If you’re like most recruiters – or most people in business, really – chances are you’ve already taken a stab at digital marketing, and you know it’s good for your business.
And if we take a look at the numbers, it makes total sense. According to Internet Live Stats, there are currently 4.129 billion internet users in the world, and that number is growing every second. So imagine if you could market to just a tiny piece of that pie and get your content in front of an audience that is unlikely stumble upon your business in the real world.
Even if it’s the smallest piece, we’re talking about the world’s largest pie here – which means the world’s largest opportunity for profit and conversions. And lots of people are already liking this math.
That’s why eMarketer projects that digital ad spending will grow from $83 billion in 2017 to $129.23 billion in 2021 (fully overtaking TV ad spending), and that it will account for half of all total media spending by 2021. It’s also why the most successful marketers spend at least 40% of their budget online marketing.
That said, you have to know what you’re doing here if you want it to actually help your business. And most recruiters don’t.
That’s where we come in. Here, we’ll clear up the confusion and show you exactly how to create successful, high-performing marketing efforts today using the skills that you already have. No confusion, no overwhelm, and no chance of throwing your money into the digital marketing void without getting results.
Print this guide and follow along for a step-by-step digital marketing strategy calendar.
Start by setting your larger goals and strategies. Here, the first step is obviously to set your goals a.k.a the important, big picture results that you’re looking to achieve. This is what you should focus on first – if you know exactly what you’re aiming for, you’re less likely to have confusion or debates when it comes to creating the actual strategies.
Example goals? Growing your numbers by attracting and sourcing candidates using online marketing tools. Keep in mind, the more specific, the better.
Here, you can follow the SMART framework to stay on the right track, setting goals that are:
So, revisiting the above example, you could say that you want to grow your numbers by attracting placing 60 more qualified candidates in the next 12 months using online marketing tools (bonus points if you can narrow down which tools you want to use). Setting a specific goal like this helps you work backward and set even more specific, time-bound strategies and tactics for every step of the way.
60 more candidates over a 12 month period are 5 more candidates a month. Let’s say, for simplicity’s sake, that it goes down to about 1 new candidate a week. Now that’s pretty attainable, and you can put specific measures in place to hit that number.
Overall, you should set around 3 large goals at a time for your business (giving yourself a 6 month or 1-year limit to achieve those goals) in order to remain focused and consistent.
To get your wheels turning, some starter goals for recruiters could be:
Note: You can’t just come up with goals and set them aside to be reviewed in 6 months time. Instead, you should also determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that you will track consistently in order to measure your success every step of the way.
Good KPIs to choose include things like:
Here’s a little chart that can help you choose and narrow things down:
Once you have your larger goals and KPIs, you have to pick your strategy for each goal a.k.a the high-level thinking that’s going to help you achieve your overarching goal. Referring once again to our first example, your strategy might be to get away from traditional recruiting channels and to use tools off the beaten path to attract qualified candidates that you haven’t been able to reach up until this point.
Finally, decide on your tactics, or the specific actions you take and tools you use in order to achieve your strategy. In our example, a tactic would be using Facebook pages and Twitter posts once daily to raise awareness, increase engagement, and target a wider audience of passive, qualified candidates. Alternatively, it could be to spend $30 on Facebook Ads using Lookalike Audience targeting in order to attract people that are likely to be qualified (more on that later).
Now, at this point, you may be thinking that’s not too hard. And the truth is, it’s not. That said, you have to make sure that you don’t fall into the common mistake of leaping from tactic to tactic without giving any one enough time to really works.
This happens often, and it happens because many businesses become distracted by “the latest and greatest” strategies and wind up losing sight of their larger goals along the way. Avoid this by setting strong, specific, consistent goals early (including how much you’re willing to spend) and referring back to them every step of the way.
