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Ok, I'm going to warn you ahead of time--this month's Idea Club goes against what we usually suggest about marketing for staffing and recruiting firms. We are actually going to encourage you to sell your services. Yes, we want you to make a direct sales pitch!

You're probably used to hearing us talk about relationship or drip marketing--the idea that you build a long-term relationship by sending great content to your clients and prospects. Today, we want to encourage you to use your candidates as content!

Skill Marketing – New Twists on a Proven Method

Skill marketing. MPC calls. Whatever you call it, proactively selling your talent database is nothing new. In fact, it's one of the oldest (and still most effective) ways to sell contract and direct-hire services.

For years, we've encouraged our clients to send top candidate emails. And when you send great talent to targeted employers, you're almost guaranteed to get results. We often hear from our clients in just a few hours after sending a top candidate mailing, "we placed three of our candidates" or "we received two additional job orders!"

And when it comes to selling staffing services, nothing gets a faster response than skill marketing.

So What's New in Skill Marketing?

The Old Way to Skill Market

Cold calling. One-to-one calls can be very effective for marketing top talent. But it takes a lot of calls, and a lot of work, to make a placement.

The Often Abused Way

The email "blast." Has there been a more abused form of marketing than email? Unfortunately, because of all the "spam" email that gets sent by recruiting and staffing firms, this technique no longer gets the level of response it once did.

New & Improved Skill Marketing

Targeted email. Have great accounting candidates? Send them to your accounting clients. The more targeted your email marketing, the better the result. You can create emails based on the skill sets of the candidates you're marketing (e.g., all office talent) or the target audience (e.g., top candidates who would be relevant for financial managers).

Blogging/Social Media. Have you ever turned your top candidates into a blog post? You should! Your blog is a great place highlight talent. Consider creating a "Candidate of the Week" post, and profile one of your top performers each week. Top candidate blog posts can help optimize your website for search engines (to attract both employers and job seekers), and you can promote the posts in email, on social media sites, and even in your email signatures to generate job orders.

Talent Showcase. Most staffing firms have a job board on their website that highlights the positions they are trying to fill, but few have a tool to skill market top talent. Haley Marketing's Talent Showcase lets employers search the profiles of your top candidates. It's a great self-service tool for clients that can generate job orders with little or no selling. It can also be an effective recruiting tool because it shows candidates how you will proactively help them to market their skills to top employers.

Creating the PERFECT Top Candidate Pitch

When it comes to skill marketing, you have many options. Some companies just list the job titles of available talent (bad idea!). Others provide detailed bios of each individual candidate (also a bad idea). And some opt for more of a hybrid approach--creating a short, powerful teaser for each candidate to drive employers to more detailed information on their website or available via follow-up email. We prefer this last approach best!

When we coach clients how to sell top candidates, we tell them to think like a marketer. To make the sale, you must do three things:

  1. Capture attention.
  2. Create interest.
  3. Get the reader to take action.

Think of your top candidates they way Procter & Gamble thinks about a new product. What "features" make your candidates stand out. What benefits can that individual deliver that the employer cannot obtain elsewhere? What really differentiates your talent from the rest?

Before you start to write your top candidate profiles, make a list of selling points about each person. This could include things like:

  • Top accomplishments.
  • Specialized skills.
  • Specific industry, project or technical experience.
  • Performance reviews from past employers.
  • Timeframe for availability (when will this person be available).

When writing top candidate profiles, break your profile into three parts:

  1. Headline - create a strong attention grabber.
  2. Teaser
    1-to-3 sentences at most. Bullets are even better. Sell the sizzle!
  3. Detailed description
    this should still be relatively brief. You're not providing the full resume. Your goal is to include just enough information to make an employer want to see the resume or call you to learn more. When writing this section, use short sentences or bullets that clearly illustrate why this person is a star performer.
I want to learn more about this candidate!

If you plan to market your top talent in an email, we suggest featuring about three to five candidates per mailing. If you include too many candidate profiles, people won't read them all. But if you include too few, you're limiting your potential response.

For the email itself, just include the headline and teaser. Link to the detailed description on your website, either in a blog post or your Talent Showcase.

Lesson from a Marketing Advisor - Proof, Proof and Proof Again

As someone who helps staffing firms set up top candidate mailings, I'm always amazed by the number of mistakes I see. Have at least two people proof each write up. And not just for obvious typos. Here are some of the most common errors I see:

  • Incorrect capitalization when discussing generic presidents or vice-presidents. For example, if an admin has "assisted the president" the "p" is not capitalized.
  • When referring to college degrees in general, they should be lower case (e.g. bachelors degree). However, capitalize when referring to the official degree (e.g. Bachelor of Fine Arts) or when abbreviating the degree (e.g. MBA)
  • While we are on the topic of degrees, it is "associate degree" not "associates degree".
  • Multitask is one word and not hyphenated.
  • It is accounts receivable not accounts receivables.
  • When speaking of someone's length of experience, use 12 years not 12 years'.
  • And there is generally no need to capitalize positions or departments.

Beyond Skill Marketing – How to Get More Talent Placed

So far, we've focused on individual tactics for skill marketing, but if you really want to make more placements, think more holistically.

For example, for your "cream of the crop" talent, create an integrated skill marketing plan for each individual. This might include a blog post, social media marketing, email marketing and sales calls to your best clients and prospects. Plan out all of the different ways you will promote that candidate.

You can even turn your skill marketing into value-added new services. I had one client who branded his top talent, and then offered to provide clients with first access to this exclusive talent pool--before these candidates got hired elsewhere. This firm turned skill marketing from a sales activity into a service, delivering more value to clients, and deepening relationships, all while placing more available talent!

If you would like more information on Top Candidates or our other email marketing services,

please contact us at [email protected].
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