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Influencer marketing: A powerful tool in today’s marketing landscape

Influencer marketing: A powerful tool in today’s marketing landscape

 

Customers today are turning to influencers to make their buying decisions more than ever! For any business looking to grow, influencer marketing can work wonders. Just as we rely on what others say about the quality and experience of the product and service, a social media influencer, expert or credible media outlet acts as a trusted source of information. Regardless of the size, big or small, companies now realize the power of building relationships with the influencers, i.e., the person with the ability to influence the perception of others and make them perform the desired action.

 

Having a perfect combination of reach, contextual credibility, and salesmanship, influencers hold a great potential to deliver the message to a broad audience and influence them to maximize marketing opportunities. You can simply create great content, earn credibility and get a massive exposure by leveraging to influencers for your business. A recent study also indicates that 30% of the customers are likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger, which makes influencer marketing worth investing. If you are thinking to start your own influencer marketing strategy, here are few ways how you can benefit immensely:  

 

  • Get exposure to a large audience: The best part about influencer marketing campaigns is that, it can be suitable for both, broad as well as a niche audience. Social media influencers have followers in millions which can bring your business into the limelight. You can also endorse influencers who specialize in a specific category like fashion, travel, etc. Using influencer marketing as a part of your marketing strategy ensures that you reach the exact target audience. This helps you to optimize your campaign towards a fragmented or niche audience. Having influencers talking about your product or service will ensure that you get business from the new audience that you wouldn’t have reached before by other means.   

 

  • Win reviews from trusted influencers: One of the biggest advantages of working with influencers is that you can win great reviews on which your audience trust and beliefs. Just as online users tend to rely on recommendations or suggestions given by their close people or friends regarding particular products or services, similarly, reviews given by the powerful influencers drives compelling results. However, it is important that an influencer provide an honest review to strengthen credibility as audience prefer genuine and truthful reviews. For customers, a review that outlines good, as well as bad things about the product or service, is considered the best.

 

  • Influencers help to generate higher revenues: Influencer marketing had a great return on investment (ROI). It can immensely help you boost your conversions rates and fortify your sales. Right from the leading companies to startups, all business are reaping benefits of influencer marketing. The main reason why influencers drive sales and affect purchasing decisions is that they are social celebrities with high engagement and ability to persuade others. Their message, content, videos, pictures or pictures reaches thousands of people that generate conversions on a large scale.  

 

  • Increases brand awareness: Undoubtedly, influencer marketing is a great way to boost your brand awareness. Having influencer talking about your brand can simply establish your brand as more authentic and popular. As influencers have millions of followers on social media, they make use of different these channels to position your business as a leading brand and amplify your brand’s reach. Especially the startups or small business who strive to enhance their brand awareness can harness the use of influencer marketing and can also strengthen your social media presence.  

 

Influencer marketing helps your business a viable option to interact with customers in a natural way and direct them towards the desired action. So, now when you know what influencer marketing has to offer you, it’s time for you to incorporate it into your marketing strategy and drive some real time results!

Lead Generation Strategies and an Action Plan for Recruitment Companies

Lead Generation Strategies and an Action Plan for Recruitment Companies

Recruitment companies face three critical challenges in acquiring new clients: intense competition, lack of differentiation in pricing and services, and a lack of exclusivity (the practice of having multiple vendors working for the same client). Most of the placement agencies’ owners depend on personal connections and references from the existing clients to generate leads. These methods may be useful in acquiring a few clients in the long term. However, it is time-consuming and highly unscalable.

The revenue or growth of the organization will be limited by the personal connection of its proprietors. Therefore, branding and innovative lead generation strategy are necessary to create more vendor empanelment opportunities.  Fortunately, the internet has created endless possibilities for everyone including the HR and recruitment organizations. You can use various elements of digital marketing to generate high value leads for your recruitment business.

In this blog, we have covered five lead generation strategies and a 10-week action plan to generate more leads for your recruitment company. Some of these strategies deliver results in the long run while others produce instant results.

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Lead Generation Strategy for Placement Agencies

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Five Lead Generation Strategies for a Recruitment Business

1. Offline Events

Attend offline events to expand your network. Integrate it with your email and social media strategies as discussed in the next section. The internet will play the role of an enabler or a catalyst in fructifying your offline plan. Don’t sell yourself or your services in the events. Talk to as many people as possible and build a personal rapport. Add them to LinkedIn, collect their email ids and start following them on Twitter. Initiate a conversation (online or offline) once in a while to engage with them without selling your services.

