Brand marketing = building your employer brand in the market to make it easier to attract, hire, and retain the best people in the long run.
Performance marketing = driving applicants immediately.
The short term is all about making sure you can demonstrate that direct hiring works, recruitment marketing works, and that you can deliver an ROI. That means starting with more of a focus on performance marketing and getting some early wins in.
If you’ve been reading the rest of this guide, you’ll already have developed candidate personas, know where your ideal candidates spend their time, and have completed an audit of your careers website, job descriptions, and so on.
Now it’s time to use that knowledge to get your message in front of your ideal candidates.
Let’s look at how to approach running a small performance marketing campaign for a new vacancy.
If you haven’t already, take a step back and ensure you know who you’re trying to attract; get your value proposition nailed and your job description optimized. Make sure you have a great application process.
Start with free and low cost. If you can deliver the ideal candidate at very low cost (or free) that’s a win you can reinvest profits from into the next role or in (less measurable but equally important) things like employer branding. Think about:
- Reaching out to your existing talent pipeline
- Employee referrals
- Industry forums
- Free job boards
- Low-cost niche job boards
- Low-cost generic job boards where you’ve had success for this type of role in the past
Week 2 onwards if you’ve not found a great hire yet:
- Introduce retargeting ads (enticing people that have left your website back to it)
- Introduce generic job boards
- Introduce the more expensive niche job boards
- Consider social media ads for volume roles, or where you’re trying to reach an audience in a small geographic area
Continually monitor where your good candidates are coming from. Your ATS should be able to provide source reporting.
There is a lot you can do on a very small budget to get yourself in front of your ideal candidates on their terms. Best case, you’re attracting qualified talent, worst case you’re getting your brand out there to a targeted audience that you might hire further down the line.
Once you’ve had some wins with the approach above (and saved some agency fees) take that budget and reinvest it in your broader employer brand marketing, and building a talent pipeline (that database of candidates that have registered interest in working for you sometime in the future) so you’re not starting from scratch every time.
Over time you’ll find the cost to acquire a quality candidate (and therefore, make a hire) falls. All this brand stuff isn’t necessarily directly measurable, but it will improve your performance marketing metrics (and reduce the amount of advertising you need to do as you build a talent pipeline).
But getting in front of candidates is only half the battle. You still have to offer them a great experience. More on that in the next chapter.