Directory Site Profits 101- How To Make Money With Directory Sites In 2012!

by 584 replies
Hey JD Here,

Some of you know Im the originator of the report “The Bower Formula” and are familiar with the story of biz on the net about how we created 20,000 web site customers for our directory site within a span of 12 months back in 2000...

So I have people asking me constantly about directory sites.

Recently, a few friends here, Shay, RentItNow, Di..., and a few others have asked me to post a new thread on the subject so here it goes...

I think this will be enlightening for newbs and experienced people alike. Sure inspires the heck out of me...

Let me ask,

Can You Imagine having only one domain to manage and being able to put 1000 customers on it, using identical cloned pages instead of building from scratch?

Can you imagine charging them say $100 per month per listing on your site?

Well that’s what many directory sites do.

Lets start from the beginning...

What is a directory site?

Well for instance lets say you own “Chicago diners.com” or something a site where visitors can go and review local diners listings all in one place. It would be considered a Chicago diners “directory site”.

Diners pay you a monthly fee to have a listing on your site. It could be $49. Per month, or $79 , or $99 or even $1,000 per month. Depends on who you market to and what you want to charge.

Checking out findlaw.com, or dentistcom, or realestate.com, whatever...many directory sites charge each customer over $1,000 per month depending on the niche.

Yellow book 360 charges $79. Per month, and they have thousands of listings.

ATT has a directory site, and they also charge right around $79. per month. They create hundreds of new customers every single day!

Let me break that down for you, a thousand people paying you $79 per month is $79,000.00 per month. Is almost a million dollars per year in residual income just for managing one single site!

Fact is that if you have a ranking local site, in any industry’s niche, or can build one, everybody in that niche wants and needs to be on it, and they are willing to pay you!

BIG QUESTION HERE: How do you sell it?

ANSWER: How does everyone else sell it?

Yellow book 360 sell hundreds of listings per day, with their what?

Telemarketers!

So did I, and so does ATT. So do a few Warriors here.

But the beauty is that being such a high value and low cost to get started , you can sell listings with classified ads, flyers, easily door to door, all kinds of stuff, because being on a good directory site that is ranked is worth money, and is an interesting proposition.

Did you know you can even sell listings on a pre-launch, before you site is even on the first page, and the listings will help get it there?

I’ve sold pre-launches before, they are the same as selling an established site, you just call people, or advertise to them, till someone says yes, just like anything else.

So Next Question:

How do you rank them?

“Cherry Pick Your Markets”.

I could do a directory site in little rock and probably get 100 attorneys on it, because its easy to rank in little rock, yet big enough to facilitate 100 attorney customers for me...

National sites are hard to rank, but local ones are easy...and each customer you list helps you rank even higher!

But what if you don’t live in little rock?

That’s the beauty.

You could really market ANYWHERE, because this is the kind of sale you can easily close over the phone.

In closing,

Directory sites in my opinion are really the perfect offline business model.

Any newby can start one... with a vision, and some passion to make it happen.

Once you see the potential you would be hard pressed to hold yourself back from starting one.

This is bound to be an exciting subject. I cant wait to hear others input!

Shay, hope this is a good start! We will enjoy this thread Im sure!

All The best,

-John Durham
#offline marketing #directory #make #money #profits #site #sites
  • Profile picture of the author sjohn
    Hi John,
    Thanks for sharing a powerful business model that is very scalable.
    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by sjohn View Post

      Hi John,
      Thanks for sharing a powerful business model that is very scalable.
      I think thats the beauty, you are right. Its the most easily scalable offline business model out there.

      This model is the esence of the word "Duplication". Its built specifically for that!
  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    John, I think what I am going to do in the short run is offer it as a lower-cost option to company getting a full blown website. In other words, if they cant afford a $799 package they could SURELY afford a listing on a directory site with their own special subdomain. I own a cityof< xyz >.info that screams to do this. Do you suggest doing businessname.cityofatlantis.info or lawyers.cityofatlantis.info and putting a sub category for each lawyer?
    Signature
    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    @john

    We used to do something like www.biznezzonthenet. com/frankthomsponlawfirm


    Sorry, wasnt supposed to be a real link.

