Every staffing firm understands the importance of marketing. But few are prepared to put a dollar figure on it.
“I speak to 20-25 new staffing companies a month,” says Ryan Kovach, staffing CMO gun for hire, “and it’s fascinating to me that pretty much all of them don’t have a marketing budget.
“If you walk into a computer store you need to know whether you can afford the $350 Dell or the $3000 MacBook Pro. If you only have $350, no problem, you can now look at the specs and maximize the amount of computer you buy. I tell staffing firms that even if they only have $1000 a month for marketing, at least I can then work on a plan to maximize that $1000.”
Having previously looked at web strategy and brand differentiation, it’s time for part three of our four-part series on marketing strategies your staffing firm can no longer afford to ignore: knowing your budget.
Armed with a panel of industry experts, here we take a closer look at budget formation and expenditure, offering tips to help you get maximum reward from your marketing spend, whatever it might be.
Marketing doesn’t demand a ‘dive in head first’ approach. Dipping your toe can be a far more effective strategy in fact. With a wealth of freemium tools available, whether marketing automation, scheduling, analytics, or content creation, a staffing firm can test things out and see if and how they work.
You can start as small as you’d like, gradually growing your marketing investment as you identify the most effective tools and strategies.
This growth can go far beyond spend and strategy. It’s been said that automation can make your 10-person sales team function like a 100-person sales team. Tools like Mailchimp and chatbots are already widely used, and as automation technology continues to develop, it is becoming ever more accessible.
As above, marketing automation tools can be surprisingly cost-effective. “Even if you have some free tools that you can use for outreach, that expands your capabilities,” says Robert Mann, Automation and Workflow Consultant at Able. “If you can take your 10-person team and get them functioning like a 20-person team, let alone 100, there’s a ton of value there.”
Reiterating the points above, Vikki Mogg, Client Support Analyst at Herefish, explains that there’s no excuse for a firm to not push marketing boundaries.
“A lot of smaller firms don’t have much money, but there are a lot of things that you can do that don’t cost anything, and allow you to dip your toe, like social media and freemium marketing tools.”
But testing a range of tools is just the first step. Using A/B testing to develop strategies within your chosen tools is perhaps more important. The best marketing teams – in staffing or elsewhere – are those that aren’t afraid of failure. In fact, they actively embrace it. Failing means that you’re attempting new things and learning. Learning is always a positive thing.
A/B testing allows you to quickly understand which strategies succeed, and which fail. Like an optometrist, you offer your audience two options, see which resonates more, and develop two further options around that theme.
Testing is about reducing risk and hyper-targeting marketing spend. You might be surprised exactly how far your budget goes if you spend some time understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Another key part of the budget puzzle is understanding what you aim to get out of your efforts and tracking your success against firm metrics. Shawn Gaines, CMO at Able, advises that you should be perfectly transparent about goals and KPIs with your entire team.
“I’ve been able to expand marketing budgets in the past by saying to the CEO ‘here’s what we’re going to spend on marketing – I think this part is going to get X return, but I don’t know about this other part. But we’re going to test, try new avenues, and learn’. This helps you to show that testing is meaningful, and that you should keep getting a budget to try new things.”
A pragmatic C-suite will not only see the value in diving into the unknown – they’ll be excited by it. And by using the freemium tools and A/B testing mentioned above, you can minimize risk and maximize effectiveness. It’s an old-fashioned win-win.
Digital marketing is a sprawling, complex field, loaded with confusing metrics and acronyms. While digital marketing tools are becoming more and more user-friendly, knowing exactly which ones to use and when to use them can be a more confusing prospect. Procuring the services of a professional is therefore worth it if you’re committed to maximizing the return on your marketing investment.
“Companies don’t want to say what their budget is because they’re afraid a marketer will spend it all,” says Kovach, “but an ethical marketer won’t mind what your budget is – their concern is maximizing the investment you make.”
Do your research and pick an ethical and effective marketer to work with. Good marketers, like good staffing firms, will see themselves not as a supplier to your business, but a partner in it. As such they’ll be as excited to grow your company as you are.
Whether your budget will buy you the marketing equivalent of a MacBook Pro or a base model Dell doesn’t matter. Your success is tied less to your wallet than it is to your willingness. If you’re committed to a marketing focus, to testing, failing, and learning, to partnering with experts who can drive your efforts forward, the only way is up.
Once you’ve formed your budget, what comes next? Join us for the final installment of this four-part series, where we’ll be taking a look at how to implement everything we’ve learned thus far. And if you missed the first two marketing strategy posts, you can learn more about web strategy and brand differentiation here.