Why And How Business Owners Should Invest In Digital Marketing

By Tony Restell

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Rob Hanna InterviewI recently had the opportunity to interview Rob Hanna of Kissoon Carr. We discussed the impact digital marketing can have on a business - and how business owners can take the next steps to start investing in this. I asked Rob:

Q1. What impact have you seen digital marketing have on the businesses you are involved in?

Q2. What would you say to business owners who are reluctant to invest resource into their digital marketing?

Q3. If you could give business owners one or two tips of things to focus on or start out with first, what would be your top tips?

Watch the full interview

Here's the full video, a transcript of which follows underneath

Interview Transcript


What kind of impact have you seen Digital Marketing have?

I know business owners are sometimes sceptical about investing in this...

What kind of impact have you seen it have?

I have seen a massive impact. So I was introduced to LinkedIn in 2008 and the platform has shifted significantly.

And LinkedIn is obviously just one channel.

Originally, it was just for typically people... for recruiters, just to post jobs and to try and attract candidates.

Now naturally, it has evolved significantly.

However, have all of the users and the adoptors of LinkedIn moved in that way.

Probably not, but for myself, as a recruiter now business owner over 12 years.

I think something would be strikingly wrong if I was doing exactly what I was doing in 2008 now So I think businesses really do... and the one thing that I'm really passionate about at Kissoon Carr is disrupting the legal recruitment sector through digital marketing and content creation and being different.

So what do I actually mean by that?

We have our very own podcast, which is used to ultimately create content.

But it's a great business development tool. We call it the legally speaking podcast powered by our own organisation.

So it's a slightly softer message to our target market.

It's great for business development because we can go and pitch that to potential clients and say, 'Hey, would you like to come to a feature on our show?'

And it will help you get your brand out for your own recruitment?

Or we can say to a candidate, oh, a candidate potentially on the fence about a particular opportunity or particular trend in the market place. We can give them some content and some news around that.

So I'm a big believer in podcasting, in webinars, in general, digital marketing as well and social media.

I'm a big advocate for social media, I myself I like to think I'm okay at it.

But one of the other things we've done is we've adopted the youth.

There's a lot of younger generations out there that have a lot to teach you in terms of TikTok, Instagramming, Instagram Reels, which are now the big thing with the whole TikTok saga and how that can really drive.

What you're trying to do with all of your digital marketing is, firstly create a purpose.

You want to understand what your purpose is and why you're doing it.

Absolutely is to then drive inbound leads to your business. You want inbound discussions because the days of just picking up the phone and cold calling, headhunting religiously wasting hours and hours and hours of time to no avail with all these long lists of clients, prospects, candidates etc. that's still relevant to a degree.

but now you can do a lot smarter digital plays to bring the audiences to you.

And you're ultimately trying to build your brand built on trust and whichever niche or vertical that you're in, making sure that the content you produce is really high quality and there's other things you can do through your digital marketing to generate revenue, particularly if you're a largely contingent based recruitment business, which by and large I think a lot of recruitment businesses still are.

They will sell the retained model till the cows come home, but what percentage of them are really working on retained mandates?

And so if we're going into a really heavy recession and you're reliant on vacancies, and you don't have any alternative monthly recurring revenue streams, then that's a potential hit to your business.

So if you're creating interesting infographic, bite-size content or subscription-based newsletters or videography and things like that that actually your market still wants to know, and you can charge subscriptions on a monthly basis.

Suddenly if you've got 100, 200, 1000, a couple of 1000 people signed up on an X percentage per month, your monthly recurring revenue actually can stabilise you through a potential downturn whilst keeping you in the market, marketing to your business through your various digital channels. So probably the long-winded way of saying is that I think it's been a massive impact on my business for the good.

But you have to be consistent.

You have to keep with the times, and you have to be prepared to embrace change.

And I think a lot of recruitment business owners may still think to pick up the phone, call them, that's the way forward.

Yes, that still does work to a degree, and ultimately, you have to be skilled enough to get those conversions.

If you're good at marketing, you can actually short cut a lot of those conversions through actually, creative digital channels.

Absolutely, and brings me onto my next question.

If you were talking to a business owner who's reluctant about starting to invest in digital marketing what would you say to them?

I think the first point which I touched on before is you have to understand what your purpose is.

Why are you doing it?

Don't just jump on the bandwagon because you've heard maybe me on this chat discussion or you've seen someone else online or whatever.

What is your purpose?

What is your vision?

