The internet isn’t just a marketing channel, it’s the marketing channel.
Despite this seemingly obvious fact, there’s still some hesitancy within the staffing industry to fully commit to a web strategy. SEO, PPC, content, and social media efforts are often half-hearted – toes are dipped, but firms remain on the edge of the pool, unwilling to dive in due to either a lack of knowledge or lack of time.
For the next four weeks, we will release one blog a week focusing on numerous marketing strategy categories. The first in this four-part series, here we’ll take a broad look at web strategy. Drawing on advice from experts, we’ll drill down on the key areas that you should focus, and the importance of approaching any such effort with an open mind.
“Your brand has to be visible, it has to be credible, and it has to be something that answers [a client or candidate’s] unique problems, so that they want to engage with your company,” explains Ryan Kovach, freelance staffing CMO.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the web strategy elements that will allow you to achieve just that.
Let’s first talk about what SEO and PPC are. SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. PPC is a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it's a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to ‘earn’ those visits organically.
By combining both of these methods effectively, your goal of getting to the top of Google is possible. But in the fervent pursuit of top spot, targeting the most relevant and effective keywords and phrases can be overlooked.
You need to have a deep understanding of your target audience and their search behaviors before you can effectively implement either SEO or PPC. To jump in either too early or half-heartedly is to set yourself up for failure, extinguishing your enthusiasm in the process.
If your audience is here – and spoiler alert: they almost definitely are – you need to create a presence. Social media offers a more immersive brand experience to your audience than your website does, so clients and candidates will often head here to get a better sense of your brand through your posts and interactions. LinkedIn is generally the platform of choice for staffing firms, but the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and even Tik Tok have their place too.
To minimize effort and maximize reward, there are a wealth of free tools that can help you to schedule, automate, and design posts. It’s also important that you stick to brand image to ensure your message attracts the right audience.
Link building is a key aspect of SEO strategy, but it is undoubtedly the most difficult to deliver. Google trusts websites and web pages that have links from other websites back to their pages, otherwise known as backlinks – this demonstrates that other internet users find the information valuable. The only way to generate these backlinks is to:
Link building does not deliver instant gratification – there are no shortcuts here. But when done well, it is an incredibly effective strategy, pushing you to the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
There are a number of ways you can think about your website: as a digital storefront that delivers that all important first impression, as an extra employee that brings in business, or as a product that needs a regular enhancement in order to stay competitive.
“You wouldn't just create a product, get it out the door, and say ‘we're done’” says Shawn Gaines, CMO at Able. “I highly recommend creating a roadmap for your website to make it more powerful, more interesting.”
Your website should be updated and improved constantly, to enhance the experience offered to visitors, and to increase your organic traffic through SEO.
Once a new and exotic technology, chatbots are now seen more as an integral part of a website, performing a valuable role in directing traffic to the correct department, or procuring basic information from visitors. Incredibly simple to employ, they free up your team members to concentrate on higher value work.
“As a marketer in a saturated industry like staffing, I’m trying to get my client’s head above everyone else’s,” says Kovach. “Back in 2006 I was telling my clients about the importance of blogging; how writing two blogs a week now will mean that in ten years you’ll have thousands of pages of quality content directing back to your brand, creating an ecosystem that’s very difficult for your competitors to compete with. 14 years later I’m still on the rooftop yelling the same thing.”
Content creation doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact a single piece of source material, whether an interview, a webinar, or a video, can be used to create any number of other pieces: you can use it to write blog posts and how to guides, cut it up and post it across your social profiles, use quotes on your website, embed it into an email series; the options are essentially endless.
Be careful not to blast the same piece of content to the same people. Review user engagement statistics to see how each prospect likes to consume content, and do what you can to align with those insights.
Like blogs, email remains as important today as it ever has been. The keys to modern email are segmentation and customization:
It’s critical that you develop an email strategy that complements your recruiters’ efforts – back up what they’re saying and do so at predefined touchpoints, as this will serve to push processes along.
Video today is what blogs were in 2006 – a content tool ready to be adopted and capitalized upon.
Vikki Mogg, Client Support Analyst at Herefish, suggests making the most of your in-house resources. “No one knows what's going on in the market better than the consultants that are in it, and who are talking to people every day,” she notes. And by recording a video of a recruiter offering expert advice to candidates, you save money, give the content authenticity, and enhance the brands of both employee and employer.
As attention spans get shorter, you need to create short and easily digestible video segments. You can start quite small, even by creating personalized videos to send to candidates and post on social media.
The final piece of the web strategy puzzle is targeting. You need to understand exactly where your candidates are and take your brand to them – you can’t expect that they’ll find you.
What is your audience’s preferred social media platform: LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tik Tok? How do they prefer to communicate: via email, text message, or instant messaging apps? Are they actively looking for work, or more passive candidates? Answering these questions will allow you to hyper-target your marketing efforts and get a far greater bang for your buck.
By using these elements, a staffing firm can begin to form a comprehensive web strategy – one that will ensure your organization isn’t left behind in our ever more digital world.
Eager to learn more? Join us for part two of this four-part series, where we’ll be taking a look at how to differentiate your brand.