The concept of inbound marketing is based around getting people to come to you, to discover you, and seek you out.
This is different from outbound marketing, which includes more traditional methods like exhibiting at tradeshows, airing commercials (on TV, radio, even YouTube, etc.), print advertisements (in magazines, newspapers, billboards, mailed flyers and brochures, etc.), outbound calls (telemarketing!) and emails.
These methods are usually regarded as more disruptive, in that you are interrupting the target audience to communicate your marketing message. They also can cost more in terms of services and production, and they tend to be more difficult to track direct ROI.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is tailored more towards the Internet user of today. If you want to learn about something, you Google it. If I want to buy a new laptop, I’m going to check out the prices and specs online first. I might read reviews or ask on social media if anyone has any recommendations or experience with the model I’m considering buying.
The same goes for job search, recruiting, and all sorts of business challenges.
The number one task of inbound marketing for job boards is:
“Build it and they will come” does not apply to online businesses in 2016. You need to make yourself discoverable through the content on your site, basic SEO, and your messaging and branding. This is in addition to your job board-specific content.
First thing’s first: Who are you? Who are you trying to reach? What do you want them to do? Why should they do it? How can they do it?
You need all those questions answered. And they should also be answered for anyone who arrives on your job board.
- Who are you? Who is the man/woman/organization behind curtain? What is this website? Why should you be trusted with the service of connecting job seekers and employers? Do you have years of experience in a specialized industry? Do you have a network of great connections? Is your job board a service offering for a larger organization?
- Who are you trying to reach? Is your job board for retail workers in Milwaukee or lab technicians in Singapore? Are you dealing with large corporations or mom & pop shops? Recruiters or hiring managers, or both?
- What do you want them to do? Do you want job seekers to apply for jobs, complete a profile, set up job alerts, or just search? Do you want employers to post jobs? Do you want them to buy into other services you offer? Do you want to get them to use your candidate database?
- Why should they do it? What makes this job board different or special to an employer in your market? Why do job seekers like or benefit from your job board?
- How can they do it? What is your call to action for job seekers? For employers? Is there more than one call to action you give them? Is it clear what you’re asking them to do?
Messaging and Branding
You may already have a brand and logo, but it’s also wise to create a few variations of text that describe your value proposition for your audiences. Having these handy will help make completing the other tasks in becoming discoverable easier.
Try summing up your purpose, value, and a call to action into a 200-word paragraph. Now shorten it to 2 sentences. Now, reduce it to 140 characters or less.
Create a few variants of each, and do this for both your job seekers and your recruiters. This messaging can be placed on your social media accounts, profiles and directories, and on your site’s calls to actions and landing pages.
A job board with thousands of job posts but no permanent/static content aimed at candidates or recruiters is going to have a harder time getting discovered by their target market. Somebody’s dream job may not be posted today, but if they find another reason to be there and stick around, they’ll find it when it is posted next week.
Use the questions above to help guide your inspiration for building discoverable content that answers the questions and needs of your target market. Categories of content you might create could include:
- Addressing key concerns of job seekers and recruiters
- Advice you and/or other industry experts want to impart
- Interviews or spotlights on careers in your industry
- Your own expert knowledge, experience, and wisdom
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
We’ve covered SEO for job boards before, but given that SEO is always changing it’s never a bad idea to review. To optimize your site for search engines, you’ll want to think about:
- URL names, structures, and re-directs
- Meta Descriptions – these are the little blurbs that appear in search engines that help people decide whether to click through. Make sure yours says what you want it to: tools like Yoast SEO can help you customize and optimize this information.
- On-page SEO – your landing page and blog content can be more SEO-friendly by optimizing the use of heading tags, the URL, Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions with relevant keywords.
- Quality Backlinks – other relevant websites linking to yours help create pathways to search engines and individuals to discover your job board. You can start creating your own quality backlinks by:
- Creating profiles for your job board on directories and review sites
- Contribute content to industry news sites and blogs
- Distribute and publish press releases
- Contribute to online discussions on forums (but don’t spam!)
We’ve talked about social media a lot recently, but the main elements I would highlight to help you with generating inbound traffic are:
- Setting up your accounts in the first place (plant the flag!)
- Linking to the accounts from your site – a visitor may visit your site without registering, but if they discover a social media account and follow you there, you’ve just created a pathway for their return.
- Social sharing – make it easy for visitors to share and recommend your jobs and content to others
- Social distribution – set up automatic distribution of your content and/or job posts
- Output plan – make a plan for publishing on social media, create a routine, and experiment with it.
Laying the groundwork for attracting inbound can be a rewarding, low-cost effort that can yield long-term benefits. Once you establish your key messaging, it’s easier to create content that targets your audience, and align your SEO efforts with it.
Remember – to compete against the big competitors, your advantage is your ability to foster an engaging career community of people who return for the ongoing value you provide them. The effort you put into things like content and social media feed into that goal in a big way.