If you get that part right and allow yourself to be confident about it, then you’ll never get distracted or have to change your marketing strategy. Instead, you’ll just pivot and change the tactics that you use to achieve your larger strategies and goals. This makes for a strong, reliable marketing plan that is much more likely to help you reach your audience and gain more qualified candidates over time.
Once you’ve set your goals, strategies, and tactics, your next step is to begin with implementation and actually talking to your audience. In order for this to be effective, you need to have a clear and thorough understanding of your target audience, including what they want to hear, where they spend their time, what they’re searching for online, and more.
And the importance of this part really cannot be overstated. With nearly 2 billion websites and the average adult spending 5.9 hours online a day, the reality is that there is a ton of content on the internet every day, and if you want to reach the right people and have them notice you, you must stand out from the crowd.
This requires, first and foremost, personalization and precision. Think about it: with platforms like Amazon making online experiences easier than ever – and tools like retargeting ads and advanced chatbots practically reading people’s minds – the reality is that today’s audiences have come to expect relevant, intuitive, authentic and ultra-personalized online experiences across the board, and they have zero patience for anything less.
And if you want to reach them, you have to keep that in mind and rise to the occasion.
How? First, by creating candidate personas. Candidate personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal candidates. Their purpose? To help everyone on your team truly step into the shoes of the people that you’re speaking to so you can understand what makes them tick, what they want to hear, and why. This, in turn, will help you target your content and create engaging information that anticipates your candidates’ interests, concerns, deal-breakers, and excitement.
Creating complete, accurate candidate personas will also allow you to customize your strategies and tactics so they bring the highest engagement and conversions possible. Finally, it will help you create content across the board – including blog posts, emails, ads, and social media posts – that speak directly to your target audience. In the long run, this can prevent a lot of missteps and save you a ton of money re-creating ads, blogs, and web content.
Here’s how it’s done.
You have to start by conducting surveys, sending out forms, doing online research, or conducting direct interviews with the people that already work for your company (or even people that looked at your company but passed).
What are you asking them?
Well, basic information like their demographic, gender, and age group, of course, but that’s not the important part. You really have to go into the why and understand their:
Once you ask these types of questions and get the appropriate responses, the goal is to create at least 3 distinct candidate personas that everyone in your company can understand and refer back to when creating marketing content.
And remember – the more granular, the better. Even looking into things like location and personal data can help you take your targeting one step further and really ultra-personalize your personas.
Next, you can follow the same steps to develop your client personas. After all, you also may want to set your digital marketing strategies to attract new hiring company or employer needs, so you also need to set personas for those as well.
Once again, you will need to step into their shoes and understand what drives their decision-making.
Here are the same questions slightly tweaked to reach this audience:
Here’s a great persona-building template to get you started quickly. But again, don’t visit it until you have all of you information together, and remember – the more complete and accurate your personas, the less work and missteps you’ll have down the line.
If you don’t at all know where to start with your marketing once you’ve developed your personas – or if you have a vague idea (like you know your persona is on Facebook a lot so you want to use Facebook Ads) but you don’t know how to go about it – we recommend that you start by doing your research and checking out what your immediate, successful competitors are doing.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should copy or imitate them, but if they’ve found a really effective tactic on a specific marketing channel that resonates with a particular persona, you can avoid a lot of trial and error by understanding their techniques and implementing something similar.
1. For content marketing and advertising, in particular, this can be done effectively on Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo works specifically by letting you know what content is getting a lot of shares or engagement across social networks using specific keywords. So, refer to your previous persona research and pick a keyword that your audience is using.
We recommend starting with a long-tail, actionable keyword, as these are more specific (and therefore you’re more likely to get attention and rank for them).
Once you type that keyword into Buzzsumo, you will see the top-performing content that includes those words. Your next step? Read those pieces, determine what people find attractive about it, and create something even better.
2. Alternatively, if you’re still looking to narrow down your keywords, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s SEO Keyword Magic tool to find both what keywords your competitors are targeting, and which ones they are consistently avoiding.
