[Excuse any strange typing errors; this is a direct transcription for your benefit.]
Louise Craig is the Marketing Executive for Paul Card Recruitment. Louise joined Paul and the team on placement as she finished her academic marketing degree and started studying for her master’s in marketing. Louise already had experience working for a digital agency; this was her first role as a sole marketer working in a new sector.
How Did You Come To Join Paul Card Recruitment?
I joined Paul Card Recruitment as a master’s student on placement. I’m happy to say now that I am a permanent team member. Yes, I started on placement as it was part of my course. I am still studying as I’ve got a big research project. It’s great to know that I will be with Paul Card Recruitment for the foreseeable.
A little bit of background as well; before being a master’s student, I did work at a digital marketing agency that specialised in PPC and content creation, and I was there for the best part of a year.
What Was It Like Being The First Marketer in a Business With A Strong Academic Background Studying For an MA?
It was quite challenging. Like you said, being the first marketer in the business, there were almost no marketing systems in place. For example, processes to make certain marketing activities easier for me, such as setting up all our email sequences and creating a social media content plan.
I would have to try and set those up whilst doing the job. Then, as you mentioned, the recruitment industry was completely new to me. I had to learn about Paul Card Recruitment’s target markets and what those audiences want to see and want to read. At the agency, I did write some very short blog posts for a recruitment agency, but it didn’t prepare me for what I have had to do and what I’ve had to learn. That was a big challenge.
What Were The Biggest Challenges In Those Early Weeks?
I think it was having the time to set these things up and learning at the same time. Like I mentioned before, a job needs to be done on the day, but you’ve also got to think of yourself further down the line and how you can make it easier the next time.
What Was The Big Marketing Problem You Were Looking To Solve When You Joined?
The main problems we were looking to solve were how to keep in contact with our clients and candidates, ensuring we have various touchpoints with them and having the systems in place and the content to give them to do that.
What we found when I joined was that existing customers, both clients and candidates, were potentially being neglected because, without someone in the marketing function or without having a marketing function, you only have the recruiters.
They are mainly business development, so they’re focusing on their current vacancies and clients they’re working with and then finding new ones.
Sharon: Yes. That needs that recognition of, “Hey, we’ve got a lot of people that we have relationships with, but if we don’t do something with those relationships to keep people warm and front of mind, then we’re not going to have those relationships in the future”.
When You Think About Superfast Circle, How Has That Helped?
Sharon: So here you are doing a master’s, you’ve got a year’s experience in a digital agency, and you’re working and continuing to study; somebody could say, “Hey, we’ve got a highly logical person here, somebody with experience; why bother joining something like Superfast Circle?”.
Louise: So many points of value! The weekly Q and A coaching calls are just invaluable. As the only marketer in a company, you can doubt yourself, even when you have the education or the experience. To join these weekly calls with your ideas, you have yourself, Sharon, Denise, or anyone else in the group to reassure you and say, “Yes, that’s a great idea.”
Or other marketers in the group or other recruiters who say, “Yes, we do this, and it works.” It’s just that boost you need to go for it with your idea. Also, it’s great for getting ideas on how to solve a particular problem or get a different perspective.
There’s also a huge amount of value that Superfast Circle brings in terms of resources. As a marketer, you think you’re naturally creative, have lots of ideas, and think, “Well, I can write emails. I can then create blogs.” I can do this and that, but do you have the time? Especially as the only marketer in the team.
No matter how much experience or education you’ve got, you’ve only got a certain amount of time. As I mentioned before, when you’re the only marketer in the team, you’re pressed for time, and that’s where the resources are invaluable because it’s there for you to use. However, it doesn’t take away the creativity because you can still do so much with it and use your creativity with them.
I suppose, specifically, in my case, I was new to the industry. I don’t know the recruitment industry as well as yourself and Denise and other people in the group who are recruiters or have worked in an agency for years now. Having the expertise with the convenience and ease of all the templates you get is incredibly helpful, no matter your experience or education.
Sharon: It’s great as I reflect on how you’ve tapped into it because I think in those early months – because we have two calls a week, one call always seems more popular – on the odd occasion you’ve had Denise and me to yourself. You were there every single week, week in and week out.
As You Have Developed Into The Role, What Marketing Do You Now Have in Place?
