The Role of Advertising in Double Sided Marketplaces
Advertising has always been a combination of enticing and informing prospective clients as to the goods and services your company provides. As a company dedicated to connecting service providers and clients, it is vital to understand that every non-targeted (i.e. traditional medial like newspapers, flyers, and radio) marketing piece must fulfill the dual roles of enticing customers while also encouraging prospective service providers to reach out your company for freelance employment. Targeted advertising, which is what you see for most internet based marketing campaigns, leverage demographic data based upon user browser history and supplied user information to narrowly target them. Your campaign, if it is to be successful, needs to leverage both in order to ensure its success. Especially if you are focused on increasing awareness on a block-by-block basis. Here are some of the ways you can leverage advertisements to grow your bottom line and improve your service provider roster simultaneously.
Leverage Social Media Networking for Maximum Impact
“If you are advertising on a business social media account page, it costs nothing but an employee's time. A business can opt to use paid social media advertising campaigns and sponsored posts as well. These campaigns are seen by more members of a social media platform than just those that are directly connected to the brand.”(1)
Social media has become ubiquitous in our society thanks to the low cost of entry and its relative ease of use. By using a combination of different accounts, forums, and targeted advertising, it is possible to leverage platforms like Facebook or Twitter to simultaneously reach out to consumers while developing good relations with prospective service providers.
The best part is that the cost can be minimal, if not nonexistent. All a basic profile requires is manpower and a talent for customer service!
Showcase Value for Both Provider and Client Simultaneously
“Two-sided marketplaces fail quickly if the value proposition for one side doesn’t clearly match a need on the other side. In Airbnb’s first high-growth marketplace, New York City, both sides of its customer pool were in deep pain and even willing to bend the law to relieve that pain. On one side, the cost of renting an apartment is astronomical; on the other, so are hotel prices, whose average can sometimes balloon above $500 a night in busy weeks.”(2)
It is vital to understand that freelancers and consumers are both looking to get the best deal possible. Your task as the marketing director is to showcase how it is possible for the experience to be a profitable and value-adding experience for all parties involved. Thankfully, there is more than one sort of value you can showcase. Have your advertisements, both targeted advertising and generated old-media publications, focus on the interpersonal aspects of your service, leveraging how both the service providers and clients can enrich each other’s lives. This is especially vital when general purpose marketing, like flyers, are utilized.
For instance, if you run a dog walking business that connects freelancer dog walkers and clients, showcase help people can fill happy walking a dog during their free time while showing the dog owner that the animal is getting exercise and attention while he or she is at work.
Focus on Your Value, Not Yourself
“Offer a better solution to underserved customers: Airbnb found its initial buyers and suppliers in the vacation rentals classifieds of Craigslist. They were clever in their approach in doing so, as well, since Craigslist didn't offer an API. Airbnb’s service was both more convenient and safer for both sides of the marketplace that had traditionally been underserved by existing services.”(3)
Marketing is always about the product or service, not the one providing it. Think about the cards in your wallet; do you think of the card provider when you swipe one of them? Or do you consider the bank that holds your account and the merchant you are about to transfer money to?
Advertisements for card providers exemplify this by focusing on the value your niche product and service brings to the consumer and not the company itself. Strive to ensure that your advertisements achieve a similar focus in order to make certain that your company is in demand by both target audiences.
Use Marketing Feedback to Inform Future Plans
One of the greatest challenges for any successful marketing endeavor is integrating feedback into future consumer outreach projects and product development. When you’re handling a marketing strategy that must connect with both service providers and potential client simultaneously this issue grows by an order of magnitude.
Make sure that you have easily accessible feedback channels and take advantage of every piece of information that you receive. Use this to constantly review your marketing strategies to ensure their effective in meeting your business goals. The right piece of information you glean from your advertisement can make the difference between identifying a new niche market the target or having your competitors eliminate all business opportunities for your company. Reach out, learn, and incorporate data to ensure happy clients, freelancers, and plenty of future opportunities for growth and success!