Questions

We have created a 2-sided technology platform. Struggling to get either side to sign up, although getting visitors.

I have worked with a marketing expert here on clarity and we talked about landing page and focusing on getting the user side signed up. He was very helpful and all makes sense but still not making progress. I hired a marketing person to help with messaging, but still missing something.

9answers

Where possible, I recommend getting it to work in a specific region. I.e. If this was Uber, I'd focus on London or a specific city to work on. If this was a cleaning service - I'd focus on a particular area where possible.

The stages of a successful business don't differ - your product market fit is the first most important piece of the puzzle. Together with that, if you can successfully get it to work in one place, you can then either VC fund it with real data or bootstrap it yourself and scale the operation quickly.

It would help if you gave me a bit more context on the idea, I'm sure I could get you a more detailed answer.

Landing pages are one piece only - you need to crack the other side. There is quite a bit of information online about Airbnb and how they got hosts on board with events and whatnot.

Hope that helps.


Answered 2 years ago

Hi:
You've been working the marketing tactics, which is good, but I'd suggest backing up a bit.
What is the headache that your platform resolves for one side? And what about on the other side? Are these definitely pressing headaches that they're looking to address? Is your solution compelling enough to get them to change what they're doing for the headache currently? Are you sure you have identified the best target market - and validated that through customer conversations?
Solid marketing can draw people in, but if the solution doesn't address a customer need - or lands in a customer group that's not the most ideal - your efforts can fall flat.
If you wish to discuss, send me a PM through Clarity for 15 free minutes.
Cheers,
Kerby


Answered 2 years ago

So this is going to be a two sided marketplace? That's one of the huge challenges of anything with two sides whether it be an OfferUp style cone or a dating site. You can't get men without women but you can't get women without men or in the case of a selling platform you can't get sellers without buyers but you can't get buyers without sellers, it's kind of a catch 22.

Pretty much everyone from Tinder to Reddit to all other types of sites wrestled with this problem. Most of them used bots to fake activity. Probably didn't provide the best user experience but was at least good enough to lure in some users and from that point it was just organic growth.

Not sure what type of marketplace or site it is but try to get friends and family on there, maybe provide some incentive for signups through an affiliate marketing type situation. I'm actually doing some affiliate stuff for a new cryptocurrency exchange and they are paying $25 per sign-up, that's a little steep, especially for a startup but you could do something on a smaller scale.


Answered 2 years ago

As I'm sure you know, two-sided platforms are notoriously difficult to build.

I've built a niche graphic design marketplace site of my own with a few thousand buyers serviced by over a hundred designers. Rather than building up both sides initially, we worked on building the buyer side, with a team of in-house contractors.

Once we had a good pool of buyers, we then worked to recruit designers, knowing they'd be enticed by our active buyers that were already spending money.

This strategy won't work for all marketplaces and I don't know much about your business or the problems you're facing. However, I'd recommend checking out the book Platform Revolution.

https://www.amazon.com/Platform-Revolution-Networked-Transforming-Economyand-ebook/dp/B00ZAT8VS4

It's full of examples of businesses that have developed platforms and marketplaces using a variety of different strategies.


Answered 2 years ago

How much traffic are you getting and what sources are you getting it from?

Landing pages are a conversion tool and that is only half of the revenue equation.


Answered 2 years ago

To resolve this will require far more than a single phone call.

Since you haven't been able to fix this, likely you'll hire someone to help you with this.

Tip: Search Clarity for posts I've made about using Meetup.

My test of messaging is simple, I use Meetup to test my messaging. Might be giving a live talk or just giving an introduction.

My simple metric - If I get mobbed after a Meetup with people clamoring to book appointments or buy whatever I'm pitching (which is always a super soft pitch), then I consider my messaging to be good.

If there's nothing but crickets, then I have work to do.

There are all sorts of ways to test messaging.

To me, standing up in front of a group, giving a live talk is the best, because I get instant, realtime feedback from people in the room.


Answered 2 years ago

You have a chicken-and-egg (mutual baiting) problem, not a marketing problem per se. And in building your platform you will run into other generic platform problems after solving this one e.g. the ghost town problem.

The good news is that there are a number of well-defined solutions to these problems; I'm aware of about 8 solutions to the chicken-and-egg problem. I'll provide some quick thoughts based on the little I can randomly glean/guess from your question but I would need to know much more about your specific platform to make a well thought-out suggestion:

* You mention "user side". So this may be connecting users of some kind to merchants of some kind?? A common approach in such scenarios is the "marquee merchant" approach where you get one respected merchant (like an anchor tenant in retail shops) that can be the magnet to get sufficient users on board, and then you can use the growing user base to get more merchants. Obviously you have to be willing to make certain special concessions to the marquee merchant(s).

