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How you can use Marketplace Listing Optimization to increase your inbound leads for SaaS products

I wrote about the 3 things to do before your SaaS product launch to increase inbound leads before.

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Unlike SEO (Search Engine Optimization), MLO (Marketplace Listing Optimization) for B2B SaaS has far fewer criteria to consider. Since the listing provider themselves are focused on SEO for their website, your focus and goal is to primarily show up higher if someone searches for the term or category within which your solution falls under (on page optimization), or appear on the top of the listing within a category when customers are browsing within the listing website.

So what are the portions of the listing you need to optimize?

  1. Ratings: In most of these listing and marketplace services, their internal ranking, which is comprised of multiple factors, but largely end customer ranking of the SaaS solution, tends to be the most important criteria to list higher. I would highly recommend you request, provide credits, incentives (beg, cajole, plead, request, etc.) or just ask your customers to rate your product at these listing and brokerage services. You want to ensure that customers rate you high across the criteria that you are judged. Some customers might think this is a forum for giving feedback on your product – that’s not the goal. Your goal is to rank high and be rated higher than other competing products.
  2. Completeness of profile. Most listing and brokerage services have different requirements for your profile. Similar to your own Facebook profile and LinkedIn profile, some require just your website, logo, product details, etc., while others request your demo video, high resolution screen shots, feature checklist, and in a few cases exclusive discounts or content. Find out the key things you need to complete and be as close to 100% as possible. This is the #2 criteria, but may be #1 for you to list higher, since an incomplete profile makes the marketplace brokerage service look unprofessional. To optimize your profile, ensure that you have all the profile elements complete.
  3. Billing, distribution and on-boarding : Unlike listing services, brokerage vendors actually will “resell” your product or be a channel partner – online. To that effect they will bill their customer, collect the payment, keep their rake and send you the dues. They will want to own the customer relationship, but not the support. In many cases, they will already have a billing and contractual relationship (for e.g. Telstra has over 500K SMB customers in Australia and bills them for telecommunications services anyway, so their brokerage services are an additional line item on the customer’s bill). To optimize your listing and appear higher, you will be required to bill and deliver on their platform as well.
  4. Feature checklist profiling: Most brokerage and listing services allow customers to compare features of products within a category. This means even if you dont support a few features that you competitors do, you will have to state them and if there are options to state few features that are different in your product than others, it is important to mention those. Many of these feature comparison criteria are human generated, meaning there’s someone at the listing site, putting these together – ensure that you build a relationship with them. To optimize your listing, you need more criteria you are ranked favorably for.
  5. Featured products: Once every so often, (each of them varies) the marketplace will feature certain products on their home page. Obviously they will feature products they think their customers will like or feature those that their customers already buy. These features are similar to the mobile app store feature listings, where some of it is data driven and other times it might be a “staff pick”. To optimize your listing, getting featured is important. Understand the criteria for the featured listing and find ways to get featured at least 2-3 times each quarter.

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