Local Business Directory - Selling Listings To Business Owners

57 replies
Hey Warriors

I am taking a crack at a Local Business Directory style website for San Diego. We just went live on Friday March 20th and are still in Beta Mode for the next few weeks.

I would appreciate 2 things, some input on the design and functionality of the website. Also, how it looks and functions on Mobile and Tablets.

San Diego Local Spots - Restaurants, Night Life and Events San Diego Local Spots

I would also appreciate any ideas and or strategies to help us get business owners to upgrade from a Free Listing to Paid Listing.

Thanks in advance my friends !!!

James Hickey
#business #directory #listings #local #owners #selling
  • Profile picture of the author umc
    I think it looks nice enough on my laptop, but other people with much more experience will likely chime in on those things. The first things that jumped out to me was that some of the writing was either spammy or just not worded correctly. Right at the top, shouldn't "Local Go In San Diego" be "Go Local In San Diego"? Below the search box it should say "Find out where (not what) San Diego blah blah are located". And the San Diego Nightlife section on the home page just seems like it is full of keywords to the point of being spammy and having no flow, but then again I'm no SEO expert so maybe keyword stuffing to that extent is what it takes. I'm sure that you're more successful than I am at this, so I digress, but maybe someone else has a take on that. I didn't look through the whole thing, but those were some items that stuck out to me.

    Nice work though. Looks like you've got some Facebook fans already and hopefully that's growing for you.. Best wishes on the project!
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Thanks for input, we have been going back and forth with Local Go in San Diego, it rhymes and its a play on words. I am pretty sure people know what the website is about. I will talk to my SEO Guy on the Keyword stuffing.

      We aren't officially launching and bringing in any paid traffic until late April or early May....


      Originally Posted by umc View Post

      I think it looks nice enough on my laptop, but other people with much more experience will likely chime in on those things. The first things that jumped out to me was that some of the writing was either spammy or just not worded correctly. Right at the top, shouldn't "Local Go In San Diego" be "Go Local In San Diego"? Below the search box it should say "Find out where (not what) San Diego blah blah are located". And the San Diego Nightlife section on the home page just seems like it is full of keywords to the point of being spammy and having no flow, but then again I'm no SEO expert so maybe keyword stuffing to that extent is what it takes. I'm sure that you're more successful than I am at this, so I digress, but maybe someone else has a take on that. I didn't look through the whole thing, but those were some items that stuck out to me.

      Nice work though. Looks like you've got some Facebook fans already and hopefully that's growing for you.. Best wishes on the project!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Really "directory savvy" design! Looks like a right business directory should look, from first glance. I may chime in later with some thoughts. I guess it's no secret that I have had some experience with selling a ton of listings, but have a meeting to go to now, so I can't. Beautiful work!


    Do you have a telemarketing force in place (a couple of callers), or were you going to go with a different strategy?


    The first thing you want to do is go to the biggest competitor in the city for each category (like "attorneys") and call them offering a free premium listing in exchange for a testimony So you can use them as social proof that other credible people in the industry take out premium listings with you.

    The free listings look perfectly appropriate.
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    • Profile picture of the author infoseek
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Really "directory savvy" design! Looks like a right business directory should look, from first glance. I may chime in later with some thoughts. I guess it's no secret that I have had some experience with selling a ton of listings, but have a meeting to go to now, so I can't. Beautiful work!


      Do you have a telemarketing force in place (a couple of callers), or were you going to go with a different strategy?


      The first thing you want to do is go to the biggest competitor in the city for each category (like "attorneys") and call them offering a free premium listing in exchange for a testimony So you can use them as social proof that other credible people in the industry take out premium listings with you.

      The free listings look perfectly appropriate.
      what you think of this model ? Sabor de Miami need to connect with you John
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      • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
        Originally Posted by infoseek View Post

        what you think of this model ? Sabor de Miami need to connect with you John
        I am not John but I do have tons of telemarket and marketing experience - plus I live in south florida

        sooooo....right off the bat....is this going to be an English, Spanish or BiLingual directory>?

        so far you have only dummy lorem epsom stuff and stock pics..

        and honestly the site does NOT look like Florida...you need to think about branding and where you will position this - language, tourist, locals, upscale, downscale,bargain hunters, early birds,clubbers, South Beach or what?

