10 Steps to Unlock the Hidden Job Market

Everyday I help people get in touch with the contacts they need to reach. I help them to access the hidden job market, usually with one goal in mind. Get an interview.

So how do we help you unlock this often untapped resource? And can you do some or all of it on your own? Here are the steps I take with each new custom research client and yes, with the correct tools you can do a majority of this on your own, if desired.

1. Take a close look at your skills, experiences and accomplishments from your career and education. Consider what industries you have come from and those in which you want to work.

2. Our economy is recovering, but you will still need to determine what other sectors might value your skills and accomplishments, and include those industries as well.

3. Determine what geographic area(s) you would like to target. Would you consider moving for the right job offer? If so, determine all locations of interest.

4. Conduct research in each industry/geographic area and find companies you think will be a good fit. I use a professional subscription to Hoovers, along with several other resources, and run detailed lists sorted by area, industry, company revenue & number of employees. Most public libraries will have similar databases such as Reference USA.

5. Take the list of companies you feel will be a good fit, and identify the key executives that you want to contact. Don’t limit yourself to only contacting HR.. remember, you are trying to find the unadvertised jobs by going directly to the source. So you will want to find the names of the entire C-suite – CEO, COO, CFO, CHRO.. and depending on the industry/position you are interested in, possibly the CLO, CMO or CIO. How do you find this information? Some databases will help you get started, otherwise you can check the company website, or the good old fashioned way – pick up the phone and call.

6. Once you have your list of companies and executives complete, I recommend finding their direct work email address. I have an involved process I have created over the years to find those elusive emails – I can’t share my secrets here! I will say, I do not recommend buying lists from a list broker, emails are notoriously incorrect and out of date. If you can not find direct emails yourself I recommend skipping this step and going directly to step 8.

7. Compose a direct, compelling message to introduce yourself and your job search goals – make sure to ask for what you want… an interview or referrals! Email each executive with your resume attached.

For qualified executives sending a compelling message, this works extremely well. You may never have to complete step 8.

8. Do what most job seekers are reluctant to do… pick up the phone and start calling people. Discuss with them the state of the industry, their company and if they have any hiring needs that match your skill set.

9. If they have no hiring needs now, or in the near future, they will tell you. But nothing is lost and you have just made a good contact for the future.

10. Often, they will know of some openings – either within their own company, or via board connections, etc. Listen, ask for more information, and follow up as necessary. There is no better introduction into a company than to say, “Fred Smith, CEO of Smith Foods recommended I call you to discuss your need for a qualified finance executive”

These 10 Steps are the very basics of finding the hidden jobs. It all boils down to networking with the correct people, at the companies that will be interested in you. Remember, if you can find just 5 openings where you are speaking directly with someone capable of hiring you, you stand a good chance of getting an interview.

Why IP Lawyers Need To Use ‘Nurture Marketing’ To Keep Prospects Interested In Their Services

If you are an IP lawyer who thinks of creating sales funnels and simply guiding your prospects through various stages until they buy your IP legal services, you may have to rethink your client attraction strategies very soon to get even better results.

This is because of the need to address the issue of control – who controls the buying process and how does this affect the way IP legal services are searched for and purchased?

There is an evolution in the way marketing to prospects is done:

The ‘old fashioned’ way, which should be dying out but is not, is based on one-way, lawyer-to-prospect flow of communication, the reliance on networking and events, and very little effort made to stop prospects thinking they are simply being lectured to;
The ‘prospect guidance’ way, which many lawyers have started to take on board, is based on building a sales funnel and directing prospects through various stages until they purchase high priced legal services;
The ‘nurture marketing’ way, which is the direction lawyers should be focusing on. This is based on communicating regularly and effectively to nurture relationships and develop trust with prospects.
There are problems with the first two methods in the current economic climate.

The ‘old fashioned’ way usually takes place when lawyers believe they don’t have the time or resources to do any marketing activities, and rely on methods that have been used in the past to get more clients. More often than not, there is a heavy reliance on telling people about the legal expertise on offer and the length of time one has been in service. It is still the case that when many lawyers do actually communicate to prospects, it tends to be in complex terms and is not based on an understanding of the problems that prospects really want solved.

The ‘prospect guidance’ method is a step up from the above. Here, lawyers acknowledge the need to create a process to get more clients (e.g. a sales funnel). If done well, processes or systems are put in place to communicate with prospects with the sole goal of getting them to take specific action at various stages until they buy high-priced legal services.

There is a problem with this second approach though. It assumes that the lawyer and / or his marketing team are in control of the purchasing process, i.e. “if we create different stages in a sales funnel such as reports, lunches, events or seminars, and guide prospects through specific steps at given times, then we will control the way they get information on the solutions possible and the way they then make a decision to purchase OUR legal services.”

This does not take into account the internal factors that many prospects have to overcome, which then influence the decisions made to search for specific legal services.

So, what is nurture marketing?

It is the process through which IP lawyers, and their colleagues, stay top-of-mind in their prospects’ minds by engaging in informative and bi-directional exchanges that have no hard sell. More importantly, the IP lawyers have the permission to communicate to the target prospects, they also have to provide more and more value each time they do so.

This requires a move away from communicating for the sake of it and systematically providing information and resources that prospects are looking for (or have indicated they really want).

Nurture marketing is more easily done if prospect engagement is continually improved using feedback collected from prospects. IP lawyers also have to measure ALL nurture marketing activities. This is absolutely vital as it is impossible to gauge which prospects are hot without performance indicators in place to compare responses from different prospects over time.

While many IP legal services professionals may have some sort of web marketing strategy in place, they might find that these are not very effective at attracting new business. For example, you may do SEO very well and rank top of searches, but then lose prospects because the information provided or follow up strategy fails to keep prospects interested in what is on offer. This is the kind of issue an effective nurture marketing strategy can address.

