Proven Email Marketing Success For Recruiting Firms

recruiting recruitment staffing Nov 29, 2023

In today's economy, new business development for recruiting firms is a top priority for many firm owners. From my perspective, most have seen a significant drop in their business. Not surprisingly, many firms have substantially increased their email marketing efforts. How effective do you think these attempts are in most cases? The answer is mostly ineffective. 

Your prospects probably receive a large dose of unsolicited emails from a wide assortment of marketers. This "noise" creates an environment where, unless you're really on your game, you're unlikely to gain the attention and credibility you need to drive the conversations you desire.  As a result, you waste valuable time, money, and effort. You also experience frustration and concern about your ability to drive new business as your revenue continues declining.

How do you measure email marketing success?

Email marketing success is measured by the number of your target prospects who actually talk to you. Before we discuss successful email marketing principles for recruiting firms, let's cover some common strategies that aren't effective

  1. Attention-grabbing gimmicks. An example of an attention-grabbing gimmick is cute/clever video introduction emails. These approaches often provide the illusion of success in the form of high open, click, and response rates in the beginning due to novelty. Unfortunately, subsequent emails garner diminishing results since the novelty wears off.  
  2. Going for the quick kill. What I mean by this is starting your email campaigns with immediate attempts to push for meetings. For example, "Hi, I'm Bob with Recruiting Pros, and we help companies hire Desk Polishers. Let's set a time to talk about your hiring needs. Here's my calendar:

The problem with this type of approach is that you're not building the positive awareness and credibility that drives sustainable results. For every person you talk to, you alienate many who would have talked to you over time with a better approach.

  1. Too much of the same thing. An example of this is almost always (or always) sending MPC Campaigns or writing articles about the same topics consistently. Without variety people will get bored and tune you out.


What email marketing strategies are effective?

Success in email marketing is based on the consistent execution of fundamental principles. Let's break down email marketing into two areas and then cover the principles of each area separately as follows: 

  1. Content: The actual information you are providing in the form of text, videos, visual imagery, and interactive elements (e.g., links and clickable buttons)
  2.   Content delivery: All details related to maximizing the percentage of people engaging with your content.

Fundamental principles for quality content

Content that resonates with your specific audience is quality content. Here are some basic principles to guide you in developing quality content:

  • Know your audience well regarding current issues in hiring and retaining the people you place. What are the greatest challenges they face now? What about the challenges that are ongoing/evergreen? What are the common mistakes they make that hinder their success in hiring and retention? What do you see as future issues they may not be thinking about?
  • Start with a relevant "hook". A "hook" is a compelling opening statement or idea designed to capture the reader's attention and interest immediately. This is commonly used as the title for your content. For example, my hook is "Proven Email Marketing Success For Recruiting Firms." New business development is a relevant topic to my audience of small to mid-sized recruiting firms. The hook also provides you with guidance on what to write about. 
  • Use the language of your audience. When you know your audience, you know the industry terms they use. For example, I used the term "MPC Campaigns" above since this is a specific type of recruiting industry email marketing. The benefit of using relevant industry terms is that your audience knows you’re speaking to them personally. Generic messages will not engage your audience!

Also, don't try to impress your audience with your ability to use fancy or sophisticated words. Use simple, clear English that you know they will understand. One of the reasons that I mention this is that AI tools, like Chat GPT, make it easier for people to write articles quickly. The danger is that AI-generated articles are often written with verbiage that may not resonate with your audience.

  • Focus on problems, pain points, and solutions
    • Problems are the specific issues your audience is dealing with. Using this article as an example, the problem I'm highlighting is unsuccessful email marketing efforts. 
    • Pain points refer to the adverse tangible and intangible outcomes arising from the pain points. Using the above example, the pain points include wasted time and money on unsuccessful marketing and declining revenue from a lack of new business. The intangible pain points include wasted effort, frustration, and concern about your inability to drive new business.
    • Solutions refer to the specific, practical advice you share with your audience. In this article, I share advice that you can act on to improve your email marketing so that your resulting pain points are alleviated. 