To use this tool, you simply type in the keywords you’re thinking about, and it will give you a good idea of which keywords are high competition – and therefore more difficult to rank for – and which keywords are low-competition and likely to get you on the map. The idea, once again, is to carve out a spot within your niche and find the searches that your audience is looking for but that your competitors haven’t capitalized on.
3. Finally, if you’re focusing on social media or email campaigns, check out your competitors’ pages and channels regularly, or subscribe to their email list. Remember, though, that even if their company is doing well overall, and even if their social media generally has high engagement, it doesn’t mean that all their content is great. So make sure you pay attention to performance before you take a page out of their book.
Overall, this kind of research will help you determine where to focus and how to start off on the right track. But remember – use this information as a starting point and an inspiration to be different and better than your competitors. If not, you’ll never stand out from the crowd.
Our biggest piece of advice here? Start with only one social media marketing and/or one content marketing channel at a time, and don’t move on until that channel is running smoothly and yielding results.
Why? One of the principle problems with marketing today is that there are too many options, and there are so many “latest and greatest” or “must-try” tools that recruiters or recruiting businesses ultimately end up with their hand in 10 different cookie jars, but only coming up with crumbs.
You can’t let yourself fall into this trap.
So once you’ve done your research and you know what your goals are, who you’re talking to, what keywords to use, and what channels have been effective for competitors in your niche, use that information to pick one channel and make it great. And don’t move on until you’ve reached your goals with that channel.
Here’s an example of how that might look:
Say you’re an independent recruiter trying to build your small business in Southern California. You have a basic understanding of SEO, along with a strong grasp on Facebook marketing and Google Adwords.
Here’s how your strategy may look:
Regardless of what channel you choose (particularly with social media and with blogs) you have to start by determining your schedule and sticking to it.
Marketing is all about consistency and reaching your audience at the right time – otherwise, you could annoy them, get them when they’re distracted, or miss them altogether.
Now, keep in mind that the “ideal” schedule will vary from business to business and from platform to platform, and there is no one perfect window for any platform (despite what some how-to’s may tell you), so you will have to engage in at least some degree of trial and error before you really determine what your users respond to.
That said, here’s a straightforward schedule that you can follow at the start:
And keep in mind that there are lots of tools, like Buffer that can help you automate this process as schedule posts ahead of time so that you never fall behind schedule or negatively impact your team’s productivity. And this can be hugely useful.
So what channel do you choose to start with? How do you know what will work and deliver results? Well, that goes back to the overarching goals that you set in the beginning and what you want to accomplish with your marketing.
Obviously, these goals will change as time goes on – and so will the tools that you choose to focus on – so start with the most pressing one here a.k.a the one that’s most closely tailored to your needs and goals.
That said, here are 4 broad marketing tools that you can use as a recruiter, what each one is best for, and how to get started with each of them today.
When it comes to great recruiting and effective digital marketing strategies, there’s one place that can’t be ignored: social media.
Think about it: the most effective way to market is to go where people already are, and – with over ⅔ of U.S. adults on Facebook and 3.196 billion people using social media in general – that place is on the social networks.
And these channels can actually be really strong tools, helping you to:
But, once again, you can’t start with all of them, and you have to find the best platform for your marketing goals.
Our frontrunners? LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here are the basics of each tool, what it’s best for, and how you can make the most of it for your marketing efforts.
As a professional network, LinkedIn is the most obvious social network to find highly qualified active and passive job candidates, and it still works today to help you connect with prospects, increase brand awareness, attract passive talent, and more.
In fact, jobs posted on LinkedIn receive more views from potential candidates than those on Facebook and Twitter combined, and these posted jobs garner twice as many applications per job advertisement in general.
So if you’re looking to improve your candidate pool, this may be the best marketing tool.
