Great question. Unfortunately, there is no “one right answer.” It depends on your goals…and your business challenges. If you are looking to increase sales, the best investment is in marketing that will do two things:

1. Make your salespeople more productive

2. Attract employers to your firm

When it comes to making salespeople more productive, there are several things to consider:

  • Do salespeople know who to target – do they know the profile of your ideal client?
  • Do they have a strong, structured process for going after prospects?
  • What are you doing to warm prospects before the sales call is made?
  • What tools do you provide to make in person meetings more effective?
  • What do you do after the call to nurture relationships, keep your firm top-of-mind and give your salespeople a good reason to make follow-up calls?
  • What have you done to differentiate your services, so people WANT to work with you more than the competition?
  • How have you trained your sales team to ask consultative questions, solve problems, demonstrate the economic value of your services and overcome typical objections like “we’re happy with our current vendor,” “we don’t have any staffing needs,” “we don’t work with staffing firms,” and “the other guy’s price is lower”?

When it comes to improving sales effectiveness, the best marketing investments are usually in integrated direct marketing campaigns to help sales reps get more appointments, website improvements to convey your story more effectively, and educational sales materials that lead into more consultative discussions.

In terms of attracting employers to your firm, every staffing company should have a strong online marketing strategy. Our clients that are proactive about using the Web to maximize sales (and recruiting) get the best ROI from their online marketing investments.

The single-most-important online marketing investment any staffing firm can make is in a great website. More people will see your website than ever talk to your sales team, visit your offices or apply for jobs. Your website has to be a magnet for attracting people…and it has to sell!

Once you have a website that’s designed to convert visitors into clients, then you want to invest in getting people to the site. This is done via SEO (most often a campaign of blogging and optimized job posts), social media (sharing content with your prospects and in places where your ideal clients will find you), and pay-per-click advertising.

If I had to pick a place to start, I would start with blogging and producing great content that would be of interest to the people you want to attract. Then I’d add compelling visuals to those posts to attract attention, and I’d get my entire team active in sharing the content on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. If I recruited in healthcare, I’d be active on Facebook and Pinterest as well.

Finally, once all that was in order, I’d test PPC – Google Adwords, remarketing, and LinkedIn-sponsored updates—to see which tools were most cost-effective in driving traffic. I would also look at converting some of the blog posts into eBooks, videos and other rich media, so I could use that content on a landing page to capture sales leads.

To summarize, the best marketing comes from matching the tools to your goals and challenges. A killer staffing website is a must. Giving your sales team the tools they need is one of the best investments you can make. And the more active you become in content development and sharing, the more sales leads (and candidates) you’ll attract.

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