For job boards that find themselves struggling to retain their past successes in the ever-changing world of recruiting, there are five core things you need to do to stay competitive and make more money.
1. Be Niche. Start Niche. Become Niche. Get… Niche-ier.
Generalist job boards – those that deal with all types of jobs on a national or international level – have the most competition. Not having a niche makes it really hard to stand out when it comes to your marketing, your SEO, and your overall value proposition to customers. (If you expect someone to search for “jobs” and find you on the first page of search results next to Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, Craigslist, Facebook, and other big established job boards, you’re going to have a long, expensive, and difficult road ahead of you.)
If you narrow your job board’s focus, it’s easier to gain traction with employers and candidates within that specific niche. As an example, instead of healthcare jobs across Canada, you might focus on roles which are underserved by job boards or ones which are in high demand from employers, like personal support workers in Ottawa.
Once you find success within your narrower niche, it’s a lot easier to expand to different geographic regions or to include a wider variety of jobs because you’ve proven already proven yourself in one area.
2. Publish Good Content.
If your job board’s niche is focused, you need content to match. Content that talks about the work, the roles, and the employers your specialize in helps people find you, and it’s a tool you can use to keep candidates and customers regularly engaged with your job board.
The challenge here is that it has to be good content. It needs to be informative or entertaining and be specific to your target market with the topics it covers and the language it uses.
If churning out fabulous blog posts, infographics, and videos on a regular basis is too intense or beyond your means, start with a few great landing pages and resources. Aim for a couple blog posts a month highlighting and linking to the latest jobs, as well as posts covering news and events that are relevant to the candidates and employers your job board focuses on.
3. Publish Good Jobs.
Jobs that other job boards don’t have are the best. Jobs that are relevant to what your candidates are searching for are necessary. It’s crucial for job boards to be vigilant about curating the right balance of original (and/or backfilled) job content that is appropriate and relevant to your candidates.
What I mean by that is that you don’t ever want a job seeker to perform a search and find no jobs on your board. So using a backfill provider to supplement your original job content is wise, especially if hiring in your industry experiences seasonal fluctuations. But you also need to strive for jobs that can only be found on your job board, so that you aren’t always sending your candidate traffic to some other site.
By having employers pay to post jobs on your site, you are able to have a direct relationship with them and their applicants. Relying only on external sources like aggregators for publishing jobs can leave you vulnerable if the aggregator decides to change its business model or cut you off.
Publishing good jobs means curating a mix of relevant jobs and engaging in direct relationships with employers and candidates.
4. Offer Services & Products of Value.
With a focused niche, good content, and good jobs, your job board has the building blocks for growing revenue. But you need to actually be selling something, and it needs to be valuable.
If you’ve got qualified candidates and employers who want to hire them, your line of products and services don’t have to be all that complicated. Paying to post jobs, feature listings and employer brands, and access passive candidates are no-nonsense purchases your customers will easily see the value in if the results are positive.
But sometimes your customers need more help than just reaching the right candidates and accessing your job board’s recruiting and hiring tools. That’s why more and more we’re seeing niche job boards that offer recruiting services like shortlisting and screening of candidates, or recruitment marketing packages that include writing and optimizing job posts.
Figure out where in the hiring and recruiting process your customers are struggling, and address it with tools and services to complement your standard products.
5. Be Efficient with Sales and Marketing
Lots of companies will happily take thousands of dollars from you each month to cold call sales prospects or spend on paid campaigns, but whether you pay someone else to do it or you’re shouldering that work yourself, you need to be efficient.
There is a reason why this point is last in our list. It’s not the least important by any means, but if you’re not doing the four things listed above it’s always going to be harder in the short and long term, and it’ll cost you more.
With a niche focus, your sales and marketing will have an easier time reaching the right people. With candidates heading to your job board for the content and jobs that interest them, and employers signing up to reach those candidates through the problem-solving products and services you sell, you’re in a good position to scale up and make more money.
To be efficient, it’s good to both examine your current strategy and explore new options. Ask yourself what is most likely to help you gain direct relationships with candidates and customers. You might find paying for traffic gets results, but like being dependent on backfills for job content, relying exclusively on paid sources of traffic for your bread and butter leaves your job board business vulnerable to changes beyond your control.
Consistently reaching out to existing customers and candidates (without pestering them!) should be an important pillar of your strategy. As should outreach campaigns to attract and convert new employers and job seekers. Your tactics can be a simple mix of content, social media, and paid advertising, or you might be constantly experimenting with new tools and tricks.
The important thing is that you regularly assess how these tactics and tools are working out. If you’re not getting enough bang for your buck with the money or effort you put into one marketing channel, do some analysis to figure out if there is something you can change or optimize on your end, or if you need to do something else entirely.
The point is to make sure the labour or money spent on sales and marketing gets positive results.