Part of building your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is knowing how to communicate your core value proposition to new users. You may have the best features and prices to beat all your competitors. You already may have a crystal clear picture of your marketplace’s value in mind. But learning to communicate your marketplace’s unique offering in a way that appeals to others can be a challenge, even for a seasoned entrepreneur.
With so many marketplaces out there competing for people’s attention, you need to be able to capture their attention span within seconds, and more importantly, leave a lasting impression. Identify the core elements of your value proposition, simplify your message, and then you can begin the refining process through research and testing.
Here’s a guide to crafting your communication strategy:
Know your target audience inside out
In a marketplace, you’re dealing with two audiences: your customers and providers. Each group needs a different message with a different style of design. Initially, your customers and providers will be early adopters or visionaries, so your aim is to draw them in with your vision.
There are ways you can find out what appeals to your target audience. You can do a keyword research using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, or mine your website analytics with Google Analytics. Align the data with your communication strategy, and use it to create a strong value proposition statement to entice potential providers and consumers.
Photo credit: WordPress.
Main value propositions related to convenience, trust and price gets users hooked, but as people begin to use your marketplace, additional value propositions will become more important and will get customers to return.
Ready-to-use templates for your value proposition statement
There are many guides on value positioning, and experts are making it simpler for startup founders by creating specific templates.
Here’s one by Geoff Moore from his book Crossing the Chasm:
For non-technical entrepreneurs and small businesses (target customer)
who need affordable and convenient access to a reputable online marketplace developer (statement of the need or opportunity)
our product is a software-as-a-service (product category)
that provides off-the-shelf and customisable marketplace platforms (statement of benefit).
An even simpler one from Venture Hacks:
Twitter (proven industry example) of/for GIFs (new domain).
In creating your value proposition statement, remember to keep it short, simple, and memorable — meaning no expert jargons, even if you think you need to show the audience your expertise. You can check out more templates here.
Do your research
Your statement should go through a process of trial and error, or even better, A/B testing if you have enough traffic on your site. A/B testing lets you pit options against each other. Once you gather data to see which version performs better, it can help you decide on the most effective approach for your audience. A/B testing can be done on more than just your value proposition statement — it can also be used to test your landing page design, and even something as simple as newsletter headlines.
Likewise, you can utilise pay-per-click (PPC) ads to test options for your value proposition statement. Google AdWords can help you test concepts and gauge your targeted audience’s interest in your offerings, as well as refine your communication strategy.
Designing your landing page
You should always keep your audience in mind when designing your landing page. State your main value proposition in a catchy phrase, and include a call to action. Additional value propositions should also be made clear on the same page. Other marketing approaches such as testimonials should support the proposition too.
Use design and colours as communication tools. A bright colour scheme is perceived as playful and positive, while dark blue and grey is seen as serious and trustworthy. Depending on your brand image, choose from designs and colours that suit your product or service offering.
The images you use on your landing page should identify your main target audience. If you don’t have the resources to design or take original photos, there are always free stock photo sites such as Pexels and Stocksy.
To be more direct, you could create separate landing pages for your customers and providers. That way you would have excellent channels to place targeted advertising. But if your resources are limited, a highly visible secondary call to action for providers would suffice.
Photo credit: Square.
Keep it coherent
When you have succeeded in making a good impression through your landing page, don’t forget that the language and design for all communications to your users need to be consistent. By creating guidelines for all outgoing messages, your marketplace’s support e-mails, newsletters and social media pages would have the same coherent language and style in order for you to build your brand.