        You and I both know that this is an area filled with restaurants and tourist stuff, and also lots of various ad opportunities so you must find a way to stand out, what will you offer?

        Right now there are companies that will put a biz ad on a girl in a bikini or have them skate up and down the beach or ride a bike up and down the beach with a sign or on a segway. Promotion companies pay young wanna be models to pass out drink coupons to the crowds etc.
        We have tons of free mags , coupon books, stands in the hotels, racks of ads, ads in bathrooms, ads on cabs, buses,tourist trolleys, ads on the water taxis and ads on sign wavers not to mention the ads on windsurfers LOL

        You are also up against the tourist machine sites - which are really good actually and where most tourists probably go - the official sites
        plus tons of other sites

        Now...if you find some niche or offer something - that might work. The SD site is featuring the restaurants own apps I think ? That would be different
        You could also reach out to food bloggers (and wannabes)...and some promotional companies

        Before you even think of offering this you really need to work on the site...the "green" is the color of pine trees in Michigan or whatever, not the brilliant greens we have or the aqua colors of the water LOL.

        Your first offering is "Mexicana">> in an city known for it's Cuban cuisine?

        Just remember - Sun Sentinel tried a directory and failed - "Great Deals in My City"...gone with the wind...bye bye....and they had all their reach of the newspaper and failed

        Miami Herald is pushing their own deal site (pretty much a joke)...you are up against a lot of competition so IMHO you need to do a lot of work on this site before anyone is going to be able to sell anything
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        • Profile picture of the author John Durham
          Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post


          Miami Herald is pushing their own deal site (pretty much a joke)...you are up against a lot of competition so IMHO you need to do a lot of work on this site before anyone is going to be able to sell anything
          Every single business there is, practically, has competition, and people saying "You shouldnt do that. Too much competition". What mid size town doesnt have ten different remodeling companies who have been in business for 20 years all competing in the same market for the same customer base? What town doesnt have ten different print advertising venues all competing, thriving and profiting?

          The only competition I would worry about is myself, and getting more sales than I got yesterday. I dont care who has the biggest market share, I just want to get a share of the market. As much as I can... There is always room for more than one company to participate in an opportunity. Small family owned burger joints thrive every day when there are 50 different big corporate ones in town, and THEY (the big guys) are all competing with one another and profiting too! Lol.

          Competition is not a reason to hesitate. Just worry about getting your own sales and who cares about the competition.

          So what , if you have to offer a rebuttal to an objection about the competition in one out of 5 pitches? That's par for the course. I'm sure you know that better than anyone There is always someone doing it bigger. That doesnt mean you cant cut out a piece of a market for yourself and profit... Maybe even grow and become more of a competitor.

          Just my own thinking there... I'm sure there are other schools of thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Ps. In agreement w/ UMC, "go local" would still rhyme, and also serve as a call to action.


    Also, if you are planning to use email instead of cold calling to sell listings, using competitors name in the subject lines can also be effective. Getting top local competitors endorsements and giving them free premium listings in exchange can be valuable in many ways, and go far in helping you sell listings. Even if you aren't using cold calling as your strategy. A competitors name in an email subject line could really get attention.
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Thanks for great input John !!! I like the idea of Attorneys. We are mainly focusing on Bars, Restaurants, Nightclubs and Events for people visiting or new to San Diego. We are also holding off on any cold calling until we have more content and listings posted on website.

      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Ps. In agreement w/ UMC, "go local" would still rhyme, and also serve as a call to action.


      Also, if you are planning to use email instead of cold calling to sell listings, using competitors name in the subject lines can also be effective. Getting top local competitors endorsements and giving them free premium listings in exchange can be valuable in many ways, and go far in helping you sell listings. Even if you aren't using cold calling as your strategy. A competitors name in an email subject line could really get attention.
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  • Profile picture of the author bsnrjones
    What theme are you using (assuming it is wordpress)?
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  • Profile picture of the author zoro
    Looks good on my mobile.
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

    I would also appreciate any ideas and or strategies to help us get business owners to upgrade from a Free Listing to Paid Listing.
    You could take a automated feed from your featured / paid listing to update to your social media pages giving more exposure, also in most cases a featured listing also resides above any free listing keeping the listing above any free listing. also you could introduce a slider / image banner to each category & home page that rotates featured listing giving them even more exposure.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Let me know when you are ready to start calling James, I could probably offer a lot of ideas.

