Case Study

Natalie Degiorgio

Background

Business Backup is a privately owned small recruitment firm based in Maidenhead in Berkshire. Supplying all levels of predominantly commercial office staff across the Thames Valley, the South of England and the North West. The company has been in operation for over 30 years, and Natalie Degiorgio has worked at the company for over 28 years and is now the sole director.

During Covid, BBU diversified, turning a negative situation into something positive, supplying medical staff to the TV and film industry.

What Were You Looking to Achieve When You Considered Marketing For BBU?

Before I took the business over, I had a managing director, and the marketing style didn’t reflect the level of the brand that I wanted.

For example, we had a website that I didn’t feel was my personality and what I wanted to portray. Last year, I decided that we were going to uplevel our website.

It took me a while to get the design I wanted because, at the time, I didn’t appreciate what was possible and what we could achieve, and now I have a website that I’m proud of because it gives people a flavour of exactly what we do.

It gives people a sense of our longevity, experience, and success within the recruitment industry.

Before that, we had zero social media presence. It was another task on top of a very busy day, yet something I wanted to get started on. Marketing was relatively new to me; the challenge is you don’t know what you don’t know.

I’ve spoken to various marketing companies in the past, and it felt like they were all ‘song and dance’, not practical. They didn’t understand the uniqueness of the recruitment industry and the need to market to candidates and clients.

I met a lot of companies and wasted a lot of time. Eventually, I started planning my website in June last year, and we finally launched in March this year.

I also felt I needed to do something with social media to align with my website to attract more clients and candidates.

What Was The Key Marketing Problem You Were Looking To Solve?

We weren’t getting outreach to clients quick enough. I agree there is a place for telephone sales, and we needed more than this option alone.

Because we’re a small business, the challenge is having the manpower to spread the word and contact candidates and clients consistently

My ultimate aim was to get the word out there faster regarding email campaigns. We’ve tried running them ourselves in the past, and they weren’t particularly successful. It takes an awful lot of time to try and think, okay, well, what are we going to write about, and what’s the right thing to say?

If you’re not experienced in that area, which I’m not, it isn’t easy.

As a business owner, you always have to try and be an expert in all these fields, and we can’t be. That’s why I felt it was time to engage in a marketing strategy properly.

How Did You Come Across Superfast Recruitment?

I used to get emails from you, and like many people, you read some, and you don’t read others. In the end, what made me reach out to you was I received a brochure from you, and I thought, I remember seeing these guys from my emails.

I read your brochure and decided to reach out to you.

Sharon: Yes, it was. I remember you saying to me at the time, does this work? And yes, direct mail does as part of an overall strategy.

What Eventually Made You Make The Decision To Invest in Superfast Circle?

Because there was so much pre-done for us, it took a lot of the work away from me, and I felt several things from my first conversations with you.

I felt that you understood what my challenges were as a small business. That was the first thing, and I thought you would be there to support us because you understood my challenges.

Plus, the fact that you wrote all the email campaigns was invaluable. You were instrumental in helping me with my website on marketing aspects which I would never have known.

Website developers would have never known because we weren’t using you guys at the time. The social media aspects as well. I was quite excited because it was towards the end of December. I think it was the last day actually; the 31st of December, I think it was.

I just thought, do you know what, to hell with it, let’s dive straight in, which I don’t normally do. I’ve never really invested time and money into marketing; Business Backup has never properly invested.

I felt that my website and my marketing had to go hand in hand; it was really important to me to get new clients on board, especially with the pandemic, though, when we were going through. I decided to go for the whole package because I wanted complete support. I wanted access to everything because I wasn’t sure what I was getting into.

I was excited to get into it because I knew I needed to get the Business Backup word out there and get it out more efficiently and quickly.

Sharon: It’s interesting because I remember you using that phrase; I don’t know what it is, I don’t know. Since you shared that phrase, I’ve heard it several times from people in a similar situation. In a way, it’s not surprising to listen to you now say, “Well, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was letting myself in for.” Because sometimes, until you step in and start getting your hands dirty, you don’t know, do you? Particularly when you don’t know what you don’t know about marketing, that’s great. You launched your website in March, and the website you were then able to launch had some additional functionality to it so that actually, the money that you were investing in that website was going to deliver more for you from a marketing point of view as well.

That was great. You’re only six months into your marketing journey, having never done much before. In addition to the website, what have you now got in place? How’s that working for you?

What Marketing Do You Have in Place, And What Is Working For You?

Oh, gosh, right. We’ve got all of the social media shares that you provide us with. We’ve put all of that in place now. How we are advertising positions on social media is completely different now.

Our adverts are more creative. Looking at the information you provide us, it’s made us think we need to be more creative and eye-catching.