Generate Leads Offline Events

2. Email Marketing

HR heads (or more precisely Talent Acquisition heads) receive a lot of emails from recruiters and HR software solution providers on a daily basis. Sending a sales pitch to random HR professionals will not lead to meaningful results. In fact, it hampers the reputation of email senders. The last thing you will want is to be known as spammers in the close-knit HR community. Thus, you need to build an email strategy carefully to develop and expand personal relationships.

The biggest challenge in implementing a successful email marketing campaign is generating a list of relevant email ids. Attending offline events and connecting with more people on social media will give you a heads up on making an email list.
Posting relevant contents such as latest news, HR trends, interesting blogs, etc. will fetch more readers. Add an email subscription form on your website and integrate with an email marketing or lead generation software such as MailChimp or Optin Monster. Over time, you will build an excellent email list.
Create a separate list of candidates whom you have placed in your clients’ organizations. Stay in touch with both, the successful candidates as well as the clients.

Start sending a weekly or a monthly newsletter to your subscribers, social and personal connections. Don’t send more than four email newsletters in a month. Creating a system to send personalized birthday or festival greetings will particularly be helpful in nurturing the relationships. A recruitment business is all about building meaningful relationships, and email marketing serve precisely the same purpose.

3. LinkedIn and Twitter

As a recruiter, you know the value of LinkedIn more than anyone else. Be more innovative on LinkedIn to acquire clients. Make your LinkedIn experience more meaningful and productive.
You may add connections from the industries which you currently serve. Be location specific so that you can meet prospects to pitch for vendor empanelment. Many times, clients look for local vendors for close collaboration while hiring for critical positions. Thus, connect with HR Professionals or CXOs only from a particular location and industry for better results in fewer efforts.

Twitter may not be useful in generating leads. However, it is an excellent platform to engage with industry leaders and initiate meaningful conversations. If you can spend at least 10 minutes a day on Twitter, it will help you in building a meaningful rapport with talent acquisition heads from top companies.

4. Google Adwords

Very few recruitment firms use Google Adwords to promote their services. Their biggest fear is of getting irrelevant clicks from job seekers. Of course, it is tough to ensure that your ads will be clicked only by clients and not job seekers. However, in my experience, Google Adwords is an effective marketing tool to generate leads for placement consultancy organizations. You need to monitor your campaign, use negative keywords and optimize it on a regular basis to ensure that the ads get clicked by potential clients. You can also run Display Ads campaign on select publishers and websites which serves to HR professionals. Remember that if you want to use Google Adwords, then you need to spend significant time to monitor the campaigns. It is advised to hire Google certified Adwords expert to run the paid campaigns.

Use following techniques to generate better results:

  • Create industry and location specific campaigns
  • Focus on long tail keywords
  • Update the list of negative keywords on a regular basis
  • Write Ad copy that depicts that it is meant only for employers
  • Run Google Adwords campaign for at least 30 days to evaluate its effectiveness

5. Search Engine Optimization

SEO works in the long-term. You need to invest time, energy and money and patiently wait for six to twelve months to see the impact. However, the results of SEO are exceptional. You may get inquiries from international companies and reputed brand names (of course you must have the capability to meet the requirements). If you provide HR services such as RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing), Temp Staffing, Entry level hiring and bulk hiring solutions, then the SEO should be the most crucial element of your marketing strategy. It also helps you in getting more clients from startup and growing SMEs community.

Quick SEO tips to rank faster:

  • Each page of your site should have at least 1000 Words
  • Use LSI method to make content more user as well as SEO friendly
  • Never write generic content – If you are a startup, do write more about skills and experience of founders. But avoid writing generic stuff.
  • Work on long tail keywords which will be used by client to search for specific HR services
  • Industry and Location specific keywords
  • Write Guest Posts
  • Publish high-quality blogs on a regular basis

Implementing all five strategies at one point in time will be difficult for small recruitment firms and startups. Outsourcing all these activities to a qualified agency may also be an expensive proposition. Thus, prioritize your goals, set a budget (in terms of time and money), and work on any two strategies at a time which can fit into the budget. Remember that until you have a sound strategy in place, no amount of efforts will deliver an optimum result. Thus it is crucial to have a sound strategy and an action plan ready before you start promoting your business.

Generic Action Plan for Marketing or Promoting recruitment services

Digital marketing can become overwhelming and confusing if you don’t plan it properly and implement it step by step. A lot of business owners and marketers start with great enthusiasm but soon lose motivation after discovering the sea of tasks that need to be done to achieve even average results. Here is a generic Action Plan that will guide you to implement a digital marketing campaign successfully without creating a big hole in your pocket or putting you through the stress of managing time between your core business and digital marketing.

