How I'd grow BitsForDigits

June 1, 2022

BitsForDigits is a website that buys and sells startups.

It’s a classic marketplace: sellers list their projects, and buyers can make an offer.

Even though there are similar marketplaces, BitsForDigits is a bit different.

BitsForDigits initially positioned the site to focus on partial exits.

Instead of selling 100% of the company, founders could sell only a minority or majority stake.

Now, they’re repositioning it to focus only on startups with proven product/market fit.

I think choosing to go upmarket and sell to professionals is a smart move.

Most of the existing marketplaces sell what are essentially side projects with little revenue. 

But BitsForDigits introduced a $100k annual revenue minimum for listed businesses.

I would improve the way they translate their positioning into messaging.

Right now, there’s too much stuff. The copy doesn’t flow. 

There is nothing strange about it - when you try to communicate too many concepts at once, the copy usually doesn’t work well.

Pro tip: a lot of sites these days focus on benefits to the point that visitors don’t understand what the product is. 

There’s a super simple formula you can use to improve understanding quickly:

- Use the header to state the benefit 
- Use the subheader to explain what the product is

I’d love to see some real examples of online businesses for sale in the above-the-fold section of the landing page.

BitsForDigits actually does this down the page, but it’s too late.

If they showcased examples first, they could use them as a hook that captures visitors’ attention and prevents bounces.

In order to make the site profitable, BitsForDigits chose a different model from the standard percentage of the concluded transaction.

They decided to be free for sellers who want to create listings but charge a subscription fee to buyers.

In my opinion, this is a smart move. It doesn’t discourage bigger deals like a success fee.

I see a margin for improvement in the funnel.

Consider the customer journey. Only a fraction of visitors who land on BitsForDigits will become paying customers or free users on their first visit.

BFD needs a low-effort way to make visitors come back as many times as it takes to convert.

That’s where email marketing comes in.

BFD should send 1 free newsletter every week with a curated selection of the best online businesses for sale.

This will slowly (but surely) convert a percentage of newsletter subscribers into customers.

The key to success will be to maintain the supply-side quality consistently.

They accept 1 out of 4 submissions, so they need to generate a vast amount of new listing applications to get a selection base big enough.

That’s why I’d focus on making founders aware of the opportunity with BFD’s marketing.

The goal is to spread the word among founders that if (and when) they want to sell a stake or their entire company, they should do it on BitsForDigits.

The most effective way to get there would be to show founders their peers use BFD. 

You know those posts where founders tell the story of their successful exit? They go viral so often because everyone congratulates them.

This is a classic example of doing things that don’t scale to drive initial traction.

Every time there’s a successful deal on the platform, the BitsForDigits founders should personally reach out to the seller.

Hop on a quick call with them and ask if they’d be open to sharing their story with their social media audience.

Search might be valuable but tricky.

Professional investors (demand) don’t google “how to do a due diligence.”

On the other hand, founders (supply) will definitely look for “how to price an internet business.”

BFD’s content strategy needs to be fine-tuned to focus on one side.

BitsForDigits can go far with a few tweaks to their social strategy.

Social could be a good channel for reaching founders who don’t know there’s an opportunity only to sell a stake in their company.

Unfortunately, most of BFD’s current posts are listings of sites for sale.

BFD shouldn’t just broadcast to get their first few thousand followers. Instead, they need to be active. 

There’s a rule of thumb I use for new accounts that BFD should follow. Engage 10 times with other relevant profiles in your niche every time you post.

Learn marketing from case studies

Every month I pick a new website and write a marketing case study explaining exactly how I’d grow it