How to effectively piggyback on digital platforms

When it comes to digital sales/leads, there’s two ways of receiving them; through your own platform, or through someone else’s. By “your own platform”, I’m referring to a website or an app that you own. By “someone else’s platform”, I mean any platform that you don’t own or completely control.

Generally speaking, trying to create your own platform for receiving sales/leads is much harder than if you feature your brand on an existing big platform.

Whether this is using YouTube as an influencer, or as a hand-crafted furniture shop selling on Etsy, or a restaurant that receives orders through UberEats; you’re essentially piggybacking off of the preexisting success of the digital platform you’re featured on. Because the platform you’re using has existing users or brand recognition, it’s much easier to generate growth.

However, there’s a catch, the more you grow on the platform you’re piggybacking off of, the more reliant you become.

Here’s a few examples of common conundrums that happen across different industries:

  • An Amazon seller sells thousands of their products on the website/app, but as soon as Amazon starts producing products in their industry they become redundant overnight.
  • A restaurant that uses Just Eat to receive orders (both on the website/app, and through their Just Eat created website) is forced to pay whatever price Just Eat states – which Just Eat bases on the sales that goes through their systems. If the restaurant doesn’t pay, Just Eat can make the restaurant disappear online (as they control the restaurants online presence).
  • An influencer on YouTube can grow their audience organically, but if their content doesn’t align with YouTube’s values, YouTube could limit their future growth and earning potential on their platform.

So, how do you effectively piggyback without becoming reliant?

To put it simply, simultaneously promote your own platform whilst growing via piggybacking.

This could be sending people special offers for your own website once they buy from your eBay store, or encouraging YouTube subscribers to also subscribe on your website; there’s a range of ways to promote your own platform. Or, more commonly, using a portion of the profits for a digital advertising budget to promote your website/app.

That’s always easier said than done. As you make more money on a platform, it’s always tempting to reinvest profits into promoting on the platform that is already profitable. However, you should always be using at least some of the profits to promote your website/app.

Ultimately, the more control of your marketing and sales you have, the more your brand is worth. Owning your main sales platform means you have vastly more control than if you sell on someone else’s, thus resulting in your brand having a greater value and financial security.

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