    Oh Wait John I see what you are saying...

    I would look up exact match local keyword phrases myself and try to match up a domain name with one of them personally.
    • Profile picture of the author CleanMountainLiving
      Yeah, I don't think you want to do subdomains...

      Keep it all on one domain, interlink the mofo out of it, and pretty soon you'll have yourself one bad butt internal page linked beauty!
  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    How do you suggest giving it that value that no other directory can give them? An offer they just cant refuse that puts mine WAY over the top?
    Signature
    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
    • Profile picture of the author Jerry McGough
      hi John,
      i'm about to do the same thing, except coupon oriented.
      somthing they can see measurablee results, that they're familiar with and already doing.
      It's also very sucky economy friendly.

      Reason being, I tried what you described a couple of years ago.
      I used a premium platform.....see edirectory.com
      It was for local merchants.

      It's a great concept, that's why I did it.
      It can certainly work....

      I think you need some decent capital to generate traffic.
      Show traffic and businesses will bite.

      No traffic, you can't give slots away.

      The problem I had at the beginning was businesses saw it as just another form of advertising at a time the economy was slapping them upside the the head.

      I didn't really get a chance to work past the initial hurdles. My biz got an order for !00k plus that was 98% profit, so I back-burnered the site, closed my storefront and moved my shop back home.

      Anyhow, I'd suggest starting with free minimal listings with upgrades that will get them on the front page.

      Treat that home page like beachfront property....
      Make visitors opt-in and offer newsletter and solo ads.

      Jerry

      P.S. it's a great way to get to business owners for other services. If a biz feels it's profitable, there are no gatekeepers. The biz owners will be your friends...
  • Profile picture of the author jspmedia
    yup it is great business model with great passive income...

    got to create benefits to link owners(traffics)...easy to sell..
  • Profile picture of the author rugman
    THIS is what keeps me up at night! I have an idea for a national site that is near and dear to my heart. Totally focused on mobile as it caters to travelers that are as crazy about this as I am! Domain purchased already - haven't pulled the trigger yet - why the he!! not rugman! Maybe this thread will kick me in gear!
    Signature

    Growing older but not up!

  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    @ John

    Well firstly, you are going to offer them Value period.

    It may not be value that no other directory can give them... and they dont need value that no other directory can give them... They only need value!

    If your directory ranks and has potential to pull them traffic then there is "Value".

    Many companies are part of several directories because each has value and sends traffic to their site.

    However I do know what you mean, how do you build perceived Value?

    There are many ways to do that, and as soon as I get back from church Im going to list some, excellent question!
  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    Cleanmountainliving, I'm thinking maybe some subdirectories with local street names too might build up some seo for it?

    <Guess I have no more thanks left for today. I'm just so darn thankful for connecting with likeminded ppl!>
    Signature
    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Originally Posted by rugman View Post

    THIS is what keeps me up at night! I have an idea for a national site that is near and dear to my heart. Totally focused on mobile as it caters to travelers that are as crazy about this as I am! Domain purchased already - haven't pulled the trigger yet - why the he!! not rugman! Maybe this thread will kick me in gear!
    I dont blame you, its kept me up many nights as well... I have a back burner idea for "surfarkansas.com"...not so much a niche directory but a general one... maybe with sub directories like lawyers, dining, lodging... but I may do a more targeted one first. Like little rock attorney.com or something.
  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    Just a note but I am seeing a lot of .mobi domains are still available which can add a real value to business owners. Just registered cityof________.mobi on a few in my area.

    <Now im gettin the vision!>
    Signature
    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    @ Jerry,

    Its all about building percieved value in the pitch, and yes; calloing alot of numbers.

    As I said, you can sell this as a prelaunch before it ranks at all.

