Imagine you have an idea for a brilliant app. Let's say, it is an online marketplace for freelancers. You have carefully investigated the market and know the industry inside out. The competition is intense, but you have found your narrow focus and know how to satisfy your customers.
Shortly, you have done everything according to our guide on launching a marketplace startup. Then you find app development contractors and start discussing the project. You speak about critical features, technologies, mobile app support, and other factors. And then you hear this phrase. You need a landing page for your marketplace app.
They are neither kidding nor want to increase your bill. The landing page should be on your list for a reason. And in this article, we will talk about those same reasons.
Also, we give you a few hints on how to build a landing page for a startup without spending a fortune - exactly what a beginner startup needs.
What is a startup landing page?
After finding the right solution for the chicken and egg problem of your freelancer marketplace, you start attracting users. You may reach them via targeted advertising, search engine optimization, referral programs, whatever. The question is, where do they land?
There are usually two options. You either send them directly to the app store and offer to download an app they have never heard of (except for the ad they saw just a while ago), or you try to explain all the benefits of becoming a member of your freelancer community on a dedicated web page called a landing page.
One more advantage of opting for a landing page is that you can have a few of them, each with a unique custom message.
You can use a startup landing page as a conversion assistant. You can answer the frequent questions, handle objections, and work with doubts your potential customers may have. You thoroughly prepare them for the conversion, which is registration or app download in your case.
How can you use a landing page for a startup?
As an online marketplace startup, you have multiple reasons to launch a landing page. Let's take a look at several use cases.
Validate your idea
You have an idea of a freelancer marketplace app, but you are unsure whether it will work. And you prefer to avoid risky investments until you can estimate the project's viability.
A startup landing page can help you out.
You create a landing page describing your product idea and the services you are going to offer. Then you start advertising this page and study analytics carefully.
Does this service attract attention? If users click on the ad and proceed to your startup's landing page, they can relate to the problem you are solving. If they stay on the page for a long time, they are interested in the solution you offer. If they agree to leave their email address, they are the hottest audience you can expect at this stage.
With a landing page, you can simultaneously test a few offers and choose the most attractive one for implementation.
Investing a few hundreds of dollars in idea validation may prevent you from painful failures in the future.
Gather emails from potential users before launching your app
So, you have validated your freelancer marketplace idea and are ready to invest in app development. You have used our tips to choose a software development partner, and you ask them one crucial question: How long will it take to launch the app? Their answer will most likely be somewhere between 4 and 6 months when speaking about a marketplace app MVP.
But it is not a reason to postpone your marketing efforts until the app release. You can start developing your client base with a startup landing page.
Open registration for early customers and offer perks for sign-ups, such as free membership, discounts for internal advertising, etc. With the right approach, you will have a few hundred customers on the first day after launching the marketplace app. So don't miss out on time and start attracting users even before you launch an app.
SEO, paid advertising, remarketing
Think of app descriptions in app stores. They have numerous limitations such as text length and formatting, content types you can use, etc. But the landing page doesn't have these limits. You can use any text format and various sorts of visual content. Along with better communicating your app's purpose, you can spread the word about the product more effectively.
You can optimize the project description with specific keywords and count with a better search engine ranking. Also, with a landing page, your startup gets broader possibilities in paid advertising and remarketing.
Sometimes you are not sure what message will work better for your clients. You can guess, but you can also test different variations and make data-driven decisions.
With A/B testing, you can release several different versions of your landing page and track analytics. After a specific time, you will be sure which of the versions converts better.
You can also experiment with pricing and try out various monetization models for your marketplace app.
A/B testing won't work with the text in the app store since there is no functionality to test multiple versions of the same product description. An A/B test done right gives you many useful insights and information for your app's future development.
Create landing pages for specific audiences
First of all, your marketplace app targets at least two specific groups of users: sellers and buyers. Sometimes, there is a third group, for example, couriers in on-demand delivery applications like Postmates.
Can you attract all three groups with the same message? Of course not.
- The buyer wants the ability to have this favorite food delivered to his door.
- The seller (or the restaurant, in this specific case) wants to sell more dishes to clients who don't want to leave their homes or offices
- The courier wants the chance to earn extra money in free time.
So, you can create three different landing pages to communicate different information with your potential users.
But you can be more specific. In each of the mentioned groups, there are different types of people, and their needs and expectations differ as well. Why not offer them the solution for exactly the problem they have? Think about who can become your potential courier.