    In any event, I would make a priority of putting up a couple of free premium listings for whoever it is that all the competition looks up to, on the top of each category. That seems like the next right move from my view.

    That way you can say things in your introduction like:

    "You have probably heard of us, or some of our clients like Nunu's, or Bubs At the Ballpark?"

    This creates immediate prospect engagement in the cold call, as they say "Yeah, I know those guys... they use to be located down here on fifth and main..." or whatever.

    Even more powerful is that subconsciously they relate that to a feeling that they may know you as well, or at very least a feeling that they SHOULD know you...

    That sense that they SHOULD be familiar with you is powerful on several levels.

    Later you can also use the familiarity, and peer pressure angles, when you close the pitch by saying things like "We can create a premium listing for you, just like the one that Nunu's took out, with all the same bells and whistles, for only $49.00... per month" or whatever.

    When/if you present them with upsells, you can say things like "Did you want the video upgrade like Bubs At The Ball Park has on their listing...?"

    You get the picture. Offering a free premium listing to the big dog in that market may seem like a $49 per month loss, but it can make you a thousand per month or more in that category.

    Obviously, the more revered the names that you are dropping the better.

    I'm probably not telling you anything you don't know, just reminding you of some sales principles, and bringing them back up to the surface. They will be useful ones to pull out of the closet in this venture.


    -John
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Solid advice John !!! We will be doing huge launch party at end of April or early May. Probably 300+ people. I am going to PM you and lets chat on Skype or phone. Thanks my friend

      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Let me know when you are ready to start calling James, I could probably offer a lot of ideas.

      In any event, I would make a priority of putting up a couple of free premium listings for whoever it is that all the competition looks up to, on the top of each category. That seems like the next right move from my view.

      That way you can say things in your introduction like:

      "You have probably heard of us, or some of our clients like Nunu's, or Bubs At the Ballpark?"

      This creates immediate prospect engagement in the cold call, as they say "Yeah, I know those guys... they use to be located down here on fifth and main..." or whatever.

      Even more powerful is that subconsciously they relate that to a feeling that they may know you as well, or at very least a feeling that they SHOULD know you...

      That sense that they SHOULD be familiar with you is powerful on several levels.

      Later you can also use the familiarity, and peer pressure angles, when you close the pitch by saying things like "We can create a premium listing for you, just like the one that Nunu's took out, with all the same bells and whistles, for only $49.00... per month" or whatever.

      When/if you present them with upsells, you can say things like "Did you want the video upgrade like Bubs At The Ball Park has on their listing...?"

      You get the picture. Offering a free premium listing to the big dog in that market may seem like a $49 per month loss, but it can make you a thousand per month or more in that category.

      Obviously, the more revered the names that you are dropping the better.

      I'm probably not telling you anything you don't know, just reminding you of some sales principles, and bringing them back up to the surface. They will be useful ones to pull out of the closet in this venture.


      -John
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    No prob! Will send you a PM. Always excited to be a part of something that's clearly destined to be great!


    You are doing this right!
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesfreddyc
    For these types of businesses have you considered offering up some sort of SMS messaging product? Here's a mock-up I did for a client that might be something that'd fit well into the directory offering you make to prospective subscribers.

    Biker Clothing Co.

    Basically it follows an email list building approach, except you collect cellphone numbers and can begin to market to them via SMS messages.

    That mock up does work if you enter your number into the opt-in box and it will immediately send you an SMS/text with the discount that you'd then bring into that business. In exchange, customers would then agree to receive future offers via SMS.
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Hey James....we are going with a Mobile App...its called AppyHourClub. We are also going to add a SMS campaign. Thanks for input !!!


      Originally Posted by jamesfreddyc View Post

      For these types of businesses have you considered offering up some sort of SMS messaging product? Here's a mock-up I did for a client that might be something that'd fit well into the directory offering you make to prospective subscribers.

      Biker Clothing Co.

