Caution: If you are anything like Glassdoor, do not approach distribution and marketing as a single effort.
Platform Thinking is required reading in this context. Read this. And this.
If your product is anything like Glassdoor, you’re building a platform - the product you build will not be delivering value to customers in itself.
The product you build will enable producers in your network to deliver value to consumers.
Thus, you must address the war on two fronts:
- You must attract producers to your network, and incentivize them to produce, and
- You must use their product to attract consumers.
How you approach these two targets will differ. You should not use a single, unified strategy to attract both.
This is the classic chicken/egg scenario that all marketplaces and platforms must address in their distribution strategy.
1 - Approach your target demographics (producers vs consumers) from two different angels.
Example: in this episode of TWiST, Uber founder Travis Kalanick discusses how he and his co-founder each owned one side of the market. Travis was responsible for lining up supply (limo companies), and his partner was responsible for lining up demand (riders).
If you can, separate responsibilities between a partner so one of you owns supply (producers) and the other owns demand (readers).
At the very least, recognize the subtle yet important fundamental differences between the two demographics you must cater to, and tailor your marketing approach accordingly.
2 - Cold call. Do things that don’t scale. Online advertising when you’re just starting out is a cop out.
Sure, you’d love to find some scalable shortcut right now so you can just tweak power editor and throw money at customer acquisition and sit back and watch users roll in.
It could work. There’s ways to make it work.
But, especially to start, you need to be picking up the phone.
Calling your customers will be the single best way to learn their pain points, learn the best language and selling points for your product, and develop relationships with your first customers.
Find a database of finance industry professionals and use this Fiverr gig to scrape it into a CSV.
Then write a cold call script, and start dialing for dollars.
I share the cold-call method I learned as a sales rep at Yelp on Super Smart Sales. There’s free guides on the site there that will point you in the right direction, and premium content available if you want to explore further.
Now go crush.