Week 1 – Create and Document a Strategy

Create and document a digital marketing strategy for your recruitment firm. No internet marketing efforts will ever be successful until it creates value for the target audience. So, build a plan around your users and not around your business. The strategy should include at least the following items:

  • The objective and goals of the campaign
  • Budget
  • Identification of a distinct target audience
  • Media Mix
  • Resource Requirements
  • Action plan with a predetermined timeline
  • Measurement metrics
  • Campaign optimization plan

Document your strategy 2-3 pages. You may also hire an internet marketing consultant or a writer to do this for you.

Week 2 – Selection of Keywords

Select keywords for which you want to optimize your website for search engines. This step is essential even if you don’t plan to do SEO in the future. So spend significant time on this activity and shortlist a list of a few relevant keywords.

Week 3 – On-site Checklist

Ensure that your site must have the following

  • Word count on every page (except “Contact Us” or similar pages) – at least 1000 Words
  • The website content should reflect your expertise. Don’t put generic content (you can check the relevance of content by replacing your company name with a random Name XYZ. By changing a company name if the information doesn’t become incorrect or irrelevant, the content is generic.
  • Optimize Title tags, meta description, and Image alt-tag optimization
  • Inclusion of Site Map on the website
  • Integration of Google Analytics, Webmaster tool and Social media sites with the website
  • “Contact Us” form is working correctly – Check where do you receive the data, when a user generates an inquiry
  • Integration of Newsletter Subscription form
  • A blog section is must on the site

Week 4 – Work on the budget for six months

Decide a budget for six months. Think how much money you are ready to spend over next six month even if you don’t get any results. (Setting the expectation is critical in deciding the budget. No marketing activity has ever guaranteed results. However, all skilled marketers know that every penny spent on marketing activities never goes waste). Plan your resources according to the budget.

I am dedicating one full week to this activity as the tasks which need to be executed in Week 1 & Week 2 may get extended in Week 3. Thus putting extra time here will keep your schedule intact.

Week 5 – Pick up two marketing activities and create a mini-plan for one week

In business, a lot of unexpected things happen within a short span of time. So, we can’t plan accurately for more than a few days. If you have just started with digital marketing, then it is advisable to prepare your schedule for a week and execute it properly. At the end of the week, you will get an idea of how much bandwidth and money you need to perform a task properly. I recommend that in the beginning you plan only those activities which can be implemented by spending 30 minutes a day.  Keep in mind that you have many other things to do. So you can’t dedicate more than half an hour in one particular activity on a regular basis.

Recommendations – Start with LinkedIn and SEO if you are a beginner.

Week 6 – Adjust your targets for Week 5 and optimize your schedule

Based on the work done in the previous week, you need to adjust your target for this week. It must be achievable despite all the uncertainties and exigencies that may come up as a part of the business.  Optimize your schedule to boost your productivity. Research for tools which can improve your efficiency.

Week 7 – Workforce Planning

By now, you will have a better understanding of the manhours required to do various tasks. At this point, you also need to make a decision about whether you want to hire a dedicated staff or outsource the work to a qualified digital marketing agency. Hiring a new employee can add to your fix expenses and management workload. Outsourcing is the best way to get more work done at a faster pace. However, you need to spend some time in selecting the right agency and communicating your vision to them appropriately. You may also need to make adjustments in the budget at this stage.

Week 8 – Check the Site’s Performance

Check site’s performance with Google Analytics and Search Console tools. Set a performance target for next four months. It will help you monitor the outcome. Remember that your clients go through a purchase journey before hiring a placement agency. You need to assist your potential leads at every stage of their purchase journey. Thus, you need to create relevant and fresh content (through blog section) to educate your customers and help them make informed decisions. Also, don’t expect the results in just a few weeks of work. It requires time and efforts to capture the attention of your target audience during the different stages of the purchase process.

Monitor the following metric to evaluate the digital marketing efforts (it is the bare minimum, the actual parameters depend on your business objectives):

  • Unique Visitors
  • No of email subscribers
  • Bounce Rate
  • Time spent by users on your site
  • Most visited pages

Week 9 – It is time to go aggressive

By now, you would have a fair understanding of time and efforts required to achieve a particular marketing goal. Now is the time to set outrageous goals and pursue them aggressively. Accelerate the efforts and make sure that quality is compromised in the pursuit of chase the quantity. 80% of the businesses give up on their digital marketing efforts by the time they reach this stage. So, now is the time when you strengthen your resolve to continue the digital marketing efforts.