Nurture marketing includes the following:

A systemised process for collecting feedback from prospects and clients about their needs and, more importantly, the internal factors that have to be addressed which influence purchase decisions;
Permission to continue engagement with prospects, but holding back from simply sending irrelevant communications that do not help address specific issues highlighted in the feedback provided;
Making sure the information provided is tightly targeted at a specific niche so that recipients separate it from the mass of information they get every day for other marketers or IP legal services professionals;
Systemised and automated multi-channel campaign management in which online and offline communication messages complement each other. Key here is pointing prospects to resources and activitiesthey are actively looking for, and to make sure there is an evolution of the messages delivered to match the increasing interest from prospects as they move from discovery, through awareness, to the validation stage.
Direct marketing principles should apply to all communications.
IP legal services professionals should have ALL prospects in a nurture marketing programme, and only move to sales / proposal mode once prospects have explicitly indicated that they are happy for that to happen. This requires a change in attitude amongst IP legal services professionals and all their colleagues, with a clear focus on creating and managing great experiences as opposed to simply trying to push prospects into steps they are not ready to take before they buy anything.

Eria Odhuba helps lawyers implement new online business models to attract more clients to their practices, giving them the chance to be succesful and enjoy the things they would like to do but can’t because they have no time or money.

10 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website – Free Online Marketing Techniques

Getting your business’s website online is a surefire way to increase your sales. A few tips can get you on your way to sales improvement. Here are the top ten online marketing techniques to increase traffic to your website.

Use social media sites. These are accessed by tens of millions of people every day. The ability to connect with others on a social level by using Facebook and Twitter is a great marketing strategy. For a more professional social media approach, see what LinkedIn has to offer.
Write a blog. By having a blog, you not only provide your customers with a way to stay up-to-date with the products you offer, but you have a way to continually grab the attention of Google with your updated information.
Participate in forums. When you can give advice on topics that people are actively searching for, you can include a link and direct traffic to your site using this free online marketing method.
Write articles. With the right search engine optimization techniques, you can direct people to your site from the backlinks posted in your articles.
Create videos. Many people are more interested in watching a video than they are to read a lengthy article. Title your video with something catchy and SEO-friendly to direct more viewers to your video and ultimately your website.
Use pay-per-click advertising. This is an online marketing method that some companies use to get themselves to the top of Google’s return lists. You pay for a spot at the top and choose how much you will pay for every click your link receives from that location.
Implement e-mail marketing. By coordinating your email template with the profile of your site, you are likely to see a high conversion rate of those on your e-mailing list to those who make purchases.
Use keywords on your website. By using the right keywords at the correct density, you will find your website skyrocketing to the top of Google’s return lists.
Design your site to be user-friendly. Because there are so many websites, your potential customers may click on your link, stare at your confusing site for ten seconds, and direct themselves elsewhere. A clear, clean website is the trick to effective online marketing.
Fill your site with fresh content. None of these tips will mean anything if your website is outdated and unoriginal. You must offer customers something new and perfect for their needs if they are to buy anything.

Strategic Planning – Five Ideas on Defining a New Direction for Your Business

It’s an exciting time when you’re working on a new direction for your business. Your head is full of ideas and you’re bursting with energy. You’re full of excitement, inspiration, and motivation. It’s hard to think of anything else. Here are a few ideas about the process that can maximize your results.

1. Don’t rush the process.

Most of us want this done yesterday or earlier. We’re so excited that we think we should be able to put together a whole new plan or program in a few days. We want our website and marketing materials done immediately, yet we aren’t even sure about most of our concepts yet. In effect, we fantasize that a complex and robust new business direction can be birthed fully completed in days or hours. Yes, we can put together the ideas in that short a time, but getting it all written down in effective marketing writing is a longer process. Give it the time it needs. Don’t rush it.

2. Get expert help to speed up the process.

Hire someone to help you sort through your ideas, assess marketability, enhance your concepts, and come up with profitable, in-demand business ideas with an identifiable and hungry target market. Work with a skilled marketing coach to identify and delineate your business concepts. Get help with your marketing writing and use the writing of your business materials to clarify and crystalize your exact new business offerings.

3. Know your target market and aim for a market with an intense need for your services.

Identify them explicitly and understand their needs. Select a target market is looking for a solution to a problem you can solve. Their need must have some intensity and pressure behind it to drive a desire to buy. Don’t target a market that has little or no motivation to buy. If there’s pain driving their search for a solution, that’s an even stronger target market. Lukewarm motivation would put you in the position of constant hard selling. Be realistic about your target market. Don’t fantasize about non-existent demands, and base your new business plans on that.

4. Consider the process an evolutionary process.

Write down what you think your new business is and evolve it as you define and refine it. Start where you are, and get clarity by putting it into words. Don’t expect your first words to be your final ideas. Be OK with change, refinement, recombination, and outright elimination of anything ineffective. Put it down in writing because that process forces you to make choices and decisions. Expect to go through a series of iterations as your new ideas evolve. Stay aware of what you consider to be a “must have” and what is optional.

5. Examine profitability at all times.

What can you do to boost the value of your offerings to the client while increasing your own profit? Don’t be greedy, but do keep reasonable profitability as a top consideration of your new business development. It’s a lot of work to get together a new business offering. Make sure it pays off in increased revenue for your business.

Remember that defining a new direction for your business is not an instant or predictable process. It takes time, effort, and the attitude of evolving ideas. Enjoy the excitement of the process and make sure it pays off for you.

Suzi Elton provides business writing that attracts targeted prospects to your service business and converts them into clients for you. She is a Robert Middleton Certified Action Plan Marketing Coach, as well as a professional writer. Her website offers a free series of 8 assessments you can use to analyze your own site.