    There are a million beautiful business plans around here, howbeit hardly any of them THIS beautiful honestly, but the problem with EVERY ONE of them...comes down to aquiring customers...whether its your directory site or any other...thats where people get held up.

    Its more a matter of salesman than business models.

    The thing is that the sales priciples apply the same way to this as anything else, only the rewards are alot more lucrative and customer management is more simple.

    You would be hard pressed not to make a single sale per day at $97 price point, with any resonable amount of effort, which equates to creating over a quarter million per year in residual over 12 months.

    As far as pre launch, no traffic , no slot...- I would sell based on how upwardly mobile we are and how we are gaining in the rankings and anticipate to be at __ within 90 days...Get it while the price is hot... You gotta "sell" with anything.

    You can sell if you try. 200 numbers per day is gonna get you what you need. A single $97. sale per day.
  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    Yeah I think the payoff is probably the highest for the least amount of work...if you step back a bit from it and look at it. I have to admit John, I thought you were kidding when you said it is where the money is going to be because it has just been done to death but I am starting to see the vision...I just want to see it more from the business owner's perspective. Something to ponder tonight. Out selling tomorrow so this is great timing.
    Signature
    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    From the biz owners perspective John, its a good deal, and something that he might lose out on if he misses, but the important thing to remember is that whether you sell this or anything else; Only 2 out of 100 business owners is going to see it our way anyway! Lol

    It's the numbers...

    You build those up to 100 or so over 6 months to a year, you really have something. I think one could reasonably do a minimum of 1-2 sales per day.

    @ Jerry,

    I went to your site. Very nice, but it seems to talk language that is more akin to tech's understanding than small business owners. Perhaps wording things in more lay terms that an ole greek restaurant owner could relate to.

    Just a thought, but the site is beautiful.

    Also what geography are you targeting? It would take alot to rank a national site.
  • Profile picture of the author rugman
    I started playing around with this - getting a site ranked for something else that might occur in an area (maybe tourist stuff) - things people might be looking for in an area. Then I then ad a biz directory page on it - gave a few free listings to mom and pop places. My hope (and I will be getting on the phone when the tourist season kicks in) is to sell some ad space on the front page to bigger hotels etc. My mistake (well only cost me a domain - made the site myself so not a big $ mistake) - they have a pretty big off season so I may have to sell the ad space cheap - but - who cares!
    Signature

    Growing older but not up!

  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    This is great John, thanks for sharing everything.

    I have an article directory that does pretty well, good enough to where I can go on vacation and not have to worry about anything assuming all my clients and projects are caught up with. The articles that bring in more traffic I beef up with amazon, clickbank and others along with adsense already being there but that is more internet marketing than offline.

    What I've really been considering is building a national directory website, but not really with the goal to make money on it directly, just enough to cover costs and time. The MAIN reason why I would want to do it, is I would already have their email, their number, and have a relationship with them and can easily market to them through emails about other services. Basically making it a gateway to the real money making. Problem is I already have a lot on my plate, it's hard to set that aside while working on an entirely new project!
    • Profile picture of the author rugman
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post


      What I've really been considering is building a national directory website, but not really with the goal to make money on it directly, just enough to cover costs and time. The MAIN reason why I would want to do it, is I would already have their email, their number, and have a relationship with them and can easily market to them through emails about other services. Basically making it a gateway to the real money making. Problem is I already have a lot on my plate, it's hard to set that aside while working on an entirely new project!
      I have been having the same thoughts - thinking of making mine more towards mobile - maybe offering listings cheap with a link to their site (oh - btw - your site sux on a mobile device). Lots more you could upsell. Would like to do well $ wise on the front end as well though.
      Signature

      Growing older but not up!

    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      [DELETED]
    • Profile picture of the author butuhdoa
      Banned
      [DELETED]
  • Profile picture of the author sweetcrabhoney18
    I've always wanted to start a site like this but I have a huge fear of telemarketing so I'm very cauious about the whole thing. I'm more of the postcard and email person but that doesn't always seem to work.