Week 10 – Pursue Excellence

Rome was not built in a day. So don’t expect everything to be all right so soon. Monitor the performance, identify gaps and optimize your campaign to bridge these gaps. Don’t fear to be original and take risks. Take feedback from your employees, customers, and partners, and build further on what you already have. Remember that the Facebook and Google products have gone through numerous revisions to become what we see today. So, pursue excellence and improve your performance every day. Keep optimizing the resources and improving efficiency. Over time, it will help you achieve more in fewer efforts.

This basic framework will help your recruitment firm build a solid web presence. The results will entirely depend on the teams’ creativity and vision. The power of the internet is limited only by your imagination. So, be original, persistent, creative, and imaginative while pursuing your marketing goals, and you will accomplish outstanding results. Being in an intensely competitive and highly undifferentiated market, it may take some time before the audience starts noticing you. However, once they do, there is no looking back.

Did I miss something? Do you a better formula for digital marketing success for recruitment firms? Share it in the comments, and I will include the same in the blog when it is updated next time.

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How to Choose a Right Digital Marketing Agency?

How to Choose a Right Digital Marketing Agency?

A digital marketing agency helps its clients develop marketing strategies and build campaigns to deliver tangible business results. Since every business is different, they require a unique approach to internet marketing. Although most of the agencies claim to provide customized services, not all of them possess the expertise or have the bandwidth to walk the talk. However, there are a lot of digital marketing firms which create a real difference to their clients’ businesses through a sound strategy and its flawless execution.

As a business owner, how will you choose the right agency which is the best fit for your organization?

Here are some tips which can help you spot the right company:

Bigger is not always better

The safest way to choose an agency is to select the industry leaders. However, the majority of businesses can’t afford their budget. Moreover, their style of working may not be compatible for small and medium size businesses. Ideally, you need to find the agencies which can become an integral part of your internal team.

Thus, your focus should be the “right fit” and not the big name.  Hire a firm which has a flexible approach and ready to adopt your style of working.

Know your requirements

Define your objectives of hiring an online marketing company. The objectives could be to increasing traffic, generating more leads, improving search engine visibility, social media branding, etc. You may even require all of these. However, you need to prioritize the goals and define your immediate as well as long-term requirements.

Also, define the outcomes which must be delivered by the agency to justify the investments.  If you don’t know your requirements, then it is good to state this clearly to the agencies and ask them to come up with a plan based on whatever you have in your mind.

How to find agencies

Searching on Google is the most obvious way to find out companies. You can also find a plenty of digital marketing firms on freelance marketplaces such as UpWork, Freelancer, Guru, PPH, etc. Since most of these platforms offer a rating system, you can easily find out the work history and track record for the digital marketing firms. However, you must follow a due diligence process before hiring freelancers or agencies on these platforms as the ratings can be easily manipulated. Also, a lot of entities on these platforms are one-man shops who outsource the task to local freelancers. Thus, many times you may get an inferior quality work despite choosing a high-rated freelancer or an agency. Follow the tips mentioned in this article to scrutinize the firms before hiring and don’t go just by their rating on the platform.

Shortlist two to three firms

Always shortlist two to three companies before making a final decision. Compare their quotes, activities and expected outcomes. Don’t make price the only criterion to compare two agencies. Cheap marketing services are usually quite expensive for the clients.

Ask Questions

Ask everything that you have in mind. You can even ask a few questions related to your industry to check the company’s understanding of your business. Some of the must ask questions are:

  • Who will work on our projects? – Remember that the quality of work will be as good as the quality of people working on the project.
  • Do you outsource the work? If yes, then which part of the task is outsourced? – Avoid agencies which outsource the entire job. In fact, such companies work as brokers and hardly understand the nuances of building effective marketing campaigns.
  • How will you communicate with our internal team?
  • What all do you need to get started?
  • How much time will you take to deliver results?

Follow the Process of elimination

Use the answers to the abovementioned questions to eliminate the agencies which don’t fulfill the basic criteria such as budget, experience, deadline, etc. Some of the red flags to spot the bad apples are extremely low price, promising big results, giving unusual guarantees, not answering your questions directly, etc.

Make an agreement or contract

Once you finalize an agency, make a contract. It is important to define the terms and conditions, and activities that need to be done as a part of the campaign for achieving the expected outcomes. A written contract helps both the parties to set expectations and avoid surprises during the project. It also works as a reference document if a confusion arises in the future.

Conclusion

Choosing a vendor is not a straight line process. It requires serious deliberations among the stakeholders. While hiring an agency, do remember that you will work with the people and not with machines or software. Thus, use one rule of thumb – don’t work with agencies whose initial conversations didn’t make you comfortable.  In other words, choose an organization only if you are comfortable dealing with people who work on your project and not just with the salesman or the agency owner. The effectiveness of the campaign will entirely depend on the quality and experience of people who work on the project and not on the name or size of the agency.