by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins (LinkedIn)
Time is a precious commodity that most recruiters agree they have very little of. But if we were to say to you that simply allocating an additional one hour each week to produce a monthly newsletter could generate over £50,000 in new revenue for your agency each year, would you do it?
It may seem ever so critical for us to say that as recruiters your focus is primarily fixated on the here and now. However, to really grow your business over the longer term you have to play the long ball game.
That means doing things that may not deliver an immediate return on your investment but they will reap the rewards over time. Remember, you can’t plant the vines and expect to bottle your Chateau Margaux in the same season.
With that in mind, here are four things that will really help to position you and your agency as a genuine go-to provider. These are not aimed at replacing other activities such as marketing or advertising. Rather they serve to complement each other.
- Host roundtables:
Quite why more recruitment firms don’t host roundtables is something of a mystery. They are a simple yet incredibly effective tactic to boost your standing within your sector and the wider recruitment industry itself.
Take a prominent issue that is having a significant impact within the sectors that your clients operate and invite a group of people to debate the issue. The group will consist of one or two people from your own agency along with a handful of clients or prospects and a local/business journalist – all will be key stakeholders and influencers and each will invariably have their own opinion on the issue at hand.
The objective will be to tackle three or four key areas and discuss potential solutions that can help others within the sector to overcome the challenges they are also facing. Here’s an example of one such event we ran for a search client of ours.
Our client specialised in cyber security recruitment – a sector that is facing a chronic shortfall of suitably skilled candidates. Both employers and recruiters face significant challenges in finding the right staff to fill those roles needed in the here and now and, crucially, within the next few years.
So we set up a breakfast meeting where we invited representatives from various organisations in The City (mainly finance, banking, retail and IT) as well as partnering with a leading business journalist.
This ensured we would get media coverage for the event, with the key take-aways from the breakfast meeting forming the central focus of the resulting article. Coverage was also widespread across the agency’s own blog and social media accounts as well as those of each of the organisations represented at the event.
We didn’t film this event but if you do, the SEO value can be immense as video content is phenomenally powerful at driving traffic and building your online brand.
- Survey your market:
In the run up to the Brexit vote, YouGov and Ipsos Mori et al conducted a number of surveys to gauge how the electorate might vote. These surveys weren’t aimed at serving as a predictor for future voter behaviour, they were a real time gauge of public opinion at a given moment. This is what you could do too.
Survey your potential customer base and identify where the need exists, unearthing facts such as “65% of companies don’t have a formal onboarding process yet 7 in 10 report difficulty retaining top talent.” You knew there was a need for what you are offering and now you have the stats to back it up – stats that you can use to ‘sell’ your story to the media.
We did the same ourselves.
We researched the number of recruitment businesses that have been set up over the last five years and the total number currently registered in the UK – stats they no one appeared to know.
The result: Media coverage in Recruiter, Recruitment International, Global Recruiter, Recruitment Grapevine, OnRec and almost 20 other media. We are also working on a follow up piece with Reuters. If you have information, people want it!
- Engage and support your clients via newsletters:
You should have a database of clients and candidates, but how often do you actively engage with them? If all you are doing is ‘selling’ the jobs or candidates you have that’s not going to win you many friends.
Clients – by which we mean clients in the traditional sense AND candidates – want information that can make their lives better. That’s not meant to sound like PR twaddle, they are looking for content that has value.
So you could consider included a three or four links to articles from the top trade publications, along with a couple of articles on your agency blog page or LinkedIn profile.
Of course there is nothing wrong with including a sales piece in there, just don’t make this the focus of your newsletter. As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it – Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. But it works.
We worked with a recruiter based in the Home Counties and East Anglia who attributed around 2-3 new placements each month as a direct result of the newsletter they emailed to their database.
Based on the UK average salary and the average commission rate, that worked out at around £4,500-£6,700 extra billings per month. That’s over £50,000 a year!
It works for us, too. Our recruiter newsletter generates a number of new enquiries for PR services and over the last month alone has helped us win two new clients.
- Upload case studies to your site:
At the recent The Recruitment Network event that I attended in London, as part of Clearly’s Silver Sponsor partnership, I was sat with a number of recruitment director’s and agency owners. Each of them said they have a plethora of great examples of successful assignments they have worked and the relationships they have with their clients, some stretching back several years.
This got me thinking, Why aren’t more agencies promoting their case studies on their websites? Invariably the reason is because of time, or the lack of it.
But case studies are one of the most effective ways of selling how great you are at what you do.
Case studies detailing the recruitment challenges your clients faced and the solutions that you provided to ensure a successful hire, will boost your profile more than any use of hyperbole ever will.
In doing so, you will inspire confidence in what you can do and persuade potential clients to want to work with you.
Getting your name ‘out there’ and heard above the increasingly audible recruitment noise is of course hard work, but it is more than achievable.
The reality is quite simply this: Around 380 new recruitment businesses are registered each month in the UK and if you don’t do any form of promotional activity such as PR, you WILL get left behind.