Boy with a hardhat and hammer highlighting the power is not in the tool

Digital promotion tools promise high-exposure to Developmental Disabilities providers desperate to hire caregivers. There’s no magic in these tools, and without the right message, they rarely produce results.

So what do we mean by “digital promotion tools?” They include:

  • Online job sites (Indeed, ZipRecruiter, SnagAJob, etc.)
  • Social media
  • Retargeting
  • Geofencing

(I’ll explain the last two below.)

These options all tout the same two advantages:

  1. They make it easy for you to post ads.
  2. Ads will appear tens of thousands of times.

While the first point is valid, that does not mean your ads will be effective or even seen by your job prospects! The appearance numbers are usually offered as “impressions.” That means how many times an ad appears and has nothing to do with whether it appears for your ideal prospect. Let’s look at each of these job posting tools.

Job Sites

True, these sites are popular with job seekers. The challenge is almost everyone follows the same posting strategy of:

  • Job Title
  • Summary
  • Duties
  • Qualifications
  • Location
  • Educational requirements
  • Experience
  • Apply Here

It’s a “fill in the blanks” approach where your job opening looks identical to everyone else. For providers worried that their starting pay is like McDonalds or Walmart, it’s easy for the job seeker to compare openings by pay.

Social Media

Again, we all know there are billions of eyeballs on social media sites. But too often job postings follow a similar pattern to the job site listings. These posts often direct people to the provider’s application on their website. Your job posting is a needle in the haystack of competing sites or notifications from friends that they’ve posted a family picture or cat video!


Also referred to as remarketing, retargeting is when ads from one site keep showing up on other sites. A cookie added to your browser triggers the ad whenever you visit a site participating in the ad program. That’s why an item you looked at or even bought from Amazon shows up when viewing Facebook, the app, news site, or app.

Keeping your name in front of a potential audience sounds good, right? But how often have you clicked on those ads? They are generally small and rarely compelling. Worse, studies show that 50%-70% of the clicks on those ads are accidental! It’s easy to touch ads when swiping to another screen or option on a smartphone. Retargeting ads can cost $1-$2 per click or more—is that worthwhile when over half the clicks are mistakes?


Geofencing serves ads when someone is in a specific geographic area. Frequent targets are hospitals or other caregiving facilities in the hopes of attracting STNAs or CNAs. But how many employed caregivers are looking at their phones while working? Most of the phone activity comes from families and patients stuck in waiting rooms who don’t care about employment ads.

Geofencing plans can cost $1000 per month. While you may get 100,000 impressions (how often the ad appears), the number of clicks from those impressions are usually less than 300. Again, throw out half of those, and you’re paying $1000 for fewer than 150 clicks. Of those clicks, you’re lucky if two people even apply!

Shifting Your Mindset

As we often tell clients, “The power is not the tool… the power is in knowing HOW to use the tool.” There’s no magic in using high-traffic job sites, social media, retargeting, or geofencing—they are nothing more than tools. Knowing how to use these tools to deliver a compelling message is vital.

Are These Tools Worthwhile?

They can be when used with compelling messages. If you rely on the tool showing your ad to thousands to make up for a poor message, it will fail. Even with a great message the tool may not work for your organization. Where should you start?

First, keep in mind that very few people know what a Direct Support Professional is or does. Most digital marketing tools deliver ads based on a keyword search. The advertister may include “caregiver” or similar as a criteria. But if your ad consists of a logo and basic “Now hiring DSPs” text it won’t attract many clicks. Use text with things that attract applicants—bonuses, job security, and benefits. If space is tight, skip the logo.

Second, avoid long-term contracts with advertisers. Many will push annual contracts with a high cost that may not work. It’s vital that you maintain the flexibility to change your ads or cancel them in favor of more effective alternatives.

Third, craft a better message. We’ve already addressed this in our “Motivate More People to Apply on DSP Ohio” post. Summarizing the four-step approach of “AIDA” copywriting, we recommend:

  • Attention – start with what job seekers want. Bonuses, job security, vacation time, medical benefits, flexible schedules.
  • Interest – available positions, locations, shifts, experience/training.
  • Desire – share a pull-quote, story, or video of a current DSP. Show the impact they’ve had on someone’s life (or the effect on them as a caregiver).
  • Action – take them to a concise and simple online application to make it fast and easy to apply.

Use that approach for the job sites to make your ad stand out and appeal to your audience.

How Can I Tell if My Ads are Effective?

Most advertisers offer metrics like impressions and clicks. Those numbers don’t tell you if an ad is effective. The clicks may be a mistake. Even clicks to your website or job application may not tell you which ad is producing candidates.

You need to be able to measure each ad source. How? We’ll address that in our next blog post later this week.

Blitz Media Design helps DD nonprofits save money and get their time back by attracting and retaining more DSPs with simple web tools and process consulting.