(Prefer to read? Here is the transcription. Please excuse any typos.)
Now a question that we often get asked by people is “Where should I spend my hard money and recruitment marketing budget to give me the best bang for my buck really when it comes to promoting my business online and you know, in other areas as well?” Well, as one year ends and another year is about to start, the priorities are changing and that’s the subject of today’s podcast. So if you want to stay tuned and listen to where will be the best places to spend your hard earned marketing cash in 2014 then stay with us.
So let’s think then about this question of where would be a good place to use my marketing budget in 2014. What’s going to work? What might be old hat now and which areas are growing? So what I’m going to do is cover a number of key areas here that in my experience is a good place to actually invest your money.
Have a Marketing Budget
So first thing is actually have some money to invest. And I always call marketing… marketing is an investment and even in our business, we’re in a marketing business to me it’s an investment because it’s going to produce a return for me. So obviously you want to make sure that whatever you invest your money in gives you the best return. So first thing is, is actually have a marketing budget. I think the last few years the recruitment sector has been depressed along with the recession that has been going on. Obviously you know, the two are very linked and that has meant that many people have been doing it themselves or trying to really create their business very much on a shoestring and that’s you know, it is what it is.
However, in 2014 the opportunity is improving. There’s a definite upswing. If there is ever a time to invest in your marketing then it’s now because what’s great is with that upswing is that people have a choice and choice is a big level up because what happens then is people don’t necessarily come to your recruitment company, they’ll go to a recruitment company that really appeals to them. Maybe one that’s higher up on Google, maybe one that looks better. So that’s where actually having a defined marketing budget will make a huge difference. And it’s an interesting thing for us as we noticed that more and more people ask us about marketing consultancy because they want to know are they doing the right things, they want some help and they want some additional resources to help them.
Outsourcing Some of the Elements of Your Marketing
So I think one of the key things that you’re going to see on where it’s a good investment of your time is outsourcing some of the elements of your marketing. Now depending on the size of your organisation you may only may not have a marketing… any marketing support.
So great thing to do is outsource some of the key areas that are going to be important to you which is obviously going to be your social media, your content strategy, we’re going to come onto all those as well because to be honest it will be a lot cheaper to get it done by an expert even though intuitively making that’s not the case but it is because they’re going to do it a lot faster and they know what the doing.
So that’s one area where you want to consider, you know, if I invest in this what’s my ROI, what’s my return on investment going to be? So outsourcing marketing, you’re going to see more of an upswing in that and that’s going to be a really good use of your resource.
Okay next thing it’s about standing out and it was okay maybe a few years ago to have a ‘shoddy’ website now that’s not the case and you need to ensure that the website that you have is responsive as well; what that means is it will resize depending on what device you are viewing it from.
So you know, even at this point as I’m recording this in November/December 2014 then we are having our website upgraded. We’re having some new design, a much more ‘slicker’ interface and it’s going to be responsive. Now as I say responsive, it means basically that you can view it on an iPad, you can view it on smart phone and you can really view it on any device and that’s really important because more and more people are viewing websites online and particularly, you know, if you’ve got a candidate who is surfing on the way back home on the tube or whatever or their on their iPad they’re probably going to be looking at your website – best that they can actually see it and they can navigate it and it’s nice and clear.
“Upgrade” Your Brand
That brings me onto branding. If you have not upgraded your brand in the last few years-I’m not talking about wholesale changing because that’s not what I would recommend doing. You need the next; I always call it, the next iteration of the brand. Show that you are an advancing company, that you’re a company that stays relevant and stays current – very very important because you know that your candidate or clients is going to look around 3 or 4 different websites and if they see yours and it’s looking very unloved and very tired, and very 80s then they’re probably going to go to the next website.
In this day and age you can have a great looking website that is very functional on a content management system for probably less than the cost of that placement that it’s going to bring you probably within a matter of days.
