How to conduct a marketplace offeror acquisition campaign
So you have identified a service need on the market, and you have decided to respond to it and create a service marketplace. After having identified the functionalities that seem relevant to you to do this, you finally launch your online platform.
Online service marketplaces are composed of three main parts:
→ the operator: they are the party who takes care of the general management of the platform and its liquidity, exchanges between service providers and service seekers, entry conditions and monitors the smooth running of transactional exchanges
→ the applicants: they are the party who obtains service through the platform
→ the offerers: they are the party who through the platform offers a service
An online booking site generally offers a search space where the service requester can indicate the category of service they want to purchase, its location, and the availability of the service provider.
Due to the lack of service providers present on the platform however, the results displayed are often not relevant searches made. When this happens, not only does the platform not meet the initial need, but the user experience is also impacted. This is the issue caused by offer density.
The satisfaction generated by the platform is highly dependent on the density of service providers present on your platform.
From there, a question arises: how do I attract service providers to my online service platform?
Whether the service is delivered physically or online, the issue of service location is paramount. The requester regularly has a practical constraint in their travel or time zone. The scarcity (total, not just on your platform) of the offer and its value by the requester, is a constraint in the selection of results.
Therefore, it is essential for your platform to acquire a maximum number of providers in the geographical niche you are targeting. You must do this without neglecting the quality of the services offered, so that you can ensure optimal coverage of the territory you have defined.
By initially focusing on a defined geographical area, you encourage the collaboration between service providers and service seekers, which enhances the user experience for both sides. This strategy can then be extended to a larger area until it covers a complete geographical zone.
How to diversify your platform’s offers?
The best way to expand the overall service offering on your platform is by acquiring new providers.
There are two possible angles of attack:
→ acquire a large number of “small providers”, who are independent and offer specific services.
→ acquire a smaller number of “large providers”, who are multi-disciplinary service providers.
In this article, we’ve put together some tips on how to run a successful recruitment campaign for service providers.
→ Define your target(s)
This is the first question you should ask yourself when you go searching for service providers!
Prior to starting a recruitment campaign, which requires time, energy and financial cost, you must know your target.
This question is closely linked to the nature of your service platform, online appointment scheduling site, or online reservation site.
Your platform should employ an iterative niche strategy from its inception.
If you’re launching a freelance worker service platform, you can begin by focusing on recruiting freelancers in development. Next you should open up to freelancers in graphic design, and then tutoring. You should do this until you have a complete set of jobs offered by freelancers, which was your initial vision.
This iterative niche strategy can be combined with a geographical niche strategy.
Once you have identified your target, you will be able to understand them: their profile, their needs, their expectations, and their evolution on the market.
Correctly targeting the advertisers that you want to integrate into your platform will allow you to set up a coherent and effective campaign.
→ Becoming known
After you have managed to precisely identify your target, your goal should be to hit the bullseye like a dart champion!
The first step is to roll up your sleeves and knock on the door of your future service providers!
Secondly, you need to make yourself known in a broad and general way. To do this, you must work on your notoriety, in a long-term qualitative approach. This will give you more credit in your canvassing project.
How? We tell you almost everything in the rest of the article.
→ Your social networks
In 2020, you don’t need to learn that social networks are one of your main business tools. They are useful in your first searches for suppliers, depending on your sector. For example, LinkedIn Boolean search or Facebook retargeting can be very effective in an ultra-verticalized niche strategy. They are essential for embodying your image outside the platform and must be integrated into your daily routine. They must also be treated in the same way as your own marketplace.
Social networks illustrate your online service marketplace, and in this way they are your showcase. They allow for simple, diverse communication at low cost.
- Shape a visual, graphic identity
- Provide content like announcements, speeches, positioning through your posts, stories, sharing articles, tweeting
- Facilitate direct communication with your community through live
- Allow personal exchanges through messaging
- Promote the building of a visible community
So many elements allow potential service providers to identify with your platform, the values that you carry, the community that supports you, and the energy that you transmit! So on your mark, get set, post!
→ … and don’t forget your targets!
To find your targets, understand them and reach them, there is nothing better to do than identify the networks on which your service providers are most likely to be found.
Depending on the sector of activity, your potential service providers will not be present in the same way from one network to another. A photographer can showcase their work more easily on Instagram than on Twitter. A farmer would find Facebook and its countless specialized groups a better place to exchange and share their needs.