What are your values and how do you want to add value to your target market?

Once you've understood that within your niche and what you're trying to do, then you can go away and think, actually, what are the right tools and resources we have that are available because is it maybe you need to do a YouTube video series?

Is it because you actually need to exploit more on TikTok?

Believe it or not, it's not just where the youth are today.

Is it because you need to start a podcast?

Is it because you need to do X, Y and Z, so I think understand what your purpose is, understand where you clients and candidates are, undoubtedly a lot of them are going to be on LinkedIn.

So I would always say to any business owner is you don't have to invest masses.

The other things people think, marketing, marketing, marketing masses, masses.

There's so much free out there, LinkedIn as far as I'm aware unless you've got premium or one of the others is a free platform.

If you suddenly got 3,000, 10,000, 20,000 followers. And if you're not... producing content, you're losing a great opportunity to advertise and sell your business.

LinkedIn, in my opinion, is more important than your actual website.

You've got so many active people that want to hear from you.

So if you are a reluctant business owner, I would say fine don't invest all your money straight away, work on producing your own content, getting your own personal brand out there.

You'll suddenly start seeing an increased engagement and think actually we can scale this and we can take this to the next level.

And you'll see a lot more returns from that.

But the other thing is as I say is to make sure that it's relevant to your market.

So for us, how are we regularly reporting and putting stuff out there, we brand ourselves with more than legal recruitment. Now some people say, well, that's great, that's the biggest cliche in town.

But you have to adhere by that, so what are you doing?

Okay, you got to a podcast.

Great, you've got a webinar.

But also, we're actually changing diversity and inclusion in the legal sector.

It's a massive thing that we're trying to influence our law firms and actually educate them on the statistics.

Educate them on what they need to be doing differently.

We're doing wider philanthropy, we're partnering with bespoke legal societies and trying to put on meaningful events, so we really are trying to do more than just legal recruitment, that's in line with our values, our vision and way we're trying to build trust with our target audiences and be relevant rather than just hey we're a recruiter come and speak to us when you need a job, because if that's where you're transactionally led, if you're staying as a transactional led business, I think 'A' you're going to really struggle in a recession, 'B' you're going to struggle to be relevant to your target audience and 'C' it's been done for the last 20 years.

If you're still doing what you were doing 20 years ago, you really need to have a think and embrace some change.

So just to finish up Rob, if you could give business owners one or two tips of things you think they should start out with, what would you recommend?

I think the first tip is actually, don't let negative opinions of saying - well you're wasting your time, it's a sales job.

It has nothing to do with marketing, recruitment - it's all smoke and mirrors.

Don't let negative opinions of others stop you, because if you've actually got creativity and I get lots of reservations, objections all the time.

I don't really understand it you're just a recruitment firm.

What's the point in all of this?

You're going to get a lot of those, particularly if you start a digital marketing campaign, or if you start to put yourselves out there a lot more because you're getting noticed, so you're going to get a lot more criticism.

Block out the noise.

If you believe in what you're doing, it's in line with your purpose, it's in line with your vision.

I keep harping on about purpose.

Then the traction will come, but you will get a lot of negativity.

You may have an internal state culture that you need to manage.

Never done that.

No interest whatsoever.

No way we're going to do that.

No, no, no, makes no sense.

So actually block out negative opinions and use some of those recruitment skills - influencing and sales to actually get people to get onboard and another thing is research.

Before you go into this really research where there might be gaps in the market, where you could be relevant.

If you're just going to start up something which all of your competitors are doing, really, you're just being a copycat and just creating extra noise.

So actually research where there could be a different angle.

Where you know what, we specialise in tech recruitment or whatever, but within that particular niche of a niche.

And actually, we want to talk about this because no one's talking about this, and actually, we're going to give value to our target audiences in this way.

So really researching, and little things... just get really savvy with cheats.

So this thing called Linktree which is more and more common now.

But just puts all your social media channels into one link, if you're trying to promote your business just use a Linktree, put your YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, all these things again free.

All these free resources are very, very important.

And hire people who embrace content creation.

You're not looking now for yes you want salespeople, and you want people who can close deals, but actually, recruitment businesses want creatives.

They want people who can really think outside the box, who can extract your brand.

Build a brand of trust that they can build those inbound leads.

So when you may be interviewing or considering people for the future of your business, look at how they can actually be created for you.

Because ultimately going to be a tough time for recruitment, In whichever sector you are, we're heading into a recession.

So you've got to think differently.

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