Well, Superfast Circle provides something called a reignite campaign. For those listening who most likely won’t know what that is. It’s a three-step email sequence designed to reengage with lapsed clients and candidates. That was something that Paul had used before I joined PCR, but not as much as he could have done because every single time we run one of these campaigns, usually with candidates, we get re-registration which is so important in the current market.
We also used the reignite campaign when we got word of a company making redundancies. It’s very versatile and a great way to reengage, but it also was really good not to be so glaringly obvious about the intention behind contacting these candidates.
That’s an example of the sequences we’ve now got in place. They’re already set up. We’ve got the merge tags to keep reusing them for different clients and candidates. I think the sequences we’ve set up have helped solve the issue of keeping in contact with these customers.
Also, recently, we’ve had some reports printed. That is using the report templates from Superfast, which is something I wouldn’t have the knowledge, experience, expertise or time to write myself at the moment.
Having that template along with all of the others that we get each month, I’ve been able to edit that so it’s relevant to our sector, which is finance, and get them printed. We’re in the process of sending those out, which I think will help us stand out because many reports I’m seeing now are digital. It’s quite rare that you get something sent in the post. Having these resources has allowed us to stand out to clients as we start to send these out.
Direct mail works so well as a way to stand out.
As well as the reignite campaign, you get many resources from Superfast. I have mentioned the reports before. You not only have the physical report itself but also get an email campaign to send out to clients or candidates. Especially with the client-focused reports, I have something to send out to clients every month.
That contact with the added value gives our recruiters, Andrea and Paul, the perfect opportunity to ring that client up and have a conversation about what has been sent to them and then hopefully, it leads to bringing in a vacancy or just strengthening that relationship by picking up the phone.
That has helped to build relationships with existing clients and also new ones. Because once you have that new relationship, they are added to the campaigns to send these reports and the blogs. We’re getting people to our website through email, which strengthens the whole marketing strategy and keep in touch strategy, which has been really beneficial.
Have You Seen an Increase In Website Traffic?
Yes, we’ve also paired that with Lead Forensics, which we heard about through you. When we take people from our database to get them onto our website, we can see what they’re doing on it, and we can also get a lot more information from that, and, yes, the traffic has increased.
We can see when people click on the links, and it’s just given us a lot more information and data to move forward with our strategy. Also, when we get in contact with these clients, we know what sort of things they’re looking at and what they’re interested in, and it just makes that business development call or prospecting call so much easier for Paul and Andrea.
You Have Spent Time on Your Social Media and Brand Presence. Can You Tell Me More About That?
Yes, social media is something that I have had a big focus on. Again, the resources you get from Superfast have been so important in helping me build Paul Card Recruitment’s brand because I mentioned that you get the report, an email campaign, and social media shares. Again, it’s just making your role as the marketer so much easier and faster to start building that brand awareness on social media.
I have all these social media shares to pair with a blog or a report on our website. Recently, Superfast has started to provide 30 days of social media which is 30 social media posts.
It’s not just the blog post shares or report shares but also single posts or standalone posts. It’s just a different type of content that you can be sharing. It just helps you to vary what you’re sharing on social media. You can also take information from the other resources and turn those into posts.
I’ve been doing that on our social media, which has helped us massively boost our brand awareness. Paul has been telling me that he gets loads of messages from people he knows saying, “I see you all the time on social media”.
That’s what you want; to be seen.
How Is Your Brand Presence Helping Outbound Calling?
Our brand presence definitely helps because they know who you are, and they’ve seen you, and that’s what you want. You want the awareness first, making it easier for our consultants to make those calls.
How Has Being Part of Superfast Circle and Working With Denise and I Exceeded Your Expectations?
I think it’s fair to say that you’ve massively exceeded our expectations. I didn’t expect a company like Superfast to give so much to its members. I didn’t know that a company like Superfast existed. You might think it’s too good to be true, but it’s true.
I don’t think I would be able not to be a part of the Superfast Circle, and I’m hoping it doesn’t get to a point where I’m not part of it. The amount of resources you get is really invaluable. Unless you have a team of five marketers who specialise in something, you don’t have the time. You don’t. I challenge anyone to say otherwise.
Not only that, you are safe in the knowledge that both yourself and Denise know what you’re talking about, you know what you’re doing, what you provide for us is quality, and we need to make tweaks so that it’s relevant to our industries and it’s ready to go.
Paul mentioned Superfast Circle and how it was like a training membership in the interview process for working with Paul; I didn’t expect to get that from the group, though. I guess that’s what I came into the role thinking you were; to be able to coach and train me about the industry and further develop my skills as a marketer, but I didn’t realise just how much additional resources and help you’d get in the weekly calls.
