How To Create Content That Turns Prospects Into ClientsMay 17, 2023
The recruiting industry has changed significantly over the past 10-15 years. Business development strategies for recruiting firms used to focus more on sales and less on marketing. The focus has flipped in today's world. Let me clarify what I mean by sales and marketing.
- Sales refers to direct one-on-one communication with your prospects to convert the "appropriate ones" into clients. Most recruiting industry sales efforts have traditionally focused on referrals and cold calls to generate conversations.
- Marketing refers to increasing awareness and credibility with your prospects. Years ago, recruiting industry marketing tactics focused on advertising, brochures, flyers, and trade shows. Digital marketing strategies such as social media and email have largely replaced the old methods.
What has changed
The effectiveness of cold-calling has steadily decreased due to caller ID and the constant onslaught of telephone spam calls. Most prospects do not answer their phones unless they wish to talk to you. And, when they do answer, they tend to be less receptive due to spam call harassment.
The other change is an increase in recruiting firms vying for the same clients. Due to these changes, most recruiting firms cannot develop enough quality new business without an effective marketing program to create top-of-mind awareness and credibility.
Even people you think you have strong relationships with may shift to your competition if you stay top-of-mind. If your method of staying in contact mainly involves inquiring about their hiring needs and sending "MPC Campaigns," you're likely to lose their interest.
Producing quality content is a vital skill that pays off for those willing to make an effort. Most recruiting firms squander significant revenue by not consistently providing high-value content that resonates with their prospects and clients. As a result, they're not seen as trusted advisors and don't stand out to their audience. This lost revenue becomes even greater when the economy turns south.
Writing Content That Converts Prospects Into Clients
There are different ways to create content that resonates with your audience. The most compelling content addresses real concerns your audience currently faces and provides practical suggestions to address these concerns. Below is an effective format for creating quality customized to your audience. You can follow the structure in the order below.
- Start with a description of a problem or concern they have. This can be expressed with a story or an example they can relate to. Make their pain real and relatable to them. For example, "Despite countless hours using LinkedIn and sending marketing emails to prospects, you haven't brought in a new client in months."
- Describe the costs of these problems or concerns. The costs include tangible costs (measurable in dollars, time, productivity, etc.) and intangible costs (emotional impacts, such as frustration, embarrassment, insecurity, etc.). Describe the tangible and intangible costs to make them real to your audience. For example, "Your lack of new business costs you $30-40,000/month in lost revenue, and you're nervous about the future. If things don't change soon, you'll need to start laying people off."
- Provide advice in the form of practical solutions. Your clients want practical, actionable solutions rather than just concepts and generalities. For example, "Below are four steps to maximize the odds that the best candidates accept your offer." Then describe each of the four steps.
- Summarize your article and include the main takeaway. For example, "Show candidates how your opportunity provides what they want and demonstrate that you value and respect them. This way, you maximize the odds they'll accept your offer instead of your competitors."
The benefit of the above format is that your audience feels that you truly understand them and can help them solve their problems. This increases the odds that they'll see you as a trusted advisor rather than a commodity.
Addressing Your Concerns
I help my clients increase their revenue by implementing effective sales and marketing programs. Marketing is usually the scariest of the two for most people. Many believe they're not good writers or are concerned it will take too much time. Let me address some common concerns:
- I'm not a good writer. Creating good content doesn't require you to be a stellar writer. The main thing is to follow an effective format (see above) and take advantage of the power of editing. Writing is a skill that you develop over time. Writing clarifies your thoughts and gives you insights you wouldn't have had. Both of these benefits will make you more effective in business development.
Your clients are more interested in consuming content that addresses their problems than they are in your journalistic prowess. Most of them aren't good writers themselves and are less judgmental of your writing quality than you imagine them to be. I recommend using Grammarly to edit for spelling and grammar. It helps me tremendously!
Your content doesn't need to be long. 500-800 words are usually plenty. The impact is more important than the quantity.
- I want to find a "Ghostwriter" to write my content. I've heard this one many times over the years. I ain't afraid of no ghost. But, I haven't seen them write content demonstrating a true understanding of client issues that you deal with. It's tough to convey this understanding to someone from the outside. As a result, their writing is unlikely to resonate with your prospects.
At this point, almost everybody has heard of Chat GPT. Since it's so new, the best practices for using this resource will change over time. I don't use it to write my articles because I want to express and clarify my own thoughts without being prompted by outside information. But that doesn't mean that others shouldn't use it.
In my opinion, Chat GPT can be a helpful resource to get you started on a topic. It can produce the first draft and save you significant time in your writing. I recommend carefully editing Chat GPT's content by customizing the verbiage to address what you know about your audience.
Content that resonates with your particular audience is not generic. You hear what your clients say in the specific language they use. AI may get to this point in the future, but I don't believe it's there yet.
The recruiting firms most successful in new business development have a consistent marketing approach that supplements their sales activities. They use the same marketing resources as others (LinkedIn, Email, and Website). They excel in consistently distributing content that resonates with their audience.
If you do this effectively, you'll position yourself as a trusted advisor with your prospects. Be grateful that this isn't too easy. Everyone would be doing it if it were, and you wouldn't get an advantage over your competitors!