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Recruitment marketing: 5 campaign tips from a marketer’s playbook

Before joining Textio as Marketing Campaign Manager, I interviewed with another tech firm for a role that would help build out a nascent marketing function at their company. My would-be title? Channel Optimization Recruiter. Their marketing challenge wasn’t about acquiring more customer leads; it was about attracting and retaining top talent to build their product. They were hiring a full-time marketing professional to help with their recruiting function!

In the end, I declined the role for the exact reason they opened it: Another company told me a clearer, more compelling story about what it meant to work there, and showed me why I belonged.

More than ever, recruiting teams are deploying full-blown marketing strategies to win the talent they need. An especially powerful tactic is to organize recruitment marketing efforts as a campaign. And since campaigns are sorta my thing, I thought I’d share my tips! Let’s dig in.

5 questions for every marketing campaign

Every time I plan a new campaign, I ask myself these five questions:

  1. What is my goal (and how will I measure success)?
  2. Who is my audience?
  3. What message will resonate with the audience? Is my message on brand?
  4. Which channels are best for reaching the audience?
  5. What assets will best communicate the message?

Together, these questions form the framework for launching any marketing campaign, which is defined as an “organized, strategized effort to promote a specific company goal.” What is recruiting if not one big marketing campaign to convince top talent to join your team?

Clearly answering each of these five questions and framing your candidate communications as a single, integrated marketing campaign will help you be more intentional and aligned—more effective!—in telling your company’s story.

1. What is my goal (and how will I measure success)?

Recruiters have many objectives: fill strategic roles, decrease time to fill, improve productivity, and more. If you're like many of the folks we talk to, one of your primary goals is communicating your employer brand in a way that feels open and inviting—unbiased, inclusive, authentic—to all strong candidates. The question then is: How do you know how your message is being received?

Marketers use data to drill into the specific words that impact ad clicks and form submissions, which is critical for gauging the success of new storytelling initiatives. In a similar way, our recruiters here at Textio use language data to inform and optimize their work—they won’t post a job description until they've gotten it to a Textio Score of 100, for example.

Once you set your goal, make sure you have quantifiable metrics like these in place to measure the success of your efforts.

2. Who is my audience?

Knowing who I’m marketing to changes the words I use to connect with them. The keywords I use to advertise to recruiters are different from those I use to reach DEI leaders. Additionally, every ad campaign I run is tailored to specific regions and cities, because I know that cultural differences change the way audiences respond to my messages. I use keyword data and market research to customize my content accordingly.

Recruiters also need different words to reach qualified candidates for different roles and hiring locations. For instance, a Textio analysis showed that salespeople responded well when job ads talked about collaboration skills, whereas candidates for manufacturing roles were more attracted to mentions of teamwork. The location of a job also makes a difference. A simple phrase like good communication skills could help or hurt your job ad performance, depending on where you’re hiring.

Even without access to real-time language data, you can—must!—be mindful of your audience. Consider their role, location, the context in which they might be reading your words—in general, bring as much awareness into your efforts as possible. It makes a difference, and it directly influences question 3: your message.

3. What message will resonate with the audience? Is my message on-brand?

As a marketer, my campaign message must be three things: 1) personalized to my target audience 2) on-brand and aligned everywhere, to communicate a consistent value proposition, and 3) unique enough to differentiate my company from the competition.

Recruiters must address the same concerns in their hiring content. Avoiding unconscious bias across all candidate communications is table stakes; go beyond neutral to be inclusive. And to really tell a compelling culture story, your messaging needs to be authentic to your company values, and aligned everywhere candidates interact with your employer brand. Having a clearly articulated employee value proposition can help center your language in the same way a “brand promise” serves as a marketer’s north star. And using a style guide or technology such as Textio Flow will ensure your message is brand-compliant across your job posts, web pages, and candidate emails.

4. (and 5.) Which channels are best for reaching the audience? What assets will best communicate the message?

Let’s tackle these last two questions together. A typical lead-generation campaign might include a blog post, content offer, and display ads (the assets) promoted on our website, and through paid social and email (the channels). Here, language misalignment across campaign elements would cost us big time: Ads that lead to web pages with mismatched messaging create confusion and cause people to drop off. When visitors receive mixed signals, the value proposition gets lost in the noise, and prospects leave.

Similarly, job posts, sourcing emails, and career websites with disjointed messaging make your corporate culture story far from clear. And considering candidates say culture is nearly as important as pay—and 73% won’t apply to a company with values that don’t align with their own—keeping things clear and consistent is paramount. Fuzziness in the way you communicate your employee value proposition across channels can cost you talent to more language-conscious competitors.

When words align

I didn’t realize it at the time, but an email I got from one of my interviewers at Textio was what really sealed the deal in terms of me choosing to work here. Like any well-executed integrated marketing campaign, the story I was told from the initial job description to the final email was cohesive and moving. It communicated what it would mean to work at Textio, and convinced me that this, over anywhere else, was where I wanted to write my own story.

P.S. If you found this helpful, you might also enjoy our latest webinar with Glassdoor on recruiting like a marketer!

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