Email marketing is big business. When done correctly, such as in the way Amazon uses it, it can generate huge sales to genuine prospects. If you are serious about hiring top talent your talent pool needs the same attention as your customers.
Customers prefer to receive communication by email and respond in large numbers to specific offers or deals. The impact of a good email marketing strategy can be massive because you have a group of people that have elected to receive communication from your company and are actually waiting to hear from you. In terms of recruitment this is absolute gold. It is a natural extension of both your talent pool and your careers website. Getting it right means a lot, so we will take a look at setting up your email marketing and how this can impact the success of your recruitment, including growing your employer brand. When someone browses your careers website, applies for a job with you or joins your talent pool, what do you do with their information? Do you just hold it on file for future use? Or do you ask their permission to keep in touch? It would be great to be able to pick up the phone to each of these people every few weeks and see how they are, but this is time-consuming and expensive. But by sending them a regular email you can stay in touch and build your reputation automatically.
This will be done through the use of an email service provider. There are many review websites for the various options out there now, so take a look at the providers’ reputation and the services they offer. You want them to be reliable and to give you great customer service. Ask your peers for any recommendations or providers to avoid. Selecting your email service provider is like selecting any other member of your team. The best provider will bring you the best results.
Start by thinking about what you actually want for your email marketing. You will have a certain number of subscribers in mind, so you need to establish how you are going to collect these subscribers. You can sign them up from your careers website, ask permission from all those who apply for jobs you advertise and leverage your social media to ask for subscribers. YouTube is another great way to attract subscribers. Make the most of your presence wherever it is. You will have a good idea of how many subscribers are useful to you from the number of jobs you normally advertise in a given year. You know how many applicants you want to attract to each vacancy so from there you can get a broad idea of how many subscribers you want. It is useful to set a target number of subscribers for the first year, to become your measure of success.
The easiest way to win in this area is to set up a subscribe form on your website. Something along the lines of ‘Do you like what you see? Want more tips on how to write the perfect job application? Then sign up here for our weekly email.’ This turns the casual viewer into someone that has given you their permission to be contacted every week. You can build a list of people that want to hear from you. This is invaluable for attracting and retaining the top talent because you will find today's candidate on their smartphone, checking their email or social media accounts regularly. As long as the content is fresh and interesting, you have someone who grows to know and like your employer brand. You have a potential applicant that will now be raring to work for you. If you tap into today's candidate's need to make a difference and to work for an employer that values them, you are immediately onto a winner.
You can multiply the effect of the subscribe form by prompting people from other sources to sign up too. If all your social media recruitment marketing is designed to return your readers to your careers website then maybe a pop-up as the site is first entered is a good way to get interested parties to subscribe to the information you send out. You can use special offers to leverage the number of subscribers. Any offer of a free trial, a free e-book or a discount code to subscribers will more than likely get you more subscribers than just asking for people to sign up. It is human nature that people are more moved by the offer of something free than they are by the offer of information. Think about all the places that your company is seen and where you would like to convert users into subscribers. Try to get that message across in all of these places.
Once you have put steps in place to grow your subscribers you need to contact them. There are a few basic messages that you need to get across to all of your subscribers in the early days before you establish an ongoing line of communication. It is all about easing your subscribers into the flow of messages that you will deliver in the future. The first message should be a confirmation message. It is quite disconcerting for people when they aren’t absolutely certain that they have subscribed. The confirmation email will reassure the subscriber that they have opted to receive your messages and removes the element of doubt.
The next message will be the welcome message thanking them for subscribing and delivering any offers that you promised. The most important part of the welcome message is to outline what they have subscribed to. It should briefly explain the frequency of the emails and the content of the emails that they will receive. As with all other forms of marketing it is important that you are delivering the right messages to the relevant people. If someone has signed up specifically for the special offers you have promised but would never be in a position to apply for one of your vacancies, it may be just as well that they opt out of the email marketing now. You want as many subscribers as you can get, but you will only gain value from those that will be in a position to apply with you in the future. The welcome message gives the new subscriber the information they need to understand where things will go from here.
