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When building your revenue model, think about your audience(s)!

Note: The Doctor is still picking up unexploded fireworks from his Fourth of July celebration – so enjoy this post from the archives!

One of the most popular posts I’ve written is about generating revenue. So my readers are interested in making money – go figure! A smart blogger would have immediately written more posts about revenue (OK, I did write a few) – but I felt that the subject had been pretty well covered.

Although I stand by the original post, I’ve decided that it’s worth revisiting the subject – if only to open up your mind a bit.

When thinking about how your job board or recruiting site can make more money, it’s useful to think about the different ways your site is used:

  • Jobs: your candidates come to the site to find work. So they’re looking for job listings, plain and simple.
  • Reference: candidates come to the site because of your great and compelling career-related content.
  • Community: candidates come to the site to commiserate with others of their professional/location/situation
  • Candidates: employers come to the site to find candidates (or ‘future employees’).
  • Visibility: employers use your site to raise their visibility in the candidate world (also known as ‘branding’)
  • Traffic: non-employer advertisers use your site to sell their stuff (or they use a 3rd party like Google Adsense)

So you can see that your job board has 3 audiences: candidates, employers, and advertisers. Not all job boards allow non-employer advertising, of course, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s say that yours does.

You understand why each audience uses your site. Now you can think about how to make money from each audience. One of the reasons I like thinking about revenue this way is that it gets you out of the ‘job postings and resume’ box. Sure, you can make money with those – but there are many other ways as well. Let’s take a look:

Candidates: Of course, you can charge candidates to view jobs, but that’s not usually a good idea, since there is so much job content that is freely available. But here are some other ideas:

  • Provide value-added services, such as resume analysis, skills assessment, etc.
  • Provide special reports, for example a customized job market analysis (sort of like a Consumer Reports auto price report for a specific job title)
  • Provide services like insurancebuying clubs, etc. that are tied to a location or niche

Employers: Again, think like an employer who simply wants to connect with the best qualified candidates. What do they need?:

  • Visibility tools like a company profile page, ‘branded’ job postings, site ads, sponsorships, etc., aka ‘Employer Branding’
  • Connection tools like targeted emails to specific groups of candidates, webinars and white papers that target specific candidates, etc.
  • Qualification tools like skills assessment, screening questions, contests, video interviews, etc.
  • Communication tools like messaging between candidates and employers
  • Traditional tools like job postings and access to a resume database

Advertisers: These folks are selling stuff. So what do they want?:

  • Ad space: in the most targeted locations: on the web site, in the newsletter(s), in targeted emails, in Job Alerts, etc.
  • Analytics: don’t assume that advertisers have analytics; instead, provide it yourself (helps at renewal time, too)

I know that if you deconstruct your site using the ‘audience concept’, you’ll discover some ideas for improving your existing revenue streams – and perhaps even discover a few new ones! Give it a try – you’ll be glad you did.

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