Starting a new marketplace is something many have been through and can tell you it is not an easy task. From building the software to gaining new users, it is a very daunting task. Where does one start? How do I know who to speak or reach out to? While there are a lot of questions to be answered, the biggest one is “Are you ready to launch?”. Is your marketplace ready for users to visit and ultimately make a purchase? If you have a clear answer to that question, then you will know. You might say but “I don’t have any users to start with”. While that may be true, that shouldn’t stop you from deploying. There are steps along the way that can help with gaining new users and we are here to share some from of our own experiences.
This should be one of the first steps, even before you launch your marketplace. Get on Linkedin, Facebook, and Google+ at the minimum. If you are a more visual type marketplace, Instagram and Pinterest are great platforms. With that being said, build your connections by interacting with your audience and create a buzz around your brand. Ensure each profile is optimized with your contact info, website, and any additional links you may have. It’s a good practice to place your links on each platform in case others use one more than the other.
One of the latest and biggest trends business have adapted to is Snapchat and Instagram stories. These are great ways to show more of the “behind the scenes” of what your marketplace is up to or if you are attending any big events. This can help showcase your team members and fill the gap of being behind a screen onto a more personal level. Whether it’s a conference you are attending or the next TED talk, your audience is following you for a reason. Don’t be afraid to share and more importantly ENGAGE with your followers!
A question I asked myself when I first started is, what do I post on social media? How do I know what is appropriate and what isn’t? Each industry is different and there is no one size fits all formula. Start with building your content marketing strategy in order to attract new users to your marketplace and keep things fresh. Your strategy should be tailored to your specific industry and keep it in line with your strengths. If you are a tech marketplace, don’t start producing blogs about the World Series.
Now to more of the specifics of your content. What will you be writing or publishing? If you don’t have a blog, you are only hurting your marketplace. Creating fresh and new content on a regular basis helps your rankings on Google and raises the chances of landing on the first page. What are keywords you are using? Take “creating a marketplace platform” for example. This is a considered a long-tail keyword rather than a simple keyword of “marketplace”. Defining those keywords can help your content strategy to tailor your blogs but also your whole marketplace. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and think of different variations you will use to search on Google.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Take Uber for example. Do you think they became a success overnight? The thought of jumping in a random stranger’s car didn’t necessarily sit well 10 years ago. How exactly did they get people to use their app and become such a big hit? Well, first they identified a need in the market: ridesharing. Next, their “product” was simple and easy to use, even your grandparents can use it. Naturally, with those 2 things, everyone should use it, right? Not exactly. Uber and just like any successful company, created brand awareness. They got people talking about their ridesharing service and reached a huge market of people that didn’t exist at the time. Ridesharing became the new fad, especially in big cities such as San Francisco where owning a car is not necessary. Public transportation was the answer but Uber changed the whole transportation industry.
Does your marketplace volunteer and stay active in the community? Bring your team out to food drives, sponsor local events, and more importantly make connections. Dress your team up in “swag” that is distinguishable lets others know who your company is. Pass out stickers or even t-shirts at those events to help spread awareness. This is essentially free advertising and who knows what audience those people may tap into. The small gesture can bring huge benefits.
Believe it or not, email is still one of the most powerful ways to reach new users. Do you have an email strategy in place or a list that is started? For any business, email is a vital line of communication and can help obtain new users for your marketplace. The first step would be to start a list. Place free content offers on your website in exchange for an email address. This will help push customers into your sales funnel and categorize accordingly. If you have multiple content offers with various topics, you will gain a better understanding of the client once they have filled out the form. Let’s say you have two different ebooks on your site, “Why should I start a marketplace platform?” or “Why I should choose a platform provider?” Obtaining this information will help figure out which email marketing funnel to push them down and what information they should be receiving.
As you look for ways to capture and build your email list, try a social media campaign as well. Leverage your followers and help turn them into customers. I mean they are following you for a reason and have already struck up some sort of interest. They may not be ready today but you can slowly educate them with content so when the time comes, they know exactly who to turn to.
Don’t get discouraged looking for new users. It’s all part of the natural growth curve for a new marketplace platform. Try these 4 tips we have just shared with you to get started on the right track. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Putting in the work and following through with your plans will help pay off in the long run.
Do you have any success stories or tips on how to gain new users to your marketplace platform? Share with us below or send us a tweet @MrktPlacePfm!