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Staffing & Recruiting Digital Inbound Marketing Series/Audience Mapping – 1

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What makes marketing within the staffing and recruiting industry so unique? Let’s start by pointing out that every agency has at least two target audiences (hiring managers and candidates) each with different intentions: to hire talented employees and to find jobs. Factor in multiple specialty areas and a variety of industries, and the target audience can become quite complex.

Audience mapping is the process of exploring the digital behaviors of your audiences before building out a campaign. This exercise can be as elaborate or simplistic as you want it to be, though it’s vital that your information come from a credible place. Throughout the mapping exercise, check in with people who have ongoing first-hand candidate and client interaction to ensure you are on the right track. But probably one of the most important aspects of this process is figuring out not only who your audience is, but what they want and where they are going to fulfill those wishes. The following list of questions will help you get to know your audience and further assess their needs:

1. Who are they? Are they trying to appeal to corporate HR? Web Designers? Executive Assistants? Accountants? Java Developers? Traveling nurses? Unless your audience is actively looking for a job or to hire talent, there’s a very slim chance that they will stumble upon your corporate blog, job board, twitter feed or fan page if it’s strictly all about you. Assuming that your prospects know your brand and will find you when the need arises is a mistake. Before building your digital brand, it’s vital that you forget about you and focus on your customers and prospects.

2. What information are they interested in? To answer this question, you might consider surveying some of your current customers. I would suggest sending your candidates and clients a very simple survey through email and complement it with a written survey that can be filled out in your lobby while candidates are waiting for an interview. You could also poll some of your closer candidates and clients on the phone, which will allow for in-depth interaction. Are they looking for industry tips and trends? Do they want to network with other professionals within their industry? Would they value updates on your newest jobs? Leave an open comments section at the end of any written or email survey to allow for your customers to offer original ideas. Some great internet survey sites include: Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, and Constant Contact.

3. Where do they get their news? With thousands of mainstream and industry media outlets competing for the limited time professionals set aside to get their daily news fix, you can learn a lot by understanding which publications successfully and continually capture the attention of your audience. Consider calling into the sales departments of a variety of publications and tell the account representative that you are interested in learning more about their readership demographic.

4. How are they searching? If you want your digital marketing activity to be found by your target audience, you should run a keyword search analysis to understand how they are searching via the major search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing). This will end up being the most important exercise, and depending on internal resources available, may require the support of an outside agency. Don’t guess what your audience wants based on how well you think you know your business.

There are free and low cost tools out there that will give you accurate data. Some of the more popular tools include: Google AdWords, WordTracker, and KeywordDiscovery.com. You should be looking for keyword phrases that have high search volume and then consider more specific (perhaps local) phrases that will have less search competition, but are still close to your business. Once you target a manageable list of key search terms, compare this data with the information you’ve acquired from steps 1-3. Note: Much more to come on this in the search engine optimization (SEO) part of this digital marketing series. Stay tuned for Audience Mapping-2