Without advertisers, job boards would be a lonely planet. So naturally, one of the first and top priorities for any job board owner is bringing in ad dollars. Even better, you want advertisers who come back for more and more business.
But attracting the best advertisers takes more than one strategy. Marketing matters. But how can you build out a strong and competitive marketing package without any evidence of performance? And how can you prove performance without any ads?
It's quite a conundrum. But it's one that you can conquer. You just need a wide-angle view of the factors that influence job board success.
Job candidates are the reason job boards exist. Of course, employers with job vacancies populate the space. But if candidates aren't available, or at least reachable, ads fall on deaf ears. Focus on the candidate experience, and every effort you make will stand on a stronger foundation.
You can build a job board that advertisers can't wait to do business with, even if you have little experience. Here's how to get yours off the ground.
Keep an Eye Trained on Candidate Access
Job boards obviously can't function without advertisers. Otherwise, they'd be empty placeholders. Better access makes a job board more attractive to advertisers, whether they make automatic, data-driven/programmatic ad buys or they buy ads the old fashioned way.
One of the strongest arguments for a candidate-first strategy is that ads are commodities whose value could change any time. At least according to the Job Board Doctor.
What won't change is the importance of candidates.
In the here-and-now, advertisers and their postings make the job board world go 'round. But the most successful job boards "aren't in the business of selling job postings," he says. They're in the business of selling access to job candidates. Access works now, and it will work in the future. Because the way recruiters and employers entice applicants to follow through could change at any time.
Access isn't one thing; it's a broad and multifaceted strategy. Fortunately, there's no shortage of tools.
- Targeted emails
- Career fairs
- Vetted candidate shortlists
- Company videos
- Content marketing in its many forms
Whatever your advertiser strategy, keep in mind that the foundation of it all is access to the best job candidates. Technology can change. It probably will. But the value you give is how well you can provide that access.
Content Marketing Strengthens Your Value Proposition
Content marketing is quickly outpacing traditional marketing strategies. It's better at developing relationships and brand/reputation building, which strengthens your value proposition for advertisers. It's more flexible than other marketing strategies, too. So it allows you to adapt to the changing needs of job candidates.
Webscribble says, "The Internet is your playground." If you think about it in those terms, there's nothing you can't try.
"Just remember: content first, format second. Poor, unoriginal or dishonest content will cripple your image. Focus on quality, valuable content and the rest will sort itself out." - Webscribble
Content marketing isn't one thing, it's numerous things. Just remember that almost everything that you write or create can be considered content. And the best content is sharable.
- Job site landing pages
- Social media posts
- LinkedIn posts and essays
- Blog posts
- Targeted emails
You can combine these elements, too. Pare down the text of emails and add graphics plus video links. Instead of trying to "shorthand" a message in 140 Twitter characters, use that space to drive candidates (and advertisers) to a whitepaper or e-book at your job site. Post infographics on Facebook and invite discussion.
Video stands out right now as a darling of content marketing. Audience engagement is higher with video than with text. It makes a more memorable impression, and it's highly sharable.
Video can double your click-through rates, and your audience is 10x more likely to pay attention. Convince&Convert says video also improves your chances of getting a front-page Google result by as much as 53x.
Think about content as more than just a blog post. Blogging is part of content, but there's so much more available to you.
Use Social Media to Launch Advertiser Research
You've probably heard it a thousand times by now. If you aren't using social media as part of a focused strategy, you should be.
Social media helps you strengthen brand recognition and build relationships with the candidates your advertisers need. But it also helps you reach advertisers. Social is an all-around win.
Whether you use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or all three, search around and see who's hiring. Madgex recommends checking out employer profiles to see who's advertising, and where their ads are landing.
"It's also great for back-tracing links - which means finding out where and with who companies are advertising their vacancies. This can give a job board owner a competitive edge - enabling you to approach their desired advertiser with what sets your job board apart from the one currently being used and what they can do differently." - Madgex
And don't forget about other social channels. Some companies recruit through the unlikely social media platforms of Snapchat and Instagram. Get to know what's trending throughout social media, find out how to search, and jump in the game.
Once you see your target audience, you can reach out with what matters: results.
Boost Confidence With a Customizable Marketing Package
The unique value proposition sells advertisers on job boards. What can you offer that no one else can? What are you willing to do that no one else is doing? "Data needs to speak loudly," says Madgex.
Your marketing package should instill confidence that you're the right investment for their advertising dollars. And your research, which often begins with a basic social media search to see who's hiring and where they're placing ads, will give you valuable insights to customize the package for each prospective advertiser.
- Who is your competition?
- What do they offer?
- How can you provide a better value?
- How do your statistics measure up and where can you improve?
- What are your most impressive and persuasive statistics?
Advertisers love evidence of value, especially statistics. They breed more confidence than promises ever could.
Illustrate the benefits of advertising with you through:
- Your candidate reach
- Your site traffic
- Your candidate marketing message
- Candidate funnel statistics
- Why your value proposition is stronger than the competition
And if you work with a job board partner, your value proposition is even stronger.
Use a Job Board Partner as Rocket Fuel
Job boards can go it alone or work with a partner. The solo route has its advantages, of course. You have total control over every aspect of success, from building the job site from the ground up to candidate outreach to marketing and ad sales.
Working independently also has its drawbacks. You're ultimately responsible for everything:
- Hiring a web designer
- Sourcing and buying the best software
- Regular software updates
- Site maintenance
- Advertising sales
- Data extraction
- Data analyzation
- Much, much more
A job board partner or hosted solution does two things at the high level. It lightens your workload and improves performance. On the lower levels, it gives you access to the best technology and takes away the burden of learning everything.
Branding is still in your hands. So are all of your marketing strategies. But the performance gets better with less effort.
- Quicker implementation
- Faster results
- Better search results
- Personalized branding
- Job/candidate matching
- Real time updates
- Higher ROI for advertisers
- Access to better job board technology
- Lower site maintenance
- Continual performance enhancements
- Immediately improved site traffic
- Better user engagement
- Broader job distribution for advertisers
- Lower costs
- Cross-platform performance (desktop, mobile, tablet)
Solutions for partner-based job boards give you as much flexibility as you want, a custom appearance and peak performance that would take a major time and budget investment to achieve on your own. It gets you off the ground fast, and with stats that take others years to build.
You might have a little pea-green envy for wildly successful job boards who attract tons of advertisers. But you have access to the same technology and methods as anyone else. It just depends on how you want to approach it.
The Internet is an enormous frontier filled with opportunity.
- Data is everywhere if you use the right technology
- Analytics makes sense of those numbers
- Social media lets you reach the most important element of all job boards: the candidates
- Social also gives you vital information about advertisers and your competition
- Content is in virtually everything that you do, or at least it can be
- Content marketing is the way of the future
- Job board success isn't dependent on your tech skills
If you want to transform your job board into an advertiser's dream, start thinking big. Take advantage of every possible avenue for success. And don't get overwhelmed with the details. There's always a helping hand who can help light the fire that launches you to success.
Ready to learn more? Subscribe to Recruitment ADvisor and get timely, relevant content delivered right to your inbox.