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How to obtain the first set of customers for your online marketplace without paying for ads

In this article, We’ll look at a few simple marketing tactics for successfully getting the first few target customers to your online marketplace.  You’ll see a great return when executed properly.

Tap into existing marketplace platforms

The key to running a successful partnership or integrations is finding someone who has the same target customers and established an audience that you can provide value to.

Reach out to the person who has amassed this audience and ask them if they’d be willing to run a joint promotion with you. Etsy and Airbnb are examples of companies which benefited greatly from pursuing such strategies in their early growth period.

Airbnb’s Story: Growth Hacking from 1K to 60M Users

Craigslist was being used by people to offer and look for short-term housing. Airbnb decided to attract qualified leads and reverse engineered Craigslist form to make the two platforms compatible. Whenever anyone listed accommodations on Airbnb, they got an option to automatically create a posting on Craigslist as well. This helped create additional inbound links for the user and drove more traffic to Airbnb.

Content Marketing is the way forward

Content Marketing can be an extremely effective way to attract potential customers on a tight budget.

If you focus on crafting highly informative content that is better than what is already out there, you’ll be able to showcase your expertise in a niche which will directly appeal to the target base of your prospective client.

Let’s take a look at how Etsy utilizes content marketing to drive sales and increase membership around the globe.

Newsletters are a big aspect of Etsy’s overall strategy. These daily and weekly emails are full of visuals, easily digestible, and contain links to different products. The emails highlight trends, inviting their customers to become trendsetters themselves.

Under Etsy subscriptions on their website, there are 19 different newsletters to choose from including finds, weddings, fashion, gifts, and dudes, all for a general audience of shoppers. For the sellers, they provide information on teams to join, events to go to, and tips on how to earn a living on the site. International customers and sellers in France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany have their own dedicated newsletters as well.

Content marketing is about creating interesting content people actually want to engage with. Stop talking about your brand, and start creating content people want to read, watch or listen to.

Social Media Isn’t Dead, But needs Diversification

You have likely heard how Facebook’s recent decline in organic reach means that social media is dead, at least as a method to distribute content and engage with your loyal user base.

  • Increase brand awareness: To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, focus on content emphasises your personality and puts your followers ahead of the hard sell.
  • Achieve a higher quality of sales. Two most important factors to achieve quality sales is monitoring or listening to specific keywords, phrases or hashtags. Through more efficient social media targeting, you reach your core audience much faster.
  • Create a loyal fanbase. Your customers can be your best cheerleaders and sources of fresh content, but only if you’re encouraging them to post on your behalf. Does your brand promote user-generated content? Do your followers react positively without any sort of initiation?
Build online marketplace

Guest Posting

If you want to generate leads with the help of guest posting, you need to first figure out where your new customers and prospective clients are consuming their content.

Finding guest posting opportunities is relatively easy.  All that you need is a little bit of clever searching on Google.

If you create a good enough impression, a number of the people who read your content will feel more inclined to check out your website and what you have to offer. And you may well be on your way to getting your first customers by doing so.

Final Thoughts

There’s no denying that a lot of marketing tactics is a matter of trial-and-error. Monitoring the metrics behind your campaigns in real-time allows you to make small tweaks to your marketing strategy rather than sweeping, time-consuming changes. This dynamic approach to marketing makes perfect sense in a day and age where digital marketing is constantly evolving.

And with that, we wrap up ideas for a basic marketing plan checklist for launching your marketplace!

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