    Also don't forget it doesn't have to always be local directories. You can go highly niche focused and divide the site into local categories.. think specific niches that people buy both online and offline. I'm simply too shy to work local sadly.

    Best of luck
    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Some more numbers:

      If you are following Bob Ross' model, you are looking at $495 for one of the basic spots on one of his postcards (I think).

      If you offer something like that once every quarter, you are looking at a rough cost to the business owner of $165 a month.

      again, I'm just throwing some numbers out there to give you an idea of what you are looking at.

      If you use my directory idea and provide it to hotels locally, you could target businesses that would benefit from the tourist industry and traffic.

      Restaurants, bars, dry cleaners, maybe even mechanic shops or tow trucks.

      Honestly, I'm thinking that restaurants alone (in my area, anyway) could provide enough businesses to keep you in business and really hopping.

      If a business wanted to have exclusivity on my site - maybe they wanted to be the only pizza place, for example - I could always charge a premium for that. As it is, I may offer a certain degree of exclusivity. The area that I live in is spread out over a half dozen zip codes, so it is very possible to offer a price for basic inclusion, zip code exclusivity, and citywide exclusivity.
      Signature
      FREE 17-page HotSheet - "5 Quick Cash Ideas" -- Thriving Work at Home Moms
      "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
    • Profile picture of the author mraffiliate
      Great thread:

      Does anyone know of a really great directory script?
      Signature

    • Profile picture of the author AussieT
      Originally Posted by sweetcrabhoney18 View Post

      I've always wanted to start a site like this but I have a huge fear of telemarketing so I'm very cauious about the whole thing. I'm more of the postcard and email person but that doesn't always seem to work.

      Also don't forget it doesn't have to always be local directories. You can go highly niche focused and divide the site into local categories.. think specific niches that people buy both online and offline. I'm simply too shy to work local sadly.

      Best of luck
      Could you please explain your idea a bit more
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    My bad Jerry I was rushing out the door, and just skimmed before posting.... That was the site of the "platform" - edirectory you were referring to . Many apologies.

    Originally Posted by rugman View Post

    I started playing around with this - getting a site ranked for something else that might occur in an area (maybe tourist stuff) - things people might be looking for in an area. Then I then ad a biz directory page on it - gave a few free listings to mom and pop places. My hope (and I will be getting on the phone when the tourist season kicks in) is to sell some ad space on the front page to bigger hotels etc. My mistake (well only cost me a domain - made the site myself so not a big $ mistake) - they have a pretty big off season so I may have to sell the ad space cheap - but - who cares!

    I recently sold an adspace on one of my sites for $3,000. In December for a one year spot.

    Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

    The MAIN reason why I would want to do it, is I would already have their email, their number, and have a relationship with them and can easily market to them through emails about other services. Basically making it a gateway to the real money making. Problem is I already have a lot on my plate, it's hard to set that aside while working on an entirely new project!
    I understand about the plate. Bummer.

    Yes you can do this all kinds of ways, but why not sell them a listing cheaply and bring them in as CUSTOMERS, and still get their email?

    Originally Posted by RentItNow View Post

    Yeah I think the payoff is probably the highest for the least amount of work...if you step back a bit from it and look at it. I have to admit John, I thought you were kidding when you said it is where the money is going to be because it has just been done to death but I am starting to see the vision...I just want to see it more from the business owner's perspective. Something to ponder tonight. Out selling tomorrow so this is great timing.
    I definitely think that offering a directory listing to your small business website package customers can be a great bonus, and also a great way to justify charging them $97 per month.


    Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

    I'm looking at a base target of 100 business owners paying a flat rate of $197 monthly. That gives me a starting base of $19,700 monthly, and that doesn't include any revenue from the upgrades that the business owners purchase.

    I want to reach my base target of 100 businesses in 90 days.
    I loved everything about your post and plan, as we spoke of earlier, I know the benefit of advertising with career builder is that your ad ALSO goes into the local print rags in the city where you advertise, that makes them doubly beneficial. And its why they are my employment ad choice.