LinkedIn Groups are essentially hubs where businesses or like-minded individuals can discuss topics, establish their authority, and get their voice out there. It’s a great place to get your name out there or prove yourself as an expert, but this is more passive marketing.
LinkedIn is a great place to advertise for your business. Since people are already on LinkedIn for exclusively professional purposes, they don’t mind hearing from recruiters and other companies.
That’s why LinkedIn has one of the top platforms for lead generation and a great place to get your content in front of qualified individuals.
More job seekers are actually active on Facebook than LinkedIn. In fact, while LinkedIn has 94% of recruiters on the network, it only has 36% of job seekers – while, with Facebook, there are 65% of active recruiters and 85% of job seekers. That means that it’s a hugely untapped opportunity to find qualified talent.
Two words: Facebook Ads.
Unfortunately, getting organic reach on Facebook is becoming more and more difficult for businesses – which means that, today, you have to pay to play. That said, this platform really offers marketers a lot of data and a lot of targeting power.
As Neil Patel notes, you can use Facebook Ads to target management executives in the Bay area between the ages of 45 and 54 who play golf on a regular basis and regularly spend money on equipment (thanks to credit card data).
That’s MASSIVELY specific, and it means that if you really hone in on your personas from step 2, you’ll be able to get really high ROI using Facebook Ads.
To get started, go to the Facebook Business Manager landing page and create an account for your business.
From there, you can get started with your advertisements by following Facebook’s instructions (starting with defining the goal of your advertising campaign) and you can get your first marketing outreach up in minutes.
A lot of recruiters today still don’t use Twitter today because they’re not sure how to incorporate it into their broader recruitment strategies. That said, Twitter is an immensely searchable social media platform, meaning that you can find qualified candidates by following hashtags, locations, or RSS feed. This can make it easier for you to pinpoint candidates and get your message out there to be found.
This is the biggest wildcard on the list, and it isn’t typically a go-to platform for sourcing candidates or marketing as a recruiter.
That said, with over 100 million new users year over year, it’s really a great place to sell your brand and make your company more personable, friendly, and engaged with potential candidates – all of which can help improve brand loyalty and make candidates pick you over the competition.
Instagram at a glance:
Instagram is all about engagement. In fact, it massively outperforms both Facebook and Twitter on this front:
Here’s how to use this to your advantage and successfully market on Instagram:
If you want to try your hand with other social media tools, here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you understand the basics of your options:
Here, the goal is to segment your audience and create targeted automated emails that are automatically sent to specific, curated lists or groups of people.
Now, this may sound over-complicated, but the idea here is simple: you want to be able to communicate with your audience in a timely manner and to provide them with information that they’re interested in. And you don’t want to send the wrong information to the wrong people i.e. send a welcome email to someone who’s been working with you for a year.
This automated email marketing process allows you to avoid such mistakes and send the right message to the right people at the right time – with no additional effort on your part.
Here are three strong examples that basically any recruiter can use:
Welcome series automations should be sent to people at the top of your marketing funnel, a.k.a to new prospective candidates that have just filled out a form on your site or given you their information via a Facebook Ad, paid search engine ad, etc.
This is super important: these people are interested in you and your services, and they want to hear from you while your business is still top-of-mind.
Use this opportunity to engage with them, start a relationship, and validate their interest in your business using a personalized email sequence.
Here’s how a typical welcome series might work:
The key with any of these communications is to make sure that they’re timely, super engaging, and ultra-personalized to your personas.
What’s great is that you’re already speaking to your actual audience here (not just people who you think could be your actual audience) which means that you’re sending these emails to the perfect people to convert if you get this part right.
This workflow is for a completely different segment of your audience: existing contacts that you haven’t heard from in a while.
This is a great place to:
The goal, once again, is to maintain engagement and increase the know, like, and trust factor with your company. So choose the information or the offer that makes the most sense for your audience and interact accordingly.
Finally, you can engage with your contacts and site visitors based on specific actions they take on your website.
