The best way to acquire users on a C2C marketplace is to have the right strategy, to have a product that can be easily consumed and provides value to your users. I will talk in detail about this in the following sections.
Starting from scratch, it’s very crucial to have a strategy for acquiring users. Since you don’t have any capital, you need to make sure that you are only spending money on things that will bring you your first set of customers. So what is the most efficient way of doing this?
I strongly feel that it’s by promoting your platform on forums and communities. There are many such communities where your product will resonate with people in dire need of your service.
For example, if you are building a marketplace for people who make cakes, then there are many communities for people who bake cakes to promote your platform. This will get you some initial traction, and then word-of-mouth marketing will follow soon.
Now coming back to the Product factor, I think it is important for one of the founders of an online marketplace startup to be good at sales and marketing (if he doesn’t have the skills, then it’s better to hire someone).
One of the most important factors in the success of a marketplace startup is to be able to promote your platform.
If you don’t have a good sales and marketing strategy, you are most likely not going to acquire customers on your platform. If you don’t have a good product, it will not be easy for people to get addicted to your platform.
I will talk about two things that can help you build a good platform for sales and marketing:
Having a good site
The most important thing is that one of your founders should design a great site and get it hosted for free or cheap. The site should have all the necessary information about your startup and ways for people to get in touch with you.
Having an appealing site will get you some initial traction, and then word-of-mouth marketing will follow soon.
It is also important that you do not put up too many images on your website so that fewer data are downloaded by users when they visit your website.
I recommend using this tool from Bootstrap, which can help you build a good landing page in less than 5 min.
Having good Branding
It’s important to have a good logo, tagline, and color scheme for your platform.
Also, make sure that the name of your startup is memorable.
For example, if you build a marketplace for people who make cakes, then naming it as ‘CakeShaadi’ instead of ‘Cakes Marketplace’ will be much more memorable and easier to recall.
This, combined with a good website, can help you get traction on your platform.
I recommend starting with a Facebook page and then a Twitter account and a blog.
I have written about starting a blog for your startup, which can help you get some traction on your platform.
After you have built your platform, it’s now important to target the right audience. There are two ways of doing this:
Flyers and posters
You could do this offline as well as online. The best places to do this are at the following places:
- a. Colleges/Universities
- b. Crossroads
- c. Train Stations
- d. Bus Stations
- e. Local Communities
- f. Door-to-door marketing
- g. Night markets
- h. Other good platforms where people go regularly
Social Media Marketing
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., are great places to market your startup to people in your city or neighborhood.
You could create an event page on Facebook for this purpose or use other tools like Eventbrite.
I also recommend that you post flyers in the above-mentioned places where you would give out discount coupons for signing up on your platform through social media (people will get these coupons by showing their unique referral link).
Once you have built a good product, then it is important to target the right people. I believe that having patience at this stage can help you build an awesome business in the long run.
So keep in mind that at the beginning, it’s better to have a small customer-base and wait for them to get addicted to your platform than having a large customer-base but not getting them addicted.
Do you have any questions about building marketplaces? Ask them in the comments section!
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces, and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.