Human resources is one of the most vital - and also most underappreciated - functions for any organization. Companies that have established a structured, cohesive HR team will likely have allocated an annual HR budget, which is crucial for driving the business forward. Another function that is responsible for business growth and progression is a company’s digital marketing strategy. Neither can be ignored for businesses on an upward trajectory.
Occasionally, companies face a dilemma when choosing which functions to prioritize when budgeting for the years ahead. However, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. In fact, there is a theory and evidence to suggest that digital marketing can aid an HR function within a business, and this guide looks to explore that in more detail.
What does an HR budget usually cover?eHR departments carry multiple responsibilities within a business, including (but not limited to):
-Company perks and benefits
-Hiring and onboarding
-Training and consulting
-Disputes and dismissals
These responsibilities - and all the others not mentioned - require sufficient investment from company owners to work effectively.. Creating a budget to cover these expenses is very much in a company’s best interests.
However, there could come a time when a company owner has less HR budget to work with than in previous years. A leader that’s intent on driving their company forward needs a financially robust HR strategy, but if those funds are limited, where does that leave the company’s digital marketing efforts?
Types of digital marketing strategiesDigital marketing is vital for acquiring more customers, promoting products or services, improving brand awareness and boosting website traffic.
A company doesn’t immediately become an industry leader overnight, however. To get on the right track, organizations need to understand the types of digital marketing strategies they can prioritize.
Here are just some types of digital marketing for businesses to consider.
1. Content marketing - Consumers crave information about how to solve issues they have or to satisfy their needs at a particular moment in time. Organizations can establish authority by providing high-quality, engaging, and useful content to their target audiences. Content that answers people’s questions through website blogs, how-to guides, case studies, infographics, videos, and numerous other formats.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - SEO is all about understanding what people are searching for on search engines like Google or Bing, then applying these keywords to a website and content strategy. In turn, successful SEO strategies help a business’ web pages rank in the top (i.e. the most frequently clicked) positions on a search engine, entice searchers into clicking on a site, and ideally convert into leads.
3. Social media marketing - Companies can use social media platforms to promote their brand, product, service or content. This can either be done organically or via built-in advertising tools, such as Facebook or LinkedIn ads, which you can configure to appear in front of your ideal target audience. Successful social media strategies can bring companies closer to their target buyers and interact with them, earning a huge credibility boost through content and communication.
4. Paid advertising - Companies can advertise directly on social media or search engines via a pay-per-click (PPC) model. Paid search ads appear above organic results on a SERP (search engine results page). As the name implies, a company pays each time a user clicks on an ad or, more recently, through a specific action that can be configured.
5. Mobile marketing - Most people use mobile devices over any other nowadays, for both work and leisure. Also, time is of the essence, and if problems can be solved quickly via one device then that is a huge win. Mobile marketing can bring businesses closer to their customers through applications, instant messaging, promoted offers and content with geolocation targeting and much more.
6. Email marketing - Email is still widely used every single day, both in business and for personal use. Email can also be an effective digital marketing strategy if used correctly, such as providing your customers and target audience with useful, relevant and enticing content. There is a fine line between promoting products and spamming people’s inboxes, however.
7. Video marketing - Video content is a perfect way to drive results and connect with audiences. People love consuming video content and often use it to see products ‘in action’, learn more about a service, improve their skills and even see reviews of businesses. Companies have incredible potential to market themselves through targeted, relevant video content.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding digital marketing. Nowadays, digital marketing strategies should be considered investments, but equally, none of them should take away from anything that an HR department or team does. If anything, they can work in perfect harmony simultaneously.
How can digital marketing help HR functions?Digital marketing is changing how companies recruit staff, find suppliers and network with other companies. HR departments can therefore expand how they operate through many of these marketing channels.
SEO for human resource consultants, as an example, is particularly beneficial as that strategy can involve restructuring webpages to attract more people to a site, as well as creating unique and quality content to rank higher in search engines. Digital marketing and HR both rely on an up-to-date website, from business developments and supporting content to job opportunities. A site can also provide prospective customers - as well as candidates - with plenty of information about the company’s values, targets, and successes.
On the flip side, it’s not uncommon for HR consultants or managers to promote vacancies and company activities through LinkedIn posts, which, as we’ve seen, can either be organic or paid. In fact, many HR professionals are using social media to actively recruit, train and onboard employees now, with the same channels promoting their employer’s products and services.
Social media and email marketing can both be used to communicate top-level company initiatives and processes, whether small (asking candidates to complete pre-employment background checks) or big (informing all subscribers about a company merger or takeover). It’s normal to expect HR or recruitment consultants to liaise with applicants through email as it’s the epicenter of all communication and thus, it can provide so much useful information and insight. There’s also reason to suggest that internal communication through email can also improve customer engagement.
Tactically aligning a company’s HR and digital marketing efforts sounds like a convoluted and time-consuming process. However, it doesn’t have to be. It boils down to finding the common ground between both strategies to find that happy medium where marketing and HR can be invaluable and irreplaceable to one another.
It remains to be seen how company owners reading this will feel about creating a winning collaborative strategy. It’s not unreasonable to assume that company owners will have to be more strategic in the years ahead.