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E-mail Marketing Questions and Answers for the Staffing Industry
E-mail. Is it the true “killer app” of the Internet? Think about it…about a decade ago, e-mail was a novelty for most of us. Today, we wonder how we ever lived without it! Over 100 million people in the US are now e-mail users. And according to Forrester Research, a new web user comes online every two seconds! E-mail is a marketer’s dream-low cost, high impact, highly targetable, easy to test, and quick response.
According to Pew Research, 70 percent of e-mail users look forward to checking their e-mail. Forty percent say it’s one of the first things they do in the morning, while 40 percent say it’s one of the last things they do before going to bed.
E-mail is THE ideal direct marketing medium. But at the same time, e-mail is not a magic bullet. It does not eradicate the rules of traditional marketing. It does not turn weak offers into strong sales. And when used inappropriately, it can do more harm than good.
As a staffing company executive, how can you unlock the potential of e-mail marketing? How can you turn electronic messages into filled orders? The following is a synopsis of several of the most frequently asked questions and answers about e-mail marketing.
Enjoy the reading, and if you have any of your own questions about e-mail marketing, please e-mail me at [email protected].
1. How can staffing companies take advantage of e-mail marketing?
Here are some of the ways staffing companies currently use e-mail in their marketing efforts:
a. Client retention
What keeps customers loyal? Great service. Staffing firms are using e-mail as a tool to improve customer service in the following ways:
- Better communication.
Timely information on job order status.
Surveying clients to validate the quality of service provided.
Sharing articles and ideas to enhance the relationship between the client and staffing firm.
- Hot lists.
Providing early access to lists of available/recently interviewed candidates.
Some staffing companies are using e-mail to open doors and close sales. Here are a few of the most popular techniques:
- E-mail newsletters to keep in touch and stay top-of-mind.
- Top candidate lists to entice prospects to place temporary or direct hire requests.
- Special offers and incentives for first-time buyers.
In today’s talent-starved market, recruiting is the top priority for most staffing firms. E-mail is playing a vital role in helping staffing companies find the people they need. Here’s how:
Stay connected with temps, contractors, and direct hire candidates.
Leverage existing candidate relationships to actively seek referrals.
Encourage former candidates to reactivate (and make the process easier).
- Hot job lists.
Share current career opportunities in an effort to seek referrals and reactivations.
2. Why e-mail marketing?
For all the obvious reasons! E-mail marketing is:
- Low cost.
No paper or postage costs. Far less expensive for creative work.
You can send your message directly to those people who are interested.
Messages can go out the day, even the instant, they’re needed.
- Quick response.
Recipients can reply with a single mouse click.
- Easy to test.
Create an offer. Send it out. Check the results. Try again!
With the right e-mail system you can see exactly who’s reading your messages.
E-mail is the easiest medium in which to personalize your messages.
3. How do we get started?
The biggest mistake first time e-mailers often make is to execute without a plan. E-mail marketing is marketing. It requires a well thought out marketing plan, which should include these elements:
- Target audience
Once your plan is defined, you must make some additional decisions:
- How will you capture e-mail addresses?
- How will you get permission to use the e-mail addresses?
- How will you send the messages? (As plain text, text with links to web sites, text with attachments, or as HTML?)
- How will you send the e-mail? (Outsource to an e-mail service provider or use in-house resources?)
- How will people respond to you? (By clicking the reply button in an e-mail message, by calling, by using a form on a web site?)
- How will you track and measure the results?
When you’ve answered these questions, you can begin designing your e-mail marketing system. Once that’s established, you can develop the copy for your messages and start your campaign!
4. What kind of response should we expect?
While e-mail can generate extraordinary response, don’t set unrealistic expectations.
E-mail is a form of direct response marketing. While it can be more targeted than many other forms of marketing, and it makes responding easier, your response rate will depend on:
- How well the message is targeted to the audience
- The value of the offer to the recipient
- The timeliness of the offer
- The cost and perceived risk to the recipient of responding
- The ease of responding
- The follow-up you do
5. I get a ton of e-mail every day. How do I get my message read?
This may be the single biggest challenge of e-mail marketing. With direct mail or print, you can do a great deal to make your package enticing. With e-mail all you get is a TO and FROM address, a SUBJECT line, and if you’re lucky, two or three lines of body copy. So how do you get your message read?
The ideal answer is to get people to anticipate the arrival of your message.
