6 Tips for Selling Directory Listings During COVID-19

Whether you recently launched a directory website or are thinking about starting one, don’t let concerns about COVID-19 prevent you from being successful and reaching your goals. Despite the new challenges we face, starting a business directory website is still a great opportunity for anyone looking to run their own business.  In fact, an online business might be the safest business to operate amidst the pandemic. Here are 6 tips for selling listings on your directory website during COVID-19.

1. Practice Safe Selling
Let’s face it: everyone is on edge with the recent pandemic and respecting personal space has never been more important. The last thing a business owner wants right now is to have a close contact conversation with a sales rep they never met. Rather than focusing on face-to-face sales, stick to safer forms of communication including cold calling, email marketing, text messaging and social media. These are all still very effective sales techniques and will help keep everyone safe. 

2. Target Essential Businesses
While some businesses are still facing temporary closures and potentially on the brinks of going out of business, there are plenty of industries that are still open and have money to invest in marketing. Essential businesses like supermarkets, food stores, restaurants, auto repair shops, and hardware stores are perfect candidates to sell listings. Service based-businesses like cleaning companies, contractors, roofers, and plumbers are also great businesses to target.

3. Highlight the Key Benefits
When pitching a potential advertiser, be sure to highlight the benefits that matter most to small businesses, especially during this challenging time. These features include...
  • Letting customers know they are open or reopened for business
  • 24/7 online exposure on a website dedicated to serving the local community
  • A beautiful business profile page complete with their company photos, description, contact info, and map with directions
  • The option to offer digital coupons and deals to help bring in customers and drum up sales
  • The ability to post any updates or changes regarding hours of operation, product availability and services
  • Easily upload restaurant menus to promote takeout and delivery
  • Share any safety precautions they are taking to protect their staff and customers
  • An affordable advertising option that offers the most bang for their buck

4. Offer a Discount
Some businesses might be hesitant about investing in a new form of advertising or marketing during these uncertain times. Offering a discount on your advertising rates can be the motivation they need to take the chance and help close the sale. Get creative and offer a “COVID” special discount that’s available only for a limited time. You can use our coupon code feature and easily create discounts that can be applied when a business signs up for a listing. Be sure to create a sense of urgency by reminding the business that this offer is only available for a limited time.

5. Sweeten the Deal
As an extra incentive, consider “sweetening the deal” by bundling a listing on your directory with other complimentary products or services. For example, you can offer them:
  • A free banner ad with the purchase of a premium listing
  • Promoting them on social media
  • Mentioning them in an email blast
  • Offering to take pictures of their business
  • Setup of their profile page on their behalf.

Throwing in these added perks helps sweeten the deal and motivate them to advertise on your site.

6. Don’t Take No for an Answer
If a potential advertiser declines, be sure to politely ask “why” and be prepared to overcome their objections. If it’s because of money, offer them a discount. If they say no because they never heard of your site, assure them that while your directory might be new, you have plans in place to raise awareness and increase traffic, and that you can lock them into the current pricing without raising their rates down the road. If they say no because of COVID, remind them that marketing is even more important during uncertain times. The businesses that continue to invest in marketing, especially in these troubled times, will be better off than their competition.

So while COVID-19 is on the minds of most people these days, don't let it affect your eagerness to help the small businesses of your community come together online in a local business directory and coupon website. Overcome these challenges and achieve your business goals!

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