July 16, 2018

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Voice Mail and E-mail: Eight Simple Rules of Communications

Voice mail and e-mail can be powerful recruiting and marketing toolsóbut only if you treat them like their first cousin, direct marketing.

Until a few years ago, the term "direct marketing" referred mainly to direct mail and telemarketing. Now that voice mail and e-mail are in common use, you can add them to the list of direct marketing techniques.

Direct marketing is based on the assumption that your message needs to reach so many people, it canít be personally delivered (or least, not delivered with any real quality of interactivity). The number of prospects is simply too great, and therefore too expensive to "hand deliver" to each person.

However, in recruiting, thereís anotheróand possibly more relevantóbasis for direct marketing: the belief (real or imagined) that none of your prospects can be reached directly by telephone. Iíve been told by several recruiters that so many prospective candidates and employers filter their phone calls that itís virtually impossible to get through to people to make a real-time presentation. If this is true, then outbound voice mail and e-mail may be the only viable way to reach new prospects.

The Results are Binary
If you leave a voice mail message or send an e-mail blast, youíre sending a one-way message thatís incapable of answering questions, handling concerns, or probing for referrals. So, the result can only be binary, either on or off. Your prospects either call you back (or e-mail you), or they donít.

That means if you broadcast your message by voice mail or e-mail, you have to accept the limitations of the medium, and trade quality for quantity. Since youíre playing a numbers game with a low rate of return (two percent with voice mail, far less with e-mail), you have to offset the inherent inefficiency of the technique by increasing the number of prospects. Which means that unless you have lots of prospectsóor your message is truly importantódonít leave a voice mail message or send an e-mail.

Here are some tips when launching a voice mail or e-mail campaign:

  1. Beef up your list. To offset the inefficiencies of the medium, youíll need a large number of names, numbers or e-mail addresses in order to get a reasonable return.

  2. Craft your message to get a response. Your "sale" will take the form of a callback, an e-mail reply, a resume attachment or a visit to your Web site.

  3. Repetition is key. Even if you get a disappointing response, keep sending your message. Over time, youíll build brand awareness and increase your chances of getting a response or making a sale.

  4. Be prepared for success. Your only real opportunity to "sell" is when you get a call back, so have a script (or a strong presentation) ready for when people start responding. You may not get a second chance.

  5. Donít fatigue your list. Repetition is good; suffocation is bad. If you deliver the same message too often, people will get annoyed, and your response rate will decline.

  6. Always test your message. If you have a list of 1,000 e-mail prospects, send your message to the first 250. If the response is good, send the rest. If the response is bad, rework your message or make corrections and send it to the next 250 prospects. Same thing with your voice mails: test your message with 10 people. If they all hang up on you, theyíre telling you what they think of your message.

  7. Clean your list. Direct marketers call this "list hygiene." De-dupe and correct your list as often as you can, and make sure to honor all requests from those who want to be removed.

  8. Be vigilant with your removes. Itís a common mistake to add new names you removed a couple of months ago. A simple clerical error on your part may offend a privacy fanatic.

As a safeguard, keep a DO NOT SEND list, and cross reference it before you start a new campaign. Even though voice mail and e-mail are non-interactive, they can still get terrific resultsóif you follow the rules.

-Bill Radin
Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction.