When was the last time you abandoned something in an online shopping cart and that very item showed up in your Facebook feed? Or, maybe it was an ad in the middle of a news article you were reading, or anywhere else online.
The first time it happened to you, it may have been shocking. Then it became creepy. But over time, I imagine it’s become more commonplace. It’s done through a combination of cookies and paid advertising, typically called retargeting. It’s a form of online advertising that keeps your brand in front of the traffic that has left your website. Basically, it’s electronic stalking through advertising. And it works… sometimes.
Does it work it recruiting?
Only if you’re willing to appear desperate and you don’t care about the caliber of clients you attract.
In our Client Cornucopia program (which is already more than half full for March), we teach many core business development concepts. I’d like to cover one of them at a high level.
Client Selection. We’ve been terrible at this as an industry. For decades, we’ve used MPC marketing to get in the door of a company, where we let the candidate pick the clients we’d go after for business. “Jim, I had an opportunity to speak to a highly qualified candidate yesterday. When I asked him which companies he has the most respect for, he told me (gasp!) your company. Let’s set up a conversation.”
This is a reactive way to run your desk and doesn’t give you the ability to be discerning about who you represent in the market.
Retargeting is the same. The message you’re sending to your candidates and prospective clients (or worse, actual clients) about your business is you’re desperate. They come to your site, look around, and then leave. Now everywhere they go online, there’s an ad for your business. Talk about being needy! You can’t see specifically who the ads are retargeting, nor can you eliminate anyone out of it. It’s a total sum game. If you retarget, you retarget everyone that’s been on a specific page of your website.
But wait! Doesn’t that mean I can only show ads to the people that have clicked on client specific pages of my site? Yep, and I’m sure only prospective clients have clicked on those pages. I’m sure it wasn’t your candidates seeing if they could figure out your fee structure and it wasn’t competitors evaluating your brand. Hundreds of webcrawlers may be phishing around on your site too. Now you’re going to pay to annoy those people?
You look desperate, not omnipresent.
If you want to be continuously in front of your target clients, it takes a whole lot more than a Facebook retargeting pixel – unless you don’t care about how your reputation or who specifically you’re paying to advertise to.
Let’s take it old school. Go back 25 years and pretend you owned a staffing firm. Every single person that interacted with for any reason (bad candidate, mail delivery, pizza deliver, office supply guy, random person trying to sell you something), let’s say you had them fill out a form with just their fax number. You have no other information about them, just a fax number. Now, you start sending 3 faxes every hour all about how great your staffing firm is and why they should do business with you.
You’d be paying a lot of money to annoy your audience and other, non-relevant people.
We had someone do this in a Client Cornucopia class a little more than a year ago. She was making fifteen points of contact in a week, via phone and email, to the same contact. We sometimes compare this to someone asking you out on a date. Three times a day. Every single day. How long until you blocked them? How long until you filed a restraining order? That’s omnipresence in real life.
Please don’t employ this tactic for your business. It might work for a $20 T-shirt you left in your cart at ThinkGeek, but it’s not the right approach if you’re charging 20 – 50K for a highly skilled professional placement. They deserve a little more effort.
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Tricia Tamkin, headhunter, advisor, coach, and gladiator. Tricia has spoken at over 50 recruiting events, been quoted in multiple national publications, and her name is often dropped in groups as the solution to any recruiters’ challenges. She brings over 30 years of deep recruiting experience and offers counsel in a way which is perspective changing and entertaining.