The first question you need to ask yourself is, “What market do I want to start in?” Know your niche before broadening your horizons. Once you have narrowed down your market, take costs into the equation. Do you have enough funds to launch a WordPress-based platform?

I’ll leave the steps below.

1. Start with an MVP online marketplace.

Set your sights on something that is realistic and affordable, then work your way up the food chain. A good way to start a marketplace is to create a MVP (minimum viable product) using a WordPress platform. Then, if you feel you need a mobile app, you can start by converting to iOS/Android code through GoNative.io (as opposed to spending 10’s of thousands on from-scratch mobile app dev). This is a great way to start any marketplace because you get to gauge the interest of your niche without burning a hole in your pocket. I elaborate on this topic here if you’d like to read more.

2. Optimization your landing page to appeal to buyers.

The top of your landing page should be designed and copy written for your buyers because, without them, nothing is possible. In the header, include an ajax link reading “Apply To Join” that will smoothly auto-scroll down to the section of the index page focused on seller registration. But, you will need a landing page for your sellers as well – sort of like an application page. You will be directing all of your paid traffic to this page until you have enough sellers to satisfy your customer demand.
I’ve written a full response to this topic here.

3. What’s going to keep your sellers there while you look for buyers?

Create a “hook” to retain service professionals within your platform. Hooks can be anything from an email service to a feature within another platform, so long as it keeps them busy and engaged while you gather clients for them. You will also need to find a niche market where you can convince people to actually use your platform. Keep it local to gauge interest. You don’t need to reach everybody at once. Focus on a smaller, local group and build trust and rapport. You want people to use your platform, so build your credibility with a smaller platform. After understanding your niche market and how to get them interested, set up a CRM and email service to keep service professionals occupied as you filter out potential candidates with good reviews and unresponsive professionals that show no interest. You can now revise that email service with an updated list of interested service professionals who are ready to meet buyers. You can read a more detailed example I previously wrote here.

4. Know the buyers, then find the buyers.

To find your buyers, you have to know your buyers. Create detailed buyer personas and include where they are online – social, shopping, news etc… Then, offer those user persona’s a free service or commodity that can encourage interest in your platform. This can be a simple email with a list of services they may be interested in, a free tool for users accessible only on your site, or free resource downloads. Your CRM can then notify you the moment somebody opens your email or is browsing your site so you have the opportunity to contact them and push them through the funnel. I have more on this topic in another post.

5. Preventing leakages in your new markeplace.

Now you have to retain these service professionals and buyers. Use vetting to further decipher the difference between good and bad users.

  1. Implement a rating/review system to determine who you want to use your platform.
  2. Offer insurance of the purchase or transaction by holding escrow until the job is completed or buyer is satisfied. This will give your users peace of mind.
  3. Finally, continue to add more to your site. Keep the vetting process going and add more profiles to build your platform.

I have a full review explaining more on retaining members here.