Use Your Time Well
Okay so we’ve talked about, marketing investment and we’ve talked about your website, your online presence. The other thing I just wanted to say about… sometimes it does fascinate me that people are very happy to fiddle about on Facebook or to be adding things onto LinkedIn when really they could be doing so much more with their time because it’s not the best use of time. If you think about what you are paid per hour and what else you could be doing in the business rather than adding things onto social media or whatever then that’s something that I would always challenge and I challenge our clients to think about that as well. Whether it’s us that people outsource to or another company, it doesn’t matter. It’s like what’s the best use of your time? There are certain things in our business that I don’t do because it would take me a lot longer. Yes I do love all the techie stuff but we have a great member of our team -Trini and what she does is, you know, I’m recording this podcast and then I just put it into Dropbox and she does everything else with it. And suddenly as if by magic it appears on our website because that is her skill, she loves doing it, she’s in her flow; I’m in my flow talking about marketing. So just think about that when you’re thinking about where you’re using your resource next year.
We talked about websites so what’s next? This is a key point. I’m actually going to talk about it another podcast because it’s so important and that is about reputation management. I think that’s going to be a big, big thing in 2014. You know the online arena. It’s doing nothing but increase and what is important is what are your clients and candidates and other people are saying about you? How can you control that? And there are ways to do that. So, reputation management, making sure that you have a really dominant presence on the search engines, and part of that is around having all your own social media profiles. I’m going to talk about that in another podcast because I think it’s so important that I’d like to cover that in a little bit more depth.
Okay, next key area to spend your resource is content marketing and recording this podcast for us is an example of content marketing. Content marketing is fantastic. I was just actually watching a video late last night where someone was talking about content marketing and talking about positioning and by having a lot of content, really good quality content online that either you have created or someone has created for you with a flow is really important. It engages people, it creates you as a thought leader and it really positions you as an expert in your sector.
Now part of this is to do with the; “know-like-trust process”. If you’ve listened to any of our webinars you’ll know what that’s all about. It’s about engagement. It’s the fact that-and actually it’s something that we’ve known for years anyway, that people like to know us, then they like to like us then they trust us and then they probably commit and start to spend money with us. We’re all well versed in sales. You know we are very well versed in sales as recruiters, you all know about the sales process and sometimes it can take anywhere between 7 and 15 points of contact. I think I mentioned that in one of the previous podcasts before somebody converts. So having a really focused content strategy can make a huge difference and I always recommend to people, you know, invest in that element of your business because what it does is it creates that inbound marketing.
Now inbound marketing I’m not quite sure who came up with the term. A company that had made it very famous is Hub Spot. They talk about the inbound marketing process and it’s the A.C.C.D. process that they call it and that is; you attract… so you attract people to you… maybe you offer a free report or you offer some really great content that people would value.
So you start to communicate with them. Maybe you have signed up for this podcast and you know every time that you plug your iPhone in, or your iPod it’s going to update and you could be listening to this wherever you want to listen to it and that’s giving you information. So all that time, you are getting to hear my voice; you’re getting to understand a little bit more about marketing. And you know one day, you might think “Maybe I’ll buy a product from these girls.” Or “Maybe I’ll engage them to help me with my marketing.” So that’s about inbound marketing. So over time, you attract people to you. You start to convert them and then you can obviously close that connection with someone so that they eventually part with money and then you wow them later on see you become dynamic to them and become dynamite to them and they love you for it. So that’s around content marketing and that’s a big, big strategy and it’s a great way to be able to leverage yourself online.
Now part of that content strategy is also email marketing and I think that is can become even bigger in 2014. A lot of people don’t use it how they could and I think particularly with recruitment companies, they really do not leverage the database that they have and reaching out and making that connection with people. So that leads me onto something really important and that is a marketing automation.
It started to happen really over the last two and three years. We’ve talked about automating marketing. You know some of you may be on someone’s list and what happens is, I upload content and then I can pass that out to people and there’s a nice little sequence that people have that they are taken through and that is the real holy grail that we are all striving for.
