It might sound like just another thing you’re told you “should” be doing. There’s always something to add to this list and email marketing might seem like another digial fad. And the way most people go about “email marketing”, that would be exactly right.
If we’re talking about churning out the same old email as everyone else, email is a terrible idea. As a client recently said to me, “I don’t need anything except my phone – that’s the only tool I need to run my agency”.
From where I’m looking, email marketing is one of the most powerful and most overlooked channels for recruitment agencies.
Let’s be clear, sending an email every six months to tell people all about the new agent you’ve hired or the fact someone brought in chocolate hobnobs last Friday, is not what I’m talking about. Nobody wants to read that, and it won’t help you place candidates (as you already know, otherwise you’d be doing it).
Instead, I’m talking about a way of reaching candidates, positioning yourself as the first place they’ll look when they want to make a career move, and showing you who to call, and when, to give you the best possible chance of making placements.
Email marketing done right is not designed to replace you phone, or actually talking with people. It is designed to help you focus your time in the right places, and have more conversations that matter.
How Does It Help Me Place More Candidates?
There are potentially huge benefits of doing email marketing well, both on the client side as well as reaching the right candidates.
But there are two aspects in particular I want to focus on here (I’m really excited about the second one – the opportunity is huge).
Encouraging Candidates To Come To You
Without email, the most common touch point between a typical agency and a candidate is a phone call every now and then.
And, let’s be honest, you only really call people when you want something from them.
Contacting someone only to ask for something is hardly the best way to build trust.
Yet one of the main reasons a candidate will pro-actively seek out one recruiter over another to help them find the right job, is trust. Traditionally, that will look like someone you have placed before coming back to you, because that’s usually the only oppotunity you have to build trust with candidates.
Regularly contacting candidates (by email or otherwise), with the intent of offering them something valuable (which we’ll get to later on), is a powerful and scalable way to increase your touch points with a candidate and build trust.
Of course, you won’t see a deluge of applicants appear after you send your first email, but regular emails can put you in the right place at the right time. They give you the chance to show candidates that you understand them, are active in their industry and are best placed to help them make their next move.
When the time is right, and a candidate wants to find their next position, do you think they’ll go first to an agency they’ve never heard of and know nothing about?
Or are they more likely to approach the agency who have been sharing interesting, useful and industry relevant information with them for the last year? The agency that has also demonstrated knowledge and expertise in their field?
Showing You Who To Focus On, And When
Every email you send is another opportunity for people to interact with you, your brand and your website. By watching those interactions, you can learn a lot about the people receiving your emails.
By looking at what they do, you can work out whether they’re actively looking for a job and whether you have a particular vacancy they’re interested in. That information gives you the ability to choose who to follow up with, and when to reach out, and who to leave for now.
In fact, when someone in your database clicks through to you site and visits a job description you have posted, we can use that interaction to send you a real-time alert, so you can pick up the phone and speak with them about the job, right there and then, as they’re still on your site reading about the job.
As you’d expect, you’re more likely to have a meaningful conversation with someone if they’re already thinking about and looking at a vacancy on your site, than if you just pick someone from your database and call them out of the blue.
You’re also far less likely to be put through to voicemail.
There is so much potential with this sort of information. Perhaps it would be useful to know that a candidate has viewed the last 7 engineering vacancies you’ve posted, but not yet applied for anything. Or that the person you placed 3 years ago has started looking at more vacancies than normal.
By watching how people interact with your site, you can stay ahead of the game and choose which candidates to contact proactively, without having to be on the phone all day.
You don’t need to start at the top and sift through your whole database of contacts. You can start with a shortlist of people who are actively looking at vacancies and showing signs of being ready to make a move.
How To Do Email Marketing Right
That all sounds good, but how do we actually do it then? I’m not going to dive too deep into the specifics of good email marketing here.
Instead, I just want to focus on one point.
In every email you write, you need to be offering value to the person who reads it.
The problem is that it can be difficult to quantify “value”, and everyone can value different things. But to save every email you write from the spam or the trash, you need to focus on working out what value means to the people reading your emails, and start offering more of that.
Even though readers are not paying for your emails in cash, they are paying for them in attention. You want them to choose to spend their time reading your emails, so you need to make it worth their while.
There are lots of ways you could do that, but the following three might be a good start. You could choose to focus on one of these, or as we like to do, have a mix of all of them in your emails:
Industry or Sector News
Sharing articles which your candidates would like to read. As well as showing that you understand your candidates and the industry as a whole, interesting news or information is a great way to engage candidates and place yourself in the forefront of their mind.
Relevant Employment Updates
Show that you know the market well by sharing the latest trends in the sector (salary or employment trends can work well here, or events like significant legal or regulatory changes, or big mergers/acquisitions in the industry you operate in)
This works especially well if the jobs you highlight are actually interesting to the people you are emailing. I’d actually suggest that sending generic job alerts to everyone, every week, will mean your email gets sent straight to the trash more often than not. But individually tailored job alerts for each person* is a great way to add value.
It’s worth remembering too, that you don’t need to write everything you share. There is so much great content out there already, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing people to some of it which you think they’ll enjoy.
*By the way, personalising the content of your emails doesn’t mean you need to hand-write a different email to every person. Instead, if you choose the right email service provider, you’ll be able to pick and choose which content is shown to which candidates, meaning you’re able to give a tailored and personalised message based on what you already know about them.
Sending regular emails gives more touch points with your contacts than you would otherwise have. As well as building trust and authority in the minds of candidates, regular email also gives opportunity for you to learn about the people you’re emailing, what they want, what they’re interested in and how you should respond.
If there is one thing I’d really like you to take from this article, it’s that email marketing is a perfect fit for reaching and engaging candidates.
If there’s a second thing I’d hope you take from this, it’s that email marketing can be done well, or badly (seriously, nobody will care about chocolate hobnob Friday)
I’d encourage you to take some time to think about how you could use email marketing and what types of emails your contacts would like to receive, and how you could tailor your messaging (and phone calls) to better reach engaged candidates.
If you’d like to have a chat about any of this, or how we can set you up to receive alerts whenever one of your candidates is reading one of your jobs specs, get in touch using the button below. (for free, of course).