Connecting with the right vendors and persuading them to join your online marketplace isn’t an easy feat. Vendors want to list their products on marketplaces with impressive volumes of traffic. So if your marketplace doesn’t yet have those high visitor numbers, then vendors won’t be lining up to sell on your site.
Don’t worry! In this article we will discuss a range of strategies to help you reach out to potential vendors, grab their attention, and help boost the number of vendors listing on your marketplace. From networking at local events, to joining online communities in your niche, revamping marketing emails, and offering rewards for referrals, we have a wide assortment of approaches that will help you grow the number of vendors selling on your marketplace. Let’s get started…
1. Reach out to Your Professional and Social Networks
Word of mouth and recommendations go along way in the world of business. Without even realizing it, you will have colleagues, friends, and family members who either have businesses relevant to your marketplace niche, or know people who do.
Connect with your professional and social networks and discuss your marketplace plans with them. Crucially, ask them to spread the word about your venture, as well as recommend your marketplace to potential vendors that they know from their own networking circles. If your friends and colleagues can vouch for you, then vendors will feel more comfortable in trusting your marketplace and taking a chance on you.
2. Attend Events, Trade Shows and Meetups
Meeting people in person, and building those all-important personal relationships, is key to signing up vendors for your marketplace. An effective way to do this is to attend events, trade shows, and other meetups that are relevant to your niche.
By having conversations with potential vendors face-to-face, enthusiastically promoting your marketplace, and answering any questions or concerns people may have, you can help encourage vendors to register for your site. Depending on your niche, events and meetups could be local or more further afield. Either way, making the effort to get yourself and your brand ‘out there’ should be a priority.
3. Join Online Communities, Groups, and Forums
As well as meeting up with potential vendors in real-life, it is also important to connect with people online. Find communities, groups, and forums in your niche where you can interact with participants and give your name and brand visibility.
By contributing to threads on forums, taking part in discussions, and replying to comments on social media, you will become a recognized name in your industry. Then, when you do reach out on these platforms to partake in a bit of blatant marketplace promotion, potential vendors will already be familiar with your name and be more open to starting a dialogue.
4. Revamp Your Email Campaigns
Sending the odd email here and there, hoping to connect with potential vendors, will not generate optimal results. Instead, use a professional email marketing service that will enable you to segment your email list, personalize your emails, and send targeted email campaigns based on recipients’ interactions with your marketplace. (Recommended email marketing providers include AWeber, MailChimp, and ConvertKit).
Creating specific drip campaigns, based on a potential vendor’s behavior in relation to your marketplace, ensures that your email content is relevant and deals with each vendor’s specific needs. For example, a cold-call email introducing your marketplace should read very differently to a follow-up email sent to someone you met and conversed with at a trade show. By sending the right emails to the right people, your emails are more likely to engage with the receiver, and ultimately increase vendor conversions to your marketplace.
5. Make Phone Calls
Alongside your email campaigns, picking up a phone can see results. Talking on the phone immediately creates relationships, and enables you to have frank conversations about the benefits of your marketplace, and what vendors can expect if they choose to sell on it.
Cold-calling isn’t an easy option. So it is important that you know as much about the business as possible before you pick up the phone. Always try and speak to the person in charge of making decisions, ensuring your pitch reaches the right ears. Ringing early in the morning or late in the evening, outside of secretary hours, can help overcome this problem.
More often than not, you will find follow-up calls to be one of your most successful approaches. The fact that a vendor has shared their phone number with you shows that they already have an interest in your marketplace. All that is left is for you to make a convincing argument for signing up.
Before making a call, think carefully about what you are going to say. Sell the benefits of joining your marketplace, but don’t be too pushy. Remember, building a strong relationship with your vendors is key to a successful long term relation, so start as you mean to go on.
6. Be Present on Social Media
Building a presence on social media is a must for any online business in 2019. The social platforms are an effective way to promote your marketplace and will help you become a familiar brand in the eyes of vendors and customers alike. Use your social channels to reach out to potential vendors – like, comment, and share their images and posts, ensuring your brand becomes an every-day name.
Advertising on social media, as well as Google, can be a great way to reach out to potential vendors. Ads will help your marketplace gain exposure with new possible vendors, as well as remarket and reconnect with those who have already shown an interest in your site but have not yet signed up. Although advertising will cost you, if you track your analytics you can get a good idea on the number of leads and conversions your ads generate.
8. Reward Referrals
Once you have a number of vendors signed up and selling on your marketplace, encourage them to promote your site amongst their own vendor networks. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. So rewarding vendor to vendor referrals will help you quickly grow the number of sellers that list on your site. Rewards could include financial discounts off listing fees or site membership, free access to advertising space, or displaying listings in prominent positions on your site.
Final Thoughts on Successful Ways to Reach Out to Potential Vendors
As you can see, there are numerous ways to reach out to potential vendors. By persevering with a range of approaches, your vendor numbers will soon start to snowball. And with an increase in vendors will come an increase in customers. So what are you waiting for – let the hard work begin!
Which strategies will you use to reach out to potential vendors to help grow your marketplace? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…