10 tips for launching a money making business directory website

10 Tips for Launching a Money Making Business Directory Website

Published March 7, 2022

There are so many ways you can make money online with the Internet today. For instance, you can create an online course, sell handmade products on Etsy, or even start your own web design business. However, setting up your own local business directory website can also be a great way to generate passive income online. In addition to collecting monthly recurring income from advertisers, you’re also helping small business owners achieve a better return on investment (ROI) compared to more traditional marketing methods.

If you already have a local business directory website but it’s not quite as profitable as you’d like, chances are you just need to make a few adjustments. There are plenty of small business owners out there who would love the (ROI) that comes from advertising in an online business directory. Many of these small business owners simply don’t know about the benefits of advertising in an online business directory.

Whether you’re brand new to local business directory websites or you’ve launched at least one in the past, here are 10 tips to help you launch a profitable business directory website.

1. Be Patient

There is no such thing as an overnight success. If you treat your business directory website like a “get rich quick”, you will end up disappointed. You need to treat your business like a marathon rather than a 100 yard dash. Refining your vision for a site, developing a marketing plan, getting indexed by Google, building traffic and selling listings all happen over time.

When you first launch your business directory website, results can vary depending on a multitude of factors such as how much time and effort you put into finding paying clients. Some people might land their first client within a few days of launching while for others, it might take a few weeks or a few months. You will have your good days and bad days. In the early stages of things, it’s important to be patient and think long term.

2. Do Your Research

Find out where businesses are already advertising in your market and how much are they paying (not just directory websites but other places like print, direct mail, etc). This will not only help you figure out how much to charge, but can also be a good way to generate leads. If a business is utilizing direct mail and/or other marketing methods, that means they have a budget set aside for marketing. They’ll most likely be open to how they can get a better ROI on their marketing dollars.

Don’t forget to conduct research on your competitors as well. You can see what keywords they’re using, how they have their website, how they present their offers, etc. If they have a subscription form (for joining their email list), go ahead and sign up to see how they treat their subscribers. You can often get some insights on how you can do better than your competitors.

3. Develop a Strong Value Proposition

After you conduct your research, you should have enough information for creating your unique value proposition. A unique value proposition answers this question: why should a business advertise in your directory? Clearly communicate the benefits of advertising on your local directory website and how you're different.

This also includes determining your niche. For instance, will you focus on local businesses within your city? Or will you have more of a statewide or nationwide directory? Will there be a certain type of business you’ll focus on (such as restaurants or small business services)? Before you begin developing your business directory site, make sure you have your strong and unique value proposition dialed in.

4. Build Your Brand

Your brand refers to how others perceive you and your business. You can also think of this as the “voice” of your online business. For instance, do you want to be known as the cheapest, quickest, or maybe the most upscale option? Do you want your prospects and clients to see you as professional, light & casual, funny, loud, and/or some other way? Make sure your brand resonates with your current and prospective clients.

After you establish your brand, you’ll want to invest in a professional logo, flyers, brochures, business cards, and other marketing materials that best reflect that brand. Also, as you create content for your site, social media accounts, etc., you want to make sure your voice is consistent. This will really help with getting others to know, like, and trust you.

5. Add Sample Listings

When you’re first getting started, you don’t want to have a completely empty directory. You’ll want to populate your directory with listings so there’s some content on your website. At the same time, you don’t want to put random listings in place which could confuse visitors (e.g., you don’t want to put your eye doctor’s clinic in the directory if it’s a directory for local restaurants).

Start by adding listings for popular businesses in your area. Add a few businesses for each category on your site. Adding free listings will provide immediate value to site visitors and will make your site look legitimate and professional instead of questionable and amateur.

6. Pay Attention to SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a very complex topic that is continually evolving. While there are multiple factors that go into an effective SEO strategy, the most important thing to remember is that Google is all about providing an excellent user experience and bringing the most valuable content to its users.

How exactly do you get on Google’s good side? 

  • Start with a good domain name - the shorter the better
  • Optimize the meta tags on your site
  • Add valuable content that people are searching for including listings for public places like hospitals, libraries, etc.  
  • Submit your site to Google and other search engines
  • Remember that it can take time to get on Google’s good side and rank higher

7. Get on Social Media

This is an effective and free way to promote your directory and to connect with potential advertisers. Your research from #2 should tell you where your prospective clients hang out online. Different niches tend to be more popular on certain platforms. For instance, highly visual niches including food and fashion tend to be very popular on Instagram while more business professional niches tend to be most popular on LinkedIn.

Nearly everybody has a Facebook account, so this is a very good place to start. Join at least one Facebook group where your prospective clients would most likely be. For instance, if you’re looking to create a directory for restaurants in Boston, then you would look for Facebook groups related to tourism or hospitality in the Boston area. Join in on conversations where you could provide value and answer any questions that your online directory could help with.

8. Invest Wisely in Marketing

Be smart about where you advertise and how much you spend. When it comes to online advertising, Google ads and Facebook ads are the top two methods for driving traffic to your business directory website. One of the best benefits about both these methods is that you can be very specific about who you target (e.g., you can have your ads display to people based on their location, age, gender, interests, etc.). Just make sure you know what you’re doing or else you could end up losing money!

In addition to online marketing, you can also invest in certain offline methods such as flyers, direct mail, or ads in local publications. As you try out different online and offline marketing methods, keep track of what works and what doesn’t. This way you can focus your time and money on the marketing activities that do work and bring you more clients.

9. Network in Your Community

Attending local networking events can be another effective way to meet new clients. Doing a Google search for “[your city] networking events” can help you discover networking events in your area. Some of these events happen on a weekly or monthly basis. Make sure to attend at least one of these regularly and take the time to build genuine relationships at first. If you are too quick to sell, then you will lose prospective clients.

You can also join a local chamber of commerce, volunteer, and introduce yourself to local business owners. The goal is to build that know, like, and trust factor within your local community. After establishing a good reputation, then you can look forward to receiving referrals. Remember also to send referrals to others whenever you can to ensure an equal give and take.

10. Stay Committed

When you first start any new business venture, everything feels so fresh and exciting. Then as time goes on, you have your good days and bad days. On some days you feel like you’re making very good progress while on other days, you might feel “stuck”. Building a high quality client database does take time.

Remember, this is not a get rich quick scheme. You have to think long term and stay committed. Whenever you feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place. What’s the driving force behind your success?

Now you have 10 tips for launching your own money making business directory website. Whether you already have an online directory website or you still have yet to launch, the above tips will put you on the path to success. After you put in all the necessary time, energy, and effort, you can look forward to a wonderful monthly recurring income while also providing your clients an excellent ROI.

So, what are you waiting for? Launch your own directory website business with Ideal Directories today.
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