Having candidates in your talent network is valuable for your company, but that doesn’t mean your engagement efforts stop once you attract them. Your company needs to have a lead nurturing strategy in place with your talent network, because you have a pool of qualified candidates you can access at any time, and it’s important to maintain a relationship and build trust.
Here are some essential factors to focus on when building a lead nurturing strategy:
Know Your Audience
Think about the audience to whom you truly want to communicate. For example, if you’re working for a hospital, it’s probably going to be harder for you to find nurses and doctors than positions such as administrators. Therefore, you shouldn’t build your talent network communications around administrators.
Instead, build communications that appeal to the audience you’re looking for, and be specific. There are tons of doctors and nurses, but they work in very different disciplines. When targeting, don't stay high level and don't be afraid to niche down. You want your audience to unmistakably know you are interested in them, and your level of specificity can determine that.
The Soft Sell
It’s important to send emails regularly to the individuals in your talent network, and you want those communications to be both informational and promotional in nature. When you send informational emails, make sure they have a soft sell -- where it’s not an aggressive ask to convert them back. These emails are like saying, “Hey, this is something you can read right now to learn more about us.” Promotional emails allow you to get the word out to your talent network the products and services our company offers. These emails should showcase the value your products and services can bring to them.
When sending an information email, send in such a way that it's not perceived as an aggressive ad to apply for your company. It’s a very soft approach, letting the individuals know they can learn more about this organization and not force them to take action in the moment.
Tip: Make sure there is informational content with a soft-sell approach waved in between promotional type copy. That way, candidates know where to take action if they want to, but they’re still getting something out of the content they send you.
An example of the right type of email to send is something solely focused on what it’s like to work at the company, where each section has a call-to-action (CTA). Ensure the email is rich with information while giving the candidates a place to take action.
Test, Test, And Test Again
It’s important to test your email constantly. As I’ve mentioned previously, I follow the rule of three: one is not a trend, two is not a trend, only after testing three times can you start to understand performance. You can only begin to see trends after three tests (at a bare minimum), and if you haven’t tested at least three times, you haven’t tested at all.
I recommend conducting A/B testing, but make sure you don’t make too many changes at once. By testing, you’ll learn what your audience is interested in, and you can create content or build the email out to what your audience engages with best. Base these adjustments on what your audience is telling you they want. You can only do this by testing.
Tip: If your system allows it, use heat mapping. It will tell you where on your email someone clicked and what section people are engaging with the most. You can then scrutinize that information and work towards creating an email that has engaging content every time.
Develop A Sending Cadence
Each company needs to identify the strategy that works best for them and their audience, then set an expectation and stick to it.
If you start sending a cadence of emails out to your talent community, but don’t remain consistent, you may lose subscribers. Your recipients come to expect that they're going to receive a particularly structured email consistently. If they don’t receive that communication regularly at the time they’ve grown accustomed to expect it, they’re either going to be confused or could quickly lose interest.
You want to set expectations with your candidates to look forward to receiving information and communications from you. Thus, it’s critical to stick to a cadence that data has shown your candidates to respond to. In that way, you remain transparent and build trust with your talent network because they’ll know what to expect, what they’re receiving, and that you’re a reliable source.
Tip: You can try testing for changes to see if they work, but you should never make too many changes at once. If your email needs edits, make one change at a time and test it to see what resonates best with your audience.
How To Convert The Candidates
Every action you ask a candidate to take lowers the chance they will follow through to the end, so you have to think through your strategy organizationally. What is the end goal? What is the minimum amount of effort you need the candidate to take to make it to the end of your application process?
Typically, individuals will take an action, as long as you’re not overly invasive. However, the more involved the CTA, the harder it is to convert -- that's why it takes so many touch points to convert someone through an application. An application is just a long CTA, and people need to see that there's light at the end of the tunnel and that it's worth them taking their time to do it.
Share The Benefits
No matter the role you’re trying to fill, share the great benefits of that specific position. Include details about the team they’ll work with, the company, and other remarkable aspects of the job. Help your candidate understand what makes you the ideal place to work. Educate them on ways you will help them succeed in their career, and invite them to join your work family.
Going into detail about the company and facilities is essential, but don’t limit it to the organization. Tell the candidates about the area where they’ll work. For example, if people come in from out-of-state, they probably won’t know much about your company or the surrounding area. It’s a great idea to tell them about the neighborhood and the city. You can share information like what a great life they can have and give them the cost of living (this is precious information, especially if they're coming in from out-of-town). Taking the research out of their hands is a great way to let them learn from you, and understand what a great opportunity this could be for them.
What to Do When People Aren't Engaging
If the individuals are opening your emails, there's no reason to stop emailing them. I have a six-week rule I follow: if an individual stops opening emails after six weeks, they’re probably not interested. Now, that's not to say you can't communicate with the candidates after those initial six weeks, but you should not be aggressive with them.
The timeline I follow is to disengage at week six of the individual not opening your emails, then wait two months and then send another email. After that point, if they're not engaging with you, wait six months and send another message. If they don't communicate with you after another six months, you can wait another six months if you want -- or you could just cut it off right there. However, anyone who opens or engages with an email during this timeframe gets placed back into the original email cadence because they took a positive action.
The content you're putting out at week six, two months, or six months will need to be catered to that audience, meaning the emails need to include messaging that directly talks about the candidate not opening your emails and not communicating or engaging with them. You can add content along the lines of, “Hey, we’re sorry you're not finding the content we're putting out useful. Tell us what you want in our preference center.”
Tip: Make one of the last communications to the individual a feedback form or survey. This way, you can learn from them what worked and what didn’t work and can adjust your content if necessary.
WHen To Stop - The Indicators
If an email cadence isn’t performing in the way you thought it would, you need to know when it’s best to stop. Some indicators to look for are if your open rates start to drop, click-to-open rates go down, unsubscribes go higher, or your complaint rates go higher -- your audience will tell you what is and isn’t working, so it’s important for you to listen, take note, and make adjustments along the way.
It’s also important to know when your audience is dropping off in your candidate nurturing campaigns. You can measure this by putting together a communication string where you have a communication cadence set to rollout over the course of three-months. When you're sending emails over those three months, notice where the drop-off starts to occur -- your open rates will start to decrease at a certain point -- and that's where you should put your first cutoff point.
Remember, if candidates are opening your emails, keep engaging them, because they took a positive and responsive action. If the individual complains, or if they're not converting after those communications, you may need to rethink your strategy and how you're communicating with them.
Tip: If candidates are opening, not unsubscribing, and not complaining, but are also not converting, then they want to hear something from you. They just might not be hearing the right thing from your company, which is why adding a preference center in your emails can help direct them to the cadence or the content they’re actually looking for.
Having a lead nurturing strategy in place is very important and will ensure your company captures the interested candidates’ attention. You spend a lot of time building your talent network up, so it’s vital to make sure it stays solid and engaged!
If your company is looking for help to build a strong candidate engagement or candidate lead nurturing strategy, contact Recruitics!
Posted by Jason Messinger
Jason Messinger is the Director of Engagement at Recruitics. He loves to meet new people, help guide them on their path, and looks for opportunities to connect at every moment. Jason is passionate about identifying and correcting automation errors and overcoming complex challenges. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his two daughters.