They’re more colourful and more in keeping with our company logo. We’re getting them out in all different places.

There are so many things that I have never heard of that we are using now; scheduling tools, sales tools, technical things and systems that I needed to put in place.

It’s changed so much in that way. Over these last six months, it has been a huge, huge learning curve.

When I first started, I felt a little bit overwhelmed with everything because I just felt like, “Oh my goodness, I don’t know anything here.” It was a little bit daunting, to begin with, and a little overwhelming. I’ve got a member of staff who works with me, Laura. She’s taken over the marketing side. She’s never done marketing before, but I felt she would find it quite interesting. Between us both, we’re learning all the time.

Since joining SFC, we’re so much more up-to-date. When I look out in the market, we stand out as a company that knows what they are doing.

With your support; I feel we look far more professional. We look like we’re on it and know where we want to go.

In turn, that’s starting to attract more clients, which is great.

Sharon: It’s what it’s all about. Recruitment business owners will tell us that they feel like they are the best-kept secret and people know us locally, but beyond that, we are the best-kept secret, and yet we are so good at what we do.

I can see now that you’re sharing and telling people what you do. You are a high-quality business that has been around for over 30 years.

The recruitment market is changing, and perhaps they haven’t had to do much marketing in the past, but it is different now and is more competitive.

How Was It Tapping Into The Support and Resources As a Member of Superfast Circle?

It’s been totally invaluable for us.

For example, with the content, we don’t have to think about what content we’re going to send because of everything we get; reports, blogs, social media and all the email campaigns.

You are handheld throughout the whole process.

All of the tutorials and training, all of the modules, I mean, I haven’t finished all of the modules yet. Because when I finish a module, I think, “Right, okay, we now need to put X, Y and Z in place.”

I feel that the support that the weekly calls I think are invaluable. Laura always comes, “I can’t always attend the weekly calls, but in the beginning, I did.” We always used to come away from the calls, and Laura still does, having learned something new, which is fantastic.

Sharon: And probably a to-do list as well, I imagine!

A massive to-do list. Yes. I mean this in a very positive way. I feel like it’s never-ending in a good way. It just feels like the list keeps growing and growing. I’m quite an impatient person. I have to keep saying, “Okay, we’re one step at a time.”

I don’t know if you recall when I first joined. I was like, “I’m really overwhelmed with all of this. What do I do first? Just tell me where I need to go first so I can focus on those areas.”

The beauty of you guys is you respond really quickly. I think your Facebook group is invaluable to hear what you and Denise have to say when we have questions.

The network you have built with other business owners is really good because we’re all in the same position. It’s good to hear other people’s challenges and what they’re coming across and what’s worked for them and what hasn’t worked for them. I think I would never have had that whole network of support if I hadn’t joined Superfast Circle.

Sharon: That’s brilliant. That’s fabulous to hear. Let’s say with the resources and support. I appreciated it when I reached out to you to have this conversation. I did say that I recognize it’s still quite early days. You’ve touched on the fact that you’re starting to see that you’re attracting new clients. Could you expand on what difference it is in what you have been able to put in place so far?

Because in six months, you guys have done a huge amount, and you are a small team, it is you and Laura. Laura’s got other elements to her role, and you’re spinning all the plates that an MD spins.

What Difference Has Joining Superfast Circle Made To You and The Business?

In terms of the difference, it’s freed up a lot of time. Although we’re really busy, the difference is that we’ve got everything there; we just have to put it in place. We don’t have to think about what we’re sending.

Once you’ve put something like, for example, your email campaigns, it all worked for itself once I got my head around what I was doing. It just automatically happens. We didn’t send it out to many people for the first email campaign we did.

We got three of our lapsed clients back within the first two weeks, which was an incredible result for us. You were instrumental in directing us to go for the low-hanging fruit first, and it worked.

Now we’re doing a cold email campaign, and whereas we used to do it before, I think the way the emails, the way you guys write your emails, people are actually replying.

Whereas before, people didn’t reply. Access to your content has really changed things for us because it’s about knowing what will capture people’s attention. Yes, you’re not going to win every one, but to get three clients back, the results speak for themselves, really.

Sharon: For me, hearing you say there’s that reassurance as an MD making an investment and a commitment. It’s not just financial because it’s your time, Laura’s time.
Knowing that having done it, that reassurance, “If we take action, this works.” You’re not going to get everybody; everybody’s not ready to buy straight away. We might want everybody to be ready to buy right now when we reach out, but that’s not the reality.

We know that people are at different points of the buying cycle, and if you’re persistent and consistent, then as marketing builds momentum, clients land at different times, don’t they? I remember you being nervous; we’ll be honest, probably. You’d have that small amount of experience with an email marketing campaign before, hadn’t you, that hadn’t delivered for you. I remember that touch of nervousness.