      Basically it follows an email list building approach, except you collect cellphone numbers and can begin to market to them via SMS messages.

      That mock up does work if you enter your number into the opt-in box and it will immediately send you an SMS/text with the discount that you'd then bring into that business. In exchange, customers would then agree to receive future offers via SMS.
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    • Profile picture of the author Underground
      Originally Posted by jamesfreddyc View Post

      For these types of businesses have you considered offering up some sort of SMS messaging product? Here's a mock-up I did for a client that might be something that'd fit well into the directory offering you make to prospective subscribers.

      Biker Clothing Co.

      Basically it follows an email list building approach, except you collect cellphone numbers and can begin to market to them via SMS messages.

      That mock up does work if you enter your number into the opt-in box and it will immediately send you an SMS/text with the discount that you'd then bring into that business. In exchange, customers would then agree to receive future offers via SMS.
      Great example. I can't pm because for some reason even though I've deleted emails, my inbox still shows full, but I was going to ask you about building phone number lists. It may seem dumb but I'd never seen the collected in the way people collect email as was going to ask did you know people who did that.

      I'm surprised I haven't seen it more. Do you know if there's any data about that that compares sign up rates in that and if their is a difference?


      For the site. I think most people make the mistake of building the site and thinking that itself will be the draw.

      I know I did, and put my projects on hold because I hadn't fully considered most important thing to make a massive success. I thought about my needs first.

      Or at least it's a critical part of the equation. A really great marketer called Sean D'Souza like to talk about a thing he calls attversumption. Attraction. Conversion. Consumption.

      He says, rightly, most people focus on attracting people to a website and converting them, but not enough on getting them to consume the content regularly, which is what keeps people coming back to the site again and again.


      Just a place to post their details is a one time affair. And doesn't really give people a reason to keep coming back. Why should they?

      The forum does give a focal point for consistent activity. So you've create one potential magnet for users, which is great.

      Creating a back-end for reviewers to log-in to so they get a dash-board is another.

      Same with a separate dash-board for businesses owners.

      And example of that I like to share is what these guys do here. If you sign up as a business and go to your dashboard, there's many cool features there that make it the kind of website you'd like to sign into on a consistent basis because there's always new info in the dashboard, new updates, new reviews, new articles.

      Same with reviewers.


      So the user experience is the main draw there.

      A good exercise is to round 20-30 similar types sites with a lot of buzz and sign-up, research, and reverse engineer everything they are doing to give their users a great user experience and keep them coming back on a regular basis.

      Here's one site that gives their users a great UX

      Local Business Directory Australia

      There was another one I'd share, from an Aussie company again that someone shared a few weeks back with really great marketing copy and design that would be good to replicate but I can't find that one.



      For building traffic and a userbase, another thing I'd offer is facebook advertising packages. Advertise their business in your ads but drive the traffic back to your site. You can make a profit while driving traffic from many different segments back to your site while getting that business exposure themselves in the process.

      The app idea is a really interesting concept. They get to share their app on your site for a fee?
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      • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
        Very good, I like the look and feel of the one in Australia !!! TThanks

        Originally Posted by Underground View Post

        Great example. I can't pm because for some reason even though I've deleted emails, my inbox still shows full, but I was going to ask you about building phone number lists. It may seem dumb but I'd never seen the collected in the way people collect email as was going to ask did you know people who did that.

        I'm surprised I haven't seen it more. Do you know if there's any data about that that compares sign up rates in that and if their is a difference?


        For the site. I think most people make the mistake of building the site and thinking that itself will be the draw.

        I know I did, and put my projects on hold because I hadn't fully considered most important thing to make a massive success. I thought about my needs first.

        Or at least it's a critical part of the equation. A really great marketer called Sean D'Souza like to talk about a thing he calls attversumption. Attraction. Conversion. Consumption.

        He says, rightly, most people focus on attracting people to a website and converting them, but not enough on getting them to consume the content regularly, which is what keeps people coming back to the site again and again.


        Just a place to post their details is a one time affair. And doesn't really give people a reason to keep coming back. Why should they?

        The forum does give a focal point for consistent activity. So you've create one potential magnet for users, which is great.

        Creating a back-end for reviewers to log-in to so they get a dash-board is another.