For example, say you have someone that’s a known visitor to your site – someone who is already in your system as a blog subscriber, a contact, etc. – and that person visits the FAQ on your site three times in a week.
You can trigger an email to be sent on that third visit to the page, and this email can:
This can not only keep your business top of mind but also help ease any doubts or concerns that are keeping that site visitor from actually reaching out or scheduling a call.
In that way, this kind of automation can really increase your return on investment (ROI) and help you reach your goals.
Looking for a tool to help you get started? MailChimp is a great platform to help you hit the ground running. And remember, you can always subscribe to your competitors’ email subscriptions to see exactly what kind of workflows are working for them.
Paid search, or PPC, is the number one way to get new candidates fast. Why? Paid results will always be on the first page of search engine results, and there are a whopping 210 million sponsored clicks on paid ads each day -that’s 6% of the total search volume.
On top of that, you can use paid ads to target people that are further along in the sales cycle aka people that are already in the mindset of converting (on the flip side those that click on organic results may be in the mindset of information-seeking behavior.
So how does it work?
It’s essentially a real estate game, and you’re bidding to occupy the prime real estate on the search engine results page.
You start, as always, by determining the right keywords to attract visitors and typing those in.
From there, the computer takes into account the keyword, the content industry, and the budget – and uses that information to place each ad. taking it from there.
Now, it’s important to make sure that you stick to our guidelines and create an ad that’s relevant, authentic, useful, and timely – since whoever has the highest quality score ends up paying the lowest cost per click (the amount that you as an advertiser have to pay when a user clicks on the link to your ad).
The key advantage of this cost per click model is that you only pay for people that click on your ads, so the overall cost can generally remain quite low and have a high ROI.
Generally speaking, there are only three elements to a classic paid ad: the headline, the offer, and the landing page.
Now, the landing page is really important here – if they’ve clicked through it’s because they’re interested in what you have to say, so you have to create a landing page (a simple website page) that keeps the same tone and delivers, quite simply, what they’re promised in the ad.
Go for something easy, appealing, and very low risk – and don’t ask for too many details. People only want to give their email, address, name, and phone number for something very expensive or high value. So make sure you only ask for their email and keep the information focused.
Now, we’ve already discussed content marketing in a way, since social media and emails technically fall under this umbrella, but in this section we’re going to focus on your broader content strategy.
As the name suggests, content marketing is the actual message, the words that you will use across all of your tools and platforms to speak to your personas and get them to complete a desired action.
This will usually take the form of:
While you will usually use many of these forms at once, the type of content that you focus on will depend largely on what your goals are and who you’re targeting.
Now, don’t overcomplicate this. You want your content to ultimately convert people and help you retain them, correct? (Whether it’s clients or candidates).
So you need your content to help them along the path:
That means creating content for every step of this conversion funnel. Now, be very aware that have to be super specific and super targeted here, since sending the right information to the right people at the wrong time can be just as damaging as sending the completely wrong message.
Here’s an example: say you have someone who’s already working with you, and you’re helping them find a job in the retail industry.
Well, say that person accidentally gets sent an email re-introducing them to you business, or a blog discussing the perks of a job in the construction industry.
They’ll think you’re not paying attention to their case or that you have no idea what you’re talking about, and at the very least they’ll lose confidence in your ability to take care of them and find a job that’s the right fit.
You have to avoid this kind of slip up.
At this stage, you want to increase the know, like, and trust factor. You want people to become aware of your business’ expertise and you want to begin acquisition.
This calls for educational, viral content. Convince them why they need a recruiter (and why, specifically, you). Get them curious about your brand and start breaking down any walls or hold-ups that they might have.
Types of content to use during this stage include:
Note: The discovery phase is not the time to sell yourself or talk about your business.
They don’t know they like you yet, so they don’t want to hear more about you. Instead, help them and provide useful information that they do want to hear about.
THEN they might be curious to hear about you specifically.
