Getting to know customers over email is a little like a dance where marketers need to learn to hit the right tempo by following each individual’s preference. That is the advice of Tim Lundberg, channel director at recruitment site reed.co.uk.
This is the year where the business is turning around its strategy from focussing on volume to a more customer-first approach. Rather than have a pre-prescribed email frequency, the recruiter believes the key to a longer lasting relationship is to let job seekers set the pace.
“Email marketers are very concerned about frequency and it’s understandable,” he says. “We were at the recent OMMA email conference and frequency cropped up quite a bit because there’s a general fear that if you email too often you’ll annoy people and lose them. We’re more of the opinion, though, that if it’s email communication the customer finds truly useful, and they want it, then you can probably email more often than some people may think. It’s got to be relevant, though.”
Put Customers In Control
The key is to understand the customer and the journey they are on, Lundberg insists. That way you know where you are adding value and can avoid email overload.
“In the first few days when someone signs up with us, there’s a lot of activity that they will drive through interacting with us to set up a profile and refining the jobs they’re looking for,” he says. “People can normally expect to get a daily email or two with matching jobs. Marketers might think that is a lot but when it’s truly useful information, job seekers are actually glad of it. What happens next is down to the customer. If they keep on coming back to the site and interacting and hopefully applying for positions, we’ll keep that relevant content flowing.
“However, we can detect when the activity is slowing down and then we start dialling down the frequency of our emails. If the last few haven’t been read and the person hasn’t been on the site, we send out an email asking if they’d like to stop hearing from us. That way they can turn us off.”
Emails Reveal Conversions
The latter tactic is actually a very good way of finding out how well the site performs because, with a recruitment site, there is a very obvious reason why contact might drop off and it could be very good news.
“We never really used to know whether we’d done a good job or not,” Lundberg reveals.
“However, we now ask people the obvious question. Do they not want to hear form us for a while because they’ve got another job and, if so, was it down to us? We’ve been able to work out a conversion rate and we’re coming in at around 8%. I come from a retail email background and anyone in that field will know, that’s a pretty good performance.”
Next year, job seekers will get the ultimate control of setting up for how long they think they do not want to hear from the site. For this, the site’s data scientists are likely to be called upon, Lundberg forecasts. They can work out how often jobs tend to last on average in each industry and so advise on when a previous job applicant might be ready to look around again.
By letting consumers set the pace for email communication, Lundberg believes the business will benefit from people viewing the site as a long-term career partner rather than a one-off solution that once found them a job.