An e-mail newsletter has widespread use in customer communication, but it’s a great tool for recruitment, too. It helps you maintain a regular relationship with your talent pool, distribute content and get applications.
Building a relationship
Interesting companies attract a community of fans: people that follow them on social, read their content, come to events and consider sending in applications.
It’s a honeypot that recruitment teams should manage. This doesn’t necessarily mean immediately asking for a CV; instead, it’s more about building a relationship. An e-mail newsletter is perfect for that. With the right tools, you can distribute personalized content, establish a system of collecting new contacts, see how readers behave, identify the most engaged ones and link the newsletter to other marketing activities.
Most of the candidate newsletters contain three main sections: articles from the company blog, invitations to events and a list of vacancies. See examples of STRV’s newsletters below:
It’s almost impossible to create content that will be relevant for everyone. What interests developers will not interest accountants. The best approach (and the most demanding 🙂 is to create several versions and allow people to decide which content they prefer.
At STRV, we decided to segment the newsletter based on the three main job families we hire: software engineers, designers and product managers. The three versions differ not only by featuring different articles, but also by including different event invites and vacancies.
After segmenting the content, we saw the average open rates significantly improve, going from 22% to 47%. The click rates improved as well, increasing from 2,8% to 4,5%.
There’re many studies about the best times to send newsletters. What’s important is to follow a few basic rules:
- Avoid Monday morning, Friday afternoon and Saturday.
- If you have recipients in different time zones, split the sending list or pick a time that works for all, e.g. late afternoon in Europe is morning time in the U.S.
- If you target developers, it’s OK to send in the evening and to avoid early mornings.
- Setting a regular sending time can help you to put more discipline into your efforts.
There are many tools for creating and sending newsletters, with MailChimp being the most widely used. You can either use some of the prepared templates, or you can create your own. Use the simple drag & drop method to add photos, texts, videos, links and graphic elements.
MailChimp is also a contact database, where you can store, categorize and manage your contacts. Sending the newsletter to the right contact group is a matter of a few clicks. The free version of MailChimp allows you to store up to 2,000 contacts, and the paid version has a very reasonable price.
MailChimp can be integrated with many other tools—like Eventbrite, a tool for event management. Thanks to an open API, you can create your own integrations and integrate it with your ATS.
Collection of contacts
All mailing platforms allow you to create subscription forms that can be implemented to your website; e-mails are then recorded in the database with various tags and categorizations. It’s possible to set up automatic sequences (e.g. a ‘thank you’ email following registration), double opt-in and so on.
Using the subscription forms is in line with GDPR because you have a record of the subscriber’s consent. I don’t recommend adding contacts manually (like uploading a list of event attendees). That’s against GDPR.
Additionally, I recommend using two different databases—a mailing database and a candidate database—because the purpose and the required consent are different. You must know who is a candidate (and should be deleted after the hiring process) and who is a subscriber that agreed to stay in touch and receive your marketing materials.
Use every opportunity to get contact information from your fans and potential candidates.
1) Place subscription forms at every possible place on your career site: under the job listing, in the blog section, in the event section, on the welcome page, on the “Thank you for applying” page, etc.
2) Include the newsletter subscription link in the e-mail templates you send to candidates (e.g. “Thank you for applying”). I even have a link to the newsletter in my e-mail signature.
3) After every event, send a follow-up email to attendees and include a link to the newsletter subscription.
All mailing platforms provide helpful metrics and analytics. Basic KPIs are the ‘open rate’ (% of subscribers who opened the newsletter) and the ‘click rate’ (% of subscribers who clicked on at least one link in the newsletter).
You can also see which articles people click on most, when they click, demographic analytics and many more.
MailChimp scores subscribers’ activity, allowing you to see which subscribers are the most engaged by tracking how often they open and read the newsletters you sent. And you can go even further. MailChimp can show you the email addresses of people who clicked on particular links like open positions, and can help you target them with personalized messages.
Tracking – Google Analytics
When a reader clicks on a link in the newsletter, it redirects him/her to your website (either the blog or career section). Here, you can continue measuring his/her behavior and gain more insights. The best tool for that is Google Analytics. You can measure, for example:
- how many visitors of career pages came from the newsletter
- number of applications sent by newsletter subscribers
- how many new subscribers sent a CV within 3 months after subscribing to the newsletter
To give you an idea: STRV’s newsletter has 6,500 subscribers. The newsletter is the 4th largest source of web traffic. Subscribers send in an average of 10 applications per month.
Having this data is important when measuring the ROI of the newsletter, and it helps to convince people to contribute to our blog.
Newsletter and facebook advertising
If you have a large base of followers on Facebook, you can run a campaign to convert them into subscribers. We recently did exactly that. Here are the campaign results:
- 1 new subscriber from the Facebook campaign costs $ 1.0 (total campaign cost divided by the number of contacts you get).
- On average, 15% of new subscribers will send a resume within 3 months. This means that we need about 7 new subscribers to get 1 CV.
- 7 new subscribers with a unit cost of $1 makes it $7 per one new CV. And that’s a great price. In a classic recruitment campaign, the cost of a resume is a lot higher.
It’s much easier to convince your potential candidates/customers to first take a small step (subscribe to the newsletter) and, later, ask them to take a bigger step (application). A newsletter is a great way to make this principle happen.
If you’re focusing on long-term recruitment, you need to build a community of fans that can later become candidates. However, you need quality content.
You can’t simply rely on professional copywriters, but you also need the involvement of your people and experts. Meaning that it takes time and a lot of effort. But if you persist, the results will be worth it.