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What Is CRO – and Why Does It Matter for Your Staffing Website?

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If your staffing and recruiting firm is like most, you invest a ton of money driving employers and job seekers to your website.

Sadly, most of those site visitors (up to 95%!) leave without ever taking a single action:

  • They don’t apply to a job.
  • They don’t opt into automated job alerts.
  • They don’t request talent.
  • They don’t fill out a form for salespeople or recruiters to follow up on.
  • They don’t refer a friend to you for employment.
  • They don’t subscribe to your newsletter or blog RSS feed.
  • They don’t inquire about staffing services.

All of these things are types of conversion: taking a desired action that drives them further down your sales or recruiting funnel. And every time a site visitor leaves without converting, you’re losing job candidates and sales leads.

Bonus Content: Lunch with Haley On-Demand Webinar: Turning Your Staffing Website into a Sales Engine

Definition of CRO

CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, is the process that helps you increase the number of website visitors who convert (i.e., perform a desired action). The formula for calculating it is straightforward: # of visitors who convert/total # of website visitors x 100.

At a fundamental level, CRO requires an understanding of:

  • Drivers: What brings people to your site?
  • Barriers: What stops people from converting and/or causes them to abandon your site?
  • Hooks: What persuades visitors to act?

Optimizing your site for conversion is all about improving drivers and hooks, while minimizing barriers.

Makes sense, right?

Let’s take a look at these three elements of CRO and how they apply to your staffing website:

Drivers: Why do people come to your site?

To improve website conversions, you must first understand who you are driving to your website:

Is it job seekers? Employers? Current associates? Current clients? Partners/vendors? Candidates for internal jobs?

  • What’s the mix among these distinct audiences?
  • Are they familiar with your staffing agency?
  • Do they understand staffing and what you do?

Then, you must understand what brings people to your site. People come to your website:

  • To get answers: Do you know the questions they’re asking?
  • To get solutions to their problems: Do you truly understand what your audiences’ challenges are, and how your services and solutions help overcome them?

When you know why people come to your website, you can use that understanding to structure the design, copy, calls to action, and other elements in ways that spur action.

Hooks: What persuades people to take action?

Have you ever stopped to consider why you click “Buy Now” when you’re on Amazon? Something compelled you. You had a need, a want, a desire…and something about the product you found on Amazon convinced you that it was the right solution.

Apply this same thinking to prospects and potential applicants: What compels them to take action on your site? Here are a few potential options:

  • Solving a problem (e.g., keeping a manufacturer’s machines running; providing opportunities for an individual to earn money to pay their bills)
  • Getting an answer to a question (e.g., helping an employer or job seeker determine if your firm is a good fit for their needs)
  • Offering something of value (e.g., being able to talk to recruiter, previewing available talent, downloading content, getting customized job alerts)
  • Providing an irresistible offer (e.g., free workforce consultation, free resume review)

To improve conversion, use what you know about your audience to craft website content in each of these buckets. Provide clear, compelling reasons to take the next step.

Barriers: What gets in the way of conversion?

People’s attention spans are short. If they don’t find what they need quickly, and if you don’t make it extremely easy for them to take action, they’ll leave (can you blame them?).

When it comes to staffing websites, what are the biggest barriers to conversion?

  • Crappy design. If your site looks old, or if the look doesn’t match the words, people won’t trust you.
  • Confusion. The phrase “you confuse, you lose” is especially relevant when it comes to converting website visitors. Make sure your site clearly explains: What does your company do? How do you do it? Can you do it for me? Am I in the right place? What action should I take?
  • Lack of clarity (in the copy, navigation and/or CTAs). Be clear. Be direct. Don’t use jargon your audience won’t understand. Make the desired action easy to understand – and to take.
  • Requiring users to jump through too many hoops (e.g., using an online application that takes 25 minutes to complete).
  • Bad copy. Copy that’s too long, too salesy or contains too much hype/empty promises just turns people off.
  • Inability to respond on any device (your website’s buttons and forms must look great and perform flawlessly on desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.).
  • No offer. Or no clear offer. Or no compelling offer.
  • Offers that require a high emotional commitment. People resist doing something that feels scary to them. For example, submitting a resume might induce anxiety for some job seekers; they might want to speak with a recruiter first to learn more about the job before committing. Or, an employer might not want to schedule a workforce consultation because they’re afraid they’ll look foolish or that they don’t know how to staff their own department.
  • Lack of social proof. Employers and job seekers want to do business with firms they trust – and they trust what others say about you more than what you say yourself. If reviews, testimonials, or logos of companies you work with aren’t displayed prominently on your site, you’re missing huge opportunities for building trust (and driving conversion).

So…how well is your site converting? What’s working well – and what needs to be optimized? If you could use a hand sorting this all out, we have a great offer for you:

Get a Free Staffing Website Performance Review

If you want to attract, convert, and retain more employers and job seekers, let our experts perform a free CRO audit. We’ll review your messaging. Your calls to action. Your site navigation. And provide practical, specific ideas for improving response. And it’s free! Get your website CRO review here.

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