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SMART IDEAS #4: Promos in staffing

Weekly inspiration for the staffing industry

ISSUE #4  |  November 4, 2023

New this Week:

• Using promos to sell faster

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SMART IDEA #4: Using promos to sell faster


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If you are breathing, you've seen promotional offers before (okay, maybe not that last one).

For decades, marketers have relied on promotional offers to close deals. Special offers. Limited time savings. Limited quality offers. You get it.

But how about staffing? Would promos work in our industry?

In a word, yes! But let's talk about why they work.

It's psychology, of course.

As humans, we LOVE a deal. Remember when you were a kid (at least for those who are old enough), and cereal companies would put a prize in the box?

The prize was complete junk, but you immediately dug through all the cereal to find that plastic thing-a-ma-bob at the bottom of the box. (And then your mother yelled at you to clean up the cereal you spilled…or maybe that was just me!)

Anyway, we love getting something extra.

We love feeling special.

We love winning.

And in modern language, we also have a huge problem with FOMO.

Promotions work because they make us feel special. They make us feel rewarded. And they create a sense of urgency—we don't want to miss out!

Typically, promotions are used by consumer goods companies to drive immediate response. From the prize in the box to the BOGO offer, scratch-off discount, and limited-time sales, promotions trigger parts of our brains that cause us to take action.

Most often, promotions are about freebies or discounts. But in staffing and recruiting, a freebie or discount can be a risk. It can cheapen your services. Or set an expectation that you will always offer discounted prices.

And in staffing freebies and discounts don't directly benefit the buyer of staffing services (their company gets the benefit, not the individual), and that is not nearly as strong a motivator.

For promotions to work in staffing, you need to get inside the head of your ideal customer. How do they think? How are they measured in their job? What matters most to them?

The better you understand the buyer, the easier it is to design promotions that resonates.

  • If I'm selling to a hiring manager, they may appreciate an offer related to the speed of supplying qualified candidates or something that makes the hiring process easier (they hate the disruption that hiring causes!).
  • If I'm selling to HR, they might appreciate a promotion related to free educational content or better customization of onboarding or reporting. Or maybe something that helps them better present the candidates to the hiring managers they serve.
  • If I am selling to a small business owner, they are very likely to appreciate a discount because they often perceive staffing and recruiting as too costly.

What are examples of promotional offers you can use in staffing?

  • Free salary guide or compensation benchmark report.
  • 10% off the mark-up on your next contract staffing hire of 3 months or more.
  • Free custom onboarding program.
  • Your 3rd direct hire is free.
  • For every order placed in December, we'll donate $50 to the Human Fund.

The key to an effective promotion is to offer relevant value—and then limit the ability to get that value (either a time limit or quantity limit).

Want more ideas for creating promos and IRRESISTIBLE OFFERS?

Download our Marketing Best Practices Guide. We outline more than 70 offer ideas (but fair warning—some are a bit off the wall!).


What do you think of the new format? Like it? Hate it? Either way, we’d love to hear. Just click reply and tell us your thoughts.

Have a topic (or challenge) you want us to address? Tell us that too! We’d be happy to provide specific tips for you in future issues of our SMART IDEAS Weekly


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Haley Marketing | PO Box 410 | Williamsville, NY 14231-0410 | 716-631-8981

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