That’s great to hear your comments about the difference in the copy, which I think is what it’s all about.

What Do You And The The Team Notice Since You Have Uplevelled Your Marketing?

We do a monthly report analysis on how many people are going to our pages and social media, and our following has started to grow. That might not be a quick win because it is about chipping away.

Our following on our social media has started to grow, and that’s on all platforms now, and that’s due to the content you guys have been supplying us with to schedule to share out.

I’ve had comments from many people, including our candidates and clients, about how good our social media is because they see us more regularly.

We’re still building, and now when a potential client or a candidate decides to look at our social media links, they will see a constant flow; it no longer stop and start.

When I looked at various competitors, I noticed that their social media fluctuated quite a lot. It wasn’t constant. That appealed to me when I decided to join you guys because I knew that you would give us consistent content.

I think that consistency is vital because whilst everybody might not read everything you say, it’s that visibility of seeing you.

It was like when I received your brochure; I thought I’d seen them elsewhere. It’s remembering that particular logo or that caption or something.

What Has Exceeded Your Expectations As A Member of Superfast Circle?

Loads of things! The learning modules, I think, are just second to none. Laura, she’s really absorbed with it all. All of the learning modules, I think, are fabulous. They’re written in a way that I’m able to understand. It’s not in a marketeer’s language; it’s a language that I can understand, the reports that you provide us with that we get branded up. I think they are so well written, which is just a lot of kudos for us when we use them.

Because we’re talking about relevant, up-to-date market issues, we’re talking about relevant things. The blogs, I think, are really good, that’s helped us with our website because otherwise, I’d have to write the blogs or employ somebody to write them.

It’s like, “What the hell am I going to write about?” I think those are really good. I think the weekly calls, the fact that we can sit on a weekly call with you guys, and the general support the Facebook group gives is fantastic.

When I decided to go with you guys, I thought, “Let’s just get the whole package, let’s just dive right in headfirst and see what happens.”

To me now, I wouldn’t look back. You guys are our marketing company, the extension of our business. Yes, Laura does it all, but she wouldn’t be able to do it, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the guidance of your expertise and Denise’s expertise.

The good thing is that whenever we do go on a call, sometimes I think, “Gosh, I’m going to ask a really silly question,” but actually, it never feels like a silly question because I think that a lot of other people are thinking and have experienced the same sort of questions.

We’re all small companies that are leaning on each other and are relying on your expertise. I think that whilst I haven’t finished all the modules yet, we, Business Backup and Laura and I have gone on a real huge journey, and when we finish a module, it’s like, gosh, let’s go on to the next one

I really like the private podcasts you get as a member of SFC.

When I’m out walking my dog, I listen to the private podcasts and make notes while walking on my phone. It’s all been invaluable, Sharon; it really has.

There’s not one thing I think if only they did this or if only they did, if only we could have that. You guys are always on hand to help.

What Would You Say About Joining Superfast Circle?

I would say dive straight in. I’m so pleased I’ve come across Superfast. Dive straight in because everything is done for you. You do have to think; of course, you do.

You do have to take action, but everything is there for you.

I think the content, support, and bouncing ideas off you guys are also invaluable. We were talking about colour palettes only a few days ago, and I would never have thought to have spoken about colour palettes before.

I was talking to somebody the other day who I think has reached out to you. She’s got her own business as well. I believe that what we have learned and gained, and by getting the full package, has exceeded what I thought we as a company could do.

You are in my budget for next year. You’re in my budget for this year. For me now, it’s just a given that I have to have that marketing. When times are tough, people often think marketing is the thing to cut out. What I’ve learned is that marketing is the thing that constantly has to stay, and it’s a constant thing that you have to do. It is well worth the investment. It’s been fantastic.

There’s lots more to come. I’m sure it will be another eye-opener in the next modules I’m watching. Every module is an eye opener for us, which is fantastic. It’s that consistency for me as well.

I feel secure and comfortable knowing that my marketing is being looked after. You’re specialists in what you do, which is important because you understand the recruitment industry so well.

Recommendation

“Since joining SFC, we’re so much more up-to-date. When I look out in the market, we stand out as a company that knows what they are doing.

With your support; I feel we look far more professional, which is starting to attract more clients, which is great. I would recommend anyone jump in and work with you; the support you receive is more than I ever expected.”

Natalie Degiorgio
Director

BBU Recruit

To find out more about BBU Recruit, please visit their website here.

www.bburecruit.com

To find out more about working with Superfast Recruitment or joining our Superfast Circle Programme please fill out the contact form here.

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