- Someone looking for a full-time job
- Someone looking for a side occupation on weekends or after school
- Someone ready to deliver orders occasionally
And you can prepare a tailored message for each specific buyer persona, optimize it according to relevant keywords and make the most impact out of your marketing efforts.
Update your startup landing page with relevant information
You can update the information on your website, and the changes immediately go live. In the case of app descriptions in Google Play Market and Apple's App Store, any changes are put in the queue for moderation. The publication process may take up to several days.
In this case, a landing page is perfect for introducing your potential new customers to your special offers, calendar of events, etc. Keep your landing page up to date and use countdown plugins to indicate offers limited in time.
Best practices in launching a landing page for your startup
You now understand that you have to start your online marketplace story with a landing page. What should be in it?
- A single CTA
Your landing page should include only one message and one desired action (subscription, app download, etc.)
- Minimize navigation
You create a custom landing page for a narrow audience and with some specific goal. A well-designed web page guides the visitor right to the desired action, and you definitely don't want him to be distracted by other sections in the menu.
- Build multiple pages
One message - one page. If you have several messages to share, then consider creating a few landing pages. Hubspot claims that by increasing the number of landing pages up to 10+, you can expect a 55% increase in leads in return.
- Optimize for SEO
And again, different messages should be optimized for different search queries. Don't look for a one-size-fits-all keyword.
- Include testimonials (if any)
Of course, you'll have nothing to share in pre-launch. But when your product is live, you can ask some of your most loyal clients for feedback. Their recommendation may be the clincher.
Examples of successful landing pages for marketplaces startups
Creative Market did a great job in the pre-launch phase. They started gathering their user base when the service itself was in development. They did it with a landing page and an attractive offer for potential buyers.
Creative Market launched in 2012, and at that time, there was no clear competition for the service. So a $5 credit was an excellent motivation to sign up. The strategy with coupons works well on the market with low competition. In highly-competitive industries, you have to offer something beautiful to lure away the customer from an established market player.
Uber is one of the classic examples of marketplace apps. But their landing page is also a reliable source of inspiration for starting businesses.
For example, Uber knows precisely how to tailor the offer according to a buyer's persona. Targeting corporate clients, they have a few offers to make the life of employees easier:
Check out Uber's custom landing page for corporate clients
They can't write an offer for every buyer persona in the description in the app store. But they can make a few landing pages with custom offers and communicate only the information relevant for the specific customer.
Our team has built a marketplace application for a food tourism startup in the Netherlands. The startup's landing page supports the entire project. For example, it allows the company to share the scheduled events and change this schedule as often as needed.
As a result, potential customers can browse the offers, and some of them will likely attract them and make them download the application.
How to build a custom landing page for your startup?
If you have zero skills in app development, yet you need a landing page, how do you arrange it all? There are three options to choose from:
By yourself using online constructors
With modern online constructors like Tilda or Wix, you can build your own startup landing page without any coding. This is the cheapest option - you pay the monthly or yearly subscription for the constructor and hosting and spend a few hours arranging the building blocks.
- The pros: Cheap, you can build and edit your landing page anytime without hiring a contractor.
- The cons: Limited functionality and extremely minimalistic design
Freelancer or agency using templates
The work with templates requires basic knowledge of software programming. However, the variety of available templates (free and paid ones) impresses. You will definitely find something on TemplateMonsters or ThemeForest. Since you are already about to start the work on a marketplace app with your software development agency, you can outsource this small task to them as well.
- The pros: Variety of templates to choose from, fast and cheap implementation.
- The cons: Most software companies avoid working with templates, so if your contractor refuses to assist you with this task, you'll have to look for a freelancer
Agency and a custom landing page for startup
An agency will likely convince you to opt for custom design and a landing page developed from scratch. A tailored solution always works better than a template one. But in the early stage, investing much in website development may be overkill.
- The pros: Custom design, tailored to the industry and customer expectations, may show better performance
- The cons: Not a reasonable expense for an early-stage startup
Generally, opting for a template landing page is the best value for the money you can get at this stage. If your agency is ready to work with templates - congratulations, your landing pages will be a financially good deal. Besides, knowing your future product inside out, these guys will be able to build more effective landing pages than freelance contractors.
There are multiple approaches to using landing pages for a startup, but the answer is clear - you definitely need one.
A startup landing page helps you:
- prove the idea viability
- attract early users even before the app is live
- attract clients from SEO and paid channels
- test different concepts and make proven decisions
- communicate a specific message to a specific audience
The true value of the startup landing page is the ability to quickly test the idea and find out whether it is worth investing your time and money in app development.
We recommend every startup founder to go through this stage with every new idea.