Recruitment email marketing is difficult. In such a crowded industry, the key is to stand out, but how? Award winning digital marketer Dan Taylor explores his ideas on how your recruitment email marketing efforts can differ from your competitor’s and get better results. Read on if you want to make more money from email marketing…

Nobody said recruitment email marketing was easy. As email marketing platforms become more and more sophisticated and internet users become more and more aware of their online privacy, recruiters are being faced with new challenges beyond finding the right candidates to contact in the first place.


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Another challenge facing recruiters is the fact that almost everybody is sending email newsletters, promotional mainshots and discounts, breaking through the noise being generated and standing out in a user’s inbox is becoming an ever more a difficult task, considering the original challenge of creating compelling subject lines to warrant an open and then engaging content to encourage a click through or a response still exist.

This is why personalisation to and micro-targeting will be more important than ever in 2016, batch and blast emails and digital communications will no longer be good enough to break through the communications noise. Regardless of how high tech and streamlined recruitment firms can become, human touch will continue to remain critical in turning passive prospects into firm placements.

Another challenge some recruitment firms are creating for themselves is the notion that email marketing is not as sexy as social marketing, and that it’s much more trendy and modern to be using LinkedIn InMails over email. However in any talent acquisition strategy, you need to be utilising both well.

Email and InMail marketing from the outside seems simple, at a very basic level it’s typing a message (or copying and pasting the same message) and pressing send. However, breaking down these platforms to this level is like saying football is all about striking a ball with your foot, now go play for Real Madrid – they are both skills that take time to hone.

This misconception is why a number of recruiters end up sending generic, boilerplate templates that aren’t any different to what the next recruiter is sending. To stand out and start attracting top talent, who are constantly being bombarded with emails and InMails from recruiters who have ‘a great role’ that you happen ‘to be a perfect fit for’, you need to stop looking at how many emails you send, how many prospects you contact and begin looking at improving the initial contact sent. Depersonalisation is a big turn off and can only harm your mail efforts.

According to data compiled by MailChimp, in 2015 recruiting and staffing emails averaged an open rate of 20.06% and a click through rate of 2.36%. If you’re not achieving these statistics on average across your emails and InMails, here are four tips for 2016 that if implemented, will help you improve your open rates and engagement.

email marketing stats

This graphic via Business 2 Community goes some way towards proving that you’ll need to consider how your emails will look on mobile, but that’s a whole other blog post I’ll have write soon.

4 Tips for recruitment email marketing excellence

1. Write Subject Lines You Would Want To Open

The subject line is the first thing seen and is the single greatest influencing factor determining whether or not your prospect will open your mail and read your message.

This means you need to be aware of what makes a subject line spammy. If you’ve planned a subject line, you can test it using tools like Subject Line to get constructive feedback and if needs be, you can change it.

Getting past the spam filter is only one hurdle, you also need to win over your potential prospect’s skepticism. Coupled with your subject line is your sender address. You have to send it from a real name, rather than a generic ‘info’ or ‘contact’ email, or even worse a ‘no-reply’ email address.

Your subject line needs to be relevant, to the point and entice an open. Don’t be afraid to be creative and experiment with your language, tone of voice or style. Most good mail programs now offer A/B testing facilities and ignoring this feature can lead to missed learning opportunities, lessons that could improve your future sends.

2. Your first message is a ‘cold call’, it’s not about you, yet.

This for me is something that a lot of recruiters are overlooking, I personally get a large number of emails from recruiters that start with a sentence or paragraph about them or the firm… Who cares?

You need to front load your messages with value for the recipient. This can be content that provides professional value or entertainment value. Then after this, pitch your opportunity and then talk about your company.

When you begin pitching to your prospect, remember you’re selling the role and why it’s relevant to them.

3. Your brand is a known name, so what?

Your brand might be a big name and is consistently dubbed as ‘One of the Best Places to Work’, prospects may open your mail because they recognise the brand but this does not mean you can neglect the message and rely on reputation.

A person’s email address is a personal piece of information and it shouldn’t be misused. Every recruiter needs to focus on what makes them unique and ensure that in each message the company’s mission, vision and values are communicated effectively. Having a good reputation is not an excuse for poor or lazy recruitment email marketing.

4. Build your content around what you want to achieve

Never forget the purpose and reason as to why you’re hitting the send button. If you build your content around this reason, relevant prospects will inevitably feel compelled enough to engage, click or reply.

This means the first step in breaking through to prospects is figuring out what your reason behind pressing send is, this can only be done by determining what your call to action should be.

Your call to action needs to be clear and include all the relevant and necessary information that a prospect would require to make an informed decision. If there is any doubt, or the call to action is a ‘chat about your current situation’ there isn’t any clarity and without clarity, engagement rates fall.

It can be tempting to include as much in your mail as you can – things like unnecessary links to social profiles, talent networks, news stories… Unless they are relevant to your core message, leave them out.