Recruiting agencies often face a common problem in their marketing strategies: They always have to market to two different groups that are equally integral to their business model.
That’s partly why it pays to incorporate segmentation into your staffing agency's marketing strategy, but there are several steps to this that can make implementing it easier and more effective.
Reasons to Segment Your Staffing Firm’s Audience
Parsing out your audience into segments makes it easier for both you and your sales team to sell directly to your best potential customers.
Chances are, you won’t give the exact same information to your employer clients as you do to your employee clients. After all, employers won’t care about the positions you’re looking to fill, and employees aren’t interested in your pricing structures or contract details for companies based on their size.
While this information seems obvious, and there are limits to how much the two halves of your business should be siloed, having some degree of separation between the two and further segmenting them will allow your team to sell more efficiently, ultimately bringing in more clients and revenue for your business.
How to Develop Target Personas
Developing unique target personas for each of your audience segments is a process that takes multiple steps, but it will help with segmenting your staffing agency’s audience.
Your main order of business in the target persona discovery process should be to survey your existing clients, salespeople, and anyone else directly involved in your client-facing operations. While you might have some general ideas of who your customers are and why they’ve come to you, you’ll see the best ROI for your market segmentation, marketing, and sales strategies if you have the data to support your plans.
Here are just a few of the things you should ask your existing and past customers about in your target persona survey:
Which industry do they identify with
Their position at the company
How long they’ve worked there
How they first hear of your staffing agency
Who was involved in the research and decision-making processes when they were looking for staffing solutions
How many other staffing firms have they looked at before choosing yours
Whether they’re responsible for hiring decisions at their company
Deciding factors in choosing your agency
The challenges that made them look for a staffing solution
Specific services they’re using
Whether they’d recommend your company to their peers
These are just the baseline of the questions you should be asking in your target persona survey. Send it to as many people as possible—both employees and employers—to get a broader sample size.
Once you’ve sent the survey to your past and present customers and start to get a large enough sample size, you’ll be able to differentiate your results based on whether they’re employees or employers, their industry, and other practical information.
While you’ll likely be segmenting employees and employers into two separate target personas, most of the other information you receive can be used to find the common information among your clients on both sides and develop your personas based on the “average” of each response.
Using Target Personas to Segment Your Audience
Staffing and recruiting agencies usually, by default, have at least two different target personas. Chances are, there are even more than that, especially if your employer and employee clients are in multiple industries.
No matter which industries you cater to, your target personas can help you get a better glimpse of who your future customers are. Depending on your industry, there may be numerous common threads with the problems they’re looking to solve, their decision-making processes, and who’s making the decisions.
However, suppose you have a large portion of your customers who are small businesses, while others are major companies with multiple locations. These two groups have unique sets of needs, and the messaging you use for the mom-and-pop construction business will look very different from what you send to the construction firm with almost 800 employees and 10 locations across North America. This can affect everything down to your form fields, which is why segmentation comes in handy.
When to Review Your Firm’s Audience Segmentation
If there’s anything we’ve learned about life since 2020, it’s that a lot can change within a matter of just a few months—so it pays to make sure the data you have for your audience is still accurate when you’re preparing your inbound marketing strategy.
You and your team should review your audience segmentation strategy on a regular basis. Ideally, at least once per year is ideal, but every two to three years can also make sense depending on your industry and other factors. However, if you suspect based on your sales and marketing activity that your target persona’s habits have changed drastically, it may be time to revisit the data again and adjust accordingly.
Using Forms and Website Content to Improve Lead Quality
It can pay dividends to ask your leads unique questions whenever they’re filling out a form on your website for the second or third time. If your CMS has the ability to implement smart content—such as asking progressive questions on forms, changing buttons depending on their data, or even changing the type of website content they get directed to—it can make both the employer and employee’s experience on your site more tailored. In turn, it can also increase their likelihood of being a high-quality lead.
However, there are caveats to using this type of segmentation. If your staffing firm is at a point where you need quantity over quality, getting too granular with segmentation probably isn’t the way to go. If this is the case, stick to asking whether they’re looking to hire or be hired. But, if you’re looking to get high-quality leads on either end of the spectrum, it can pay to ask about their industry, the roles they’re looking to hire or be hired for, where they’re located, and so on.
While asking so many questions might result in fewer leads, those who are truly interested in your staffing services will be more motivated to answer more of your questions.
There’s always a balancing act that recruiting and staffing firms have to follow for their business. However, using a lead segmentation strategy and making effective use of your staffing agency’s target persona can make marketing to your hiring manager and candidate prospects that much easier.
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted on May 13, 2015, and has been updated.