Boss Digital specialise in digital marketing for ambitious HR companies and other professional service organisations, seeking to build their brand and transform their lead generation.

By working with Boss, you have access to an entire team of brand specialists, copy writers, coders, SEO’s and PPC experts. We take complete accountability for the results of this activity and can even work on-site where required.

More than anything, we recognise that our work is ultimately measured in pounds and pence. This is about results.

The first part of any campaign is to conduct extensive research into the target market.

The HR sector has changed a lot in recent years, and with disruptive technologies such as AI and machine learning only now starting to have a real impact, the only thing certain for the next decade is that there’s plenty more change to come!

The market research process should begin with deep investigation into the business in question, including a SWOT analysis and interviews with all major stakeholders. A thorough picture must be developed not only of how this HR firm is viewed internally, but also externally by customers both past and present.

The next stage is in researching the audience. Is the HR company selling into large businesses or small, owner managed companies, and is there an industry focus? What are the job titles of these prospects, and what are the key rational and emotional drivers behind their actions?

From a more tactical perspective, lots can then be learnt from the competition. What channels are they spending their money on and what content/influencer activity seems to be working for them? At a more strategic level, where are these HR companies positioned in the market, and most importantly, where are the gaps?

Finally, a broader analysis of the surrounding market needs to be conducted. What are the key economic, social and technological factors that are likely to shape the HR market over the next 10 years, and how does this need to be built into the strategy?

This market research should of course inform the strategy for the HR firm as a whole, but our concern here is the implications from a communications perspective.

Once all the research has been completed, we can begin to develop the HR firm’s brand identity and architecture.

This begins with identifying the core competencies. What is it that the firm excels in that its competition will never be able to compete with? This may be one thing, or it could be the marriage of several different attributes that the firm knows are all deeply important to the target audience.

This needs to be accompanied with a clear vision. What is broken with the HR market today that this firm is intending to fix, and why does it matter?

Then the position needs to be identified, which essentially means – who are we doing this for? Is it a particular sector or type of business? Is it a within a certain geography, perhaps?

Once these fundamentals are established – fundamentals which most HR firms will never identify – the brand can then be broken down in a number of additional ways:

  • Organisational values
  • Product features and benefits
  • Personality and tone of voice

And finally, we have the visual identity. How does the architecture detailed above translate into a logo, colour palette, typeface and bank of user imagery?

There is no shortage of HR firms creating perfectly professional, interesting and informative content, so for yours to have any chance of cutting through the noise it needs a clear strategy, and this should be dictated by your overarching brand identity.

So if your brand planning process identified a particular sector or other audience as your target market, we need to consider what kind of content these specific people are interested in. Typically we would create 4 or 5 different themes (also known as “pillars”) for the audience, which would start with the content of the greatest interest to the audience, and work back to the HR services and products you are hoping to sell.

This framework should also define where these people are active, both online and offline, and how success will be measured, in turn driving the channel activity which we will come onto next.

Having a clear framework for your content, however, is still not enough. HR is a seriously competitive space so unless you are speaking to an extremely specific audience, it’s likely you’re going to have to set for yourself an ambitious and compelling vision for your strategy, that acts as a guiding light for all of your content. That could be to write a book, or host a large event, or use some other tactic to develop your audience into a highly engaged “tribe” that buy into you on a more personal and emotional level.

When people think of influencer marketing their minds typically leap to Instagram and YouTube, but the truth is that every market has its influencers and often they can be found in much more traditional environments.

HR companies need to consider the kind of people that influence their markets. For example, if they are selling into COO’s of large organisations, they need to think about who these COO’s look to for information and guidance. If they are selling into a particular sector, such as the tech space, they need to think about who the key influencers are within that market.

By aligning this influencer strategy with their content strategy, they can capture content from these influencers that supports the pillars defined earlier. This is the absolute mecca of B2B content marketing. Not only does it significantly raise the credibility of the HR company’s brand, but it also gives them the best content they could ever dream of, and all while extending their reach via the audience of the influencer in question. If the influencer also happens to fall within their target market, it may even be a great direct BD opportunity!

There is an expression in marketing – “Nail the content, and the channels will take care of themselves”.

There is a lot of truth in that, but to take the campaign to its fullest potential, you do need a clear sense of the priority channels and the different role each is to play in building up your sales and marketing funnel.

For most HR companies, the two most important channels are typically:

  • Email – for HR companies, building their email list of targeted decision-makers that fall within their market, is perhaps the single most strategically significant thing they can do from a digital perspective. Not only is this a key driver of action and brand building, but it’s also an asset they own that grows in compound value over time. Ensuring the data is well segmented, GDPR compliant and constantly engaged is of huge importance, and email open/click-through rates should be some of their most closely monitored performance metrics.
  • Search engine optimisation – the other key channel for most HR firms is the relationship between their website and the search engines, particularly Google. The vast majority of B2B sales journeys begin with a search into Google, so ensuring that you are well-positioned for key terms that represent likely queries by your priority audience, is essential to ensuring you’re extracting full value from your web presence.

Other important channels will include YouTube for video content, and the key social platforms, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook. There is a misconception that Facebook is purely for consumer brands but of course, every business decision-maker is also a consumer, and just as likely to be active on Facebook as they are on LinkedIn, if not more so. That said, where LinkedIn is extremely powerful is in the generation of leads via data capture among your target audience.

Any digital campaign is only ever as successful as the metrics it tracks. One of the challenges for any HR firm is understanding which metrics will drive the right action. We would suggest that the headline KPI’s an HR company should be tracking on a really regular basis, are likely to include:

  • Enquiries, whether over the phone or email (monitoring the former may require additional software beyond standard Google Analytics).
  • Engagement via email, as this effectively tracks both new email acquisition and open rates.
  • Traffic to key organic landing pages

Secondary metrics that the company may wish to track less frequently are:

  • Search engine rankings for key terms
  • Website engagement stats, such as page views and time on site
  • Social media stats, such as page growth, reach and engagement

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