After this it is a case of setting up and sending regular emails that will create the ongoing communication with your prospects. You need to remember what it was that you promised in the first place. If, as in the example above, you said that you would send tips on how to create the perfect job application, this is what you need to email out. The regular emails will form the backbone of your relationship with your subscribers. Your messages will become the promotion of your employer brand with this group and you can use this forum to communicate your values and ideals. As this grows over time you will have people that will jump at the chance to apply for any job vacancies you advertise in the future. You get a ready-made talent pool that has asked to be kept informed about what you have to say.
There will be times when your emails don’t follow the usual patterns that you have established above; when there is something special or different to say - mainly when you have a vacancy. These vacancy announcement emails are when you want to deliver a quick message and elicit a response. The message in these emails needs to be very clear and the content will be much shorter than usual. You want your audience to know that you have a job vacancy and then to click through to the details on your careers website. Make sure that you capture their attention and give a clear call to action. This is when you convert your subscribers into potential new recruits. The hard work that you have put in so far can pay off here.
The content of your emails
The content in your emails won’t be well-received if it is just full of talk about how great your company is. Although the end objective is to get people to want to work for you, you need to be much more subtle about how you achieve this. People want to subscribe to an email every week because they get something out of it. You need to produce something that has them staying on as subscribers and enhancing your employer brand every single week. There are several ways in which you can do this. Keeping people informed about the latest news in your industry is a way to gain subscribers and keep up the interest levels. The readers that you want will be in your industry already or interested in your industry. If you can give them new and engaging content about this industry then they will stay tuned in.
Alternatively, you can give people ideas and tips about their perfect job application. These work for both parties: you are telling subscribers how to give you a better application. They will read every week because they are getting information that can help them. You will be getting a readership that wants to see what you tell them next. This gives your employer brand a massive lift because you are seen as a company that looks after people whether they work for you or not. Don’t forget that the today's candidate wants to work for an employer that has similar values to them and they want to feel as though they make a difference. If your company is making a difference to the lives and job prospects of their subscribers then you will be better able to attract and retain talent.
Designing your emails
It’s important to consider the visual impact of your emails. The first consideration is the branding. We know how important consistency is across your employer branding and the email is no exception. If someone doesn’t recognise it as coming from the company they subscribed to, you may lose them straight away. Your logo, placed prominently, will give the reader an immediate confirmation of who you are. Like much of marketing, too many words can be a real killer. You need to break it up with images, charts, graphs or other visual aids. The email that is full of words will not get the same response as those that have something visual to enhance the way they look and feel. Another way to enhance this effect is to break up the text in other ways. The use of colour, text in different sizes, bullet points, capitals, bold and underlined text are all great ways of making sure that everything in your email looks and feels different to the subscriber. Every way in which you can make the email feel less like just a series of connected words is a positive move in terms of retaining subscribers and getting them to read what you have written.
The other really big consideration here is how the email is structured. With the best will in the world, you will not get every reader to get to the bottom of every email you send. This just does not happen. So the most important information needs to be at the top of the email. This is the part that all your readers will see.
The last consideration is the time of day that you send these emails. You will probably have a readership that is largely within your own country. You will want to hit your subscribers at a time that suits them so you need to make sure that it arrives in their email inbox at an opportune time. Start with the time that you feel works best but you can monitor the success of these emails and adjust as you see necessary.
Measuring the performance of your email campaigns
As part of the programme from your email service provider you will see data on how the email has performed. It will show you how many subscribers clicked through, which content was most successful and who went on to spend time on your careers website. When you know what is working well, you can give your readers more of it. When you know what your readers don’t respond to, you know what to eliminate. This is an ongoing process of improvement. As your subscriber profile changes the content that they want to read may change as well.
Don’t forget to look at people that unsubscribe too. There will inevitably be some people who no longer want to receive your emails. This is not a disaster. Of course you’d rather keep all your subscribers, but you only want followers that are getting something out of it. Don’t be afraid to ask those who unsubscribe why they are leaving. You want to understand what is making people leave your mailing list because when you understand it you can do something to prevent it in future. This is a constant process of re-evaluation, because the smart recruiter stays ahead of the game at all times instead of reacting after the fact.