So don’t hesitate to explore the social networks so that you can meet your target! Social networks are not only a rich source of information for getting to know your suppliers, but can also give you the opportunity to get in touch with them! You can do this through publications or through private messages.
Finally, social networks will keep you informed of the unmissable and popular events your target audience attends. This gives you the opportunity to go there and meet them.
→ Get out in the field!
To find out your target’s needs and make yourself known, nothing is more effective than meeting directly with the people concerned. This step will allow you to exchange ideas and understand the current difficulties of the profession as well as the reality on the ground. It is also an opportunity to understand together what your service marketplace brings to your future users, and how it can alleviate certain difficulties.
Find out about the events in the sector you wish to reach like trade shows, congresses, open doors, fairs, and flash events.
All these places will give you the opportunity to exchange face to face with potential service providers, understand their expectations, their needs, and the compatibility of their services with your platform.
→ Take a step back on your platform!
In order for your offer acquisition campaign to be successful, and attract a maximum of new service providers, you need to spend some time thinking about the future of your platform.
To begin with, you can set a number of offerors to be reached. Once this number has been reached, and after a certain amount of time using your platform, you will be able to collect feedback from your users. This first step will allow you to make possible adjustments to your strategy or use of your platform. This will let you implement a structure adapted to the needs of your users.
After that, you will be able to start a new phase of your campaign, so that you can acquire more offers in larger geographical areas, and in wider sectors of activity.
To find out if your platform matches the needs of both parties, here are a series of questions to ask yourself:
→ Does your platform meet the real needs of your future customers?
→ Is your platform adapted to the realities of your suppliers’ businesses?
→ What do you offer that differentiates your platform from competing platforms, and how is this valued by your suppliers?
→ Are the possible transactions fair for all parties?
→ Is the contribution paid to the operator legitimately perceived by users?
→ What level of digital experience is required for your users to be comfortable using your platform?
Answers to these questions can be provided thanks to the feedback given by your providers already registered on the platform. You can also receive this feedback after meetings with prospects, and after exploring and studying the targeted communities on social networks.
This whole process must meet one objective: making your service platform the most complete and popular in your field
→ Be commercial!
An offeror acquisition campaign is similar to an election campaign in that you have to know how to convince using the best arguments!
In order to attract new bidders, don’t hesitate to occasionally propose advantageous offers for new users!
Depending on your platform, there may be different forms of financial participation from your offerers. These could be sponsorships, deductions of flash commissions or registration fees and subscriptions.
This kind of operation can convince a reluctant bidder to buy, or convince a colleague to buy! We can not stress enough how your bidders are your best ambassadors for convincing their peers to use your platform.
→ Be a reference, improve your referencing!
As a service marketplace operator, the digital world holds almost no secrets for you. You know that in order to make yourself known and acquire a good reputation, you need to be able to set up a good reference.
Reminder: referencing refers to the position of your online service platform on a search engine. It is the result of a set of practices aimed at improving your position. We differentiate paid referencing from natural referencing.
Why is it important?
The referencing of your marketplace is decisive, because it has a large influence in building your notoriety. A good referencing does not fall from the sky, it takes time and requires special attention, but it is necessary for attracting new offerers.
There are dozens and dozens of elements you must take into account to improve your natural referencing, or SEO. Here are a few of them:
→ Get your site referenced by Google: go to Search Console to get indexed by the Google search engine and optimize your site.
→ Create quality content: Creating quality content is one of the best ways to attract web users. It generates traffic and helps to improve your referencing. Don’t forget to include keywords, the words that are most searched for by your community, and those that are found in most searches made by your community.
→ Make yourself visible!
After having used a lot of digital tools, you should not neglect also using more traditional marketing tools.
Don’t forget, your future suppliers are not necessarily digital giants. So you can’t bet on an exclusively online campaign.
Here are a few ideas:
- Facebook Ads: we reveal their secrets in this article
- Advertising displays: billboards, advertising space in trade fairs, and also on the web. It is expensive, but effective if you manage to identify the right targets and locations.
- Press relations: identify the press most consulted by your community of service providers, and contact the editorial staff. It’s an excellent way to make yourself known to your prospects, due to an article, an advertisement, etc.
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