I have a lead generation site for chefs called needachef.com. Located in the Hamptons,NY. These chefs really make their money back by registering with the site. I was wondering how sites like, thumbtack, clarity and other pro sites have so many pros registered on their site
Disclaimer: I haven't checked out your site. Response is based off what you wrote.
To start thumbtack is a free service to customers providing gigs. Contractors must pay to place bids.
Clarity is free for consultants/experts and customers pay.
There are issues with both:
TT: Because is free for 'giggers' they often don't think through what they are asking for and how willing they are pay. This causes contractors to have high expenses here. They even mention that it takes 10bids to get one client.. That's about $100 spent first. They have users because is free for giggers and where there's a demand there will be a supply. I personally think that if they improved their contractor side to be cheaper or more flexible in what is expensed they would have more contractors bidding. They attracted the demand first- find contractors and have them bid or you helping you get better pricing, for free.
Clarity, I'm not sure how it stated getting traffic, I think it was through getting 'experts' first. I for example signed up early on and let my account kind of just sit there until i later became more engaged. The demand however is gained through paying customers but their funnel system is designed so that people come here for Q&A and leave it to us to sell ourself and thus get their revenue... A while back I helped curate an idea from Clarity that, although I never got follow up on my consultation, led to the now offering of videos on demand. These videos help in that transition from a call or answe to now paying for a video.
My personal opinion that is a bit of a problem for us as consultants- is that experts aren't really curated as much. This dilutes the possibility of some being able to make decent income continuously rather than as a weekend money resource or marketing for our actual businesses. If Clarity curated more I think the quality of answers would go up, paid calls would increase, and definitely some 'experts' would be vetted out, maybe even myself. I'm an MBA, serial entrepreneur, current business owner, previous small cap investor, marketer, web developer and sometimes i see answers that just surprise me! Some do state they provide opinions and some give hard advice but their advice is wrong, worst thing is that they have more calls than a lot of us. So whatever they do it works for them, and great for them, but again the vetting is an issue. For clarity users this in it self is not a problem beucause they may get their motivation up or get more guidance than what they currently have, even if is not the most accurate, because of this the level of 'expertise' is not an obvious problem.
(( If your an expert i don't intend this to be a rude assessment of your services or a blanket statement, I pointed that out just not to ignore that fact. ))
If you grow a consulting or crowd sourcing service you need to ensure quality quality from the ground up. Quality helps overcome the trust hurtle, make sure that your first chefs are amazingly friendly, qualified and available to your other market. For leads you might feel like your dealing with the chicken or the egg, right? But the truth is that you can build both sides through dedicated marketing. As you expose your general branded service people from both ends will see their own value (if they are in the current situation and thus recognize the market need or opportunity) and become your users.
Bootstrap it: visit chefs and introduce yourself and your business. Find chef bloggers in your market, find pull marketing partners- third party business that might benefit from their own chefs exposure through ok your site and thus they they do the pulling of chefs for you.
I hope this helps at least a bit! Be creative, have fun and get some users!
I don't know definitively, but I'm going to guess that the founders of these sites already had some healthy networks and connections upon starting their businesses. Given that both are venture backed, it's likely that helped as well. It only takes a few big names before the dominos start to fall because of the value of (a) those names asking other names in their networks and (b) name dropping one to another. Let's say you had a good connection to get Cuban on your platform as a favor. Once you told others that Cuban was on it they'd have to pay attention, so there's an elite network effect.
I'll tell you this: One of my podcasts set out to interview the biggest and baddest founders around and we... just called them. They saw the PR value and they did the interviews. They had no idea who we were and they just did it for us. You never know until you ask.
In the case of Clarity, I think it's also good that it solves a real problem of everyone wanting to have "coffee" or "ask one question" of these guys. It puts a market value behind that to control the demand and supply mismatch. It's a good value for a lot of us (not that I'm in that league) who have to constantly give free or cheap advice because it's hard to monetize the little snippets of value that get handed over in a basic networking conversation.
All that said, I think if you have a real business value to give then that should lead your messaging as you reach out to the big guys. Happy to help you hone that.
One of the most challenging problems for a platform (marketplace), like Clarity, is the so called "chicken & egg problem".
That is, without enough producers, in your case chefs, you can't get enough consumers, in your case people who book chefs.
There is a number of ways you can solve this problem. For your specific case, since you already have a base of chefs, what you need is to grow this base.
I happen to be a member of the team at platformed.info, which specializes in getting platforms (marketplaces). I am presenting some ways to increase your user growth and resources with links below. If you need more help, we can discuss over a call.
1. Piggyback existing networks
This can be done either manually (small scale), semi-automatically or automatically and help you grow.
2. Offer value as a standalone app
3. Faking it until making it
Always focus on specific verticals.
Take a piece of paper:
-Make the profile of your ideal producer (chef). Write all his characteristics with detail
- Write down all the potential places/websites that a producer of your platform (a chef) may actually be present.
Which blogs does he read?
Which events does he attend?
Which groups is he a member of?
When you finish, take all those ideas that came out through your mind and target your acquisition campaign accordingly.
If you want further assistance of the growth of your platform, we can jump into a call.
Wish you all success,