Developing a Digital Marketplace: 5 Key Elements

Adrian Cruce

The competition is stiff out there, so if you aren’t ready to do a little groundwork, now is not the time to plunge into the digital marketplace. Having said that, it is possible to build a productive online marketplace once you understand a few basic elements and how to use them to your advantage.

Thousands of new entrepreneurs are making a go of it every day and many of them began with just the basics. They didn’t have a huge pile of money for a start-up venture. The only thing they had was a will to succeed and some rock-solid background on what it takes to develop a successful online marketplace. Here are 5 key elements that lay the foundation to get you started on the right foot.

1) Understanding Your Audience

Even before you begin planning your website, it is crucial to understand your audience. Everything you do from here on out centres on creating and answering needs. You have a product or service to sell. What is it that consumers want or need in relation to your product? How can you coax them into buying what you have? Understanding your market is the key to unlocking the potential inherent in a digital marketplace with the potential to reach all corners of the earth.

Customers have a need which you can meet. Now you can go forward and tell them how.

2) Effective Use of SEO

Once you understand the marketing psychology of meeting needs, you need to get people to your site to address those needs. Effective use of SEO is still the number one technique to increase traffic to your site. Search engines have gotten extremely picky, so make sure your content (on your site, through paid adverts or even in social media) is relevant and packed with useful information. Google, the reigning search monarch, will rank you according to these two rules.

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Rank highly with the search engines with content that is relevant and informative.

3) Broad Range of Digital Marketing Techniques

Ranking with the search engines is only one way to capture and audience. There are a number of ways to promote your site, some paid, some free. If you have a bit of start-up capital on hand, you might want to investigate pay-per-click adverts. Many sites also run ads on their sidebars whilst others allow guest posting with links back to your site. All of these are great and have helped millions of global websites prosper, but perhaps the very best way to reach a target audience is through social media.

A broad marketing focus reaches the majority of potential customers.

4) The Power of Social Media

If you can learn to unlock the power of social media, you are on your way to a successful marketplace. People are social creatures so they frequent sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. By building relationships you can become an authoritative presence on the web whilst getting to understand your audience just that much better. Remember in the first element how it is important to address needs? What better way than to really get to know your market than by building a relationship.

Social media helps you identify needs and wants so that you can build marketing strategies around them.

5) Multi-platform Website

One final point to keep in mind is that you want to reach the broadest audience possible. Not everyone who visits your site will have a Windows operating system, nor will they all be Mac users. A great number of people browse through mobile devices using an Android platform. What about those with Google Chromebooks? Make sure that your web design can be viewed across all platforms and that any apps you have are user-friendly. This is especially important when targeting an audience through social media. The up-and-coming trend is to utilise apps built around social marketplace script so that your followers can simply click and buy, even in the midst of a conversation on Facebook.

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Just as we don’t all speak the same language, all computers do not use the same OS.

Think of a multi-platform website as your resident translator. Speak to your audience in a language they can understand and your conversion rate will shoot sky high. Keep it simple, but follow the rules.