At this point, they may be actively looking for a recruiter to solve their problems or answer their questions, and they may be considering you as the answer.
So you’re speaking directly to you audience and convincing them that you can help them.
This is NOT the place to sell them, but it is the place to convince them that you’re better than your competitors.
Types of content to use during this stage include:
Now it’s time to turn them into customers and get them to convert. If you’ve done the other parts right, this shouldn’t be too hard.
Convince them with your most straightforward sales content and include things like:
This may be the most important part of any content marketing funnel. It’s 7x more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing one – which means that once you’ve done all this work, you want to keep your people around.
That means, re-engaging customers, helping them with onboarding, providing them with ongoing useful information, and more.
Content here includes things like:
For more inspiration, check out this helpful graphic:
Ultimately, you will likely end up employing more than one of the above channels to market to your target audience, and we want to emphasize that this is a good thing.
Why? You’ll often find that you’ll have to use multiple channels in conjunction in order to make the most out of them – and you shouldn’t skip that step for the sake of sticking to only one.
The “one at a time rule” exists exclusively to keep you on the right track and to ensure that each of your marketing efforts is successful before you move on.
But the ultimate goal is for you to diversify and get many new candidates engaged.
Furthermore, all of these marketing tactics have to work in a bigger context of your business and your operations.
A PPC ad, for example, may expose someone to a great piece of content, that will eventually get them on your email list, that will encourage them to call your business. And as you grow, these funnels will get more complex.
That said, to start out, you can keep it simple.
Here are some funnels you can use:
And remember, your ultimate purpose here is with any of these funnels is to make people aware of your business → Build trust and decrease friction → Make them an attractive offer.
When deciding what that offer might be, look back at your overarching goals and KPIs from step 1 to guide you, and remember to always go back to your main purpose.
And now you’ve come full circle. All marketing tactics are absolutely pointless if they don’t help you accomplish your larger business goals, so you have to keep track of your performance in order to make the exercise worthwhile.
This is often easier than it seems. Many tools today – like Facebook and MailChimp – offer an analytics component that will tell you exactly how each of your posts or advertisements are performing. But, to get a big-picture understanding, you should really familiarize yourself with a robust tool like Google Analytics.
This will not only help you understand your performance, but also narrow down demographics, customer behavior, and more.
Ok, that was a lot of information, and you may feel like you’re facing an uphill battle when it comes to getting started and implementing everything that you’ve learned in this book. But don’t worry – we won’t leave you hanging, and we’re here to help you simplify and streamline your marketing efforts!
Goals: The important, big picture results that you’re looking to achieve.
Strategy: The high-level thinking that’s going to help you achieve your overarching goal.
Tactic: The specific actions you take and tools you use in order to achieve your strategy.
Goal: Get x more candidates overy y time period by using z tools.
Strategy: Get away from traditional recruiting channels and to use tools off the beaten path to attract qualified candidates that you haven’t been able to reach up until this point.
Tactic: Spend $30 on Facebook Ads using Lookalike Audience targeting in order to attract people that are likely to be qualified
Goal 1: ____________________________
Goal 2: ____________________________
Goal 3: ____________________________
Use a tool like SEMrush’s SEO Keyword Magic tool to find both what keywords your competitors are targeting, and which ones they are consistently avoiding.
Using a tool like Buzzsumo, enter in your keywords. You will see the top-performing content that includes those words. Your next step? Read those pieces, determine what people find attractive about it, and create something even better.
Start by doing your research and checking out what your immediate, successful competitors are doing. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should copy or imitate them, but if they’ve found a really effective tactic on a specific marketing channel that resonates with a particular persona, you can avoid a lot of trial and error by understanding their techniques and implementing something similar.
Once you’re successful with one tool and schedule, repeat steps 3 and 4 with a new tool.
We have put together a detailed, comprehensive Recruitment Marketing Template that you can download and help track your marketing results.