Traditional marketing methods – print ads, billboards, flyers, brochures, TV or radio spots – were wildly successful for many years. It’s no surprise that as there have been disruptions to print and electronic media, those methods are not as effective as they used to be. Inbound marketing is a new methodology that can be highly effective, although it is much different from traditional marketing efforts. What is inbound marketing? It’s a strategy that helps draw customers to you through a variety of attraction and nurturing tactics including content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and more.
The way people make purchasing decisions has changed dramatically. Back in the day, the seller controlled all the information about the product or service. When a business needed to hire a recruitment firm, they would look through the telephone book and start calling them. At that point, the recruiting firm was in a position to heavily influence the sales process. With the advent of the internet, consumers of all types are able to do their own research and in many cases have their purchasing decision narrowed down to a shortlist before ever having a direct interaction with the seller. There are inbound marketing activities that all recruitment firms can employ in order to attract both candidates and clients. Here is a very basic introduction to these concepts:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – In a nutshell, SEO means optimizing your website so that clients and candidates can easily find your firm when conducting online searches. Ideally, you want your firm listed in the top few spots on the search results page. To do this, you need to think about what you’re selling, and how people would go about searching for that. That could include things like “recruitment firms in Houston, Texas” or “financial services recruiters.” Once you have a list of search terms and phrases that identify your business, you will need to create content on your site that utilizes those words and phrases. This is an overly simplified description, but covers the basics. When we first started down the SEO path, we utilized a lot of training and resources by Jason McDonald, which were extremely helpful (and budget-friendly as well).
- Content Marketing – Once you’ve helped visitors find your search, you need to offer valuable content related to their search terms. This content should educate potential customers in some way. And you need to have a regular supply of fresh content so that the search indexes continually visit your site and keep it high in the search rankings. A blog is an excellent way to enter the content marketing scene. Even better if you allow readers to subscribe via email, and automatically push new content out to your subscribers as you create it. White papers, guides, e-books are other kinds of valuable content to share.
- Social Media – After creating and posting your amazing content, the next step is letting the universe know that it exists. Social media can be invaluable to help you share your message by getting others to share it as well. Make sure website visitors can easily share your content to their social channels. Do some research to determine the social media sites where your potential customers are likely to be, and post your content there. Tools like Canva and Bit.ly offer free versions that help you create professional images and easy-to-click hyperlinks.
- Landing Pages – In layman’s terms, a landing page is the page a website visitor goes to (“lands on”) after clicking a call-to-action somewhere else. Effective landing pages match your overall site branding, but just ONE primary activity that can be conducted there (with minimal navigation back to your main site). For example, if your call to action is “download our free white paper,” the corresponding landing page would simply include a short form to fill out with a download button to access the white paper. The goal here is to convert your traffic into a lead, so you don’t want to confuse your visitor by offering multiple actionable items.
There is a lot more to learn and do to build a successful inbound marketing program for your recruitment firm. These initial steps will go a long way to ensuring your firm is findable and attractive to potential customers. Once you convert traffic to leads, you can begin to nurture those leads through your sales funnel. We’ve found it’s much easier to close sales with “warm” prospects. Do you have an inbound marketing success story to share? Drop a note in the comments!