Recruitment Websites, Part Three - Build it ... and they DON'T Come!

By Paul Quinn, © 2002

In the final part of this three part series about the most common recruitment agency website mistakes, we examine common pitfalls and potential solutions to effectively promote your website.

Investing large sums of money to develop an effective recruitment website and then believing the job is done is not good enough. You can build the best website in the World but no one will visit it unless you effectively promote it to your target audience. Below are six suggestions on what you can do to promote your website:

1. Search engines.

"Publishing a website without effective registration with search engines is like putting a billboard in your basement. Only the initiated few will get to see your creation."

- Ben Klau, Senior Partner at Advertising Agency Digital@JWT

Optimising your website for search engines and online directories such as Ninemsn, Yahoo! and Looksmart is a very important and effective way to promote your recruitment agency website. However, most recruitment agencies either perform extremely poorly in this area or entirely neglect it.

Research shows that 80% of all Internet user web sessions begin with a search engine and the word "Jobs" was the fourth most searched keyword of all search engine queries in May 2002. In addition, job seekers who find your website via a search engine are typically actively looking for positions, hence search engines can be a very effective source of new candidate applications.

How well are you performing?

Search engine success can be measured on your website with most off-the-shelf web reporting tools. These tools examine your web log - a file that contains all the data about who has visited your site, when they were there, and what they looked at during their stay. Most log file reporting tools will allow you to see how many of your site visitors originated from external sites such as search engines. Contact the company who hosts your website to get access to your site's log file reports. You should be able to access these statistics for free.

Another simple way to determine how well you rate on search engines is to log onto a search engine such as Looksmart.com.au (the Looksmart network claims to power over 65% of all Australian searches). Firstly, search for your site by typing in your agency's name, then note whether it appears in the first 20 search results. Now try typing search queries that relate to your agency. For example, "accounting jobs Melbourne". Again, note whether your site appears in the first 20 search results. If the results you get from this simple test are less than impressive, it's likely that you could benefit from a search engine optimisation campaign.

Effective search engine recruitment marketing is based on:

Understanding how job seekers use search engines to locate jobs;

Revising website copy to match anticipated candidate keyword search terms;

Increasing the number and quality of links from outside websites pointing to your site;

Effective registration with high traffic search engines and Internet directories;

Utilising pay-for-performance search engine placement or paid inclusion programs;

Ongoing website performance tracking, reporting and maintenance.

2. Reciprocation.

The Internet contains information on every topic imaginable. Make it your job to find out what sites exist that are complimentary to your own. Do they have a "links" page that lists relevant organisations? Ask them if your site can be included and in return add them to a "Hot links" page on your site. One additional benefit of increasing the number of external links to your website is that this measure is looked upon favourably by search engines and will therefore assist you in improving your search engine ranking.

3. Online advertising.

Online advertising can be very cost effective, highly targeted and measurable when planned and executed well. For example, if your agency targets engineers, and the national engineering association sends out a monthly e-newsletter to all of its members, you may be able to place a banner or text ad in the newsletter to promote a particular role or upcoming seminar that may be of interest to them. Don't make the mistake of thinking online advertising is limited to banner advertising.

4. E-mail marketing.

E-mail marketing can be an extremely powerful and cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website. Standardising company e-mail signatures to promote your site is a good place to start, however, why not also consider making the most of the in-house email lists you already have stored in your database? Let your database of clients and candidates know that your site has been (re)launched, or invite them to subscribe to your bi-monthly reviews on the recruitment industry trends. Be sure to give them clear opt in/opt out instructions.

Two additional options to consider include (A) marketing your site to bought email lists (list brokers such as List bank and Prime Prospects sell e-mail lists), and (B) developing an e-mail-based viral marketing campaign. Viral marketing campaigns typically provide recipients with either a financial incentive (eg. movie tickets in return for referrals) or non-financial incentives (eg. a funny story) to forward the message onto their friends which subsequently increases brand awareness and drives new website traffic.

5. Other online marketing options.

Consider the following three avenues for promoting your site online:

Affiliate programs - offer incentives to sites that target the same market as your agency to promote traffic to your site.

Online Sponsorship - if you're a specialist in placing senior investment bankers, why not consider sponsoring a small section of a financial site such as the Australian Financial Review.

News groups / chat boards - the Internet offers hundreds of active chat boards and news groups on a wide range of topics. Why not log on and get involved with one. Perhaps you could offer advice to candidates regarding succeeding in interviews or direct potential clients to your agency's website for up-to-date salary information.

6. Offline site promotion.

Perhaps the simplest and most cost-effective way to drive traffic to your site is through your traditional off-line marketing collateral. Use the following checklist to help maximise your offline website promotion efforts.

Company stationary. Eg. Letterhead, business cards, envelopes

Company publications. Eg. Sales brochures, newsletters, annual reports, PowerPoint presentations

Print advertising. Eg. Recruitment and branding ads

Promotional material. Eg. Contractor / Temp packs

Promotional campaigns. Eg. Special offers (eg. direct people to your website for full details of the offer)

Onsite advertising. Eg. Reception, interview room handouts

Media Press release. Eg. announcing the results of your latest online visitor poll)

Trade shows. Eg. Corporate displays, hand outs

Outdoor advertising. Eg. Company vehicles, outdoor signage

Giveaways. Eg. Mugs, mouse mats, stress balls

Phone. Eg. On-hold phone messages

In conclusion

Promoting your website doesn't have to be an expensive exercise. In fact, as you can see from some of the examples above, there are many things you can do that won't cost you anything but your time. The key to effective website promotion is to ensure you have a clear understanding of who your target audience is, and what would be most likely to drive them to your website.

Review the six areas of site promotion above against your current website marketing efforts and make the effort to improve weaknesses. In doing so you'll significantly improve the return on your website investment.

 

That was the final article in our three part series about common recruitment agency website mistakes.

To read the first article in the series - click here: "How to keep your content from crashing"

To read the second article in the series - click here: "The 'Must Have' Functionality That Many Don't".



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