How? By making sure they know you’re sending something valuable. And by getting their permission to send it. See Question 6 for more details on getting permission. Also, make sure your messages don’t look like junk. Avoid hype. Be honest, be direct, and be personal. Write subject lines that offer interesting information (e.g., A helpful article on Strategic Staffing, An inspirational story I thought you’d enjoy, Our top IT job openings). Write to people like you would talk to a friend or coworker.
6. Do we need to get permission to e-mail? How do we get it?
We all get SPAM – unsolicited e-mail. At best SPAM gets a very low response. At worst, it angers recipients, and turns them against you. And, with all of the new legislation passed against SPAM, why risk it?
Get permission. Make people eagerly anticipate your mailings. By focusing your time and effort on the people who want to hear from you, you’ll maximize your response.
So how do you get permission? Ask for it! Ask for it on your web site, have your sales people ask for it, ask for it during your interviews and on service calls. To get permission, you must have something valuable to share, then ask people if they’d like to receive it.
7. What type of information should we send?
What type of information would you want to receive? If you were the recipient of an e-mail marketing program, you’d want information that’s relevant, timely, and adds value for you. You’d want ideas you could use, offers that save you money, and information that makes your life easier. So that’s the kind of information you should send. The more valuable the content, the more people will read it and forward it to others. The more useful the offer, the more people will respond.
8. How should information be sent?
Ask three marketing experts and you’ll probably get three different answers. From a true one-to-one marketing perspective, the answer to this question is however the customer wants it sent. But at Haley Marketing, we have a slightly different belief.
We want e-mail marketing to look personal. At the same time, we don’t want to do anything that limits readership of our messages. So our approach is to send short messages (that look like you personally sent the message), and then link the message to a web site for more detailed content. We don’t like attachments because they’re slow to send, they require the user to have appropriate software to read them, and people often fear that attachments may contain viruses.
One quick tip. Plain text e-mail isn’t easy to read, so keep your e-mail messages short. Very short. Leave the long copy for your web site.
9. How often do I e-mail?
Again, there is no one right answer. The best answer is to mail as often as is appropriate for your audience and your marketing goals. If you’re looking to stay in touch with someone to nurture a relationship, once or twice a month is plenty. If you’re actively involved in a sales cycle, you may be sending daily messages to advance your sale. For clients who are interested, you might send weekly notification about top candidates or an ad-hoc message whenever the right type of candidate becomes available. The easiest way to determine the right frequency is simply to ask your customers. Tell them what you plan to send, see what they’d like to receive, and get permission to market to them.
10. How do I collect my candidates’ e-mail addresses?
- Ask them when they come in to interview.
- Send a reactivation letter to former candidates offering a free subscription to your e-mail newsletter.
- Include a paycheck stuffer.
Remember, you don’t need everyone’s e-mail address to start an e-mail marketing program. Collect what you can, create a plan that adds value for the recipients, and grow your list over time. With the cost of implementation being so low, you can easily start e-mail marketing with a very small list.
11. How important is personalization?
There’s no question that personalization helps. Addressing people by name, focusing on each individual’s unique interests, and tracking each person’s online surfing trends can increase response. But full personalization is difficult and expensive. Companies that do it spend millions creating massive data warehouses, designing rules for responding to individuals, and developing significant amounts of content to appeal to many different types of people. For most staffing companies, the costs are prohibitive. As an alternative try these ideas:
- Communicate to people using an informal tone-write to them like you’re speaking with them.
- Try to address people by name.
- Try to have your e-mails go to a specific person and be from a specific person.
- Create content that’s relevant to the audience.
- Ask for feedback.
12. What can we do to ensure the success of our e-mail marketing?
Here are a few keys to ensuring a successful marketing effort:
- Set goals – what kind of results do you want?
- Have a marketing plan – who, what, when, why, and how.
- Plan for continuity – e-mail marketing, like all marketing, requires frequency to work.
- Keep it relevant, interesting, and short, so people will keep reading your messages.
- Make valuable offers and create rewards and incentives for responding.
- Make it easy for people to respond to you.
- Go viral – encourage people to share your marketing with their friends.
- Make it easy for people to opt-in and opt-out.
- Track results.
And of course, call Haley Marketing!
Our HaleyMail product was designed specifically for the execution of e-mail marketing campaigns. And it was created expressly for staffing companies like yours. If you’d like to see e-mail marketing in action, please call us at 1-888-696-2900, or visit us at www.haleymarketing.com and sign-up for The Idea Club, our FREE e-mail newsletter.