I think that is one of the main things I get the most value from, besides all the resources. As you said, I joined every week until the last couple of months because they were valuable to me. You exceeded all expectations and continue with everything else you’re adding for us.
How Do Paul Card Recruitment’s Values Align With Superfast Circle?
If I’m thinking about our values as a team, they align very strongly. We often talk about how no question is a stupid question, and you definitely get that as part of the Superfast Circle. When you’re joining the calls, questions are encouraged, and if you have a question and need answers, then ask it; we’re here to help, and that’s the same within our team.
It’s always great when you get that from somewhere else. When you go to these calls because you have a question or an issue that you’re facing, it’s just brilliant to be met with that attitude that you just ask away.
Another thing within our team is about helping each other achieve our goals. It’s not just business goals or career goals; it’s personal goals as well. I’ve seen that within the Circle. Of course, it’s heavily focused on your business goals, but sometimes it’s about the people as well and not just what their goals are for the business but also in their personal lives. It just adds to that support system that the Circle is for you as a member and reminds us that we’re human and not just money-making machines within the business.
How Has Being a Superfast Circle Member and Working With Denise and I Helped Your Development?
Well, I think a lot of people agree that education gives you the theory and helps you understand concepts within marketing, but hands-on experience is often the most important. Working at Paul Card Recruitment, a completely new industry and being the first marketer in the team, there was a lot to learn. I was learning in the placement, but being able to join the Superfast Circle and come to the calls with the issue that I was facing that week, especially in those early days, has really helped because it’s pairing that hands-on learning experience with the knowledge and expertise that yourself and Denise and other people in the Circle, have.
Not only the other marketers in the Circle but the other business owners of recruitment agencies, because although they might be in a different sector, they’ve got knowledge of recruitment and can add their experience to my understanding of the industry and Paul and Andrea. In that sense, it’s been brilliant for my development, practically and professionally, which is something that you wouldn’t get with just an education.
Sharon: Yes. When I am talking to business owners who are perhaps thinking of bringing in a marketing person like Paul when he and I first started chatting, I think that having access to a recruitment-specific training platform is also unique. There’s lots of marketing training. You and I both know that. People value having a learning program where everything is just about recruitment. That’s great to hear. Let’s say, in summary then, two parts of the question.
What Would You Say To Another Marketer Considering Recommending Superfast Circle To Their MD?
I would say there are multiple reasons to join. Especially if you are the only marketer in the team, no matter your experience, you can’t do everything. They probably feel a bit of pressure from their MD to do as much marketing as possible for the business.
The whole world of marketing is also new to the business owner. When they’ve brought someone in, it’s quite exciting, and you want to try and do everything, but the reality is you physically can’t do everything. That’s where the support from Superfast, the resources you get, and the coaching and training are just so invaluable. It makes your job easier but doesn’t take away your creativity. When I’m posting something, I get to come up with the image that goes with it. I love doing that.
I’m really grateful to Superfast for allowing me to do what I love about the role, and that’s what you get from it. It gives you resources to focus on the bigger picture and what you really love about marketing, and it just shows how all the resources you get from the Superfast Circle help you build that strategy.
Something that I’ve wanted to focus on was the strategy. The resources, training, and coaching help you think about the system now. After what you’ve learnt and all your resources, you can put it together. I would definitely recommend it to another marketer.
Why Would You Encourage an MD To Invest More In Their Marketer?
Well, to a business owner, the marketers will need some support at some point, not just with resources and training, but marketers usually are creative people and need to bounce ideas off others.
They also need different perspectives and the experience of other creative people to improve themselves and their ideas. Unless you’re a business owner with a lot of marketing experience, you aren’t able to provide that for them.
You are only going to get that from a business like Superfast, where you not only have the expertise of Sharon and Denise, but you have a big group of members who all have different experiences with marketing.
For the business owner, it’s also reassuring that you know the ideas and strategies that your marketer is putting forward and have the support and guidance from Sharon, Denise, and others in the group.
From my experience, Paul himself is the one who says, “Why don’t you run that by Sharon and Denise in the Circle?”. He sees the value your expertise and guidance have for me and my ideas.
What differentiates Superfast Circle from the marketer just joining a free group on social media is the resources, training, and coaching they will receive as part of their membership which I’d recommend to business owners to consider.
How We Can Help
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