Whether you took a few business classes, went to business school, or received your MBA, you likely heard the same business facts that I did. Business school 101: during a downturn, spend more energy in marketing than you would during good times. The logic to this makes complete sense because during a downturn, your dollar goes farther. Many publications and advertising venues cut their rates during these times and many of your efforts are able to simply be tweaked to avoid tone-deafness. In addition to this, your competitors are operating from the perspective of holding on to cash rather than spending it. This equates to you being one of the few staffing firms in a typically highly competitive marketplace that is marketing your services and capturing market share. Let’s get into what to address in your staffing firm marketing strategy during uncertain times.

What you need to consider during these uncertain times
The first thing to consider in times like today is that you need to avoid being tone-deaf. I spoke about this in a recent blog article, and please refer to that to completely understand what tone-deafness is. The short explanation is that you should not avoid discussing what is going on in the world today.

staffing firm marketing strategy

The second thing to consider is the modification of your messaging. In today’s environment, an example of a modification in your messaging should be, “We have developed a comprehensive virtual hiring and onboarding platform to ensure that clients can bring on staff without risk to themselves or their consultants”. In other words, you need to build out a platform to be able to deliver on this promise. Many firms have already done this, but have not promoted it heavily to clients, thus missing an opportunity. There are many examples of modifying your message to the times that the average staffing firm is prepared for, but they don’t realize that it’s a marketing opportunity. Look at everything that you are doing virtually to share with both clients and consultants your ability to deliver.

A third thing to consider is that the talent marketplace that everyone has been struggling with for the last five years or more has just opened up. More and more professionals are available to you now than there were as recently as four weeks ago. Using the opportunity to capture more potential consultants is one of the strongest reasons to continue marketing your services. Dust off your marketing hat and let’s go capture the market.

How to build your marketing strategy
Marketing strategy is the top topic that we discuss with staffing firms daily. A lack of strategy doesn’t allow you the flexibility and the opportunity to win. Your messaging differentiation, value proposition, and overall target audience are the keys to delivering marketing ROI. If you simply create a marketing campaign without a strategy, you are likely throwing good money after bad. So, how do you build your staffing firm marketing strategy? Good question. We have discussed marketing strategy over multiple articles over the years that I refer back to in this article; however, I will attempt to break it down for you right here.

We take a time-tested approach to staffing firm marketing strategy by using the five W’s and an H: Who, What, Where, Why and How. “Who” and “where” are the beginning steps and they address who your target audience is both on the client and consultant side, what problems these clients have that you address, what markets, industries, and locations they’re in, and more. The “who” and “where” are critical in determining the market you want to penetrate, and failure to detail out this information generally ends up with a sporadic and non-focused approach that may or may not provide results.

The “what” and the “why” address the services that clients need from you, the opportunities that consultants need from you, the actions that you want them to take, the value proposition, and the messaging and differentiation that drives your results. Really digging into the “what” and “why” allows you to market to both clients and consultants with the messages that resonate most in sync with your ability to deliver. This is an opportunity to reach out to existing clients and consultants to discuss what is important in what you deliver as well as discover new opportunities that previously went undiscovered.

The “how” and “when” are your tactical executions of how you’re going to attack the market. It’s a detailed overview of the marketing approaches that you take to win these audiences along with a timeline and execution dates that need to be adhered to. It also allows you to ensure that you’re not biting off more than you can chew. For more detailed information on the who, what, where, why, and how, see some of our previous blog articles.

How to measure results
There’s no great secret to measuring results, it’s more about thinking through how you are marketing to people and what actions you’re asking them to take next. The basics include tracking, email open rates, and click through rates, but tracking results is much more than this. Creating codes within your ATS to manage marketing campaigns in order to know what clients and/or consultants came from is the first step. Ensuring that you can track job requirements and consultants through the entire hiring process requires just a little bit of thought and walking through your ATS’s capabilities in tracking. We typically build reports that measure everything from the number of hits to a landing page, the reqs generated from these efforts, the submittals against those reqs, the interviews, as well as the starts. From the starts, we calculate the overall bill rate, pay rate, and gross margin to be able to accurately show the value of all marketing efforts. All of the ATS companies offer some level of assistance with being able to create this tracking. While the first time you do it may be difficult, it gets incredibly easier with each campaign. Whether your using Bullhorn, erecruit, Ceipal, Job Diva, Avionte, or others, your ATS does have the capability to offer the reports you need to measure the success.
staffing firm marketing strategy
My talk for the week
I do recognize how difficult these times are, but the effort and success that is generated in times like today should not be ignored. Keep your chin high, keep focused, keep positive, and keep driving your teams for success. We will all get through these times and your efforts will make you stronger when we come out of this. My friendly advice from one business owner to another, is don’t lose sight of the big picture and keep moving the ball forward. This too shall pass.

About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations. www.sjhemleymarketing.com