On Tuesday, October 25, I'll be at Staffing World in San Diego, California speaking on the topic of "Internet Marketing Basics For Staffing Firms." It'll be a presentation geared toward smaller firms who don't have their own marketing departments per se, but still need to make sure their brand is adequately represented in the digital space. 

After all, these days the newspaper classifieds are pretty much the LAST place people go to when they are looking for work. It's more than an understatement to say if you aren't at least taking basic steps to market your firm online, you're WAY behind the 8-ball in recruiting. 

And as we all know, if you're behind in recruiting, you're not going to be in business very long. 

For today's column, I'd like to focus on the basics, the absolute minimum, the foundation when it comes to any company's digital marketing strategy - the company website

As contradictory as this sounds, your website is the virtual brick and mortar of your company. It is the structure people will see before they ever see a physical building, the face people will see before they ever see a real face, and the functionality they will encounter before they ever go through any of your interview or pre-placement processes.

Fair or not, if your site is lame, people are going to think your company is lame too. 

So don't be "that company!" If you make sure your website has all of the following features, customers who experience your site will expect a similarly great experience in person. 

Sleek, clean, user-friendly, professional - If you haven't upgraded your site in three or four years, chances are pretty good your design has gone out of style. Have a professional web developer (like Haley Marketing!) revamp your site. There are some wonderful templates out there that numerous staffing agencies are successfully using which can make redesign costs much more controlled than if you were having the site custom coded.

In fact, our firm is going through this process right now, and our new site is expected to launch in the next couple of weeks.

Ability to accept applications online - If you're in the business of putting people to work and you manage to draw those people to your site through your digital marketing efforts, the basic expectation is that they will be able to complete at least a basic application through the site. At the very least, you'll need a basic form to collect applicant information so your staff can follow up. 

ATS integration - If you have an applicant tracking system with the capability of accepting and processing your online applications, you'll make it much easier for your staffers and coordinators to manage their workflows, and in turn your clients and job seekers will be matched up and happy a lot faster than they otherwise would have. 

Fully optimized, regularly updated job board - When job seekers visit your site, they want to know more than just the type of positions you hire for, they want to know what specific jobs are open, right now. An ideal fully optimized, regularly updated job board will be Google searchable and compatible with your ATS. People should be able to come to your site via the job board, click apply, go through the application process, then appear on the staffer end and be considered for assignment, all from the comfort of home.

Mobile friendly - Continuing from the last sentence - and they should be able to do it from a mobile device! Statistics already show a vast majority of job seekers click on your site and job postings from their mobile device. If your application process isn't mobile friendly, you're going to miss out on a TON of applicants you otherwise would have had. 

Call to action flyout - A small, unobtrusive flyout can help spark the "Oh, why not give them my information? They ARE a job service, after all  - maybe they can help me!" instinct in your visitors. It won't solve all your recruiting problems, but you'll get more prospects than you otherwise would have with a flyout.

Regularly updated blog - A relevant blog focusing on your company and issues relevant to HR Managers, job seekers, and even others in the staffing industry will do more than just set you apart as a go-to source for information and let the world know that YOU know what you're talking about, it'll also help drive traffic to your website.  

Displays social media likes/follows - Like it or not, social cred is a "thing," and when you invest the time and money it takes to earn it (for example, by building likes on your Facebook page), you'd better dang well show it on your website. After all, if several thousand other people "like" your page, it must be a pretty legitimate deal, right? 

Testimonials - Testimonials speak to the level of service you have delivered in the past and what potential clients can expect you to deliver for them. Collect them, get permission, and proudly display them on your site. 

If you build it, that doesn't necessarily mean they will come. You'll still need to utilize a broad digital marketing strategy to drive traffic to your site. But when they do get there, make sure to dazzle them with an awesome website that'll make them WANT to do business with the people behind it!