For decades, marketers have been in overdrive to keep up with fast-paced innovations in marketing technology. In the beginning, an impersonal email blast to cold leads might have brought marketers results. However, consumers evolved and so did marketing technology. Prospects, bombarded with digital advertising, wanted more personalized communications and thus, marketing automation was born. It allowed marketers to migrate from an impersonal "one-to-many" strategy to a personalized "one-to-one" approach, without devoting more time to the effort.
Talent acquisition professionals now find themselves in a similar position. In the competitive talent marketplace, candidates expect personalized, authentic communication—not generic email blasts and one-size-fits-all messages. So how can talent acquisition teams rework their strategy and their tech stack? Luckily, we don't have to reinvent the wheel for talent acquisition. We can borrow a few pages from marketers' playbook.
Personas Help You Personalize
It is all about personalization today, right? But you cannot begin to deliver personalized messages if you don’t really know your audience. Marketers develop buyer personas to help guide them. What is a persona? The simplest definition is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. One way that marketers develop personas is by gathering feedback from their sales team. The sales team understands the buyer better than anyone else in the organization. They know what drives them, what interests them and, most importantly, what questions they regularly ask.
How to apply this to talent acquisition: TA professionals can build "candidate personas." For each persona, try to uncover what is important to them when it comes to their job, their strongest skills, how would they describe their personality, what groups they belong to on LinkedIn, and anything else that will help you develop personalized messaging and communications to the right target audience.
Before diving into any marketing automation program, marketers typically segment their prospects to deliver highly relevant content. A marketing best practice in developing content is to create pieces for each point of the buyer journey. For example, content for the top of the funnel should help raise brand awareness. The middle of the funnel content should help convert a prospect to a lead. Marketers often “gate” this type of content, meaning someone has to fill out a form before they can access it. Once those leads are captured, nurturing campaigns (drip marketing) can begin.
How this applies to talent acquisition: It's no secret that candidates expect a personalized experience today. So, as you develop your pipeline for specific job families or hard to fill roles, consider what type of content makes sense for each stage of the candidate journey.
Nurture, Nurture and Nurture Some More
Marketers work really hard to develop a strategy that will bring in leads. The last thing they want to do is lose those leads! Once leads have been captured they need to be "warmed up" and handed off to the sales team to further develop. That's when the aforementioned email nurturing campaigns come into play. Yes, email. According to an Adobe 2017 survey, email is the preferred method of communication (61%) over other channels.
How this applies to talent acquisition: Once you have segmented your talent pipelines, think about how you want to keep these candidates engaged. What information can you include in your emails that will be of interest and what's the best cadence? Maybe a company email newsletter, blog or video with the latest happenings at your company? Be sure not to send two emails to the same person in a week and keep this stat in mind: An engaged user only commits 8 seconds to reading an email. Always keep it short and sweet and enticing.
Although many marketing tactics can be very tough to measure, marketing automation is not. And that is by design. After all, automation is supposed to make everything easier, and that includes reporting and measurement. With marketing automation, marketers can view stats from a very high level—open rates, click-through rates, etc.—or drill down to the finite details like which web pages were visited, how long the visitor stayed on each page, and session replays.
How to apply this to talent acquisition: Data drives decisions. The most effective recruiting enterprises thrive on rich, timely, and actionable information. Understand your lead sources, which pipeline needs more action, and how long it takes to fill those hard-to-fills in order to set benchmarks and goals for success. Speaking of goals, I'm ending this blog post with what should always be the beginning—a strategy. Marketers never proceed without setting goals and mapping out a strategy to obtain them. Perhaps a talent CRM is just the tool you need in your recruitment toolbelt. Not only can it help you to source and nurture candidates, but it can also help you build pipelines, improve time-to-hire, personalize the candidate experience and automate the entire process. Go ahead. Steal a page from marketing automation's playbook and start winning.