t technically fall under SEO, it certainly has a direct impact on your SEO.
Whether it’s reactive pieces of content that you put out to press, or an organised piece of content contribution on a high quality site – generating relevant links to your content will have a huge impact on your overall SEO. (FYI – gone are the days of buying links. Creating a campaign that will generate more traffic to your site is far more beneficial and cost effective).
Last, but certainly not least, comes technical SEO. All marketers know the benefits of tech SEO, but for business owners looking to improve their overall marketing strategy for 2021, tech SEO is one of the key places to start.
Whether you have an in-house marketing team or are working with a specialist recruitment marketing agency, make sure whoever is in control of your tech SEO uses the following checklist as a starting point:
- Check canonical tags
- Identify and fix crawl errors
- Fix broken links
- Ensure your site is mobile friendly
- Check for duplicated content
- Ensure you are using HTTPS
- Find and fix your H1 tags
- Check your site speed
- Ensure all meta descriptions are complete
- Optimise all images
- Improve title and meta tags
When your content is optimised, semantic SEO is utilised, digital PR is implemented and your tech SEO checklist is up to date, you will see a direct increase in visits to your site. Don’t forget – the more site visitors you have, the more sales leads you will generate as a result.
- SOCIAL MEDIA
You didn’t think we’d forget to mention social media, did you?
It goes without saying that social media is one of the most important content-sharing tools for businesses. Both organic and paid social posts increase brand awareness, encourage interaction with your audience and create a conversation with your current and potential clients.
From a business perspective, your first checkpoint should be LinkedIn. Personal brand is vital on social media, particularly within the recruitment sector, given that the market is so saturated. Make sure your personal LinkedIn page is optimised and you are consistently engaging in relevant conversations, as well as sharing content from your LinkedIn company page.
For B2B marketing purposes, it is imperative that you execute your strategy on LinkedIn before considering other platforms. The investment needed to gain a small amount of traction on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is an ongoing battle for recruitment businesses.. Only when you’ve seen consistent ROI for the time and money you’ve been putting into LinkedIn, then you should consider investing in other channels..
Social media is a catch-all title but the truth is every social media website is a channel in its own right. All have different purposes – mainly geared towards their own revenue streams via advertising sales. With this comes the need to approach each differently. Over time, as a social network grows, and users become hooked, the algorithms that match users with content start to make it more difficult to reach your audience “organically”. What once got engagement no longer works, and you’ll be encouraged to pay to get content in front of the audience you once had ‘free of charge’.
Right now, we’re still seeing ample opportunities for organic growth and audience engagement on LinkedIn, however the “big three” social networks require a considerable investment in paid advertising to effectively ‘market’ on them.
This isn’t to say paid social media advertising is not worthwhile. There are over 2.5 Billion people using Facebook – everyone’s target audience is accessible in some form. It is critical to be selective about where you invest your budgets, and what those budgets are. A few hundred quid per month on Facebook ads is unlikely to provide the data you need to optimise a campaign to reach the hiring manager you want to.
A solid strategy for recruitment companies who perhaps feel they are spread too thinly is to focus on a network, but split your strategy.
Our advice – focus on LinkedIn, especially while there is still a good return on organic investment (yes, time is money!). Don’t expect your marketing team to generate results from Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok and the next on-trend app.
The split to consider is the creation and distribution of company content balanced with helping your employees create and distribute their own content. Personal brand is a thing. It exists whether or not it is considered. This two-pronged approach means your employees increase their organic reach, which they can use to increase your brand reach. Your brand no longer needs to be the not-so-niche niche business it professed to be – your subject matter experts are the niche.
One more platform worth considering in 2021 (no, we don’t mean Zoom – despite how 2020 made us feel, Zoom is not a social media platform) is Clubhouse. Clubhouse is an invitation-only (for now) audio-chat social networking app, which is perfect for increasing awareness of personal brands.
By joining or hosting ‘rooms’ where a relatively relaxed conversation can happen amongst peers and people interested in similar topics., There’s great scope to become ‘known’ within the markets you operate. We see the opportunity as an extension of developing a personal brand on LinkedIn, where you can raise the awareness of your planned Clubhouse events.
For those who are considering podcasts, webinars and video as content creation options, Clubhouse is a great way to get a feel for these mediums, with no overheads. It’s quick and easy and there’s also the opportunity to join rooms where your target audience are chatting about their work issues without saying a word. A fly’s ear on the wall so to speak.
- NO CODE
Sorry developers. Marketers are bored of waiting.
Last but not least in our list is No Code.
From the four investments mentioned above, we bet you are familiar with them all. This one might be a curve-ball. But for marketers this investment could be the most exciting.
No-code platforms provide a way to quickly design and deploy the technical infrastructures that were previously out of reach for a marketer.
Connect a website to a form builder, to a database to a dashboard. Add a chatbot. Switch on some paid advertising targeting precise audiences and you have a marketing campaign that’s fully tracked.
This shift should be seen as the natural progression from Content Management Systems (CMS) – which have bridged the code gap for a long time now. The ability to build, connect and launch several components that enable end-to-end marketing campaigns to run, without touching a line of code, is power in your marketer’s hands.
Websites and landing pages without the need for a developer, meaning they can be created within hours not weeks. No code doesn’t mean you need to give up on your current website – it just gives your marketing team or agency more scope to trial, test and iterate.
Some platforms worth checking out to better understand the capabilities for marketing.
Aside from reducing the cost of development by up to 80%, introducing no code platforms to your marketing investments for 2021 will free up some time for your marketing employees, meaning more tasks can be completed in the same amount of time.
Consider your website. How much did it cost and how often do you need to update it? Before you do this again, explore how no code could at least enable testing to be done in a live environment to see if your ideas will work.