The toughest job for any service provider or contractor is finding clients. What makes it harder is that regular marketing channels are either saturated, too expensive, or take too long to bear fruits. As a result, even industry veterans go through dry periods, where they can hardly find any work.
To improve the odds of getting that first, or next customer, you may need to get more visible to potential clients. Joining online marketplaces is one way of doing this.
Online marketplaces are a tried and true lead generation tool. But seeing there are quite a few of them around, which ones should you join? You will be committing quite a bit of your time there, so it’s a decision you should think through.
To help you with the decision, we have 5 questions that you should ask yourself before joining an online marketplace:
Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Joining An Online Marketplace
1. Does my target customer shop there?
There is no point in joining a marketplace that is frequented by millions of users that do not need the services you offer. Identify your target customer and then find out if their profile would fit with the audience of the marketplace you’re considering.
Souqh, for example, is a place where home buyers and homeowners come to find service providers. Homebuyers can search the marketplace for realtors, real estate lawyers, mortgage brokers, and movers, among other service providers.
On the other hand, homeowners can rely on Souqh to connect them with contractors. These could be electricians, handymen, or plumbers. Souqh is a perfect fit for any of these contractors and professional services because it’s built for the same people they’re targeting - home buyers and homeowners.
2. How Much Visibility Will I Get?
At the end of the day, you are joining the marketplace to boost your visibility to target prospects. So, first, it should be easy for them to find your listing on the marketplace. Secondly, there should be enough real estate for you to showcase your brand, list all your services, and promote your business to prospects.
Souqh, for example, will give you your own storefront where you can list your services, display your reviews, and start a conversation with interested prospects.
A search feature on the homepage helps prospects find you, first by your service and, secondly, by your city. As long as you have properly optimized your storefront, it should not be difficult for customers to find you. By paying a small fee you can also get your storefront featured on the homepage, which boosts your visibility.
3. What Are The Costs Involved?
Some online marketplaces are free to use while others are paid. Some payments are one-off joining fees while others are monthly subscriptions. If you have researched the marketplace well, it could potentially bring a lot of business your way, so a small fee should be a small price to pay.
That said, you should weigh the cost of listing on the marketplace against the potential benefits. Search and find out how many businesses like yours are listed on the marketplace. If you find that there are quite a few, it is possible they are getting their money’s worth and that you may too.
4. What Tools Does The Marketplace Provide?
If the marketplace is not free, you will want to know what you are paying for exactly. If it’s just to get yourself in front of more people, then there better be warm leads. Otherwise, you should expect the marketplace to at least provide tools that help you automate some of the work.
Some marketplaces integrate with social media platforms so customers that have been satisfied with your work can recommend you to their followers with a simple click of a button. Some allow you to advertise on the platform at a low cost.
For its part, Souqh is built as an end-to-end platform for home buyers and owners. A home buyer, for example, can find mortgage financiers, lawyers, and movers all within the platform. They can even send an invite from within Souqh to their preferred service provider if they find they are currently not on the platform. That benefits everyone, including service providers.
For service providers specifically, Souqh allows you to create, share, and e-sign your documents in one secure portal. Not just that, all your communications with clients can take place right within your Souqh store.
More importantly, clients can pay you right within Souqh using a payment method that works for both of you. This reassures prospects of the security of their data and their privacy, which helps to close deals faster.
5. Are There Any Incentives For Users?
It is great that the marketplace provides tools for service providers to find prospects, negotiate and close deals, and receive payment in one secure portal. But what about the prospects - the reason that brought you to the marketplace? What incentives are there to keep them coming back?
Users typically don’t pay to use marketplaces so they can easily go look for service providers elsewhere. Souqh gets this and has an automated system where users earn credits every time they transact or invite a service provider to the platform.
The credits users earn can be used to pay for future services. So users are motivated to use Souqh more frequently because there is a direct financial benefit.
Find Customers And Grow Your Business On Souqh
Are you a contractor or professional services provider like a lawyer, realtor, or mortgage broker? Souqh can connect you with potential clients and help scale your business at a more manageable expense. Get started with Souqh here.