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How to build your job board’s revenue through employer subscriptions

employer subscriptionsPop quiz: which of the following will increase profitability the most?

  • A) Individual job postings and/or resume access
  • B) Annual or semi-annual job posting/resume access employer subscriptions

I’m betting that most of you answered (B).

So why do the vast majority of job sites I visit promote individual job postings and resume access  so heavily? When I ask the question, these are the typical responses:

  • ‘Employers want to try before they buy’
  • ‘Selling a subscription is too hard (via ecommerce)’
  • ‘Employer needs are intermittent’
  • ‘I don’t know’

This sells your employer short – they’re not getting the best value from your job board with just a single posting; and it sells your site short – you’re cutting profitability and increasing your sales effort. In fact, I’ll go one step further – you owe it to your employers to offer a subscription package first. Here’s why:

  1. Employer subscriptions offer a lower overall cost per candidate than individual single purchases – in other words, more ‘bang for the buck’
  2. Employer subscriptions increase the likelihood for employer success by allowing postings and access when they are needed – without the delays that come with purchase approval, etc.
  3. Employer subscriptions fit better with most employers’ HR budget planning, allowing for annual or semi-annual purchases
  4. Employer subscriptions allow employers to annualize intermittent and unpredictable hiring costs over a 6- or 12-month period
Employer subscriptions are not just an altruistic move for job boards, though – they help you in several ways:
  1. Subscriptions reduce your selling efforts to an annual or semi-annual basis for your employers
  2. Subscriptions drive up your average revenue per employer
  3. Per #1 and 2, subscriptions drive up your overall profitability
  4. Revenue is more predictable
Most importantly, though: subscriptions move your employers away from viewing your job board as a ‘transactional’ site (i.e., post a job), and instead toward thinking about your job board as a candidate sourcing and hiring service. You’ve taken that first step away from being ‘just a job board’, and toward being your employers’ core hiring tool.  Isn’t that a better place to be?
Note: This post originally appeared last year. The Job Board Doctor is out, but will be back next week with something new!
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