    Beautiful Idea. Now just keep thinking of ways to build the perceived Value, try to think of even more benefits that dont neccessarily cost you more money or time... either that or look deeper into your offer and find benefits that you may not even be seeing and capitalize on those, giving you more features and benefits to demonstrate in your pitches and really blowing the perceived value through the roof.

    The quote above my post here is what I like best about your mindset. Thats what it comes down to, keeping your eyes on that. Thats where it all comes down.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    There are some amazing thoughts coming forth here, and we hope they keep coming... every now and then though Im going to pop and break it down to its simplest form though just to be a bird in your ear... $99 per month your have 2k per month residual income, even if you only have 20 customers per site...

    20 customers is literally a fulltime income for alot of people...How hard could it be at $99?

    This model is SOOOOO worth it.
    • Profile picture of the author mraffiliate
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      There are some amazing thoughts coming forth here, and we hope they keep coming... every now and then though Im going to pop and break it down to its simplest form though just to be a bird in your ear... $99 per month your have 2k per month residual income, even if you only have 20 customers per site...

      20 customers is literally a fulltime income for alot of people...How hard could it be at $99?

      This model is SOOOOO worth it.
      A problem that I see with a new directory site, even if it's in a targeted niche, is that if it's mostly vacant it will be a hard sell to get someone to pay to be listed in a directory that has only a few other listed businesses.
      Signature

    • Profile picture of the author sjohn
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      There are some amazing thoughts coming forth here, and we hope they keep coming... every now and then though Im going to pop and break it down to its simplest form though just to be a bird in your ear... $99 per month your have 2k per month residual income, even if you only have 20 customers per site...

      20 customers is literally a fulltime income for alot of people...How hard could it be at $99?

      This model is SOOOOO worth it.
      This is also a step in the door for other services you could offer them in the longterm.
    • Profile picture of the author AussieT
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      There are some amazing thoughts coming forth here, and we hope they keep coming... every now and then though Im going to pop and break it down to its simplest form though just to be a bird in your ear... $99 per month your have 2k per month residual income, even if you only have 20 customers per site...

      20 customers is literally a fulltime income for alot of people...How hard could it be at $99?

      This model is SOOOOO worth it.
      Try it and see! I have had a travel niche directory for 10 years now and it is hard enough to get my clients to pay $99 per year for a premium listing.

      Not saying it can't be done but I personally don't feel it is as easy as we might think.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    [DELETED]
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    [DELETED]
    • Profile picture of the author Rachel Incoll
      Thanks for the great thread John...starting cold calling this week but I think I'll be changing what I was going to offer based on some of the words of wisdom you've shared here!

      Been following quite a few of your threads for a while now & picking up some great ideas...

      I've actually had a directory site (not really your typical local directory site though) up and running for 6 years now, so it has some awesome rankings in Google (in the top 3 spots for most of the main keywords for it's niche)...but I haven't been monetising it as well as I could have been.

      Used to charge for people to access it, but included the businesses for free. A year or so ago I made the entire site free to access, with an email submit though to make sure I kept building my list.

      So here's my plan...any thoughts or suggestions on this would be appreciated .
      • One page site (similar to what you mentioned John).
      • PLUS, the opportunity to promote their products to the very targeted email/member list (over 10,000) - probably done through special emails that I send, say weekly or fortnightly. I'll maintain full control of the list & it won't be 1 email for 1 business, rather there'll be 1 email sent with product info from those particular businesses that want to promote.
      Price $97/month.

      I'm hoping the product promotion to the targeted list (plus the fact that it's pretty much the highest ranking directory in the niche) should be enough to entice a fair few on board!

      Cheers

      Rachel
      Signature
      Sick Of Spending Hour After Hour Searching For Australian Wholesalers?
      Discover Over 1,000 Genuine Australian Wholesalers In Just A Few Minutes At www.AussieWholesaleSuppliers.net.au

Trending Topics