One key point is that you don't want to replace the need for your services by telling your clients how to hire on their own. For example, this article provides practical advice to upgrade your email marketing results. But it doesn't replace what I provide recruiting firms to improve their new business development.

Fundamental principles for successful content delivery

Successful content delivery relates to the percentage of your audience who received and engaged with your content. If they do this regularly, they become "Enthusiasts." and are akin to followers on social media. The best content in the world has limited value if the delivery is poorly executed.

Content Delivery can be organized into three categories

  1. Your prospect lists
  2. Your delivery messaging
  3. Your delivery process

To have successful content delivery, you need to get each of the above categories right. Get one wrong, and all your other efforts can be rendered ineffective. Let's consider each of the three categories separately:

Your prospect lists

This is the foundational piece of successful email campaigns. If you're emailing people who are not your buyers or you don't have the correct email addresses, what's the point of sending quality content? A high-quality prospect list meets the following two criteria:

  1. Correct people: This means that a high percentage of the list comprises the people who can decide to buy from you. For example, if you place salespeople, a CFO would rarely be the right contact. Some of the criteria involved in ensuring you have the correct people include company size, industry, functional area, and level within their organizations. 
  2. Correct email addresses: You want to have validated business email addresses. If a significant percentage of the emails you send bounce, that can cause spam filters to consider your emails to be spam.

Your delivery messaging

Good delivery messaging enhances the odds that people open your email and click on your content. Since most people receive countless emails of limited value, persuading them to open your email is difficult. If they open your email, getting them to click on the link to your content is even harder. Let's cover the two aspects of creating quality delivery messaging:

  1.   The email subject line should grab people's attention while clearly conveying the value of your content. A simple way to do this is to use your hook (or a version) as your subject line.  
  2. A brief description (blurb) on why they should click and engage with your content. Your blurb should be concise (one to two short paragraphs). It should provide an overview of the problem you're addressing and the benefits they'll receive by consuming your content.

Your delivery process

This pertains to the specific steps and tools used to send your emails. The important factor to optimize is deliverability: the percentage of emails that get delivered to your prospects' inboxes. Keeping your Domain Reputation (your email domain's perceived trustworthiness and credibility) high helps you optimize your deliverability.

You're sending emails to people who did not subscribe to receive them. These "cold emails" increase the risk of damaging your domain reputation, preventing your emails from reaching your audience inboxes! Below are some basics to maintaining a positive domain reputation. I also included an article that goes into more detail. Here we go:

  • Make sure your list quality is high. This means that the vast majority of prospects are in your target audience. For example, if your audience is accounting and finance leaders, people who are not in this category are more likely to report your emails as spam.
  • Set up a different domain with a similar name for your email efforts. For example, if your main domain is, you can use and others with a similar name. If your domain reputation takes a hit, you've protected your primary domain.
  • When you start your email effort, warm up your new domain gradually. Spam detectors are set up to notice big increases in email volume A proven approach is to start with 50 emails your first day and add 10 per day until you hit 100. Then, add 10% daily until you reach your total list size.
  • "Drip" your emails rather than sending them in bulk. For example, send one email per minute. This greatly reduces the risk of being identified as a spammer.

Tools to send out emails

There are many email software options available. Two popular choices for the recruiting industry are Interseller and Recruiter Flow. They both allow you to implement the delivery process I recommended. What many recruiting firms like about Recruiter Flow is that it's also a top-notch ATS too. This way, you don't need to purchase separate email software.

Since I only covered the basics around email deliverability, here's an article that goes into much more detail:

In Summary

Most recruiting firms want an email marketing program that consistently produces qualified leads. However, meeting this objective isn't easy! There are many details involved in doing this right. The good news is that if you take the time to implement each of the steps properly, you're likely to get an advantage over your competition.

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