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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:
- 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
- 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 website.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.