So we can put some of our lead generation onto autopilot so we can start to have thisinbound process, we attract people into our sales funnel – our marketing funnel and then they start to get warmed up to us and then it makes it so much easier when somebody picks the phone up and calls you and says “I have been looking at some of the stuff that you’ve been doing… really interesting… can we have a conversation? I get that you understand my issues. I know that your local recruitment company or a recruitment company that focuses on engineering or rec to rec or whatever that might be.” So that is what we’re all striving to do and that is when I do you see that that will only increase next year.
Now obviously as recruitment companies there are all sorts of database software that you have and you can communicate. I know Bullhorn; there are endless pieces of software. And it goes, read it on a forum, on UK Recruiter a couple of days ago that there is over a hundred pieces of software. Now they don’t always do the email side of it so that maybe something it that you need to consider.
Ourselves, we’ve just signed up for new marketing automation system that is also CRM system and yeah it’s been a significant investment but yeah, we know that that will absolutely provide us with a great vehicle to be able to keep in contact with our clients. So that if we know people are interested particularly for instance on LinkedIn, well we can provide them content on LinkedIn. If they’re not interested in social media, then we don’t provide anything on social media and vice versa. So we can really provide an excellent service for our clients when we start to use marketing automation.
Now there’s something to think about as well with this particular an element and that is you need to make sure that you have the right strategy in place, that you have, you know, the right platform that will work for you and your environment. So that’s where, you know, if you’re thinking about investing in some form of database software, test them out first. Go and have a conversation with some other recruiters, see if it works for them. Then it’s about the people, so the people need to be involved in how this marketing automation is going to work and that really need to link back into your marketing communication plan.
And then obviously you’ve got the content that goes into your marketing… your marketing funnel if you like and your marketing automation that you are going to be doing. And that… yeah it may take some time, again you can outsource it, and that may take some time but however, that will be a huge plus point for you because you know what, a lot of people aren’t doing it still and there’s a huge amount of leverage that you can make from this.
Imagine if you have a database of clients or candidates and you just need to start to re-engage with them because once they start to hear from you again, they warm up to you and they are much more likely to convert then actually happen to pick up the phone and go and approach people cold. Because it’s all about that adding value and being front of mind when somebody needs you so if you’re sending out regular communications through your automation system then that individual is going to convert at some point and it may not be straight away but it will be when they actually need you.
So, I mean if you look at some of the big e-commerce houses and take a note from them as well, they are amazing doing this sort of thing. Booking.com as well, you know, we’re on their list so you get the premier in and people like that. Is that really good at keeping in contact? You may say, “Well, it’s different in recruitment.” No, it’s not. We’re all human beings.
I have a bit of a passion for Liz Earle which is a type of make up and some cleanser and everything else. I love the fact that I always wait until their free offers come up because then I can get it without paying postage and packing. And so I always go through my emails “Where is the last one from Liz?” So I can get to get this or I can get a nice little freebie or a nice little make up bag… Irrelevant… I probably have about 50 in the house now anyway. But anyway, I digress short story to tell you that. So that’s marketing automation.
So we’ve talked about actually spending money on marketing. We’ve talked a little bit about reputation management. I’m going to talk about that again later. Talked about content and this sort of automation and how you can really start to ramp up that inbound marketing. And the last one I want to talk about is very old fashioned. I saw a really great name for it now. It’s called advocate marketing. Basically that’s referral marketing for those of us that’s a bit longer in the tooth.
So good old referral marketing and the truth is, for any business that is the area that you want to really be moving towards so that a large percentage of your business comes through referral. Either clients who are completely blown away that they talk to their friends down the local golf club or tennis club. Or they recommended to somebody else in the department or they then move companies and they start using you. And this swell builds because of the great customer service they get from you and how you are known to deliver.
And then with candidates, you know, you place a candidate X who then tells her friend that actually you want to go talk to… to Jane at ACME Recruiting because she’s awesome and that she’ll sort you out. So that’s ideally where you want to get to and there’s a super book by a guy called Michael McLaughlin who wrote the one of the guerrilla consulting books and something he always talks about is what you should strive for in your service based business is that 60% of your business comes from referrals and that will be again the holy grail yet get to have that happen. And you know, you can strive to move towards that sort of level but referral marketing is like, “Well, how could I increase the amount of referrals that I get?”
Well apart from doing a great job is actually to ask for them. Maybe set up a partnership relationship maybe with somebody that is aligned to what you do so that you can have a conversation with them and they then would be a great advocate for you, hence the term advocate marketing. That will say “Well, actually you know, if you want to use a recruitment company then you really should talk to Andrew at Andrews consulting or you really should have a conversation… Here’s the telephone number.”
Now you can set that up so, you know, ideally… I don’t know about you, but if I find somebody that is really good at something then I am a great advocate for them and I tell everybody about it. “Well you need to use such and such… oh you know…” I’ll go back to my Liz Earle story, “Oh you need to use Liz Earle.” but I will be the biggest fan of somebody. Because it’s great isn’t it to be able to… you know, when you found somebody that’s good at something that they do. You can actually share it with somebody because people really value it. Now you can have formal or informal arrangements. You could have a situation where you use a referral fee and lots and lots of recruitment companies use this with great success. Now it may be that some of your budget, some of your marketing budget goes into “Well, how am I going to finance this?” Obviously, ideally something like a referral system that you pay for, is self-financing because if you’re bringing in more business then it’s paying for itself because the acquisition costs are a lot less and it may be that you decide, “Well, okay for every referral that XYZed brings in then we will pay them X.”
So you know that referral marketing, that advocate marketing as it’s called, I do see that happening more and more particularly when it comes to this know-like-trust and the engagement and the fact that as the market is growing a people have more money to spend, they are now deciding “Yeah, we can afford to use a recruitment company.” They’re going to ask their pals and they’re going to ask their friends, “Well, who would you recommend? What do you think about XYZed? I’ve never really heard of them.” And if you then have all your ducks in a row so, you know, somebody recommends you to an individual, yeah it may be a referral but what do you think they’re going to do first? Are they going to pick the phone up straightaway? Well they may or may not.
My suggestion is they’re going to jump onto Google and they’re going to type your brand name in or they’re probably going to go on to LinkedIn and search for you and have a look at you and see how you’re performing on LinkedIn. You know, maybe what’s your profile is like and everything else. So that’s what they’re going to do. They’re going to go and check you out, hence the reputation management, why that’s important.
Now you may wonder why I’ve not talked about LinkedIn. Well, yeah LinkedIn is obviously there. It’s something that is really important. I see probably they spend on LinkedIn being very similar for recruiters in 2014. A part from it natural sort of organic growth but I do see these other areas really making a huge… a huge difference and it will be where I will be recommending to people to spend their hard earned money and resources.
So this is Denise in December signing off and I hope this has been useful thinking about where you might want to prioritise spending your money in 2014. So it’s about, you know, having a marketing budget in the first place, maybe get somebody to help you with your planning, think about your reputation management, where you are appearing on Google, think about content, think about emails because then you can leverage two things there with emails. You can build your database and you can communicate with current database, marketing automation and then finally referral and of course good old LinkedIn is obviously something that you’re still going to continue to spend money on.
So this is Denise, you can obviously get this podcast on iTunes, you may be listening to it there or if you head over to Super Fast Recruitment just go have a look on the blog at one of the last posts and you’ll be able to download this transcription, you’ll be able to read it online as well. So this is Denise saying bye for now.
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As an ambitious recruitment organisation, THE marketing strategy to master is email marketing. It will consistently deliver both candidates and clients.