There's a company called Deliveroo in the UK who provide a self service web site to have food delivered to your door from local restaurants. Consumers (a fitting term) browse & order the food. Restaurants cook the food. Freelancers deliver the food by cycling to your house, providing a nice contrast to you lazily ordering some tasty mound of grease from the sofa. 

Overall it’s a seamless experience and within seconds you reduce the size of your wallet whilst increasing the size of your waist.

In many ways it’s a similar model to a successful self service job board. A high quality, fast and effective delivery service that is built upon the idea of supply and demand. The difference is Deliveroo have nailed the self service component so that they purely focus on the marketing.

When you speak to job boards about their own self service you tend to encounter different attitudes. Occasionally it is viewed as a sort of promised land, a world where millions of credit card payments could potentially wash through, if they could just get it right. Other times it’s feared as a threat that will reduce overall revenue due to the lack of human interaction in a sale. 

"We don't allow any self service, we don't want employers bypassing our sales team" Some sales teams actively work against self service, intercepting employers to try and upsell them to larger, more lucrative deals. The justification being it brings in more revenue while protecting their own targets. 

The truth sits somewhere in the middle of these differing views. There is definitely a huge opportunity as millions of credit card transactions are processed annually on job boards. The bulk of this revenue is attributed to single product or bulk promotion purchases.

Under 5% of self service revenue in 2015 was attributed to "upgrading” during a posting which suggests sometimes you do need sales team interaction in order to upsell a deal to it's full potential. It's important to get the balance between building a successful self service and nurturing incoming deals to grow beyond an initial purchase. 

Over the last few years we’ve seen a steady rise in the number of self service transactions. This trend appears to be global rather than restricted to particular geographical markets. 

Job Board self service revenue increased by 7% globally in 2015/16. Both the UK and US saw self service increase in 2015/16 by 10% and 19% respectively. The UK rise is particularly interesting as the market is arguably not structured or conducive to self service. 

The high number of recruitment consultants, the culture around using company cards, the geographic density of job locations, and the multi-posting companies akin to Broadbean mean usually sales will happen offline.

The rise of self service could be down to a number of things happening in the market:

  • Companies are looking for more cost effective recruiting and job boards remain one of the best online recruitment ROIs.
  • There is a rise of in-house recruiter roles which in turn means companies are more comfortable in a job board environment.
  • Offerings such as LinkedIn/Indeed are empowering employers to move to a self service model. Thanks LinkedIn and Indeed - always knew you guys had the best interests of the job board industry at heart…

The upward trend for credit card revenue would suggest it’s a good time to look at your self service strategy and, although there’s no magic formula to boosting your revenue, there are a number of things you can do to improve the channel.

1: Market it...

It’s surprising the number of job boards that don’t invest in this area. Instead they become very effective and sophisticated marketing operations designed to increase their jobseeker audience while not considering the potential for self service traffic. Use content, SEO & email campaigns to position yourselves as the recruitment destination within your industry. 

2: Use promotions...

Promotions or bundles are popular with employers. Job boards that offer these can often see 20% or more of their revenue being attributed to bundle buying. If you aren’t running promotions you might be missing out.

3: Clear products...

The products you offer should be clear and easy to understand, remove the clutter and use meaningful descriptions. We see a higher success rate on self service systems that talk the language of the buyer and don’t offer hundreds of different products. 

4: Use discount codes...

Job boards that use discount codes to power market campaigns have a higher self service success. 

5: Provide quality…

This one is key - self service doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on in the background. Keep an eye on your self service jobs as much as you would offline sold jobs. Make sure they perform well. You’ll have a happier client and it’ll help boost your word of mouth marketing.

6: Use data...

You have a lot of data on prospective purchasers sitting within your job board, use that data to power your marketing campaigns. There are quick wins such as abandoned cart information and instant data capture, through to more complex querying for campaigns around predictive buying. 

7: First impressions count…

This might sound obvious but so many self service sites - regardless of the provider - don't look visually appealing. It is a shop window first and foremost so it has to look good.

8: Have a play…

Have an ongoing innovation stream around your self service. Live chat? Product of the month? Competition? Discount codes? Seasonal promotion? You have a lot of tools at your disposal, so use them and see what works for your audience. 

9: Measure…

Your site should have analytics, again this sounds obvious but the focus is often not on the self service site for marketing teams. How do you know where your traffic is coming from and what it’s doing? What works best for you, intercepting postings with a sales team or leaving employers to complete a posting? 

10: Build a relationship…

What other services could you offer this company, should you get in touch and ask if they filled the post? Take an interest in their business and build that relationship.

Self service can be a really important revenue stream for your job board business. The above tips should help you to increase the leads and sales generated from this channel, adding multiple pounds to your bottom line, which coincidently is also what happens if you use Deliveroo a lot.

If you’d like to discuss increasing your self service revenue or have a story/tip to share further please do get in touch. 

Other articles you may like...