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Recruiters often use email to reach out to job seekers and potential candidates. But with competition from hundreds of other emails in every inbox, recruiters often find it hard to get job seekers to read their messages, much less apply for open positions.

That’s where email marketing comes in. Marketers have long been using email as a platform to sell products and services to potential customers, and they’re pros at creating compelling emails to do the job – and that’s just what many recruiters and hiring managers are trying to do, too.

Hiring managers and recruiters need to sell potential candidates on the benefits of their open positions. Email marketing can help, as a way to get candidates to open their messages, get interested in their companies, and apply to the positions they’re selling.

Below, we’ve put together a list of 5 lessons recruiters can learn from email marketing to increase their open rates and see more job applicants:

1. Keep it personal

Chances are, you don’t have time to send out individual emails to every candidate you contact. The trick? Making it look like you do. Your emails need to seem personal, even if they’re not. Avoid sending out emails that look like impersonal mass spam by pulling in unique details about each candidate.

It’s fine to use a basic email template, but, if time permits, try to write an original sentence or two for each email. An example? “Hi ______, I found your profile on LinkedIn (or met you at _______) and wanted to get in touch with you about _______.”

You can also use email marketing programs to customize your messages further by automatically pulling in candidate information like names, locations, places of work or education, and positions you think they might be interested in. Just be careful to only use information that’s readily available on sites like LinkedIn – you don’t want to come across as creepy.

2. Make it mobile-friendly

Another trick of the trade when it comes to email marketing is ensuring that your emails are mobile-friendly. Many people use mobile devices to check their email – in fact, according to one recent study, 66% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. So if your emails come across jumbled and illegible on mobile devices, you’re lowering your chances of a positive response.

What makes an email mobile-friendly? In a word, simplicity.

Use large, readable fonts, and keep text concise. Switch to a single-column layout for easy scrolling. Make any buttons easy to find and click. Ensure that your emails look good with or without pictures, since many email clients block images from unknown senders. (Sound confusing? Email marketing programs can help with a lot of this).   To test the mobile-friendliness of your emails, send test messages to a few friends who use different mobile devices, and have them give feedback on how they look and how readable they are.

3. Write compelling copy

Recruitment emails should be short, sweet, and to the point. That means you have a small space to pack a big punch.  The key here is choosing your words – and formatting them – wisely.

Most people scan their emails rather than read them closely. This means you need to help candidates to get the gist of your message quickly, by keeping messages short and highlighting key words or phrases with bolding or subheadings.

Keep in mind that your email doesn’t need to include every detail of the position you’re advertising – in fact, it’s probably better if it doesn’t. Only include a few relevant details, like the position title and a brief description. This will allow potential candidates to skim your email faster, and it might entice them to respond to your email to find out more information about the position or the company.

You want to use copy to create a connection with a potential candidate, even with a limited amount of space. Be creative and show some personality – an email is a great place to display a little of what makes your company unique, whether it’s a young, fun culture or crazy employee perks.

Most important is the call to action. Tell the candidate what you need or want from them, and make it as easy as possible for them to do it. Do you want them to visit your career page or submit a resume? Set up a phone call or apply online? A direct call to action highlighting exactly what they need to do will increase their chances of doing it.

4. Learn about spam filters

More than 70% of all email is spam. And the vast majority of those emails are sent straight into the “Junk” folder, never to be seen again. Don’t let your recruitment emails become part of that statistic – learn about spam filters, and how to avoid them.

Spam filters judge each individual email on a number of criteria, and then add them up to determine a “spam score.” That spam score is used to determine whether or not an email should be delivered to a recipient’s inbox. Even though spam filters pose less of a problem for recruiting emails than marketing emails (recruitment messages don’t normally include spammy phrases like “FREE!” or “BUY NOW!”) there are still some triggers you should watch out for:

  • Excessive exclamation points
  • Using all caps
  • Bright red or green fonts
  • Bad content
  • Sloppy coding
  • Images with little or no text
  • Sending out too many emails at once
  • Sending to old or inactive email lists
  • Including too many URLs

5. Focus on the subject line

The final frontier of successful email marketing? The subject line.

Subject lines are a job candidate’s first impression of your message, and they’re what lead recipients to either open an email or hit “delete.” That makes them incredibly important.

What makes a good subject line?

First and foremost, it should be something that asks a question or grabs attention. Try a question (“Looking for a new opportunity at ______?”) or a list (“5 reasons a position at ______ might be perfect for you”). Engage your recipients with your subject line, and they’ll be more likely to open – and respond to – your email.

What’s not so good? Boring, generic or vague lines, like “Job Opportunity at ______” or “Recruiting Candidates for ______.”

You don’t have to be a marketing guru to get potential candidates to open and respond to your recruiting emails. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to reach a larger number of candidates, see better response rates, and fill your open positions with top talent faster.

Abby Perkins writes about jobs, workplace culture and business solutions at Talent Tribune, a Software Providers blog.


Tags: candidates, communication, hiring, marketing, recruiting, relationships, Strategy,

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