How to start up and create valuable traction with a two-sided-market business model without having one side covered already?

We developed a learning matching plattform that compares offerrings with needs. Since we approach a new market we do not have a DB with "offerrings" and no DB with "Needs". So the old known chicken&egg causality. Its not like, were two sides have the same need its more like "Car dealers" matching "Car buyers". Problem during ramp up: Buyers find no/less dealer and deales find no/less buyers!? Any prove strategie approach is highliy appreciated.


I recently went trough this with and previously with

Find a channel that already carries one side and, find out if you can 'borrow' their content or access to people.

For example you can scrape yellow pages listings for car dealerships ( filling up the seller side ) and make posts of thier pages in your site on Craigslist (getting some buyers to know about you). Make sure your listings have top notch SEO built-in and don't worry too much about the little traffic that Google brings initially, it'll grow.

Make it super easy to share the one action that sets you apart with their friends.

All the while start marketing heavily to the sellers side. Do manual, non scalable work here, it doesn't matter at this point. Promise that you'd post to Craigslist for then, run Facebook ads of the pages in your marketplace, etc. Baby this new customers, learn from them, become their friend.

In my experience it's always easier to find 'brave' sellers willing to try something new. If your product is truly differentiated and you provide the necessary social tools and feedback loops, users will slowly find he site, have great experiences and start talking to about them with their friends and one day... You get critical mass and ball stars rolling on its own.

Good luck. Give me a call if you'd like to brainstorm more.

Answered 10 years ago

You'll spend either sweat or cash or both.

During your drive to initial signup, I'd consider temporary use of ad placements on sites with viable traffic or leasing vacant domains for lead-gen purposes. Split the 2 halves of your demographic, and steer people toward profile creation in such a way that they add content and bring along colleagues and friends through social media.

Depending on your specific business model, you may want to do a lot of segmentation to get those really targeted spots. Billboards by the highway probably aren't for you at this point.

Answered 10 years ago

I've dealt with this and at the beggining it sucks, but the trick is to figure out which one is the hardest to get and the riskiest. Let's take skillshare, first we need to understand what consumers want to learn, if people wouldn't want to learn new skills online then why gather up a team of people to create courses if people wouldn't buy them. Once they understood what people would buy then just create the courses yourself one you get people interested other "teachers" would come and be part of it.

I've actually dealt with this problema myself. We created a platform that connects problems from inside the company to people inside the company that can solve them. The riskiest part was WHY people would share problems via online and we discovered that they did not just to make a problem visible, but because that was a great platform to show themselves inside a very large corporation so we enhanced that feature above all else. Once we got that ball rolling we went to get people interested in solving problems and WHY they would do it. What are the right triggers so on so forth. But the riskiest thing for us was getting the ball rolling uploading problems.

If you want to talk longer we can most definitely schedule a call.

All the best!

Answered 10 years ago

When building a platform or a market, you need to understand which side is going to pay for your service. They will be probably the hardest to convince and therefore you need to get traction and create a critical mass with the free population.

To get that traction you have to gather info about the potential interest of the non paying side to participate into your platform. Usually people are always ready to subscribe if it is free and if it meets potentially their needs.

How many free subscribers have you managed to get through your landing page ?
If there is still lack of subscribers, try to analyse what are the most wanted lessons by your user so you can start, so you can show lessons providers there is a public for them.

Another way of getting traction is to start with a result based pricing so lessons provider will have to pay for your service only if there is a minimum number of participants.

Answered 10 years ago

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