In launching a new online marketplace for service professionals, which side (pro’s or customers) would you recommend capturing first? Why?

Alex Glenn

Boy does this question get asked a lot in my profession… See FAQs for more you may need answers for…

In short, you have the chicken/egg dilemma and the solution is unique to every platform. The two common answers are:

  1. IF you have built a large team and an expensive platform ready to generate and respond to inbound marketing efforts (leads/projects/inquiries/bids etc…), and have inpatient investors or a show run-rate, then you have no choice but to generate business/sales/revenue by leading with your customers.
    1. Create a fast and efficient process for marketing your new business leads to as many “pro’s” as possible to build immediate value for them to consider joining. As an example, if you offer SAT prep for local students, take your customer need requests, and put those everywhere – job boards, social media, craigslist, even email them out to local tutors… with a link to your signup page to “apply now.” Have a slick funnel with auto-responders ready to convert/retain these tutor applicants that click through to apply. Of course you can only hire one, but in the vetting process, you should be able to generate 10+ quality tutor profiles on your platform based off interest in that one job. Rinse and repeat.
    2. I’d also take this a step further and post offers on job boards to join your tutoring service without any specific job in question. These won’t get as much attention as a real live listing, but you can generate signups on an ongoing basis this way.
  2. IF you have a low burn rate, thin team of product and marketing guys, without much pressure to generate revenue now, you have some freedom to double-down on your network-building efforts.
    1. Focus on one area and/or niche (like Martin Jones mentioned). This will allow you to also perfect your funnels and A/B test some messaging.
    2. Consider investing in a simple software/tool that can be used now by your pro’s. Thumbtack generated thousands of professional-signups by creating a tool that helped them save time posting on craigslist. If you can be creative, and develop something that offers value even gets pros to continue coming back to use the tool, you will be able to retain those who do use it while you’re generating the customer users. A simpler option to this is creating excel templates/worksheets used and searched often by the pro’s in your target market, and allowing users to download them free in return for an email. This is easy, and get’s you targeted emails so you can convert them as you have more jobs/customers flowing. Here’s a great example of this tactic being used for a manufacturing platform.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me anytime 🙂

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