Email Marketing in an Economic Crisis

Email Marketing in an Economic Crisis

Guidance on business continuity management for recruitment agencies

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With the recent turmoil caused by the onslaught of the Coronavirus, many recruiters are working remotely, aka trying to continue their business development despite unmanned switchboards and a draught of client visits. However, a slow period might provide an opportunity for recruiters to focus on those tasks which ordinarily are not feasible during a busy day. When your entire team is focussed on consistently hitting KPIs, certain tasks can get put on the backburner, amongst these is usually marketing, in particular email marketing. But if you think about it, lots of people are working from home at the moment away from the prying eyes of supervisors and managers and are, therefore, in a much better position to be attentive to their emails.

What can happen to business continuity if recruitment slows down

With new information emerging daily and guidance rapidly changing, it’s hard to know how long the slow down will last. With recruitment drives being managed remotely or put on hold, permanent recruitment will be hardest hit, with the time to hire, invoicing upon placement and extended payment terms putting pressure on cash flow. In contrast, contract and temp recruitment are likely to dip initially (largely depending on the sector), but like other periods of uncertainty are set to rebound the quickest, with companies investing in contract or temporary employees to help manage pent-up demand and stalled projects.

We’ve seen many businesses already bearing the brunt, with immediate redundancies or pauses to their hiring plans. The government grant to cover up to 80% of PAYE salaries coupled with delayed VAT payments will make a difference, with employers able to take a more measured and less knee-jerk reaction to the crisis. Still, other businesses are faring well with food retail and their supply chains unable to hire fast enough to keep up with demand.

For the majority of businesses across most industries, this is a period (along with the government support) to ride out the storm as there will be eventual recovery and life – and business – will return to normality.

What can automated email marketing do?

With teams working remotely and an inability to provide at-desk training or centralised messaging, now is the perfect time to focus on email marketing as a recruitment business. Sometimes referred to as nurture marketing or funnel marketing, creating the right messages and email flows based on customer behaviours and interactions with your communications allows you to tailor specific communications based on customer wants and needs. It also allows you to extend your net wide to reach what may otherwise be dormant contacts in your database or completely cold contacts from your LinkedIn Recruiter or Sales Navigator licenses.

Email marketing is a viable model to reengage candidates and clients as it is cost effective with excellent ROI. According to EmailExpert “For every £1 spent on email marketing, the average return is £44.25”, and when you look at the amount of things you can achieve with email marketing, it’s clear how useful it can be:

  • Communicated monthly candidate and/or client newsletters
  • Create multi-stage nurture sequences for customers based on buying behaviours
  • Create automated nurture sequences for new candidates or clients added on the system
  • Create automated messages based on key database triggers – including 30/60/90 days placed in a role, new job order, placed candidate, business cycle seasonal messages etc.
  • Launch a report or eBook
  • Share testimonials or case studies
  • Keep customers abreast of situations impacting their job/candidate search

What can recruiters do to make email marketing even better?

Automating your email marketing so that a series of emails go out on a timed basis or based on engagement or behaviour will allow you to maximise on interest and get more warm leads. In order to work out how to reengage with your audience you can score them based on their level of engagement:

  • E.g. 2 points when they open up an email, 3 points when they click on an email
  • When they reach a certain score (e.g. 10), they are considered a lead and will receive a different type of email that points them to a sale

Prior to this point you can use your email content to point people to your website. However, this needs to be done with a level of editorial subtlety:

  • Don’t give away the store in the email itself; there must be an action taken from the email to entice them to click on the email to get the desired information
  • Consider the stages of the buying cycle and the right kind of information present at each stage – just like on a date, you need to court your client with value-add content like blogs, eBooks and reports that support them at the beginning stages of their buying journey. Recruiters often ask for the sale before taking the time to ‘warm up’ their customer

Consider what your call to action is

  • In awareness/interest stages – pointing people straight to the content
  • In consideration/preference stages – pointing people to a sales ‘action’ (job search, upload your CV, submit a vacancy, contact us form)

Some of the pitfalls of email marketing automation

Email marketing isn’t always perfect and depending on the size and quality of your database and/or an ability to capture new contacts and email addresses from channels, may or may not be a viable option. Still, there is currently a disproportionate reliance on LinkedIn as the focus channel from which to do business, when in reality, our candidates and certainly our clients are spending more time on their email than they are on LinkedIn. It’s important that we reach them where they’re ‘hanging out’.

Some of the other pitfalls of email marketing include: 

  • Too many promotional emails – Think of this as a long-term courtship and not a Tinder hookup!
  • Not having anything good to say – Email marketing is most successful as part of a wider content strategy and can drive readers to your website and from there, closer to submitting a CV
  • Not complying to GDPR legislation – Particularly on candidate communications which are B2C customers
  • Not cleansing lists prior to send out and/or not making unsubscribe options clear enough – Use a tool like Neverbounce to cleanse your data and ensure your unsub language is visible
  • Not using effective personalisation – Would you like to receive job alerts as an accounts assistant when you are a CFO? Old data = poor experiences = unhappy customers

How can we help?

Are you looking to develop your email marketing and marketing automation programming? Whilst business is slowing down, now is the perfect time to invest in your marketing email automation to ensure business continuation as soon as possible. Thrive Marketing Communications can help you create a strategy that allows you to nurture customers, create leads and close more deals. Learn more about Thrive digital marketing.

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