Marketplace + Traffic + Monetization = Increased Sales and Earnings

A practical guide on how to use your marketplace (including your Enterprise AppStore) to grow traffic and generate new revenue opportunities

For business software vendors, generating repeat traffic to their sites is challenging but if it is achieved can be very lucrative.

“It is far more profitable to provide products and services to existing trading partners than to find new ones.”

Trading partners in this context should be considered to include end-users, resellers (partners, system integrators), ISVs, distributors and current/ex-employees of these organizations.

Of course, no traffic generation should exclude new trading partners so a broad approach to traffic generation, which envelopes both old and new will drive increased traffic and will leverage new revenue opportunities.

So how do you increase return traffic to your website and how do you then monetize that traffic?

“Having a great looking website or product catalog is not enough anymore!”

Step 1: Create a Marketplace

The first step is to create an environment … an “enterprise software marketplace” … that provides multiple reasons to encourage your partners to return. Some of these reasons could include, but not limited to:

  • Efficiently finding and purchasing add-on products to compliment their implemented solutions
  • Rich content (not just web pages) to help buyers with the evaluation of add-on products and services
  • Finding resources and skills to assist with projects, training and support
  • Connecting with the broad ecosystem to share information and experiences
  • Tracking and managing the licenses for the products they have purchased or on-sold
  • Managing the range of subscription, on-premise and mobile solutions being deployed

The marketplace should also provide your partners with an experience that matches that of their consumer web experiences (e.g. the Apple AppStore) by providing a broad set of functions to simplify the finding, decision-making and buying process.

Choosing the correct marketplace platform with the appropriate functionality is critical to being able to achieve this. View this post for more information in this regard: A Software Marketplace is NOT just an AppStore !

Step 2: Build Your Traffic

So now you have a marketplace and a functional platform on which it runs. Now for the real challenge, using that marketplace to attract the traffic. Here are a few ideas …

Simple use of your existing marketing activities:

  • Create Blog, Twitter and LinkedIn posts that point back to your marketplace
  • Add your marketplace URL to email signatures and all outbound marketing collateral
  • Put a link to the marketplace on your homepage
  • Get your partners to put links to the marketplace on their websites
  • Include the marketplace in your next newsletter

Add “Rich” content to the marketplace:

  • Have your ISVs and complimentary product developers add their products and services to the marketplace and include videos, brochures, technical info, screenshots, downloads and more.
  • List your resellers, distributors, system integrators and service providers with comprehensive information about them – not just a list with a link to their website!

Use your marketplace platform:

Your marketplace should provide the functionality to make traffic building an integrated part of the day-to-day activities of your ecosystem. The more effective this is, the more it will reduce the need and cost of having separate resources to execute these functions while still seeing an increase in marketing activity for your brand.

Some examples of this as follows:

Promotions: Motivate your ISVs to create special offers and promotions for products and services held in the AppStore.
Outbound marketing: Push outbound marketing with links back to the marketplace for promotions, job offers, resource requests, new products, whitepapers …
Social Networks: When the outbound marketing is created and sent to your community, update the social networks with these items as well.
Downloads: Make bug fixes, demo software, new releases and software updates available through the marketplace. When these are uploaded to the marketplace, promote them through notifications to your ecosystem.

The more your ecosystem does in your marketplace, the more FREE marketing and promotion you will get.”

Note: There is substantial merit in mandating your ecosystem to register an account in your marketplace so that an opt-in can be secured for marketing and promotional activities that will be used to drive traffic back to the marketplace.


Step 3: Monetize your marketplace

It is a common reaction to be circumspect about monetizing your ecosystem outside of the provision of your products and services, however this should be considered in the context of an improved service to the ecosystem as opposed to a “money-grab”.

There are many reasons why this makes sense but that is not the topic of this post so please take a look here for more information about why you should monetize your ecosystem beyond your products and services: Why Should Software Vendors Create and Monetize Their Marketplaces

Some of the ways in which you can monetize your marketplace include:

Memberships: The provision of the marketplace adds substantial value to the ecosystem. Providing this service for a small monthly fee results in the community member actually using the service as well as that it adds deemed value. Something for nothing is normally just that … Nothing !
Share of Sales: For your ISVs to implement a solution of their own to manage their sales, installed customer base, marketing, subscription billing, payment collection, etc. would be a substantial cost in time and money and would require a steep learning curve in an area that is not core to their business. For providing this together with the fact that you are driving new sales opportunities to them through the marketplace justifies a sharing of the margin on a sale.
Skills Transactions: When your ecosystem is looking for resources, no matter whether it is end-users, ISVs, resale partners, etc., providing a closed community resource pool with known skills will always deliver a more targeted result for the potential employer/contractor and keeps the skilled employee/organization in the ecosystem. By providing the ability for people and organizations to advertise and find appropriate resources efficiently at reasonable rates can add substantial earnings to your business.
Advertising: A corporate website should never be a place where advertising clutters up your brand. However, in a marketplace this advertising, if done with proper relevance based targeting, can provide a great service to showcase products or services that are currently in the users area of interest. By example, a user searches for an add-on product for business intelligence and a range of appropriate ISVs can promote their products to this user through targeted advertising.

These, together with a range of other leveraged revenue opportunities can deliver substantial earnings to your organization. Based on studies we have completed, increased earnings of 3% and more can be achieved through the monetization of a marketplace.

These earnings can both add substantial value to the business or if reinvested into the ecosystem, can make them more effective in the market and continue to build your brand.

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