* You mention that you have traffic. Another common approach is to focus on the side that is easier to get. So the question is: where is most of your traffic coming from? Which kind of participant (the term "user" is vague - you should be talking about "producers" and "consumers" in a platform) is predominantly coming in?
-- If you are getting mainly consumer-side participants then maybe you can create supply-side proxies like Yelp did.
-- If you are getting mainly supply-side participants then maybe you can figure out standalone value for the producers, like Opentable did.

The more info you make available the easier it will be to help. Good luck anyway.


Answered 2 years ago

I have a few answers on Quora that may help:

https://qr.ae/TUhb8i
https://qr.ae/TUhb8a
https://qr.ae/TUhb8e

Here are some basic tips to success with your marketplace:

*Trim the fat, Capture emails, Set up a nurture sequence and feedback loop. Then, start to scale and go get some more money :)*
One mistake most will make at this exact stage is to add features to their platform they believe their new paying customers will also enjoy using. The reason this is not always a great first response is because adding takes resources and focus away from why those customers bought in the first place.
**What should you do?**
**First. **Get rid of the fluff - pages users don’t visit, emails users don’t open or click, forms people never leave their info on… Keep the landing pages that convert, send out more of the types of emails people are clicking, and consider live chat in place of contact forms. One of the best funnels I’ve ever tested started with a simple landing page offering a brief description of the service, next to it was an email only capture form to get started, below that was a row of logos of some involved brands. That’s it. Before you consider what to add, first remove what you know is not helping.
I recommend first setting up tracking for user activity before they join (attribution analytics), and within your platform - where are they spending time before and after the goods/services exchange (event and conversion data). You probably have Google analytics added, but dig deeper into attribution using UTM parameters on all of your inbound links. If you’re using ads, make sure your pixels are set on each page of the conversion funnel.
For event attribution, check out CleverTap - Mobile App Analytics, User Engagement Platform (http://clevertap.com/) - this requires a simple SDK for mobile and script for web, but it will give you actionable data and event-based messaging (email, sms, push) capabilities to your new audience. And it’s free up to 20M events/mo I believe.

If your platform offers larger-ticket goods/services or SaaS with a longer sales cycle than simple ecommerce, I recommend setting up AgrileCRM - CRM Software, Sales and Marketing Automation (http://agilecrm.com/) - this CRM is cheap, and will allow you to track users as they engage with content in emails or on your site in real time. And set up triggered messaging sequences to get them through your funnels at a higher conversion rate.
**Second.** Make sure you are capturing emails quickly and efficiently. Your offering has traction, but you aren’t sure about retention yet. You may start to see high drop-off (or low percentages of repeat purchase) and quickly realize the value proposition proposed in site copy does not match what’s delivered. In that case, you may decide to tone down sales copy and focus the landing pages on building lists of interested potential users while you better the platform or service.
**Third.** Get a great nurturing sequence (https://vwo.com/blog/8-effective-best-practices-for-saas-lead-nurturing-campaigns/) into an email drip for those who do leave an email, but do not buy/convert right then. Remember, you have caught these people at some point, but that point may not be the best time for them. They may be a customer soon, but not right now. So you want to have a few-week-long nurturing sequence setup to make sure they remember you when that real need surfaces. The AgileCRM or CleverTap products mentioned above both offer a triggered drip option.
**Forth.** Set up a feedback loop. (https://conversionxl.com/generate-customer-feedback-loops-scale/) You want to know why those initial customers bought and hopefully glean some evidence from those who did not. Feedback loops can be crucial at this point to ensure you do not spend resources on activities that do not better your platform for users now (not to imply your changes or additions do not better the platform, only that they are not a priority).
**Fifth.** Now that you have a well-greased conversion machine, you can pour some gas on your fire, scale your user-base a few X’s, and prove your revenue model outright. Get positive unit economics flowing prove those first users can be replicated with paid traffic that pays for itself.
**Sixth.** Finally, go get some more money. Although bootstrapping is possible and noble, there are 100 more entrepreneurs like you (some with deeper pockets) just waiting for you to show them it’s possible.
I hope this helped.


Answered 2 years ago

In my experience operating two sided market places, I have found the most inexpensive demand side growth tactic is to active the supply side to help you reach customers. This can be very difficult, but it provides a huge opportunity. The example from Drizly (alcohol delivery) was to work with our retail store network in each market (or supply side) to reach customers in store. The retailers were careful to expose their in-store customers to a service that would have them order directly to their home, but over time we were able to convince them that the service would provide a larger revenue opportunity per customer (higher average order value, more recurring orders, and network effects to get more customers ordering from that store). I would encourage you to figure out exactly what your supply side needs to feel comfortable helping you access customers. Know their business well and show them that you will help them drive revenue for their business BY HELPING YOU grow your business.


Answered 2 years ago

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