Can a Creative Online Lead Generation Program Get Recruiting Firms and Staffing Agencies a Bigger and Stronger Pool of Job Candidates?
Year in and year out, the surveys tell us that the top challenges for recruiting firms and staffing agencies are finding qualified candidates and finding new ways to discover who and where those candidates are.
Take a look, for example, at Career Builder's most recent survey of top challenges. With just about a third of all firms reporting these issues are major pain points, it made me wonder what firms are doing differently to create brand awareness, get found first by job seekers, and fill their pipeline with more qualified candidates.
Source: Career Builder
Is it necessary to do more than just post a job opening using a basic strategy of “if we post it, they will come?"
Here’s a simple answer that has a significant depth of complexity: yes.
If you want more candidates, you’ll need to invest in newer, more creative and significantly more differentiated marketing than your competition. You simply can’t look the same, talk the same, and walk the same as your competition and expect a continually growing flood of candidates. You have to get found first, create better relationships, always be engaging, and always be delighting those "prospects" so your firm is top of mind for candidates that are already in your database, and at the top of search engines for candidates who do not know who you are.
It may be time to consider powering up an online lead generation campaign — where a “lead” is defined as a qualified job candidate.
It’s Time to Add More Online Lead Generation into Your Recruiting or Staffing Firm’s Sourcing Mix
The focus of today’s blog is not how recruiting firms or staffing agencies generate leads for candidates through referrals, networking, word or mouth, 3rd party job boards, or other traditional marketing tactics — it’s about digital marketing.
Let us begin however, with one incredibly important point: marketing your open job opportunities to candidates takes a weave of different strategies and tactics. You can’t be a one-trick pony. What’s required is a blend of traditional and digital tactics and a healthy dose of branding. In this case, we’ll define branding as the result of all of the efforts, resources, and visible executions (i.e. your logo, corporate colors, community involvement, etc.) you’ve published or done in order to establish how you would like your firm to be perceived by candidates.
In its simplest form, online lead generation for candidates looks like this:
In this scenario, your website becomes the centerpiece of your firm’s marketing. It’s the single place where your firm’s story gets told, your openings get visibility, and where both employer-facing and candidate-facing leads start their journey down the sales pipeline.
A state-of-the-art website is the first thing you’ll need in order to ramp up your online lead generation efforts. It has to look great, be user friendly, and have a high degree of functionality. But perhaps most importantly, it needs to be founded on a goal and strategy of converting site visitors to leads.
1. Search Engine Optimization / Get Found First
In order to capture organic searches, you’ll need to invest in search engine optimization which is designed to give you first page visibility on search engines. (Beware of firms offering “guaranteed” first page rankings!)
2. Outbound “Drivers”
You’ll need to find a way to reach candidates and then drive them to the website where they can be converted into a lead. Typically, social media, paid media, and email need to be woven into your online lead gen tactics, and executed on a consistent basis.
3. Relationship Managers
Once you’ve captured a lead, you’ll want to deploy different tactics like enewsletters, email, and subscription-based blog posts to maintain a relationship with a lead. Most marketing technologies, like HubSpot, have the tools to enable a relationship program, and as a bonus, have the capability to show you the leads that are reading your newsletters and opening your emails. This is a matter of staying on someone’s desk and always being top of mind, so that when the time comes for them to make a job change, they’ll turn to you first.
4. Lead Generation Offers and Infrastructure
The heart of how to differentiate your firm will be the offers (above and beyond job posts) that you’ll present to candidates on your website and through the outbound drivers and relationship management devices you’ll use. Offers for leads have this common denominator: they require a candidate to provide contact information before they can get the offer. Offers are generally valuable content (guidance, tips, critical information, etc.) that can be packaged in a variety of formats from whitepapers to infographics.
5. Marketing Technology
Simply put, you can’t do online lead generation without marketing technology to handle tasks like email, social media placement and monitoring, lead capture, lead nurturing, CRM, and a host of other heavy lifts. Your applicant tracking system may be able to accommodate some of this lift, but it likely that you’ll need other marketing technology in order to have all of your bases covered. My recommendation: take a look at HubSpot.
Creativity, Skills and Commitment
In order for you to give online lead genertion for job candidates a more prominent role in your recruiting firm or staffing agency, you’ll need three other elements in addition to those discussed above.
These are the tough ones.
First, creativity. You’re not only competing to get eyeballs on your website, you're competing to convert them to leads. Key to this will be how creative, clever, and user-friendly your site is. Check out the recent Webby Awards to get an idea of what the critics say about compelling websites for employment related companies as a start. There’s some great stuff here that just might make you a bit jealous.
Second, skills. There are a lot of skills that need to be put in play in order to do online lead generation. Strategic. Creative. Analytic. Artistic. The list goes on. Online lead gen requires a team headed by a marketing literate leader with an eye on always moving the needle.
Third, commitment. Implementing an online strategy will not happen overnight, and typically, firms will see a consistent return on their investment somewhere in the 6- to 8-month range. If you start a program tomorrow and you’re looking for “results by next week," you’ll be disappointed. Be patient.
How Do You Get Started?
If you’re interested in exploring an online lead generation program for your firm, talk to a number of inbound marketing firms like LeadG2. They’ll explain the features, benefits, costs and ROI you might expect, and its incumbent upon you to dive beneath the surface and really understand what you’re purchasing.
Most firms, like ours, will insist on time to do research and planning, rather than go boldly – and blindly – into the market, so at the beginning, there’s a lot of discovery and investigation that must be done. Then, a plan gets developed, and ultimately, your online lead gen program gets launched.
We’re happy to do some tire kicking with you, so give us a call.