        Same with a separate dash-board for businesses owners.

        And example of that I like to share is what these guys do here. If you sign up as a business and go to your dashboard, there's many cool features there that make it the kind of website you'd like to sign into on a consistent basis because there's always new info in the dashboard, new updates, new reviews, new articles.

        Same with reviewers.


        So the user experience is the main draw there.

        A good exercise is to round 20-30 similar types sites with a lot of buzz and sign-up, research, and reverse engineer everything they are doing to give their users a great user experience and keep them coming back on a regular basis.

        Here's one site that gives their users a great UX

        Local Business Directory Australia

        There was another one I'd share, from an Aussie company again that someone shared a few weeks back with really great marketing copy and design that would be good to replicate but I can't find that one.



        For building traffic and a userbase, another thing I'd offer is facebook advertising packages. Advertise their business in your ads but drive the traffic back to your site. You can make a profit while driving traffic from many different segments back to your site while getting that business exposure themselves in the process.

        The app idea is a really interesting concept. They get to share their app on your site for a fee?
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    It looks nice and I liked the "appy hour" idea... that was neat

    However....the writing seems to be from a computer/seo guy....just interested in getting listed on google or whatever

    I think you need some one who loves eating out, nightlife....real enthusiasm

    also some pictures...some "offers' - 2 for 1, free drink etc...

    something to make people come back

    The writing under nightlife, dining, events was so canned and repetitive - MAYBE GOOD FOR SEO...but not for making people engage or be interested in your site


    some of the so called blog posts were sooo fake and generic "confused by your wine choices"?

    why not have an interview and pictures with the owner of a popular local wine bar instead? JMO
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      sdentrepreneur,

      Love to see stuff like this. Starting to take shape that is for sure. I am currently building something similar and have built more than a few in the past.

      As it stands you are targeting locals and hey that's great. but are you? If there is a location, and we will Sandbar Grill as an example do people say "that is in San Diego" or do they say "You know the place in Mission Beach"? I personally believe that adding that extra layer of geography adds to the usability of the product. It opens up search and display abilities by regions / communities.

      I know this wont be an issue starting out, but are you aware there is usability caps ( IE bandwidth caps ) within the use of Google maps? something you might want to look into, so as you develop more and more traffic, they shut you down.. you will understand why. ( I had this happen ) - in my current project I have decided to present static displays of location - which are server based images. - not as cool hip and trendy.. but when you start looking at the pricing when you make it big...

      Have you looked at geo targeting at all? look at icegram.com, and then hit on their add-ons and check out the geo add on. While you are there check out the Behaviour triggers. big fan of this plug-in.

      If you go here: http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...on-places.html look at post 14. I break down some numbers for Zoro and his local Australian market. The social aspect of what you are doing I very much would keep that local base. BUT... on your web property I would suggest thinking outside of San Diego. look into why people come - The La Jolla Festival, Crssd starting this year?, the base etc.

      Have you thought about the concert scene at all? you can become a ticket affiliate for nothing and it is a good potential source of revenue ( I use Vivid Seats )

      Going way out there on this one. There is a visual effect called "Stroop Effect" basically a play on the mind if you will - What color is this word: RED did you say red? its BLUE. In web design its not always color ( tho this plays in it ) but its a pre defined notion of what things should be, specifically links. If I were to ask what color is linked text? Most would answer "blue" correct?

      in todays CSS world we now have links that #1 are not underlined, and #2 are more often than not "Blue". What does this do to the usability of links on a page? I am going to tell you to test for yourself and find out! LOL ( but seriously I have found testing this over and over and over and over that blue underlined links do tend to perform better. - BUT not always...and that's why I say test your site in your situation and your flow of traffic )

      what I am specifically referring to is the line of links that Freebiequeen I am thinking assumed was SEO text and not overly user friendly - As stated above because it did not meet the visual cues of a link it is thought of as text. I might change those page header text links like on the Restaurant page that say "African All You Can Eat Asian..."

      Hope that Helps!
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Yes....an SEO guy did write most the sales copy. I am also contributing as well. We are working on some digital coupons and AppyHourClub specials. We hope to turn on traffic at end of April or beginning of May....so we have some work and tweaking to do.

      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      It looks nice and I liked the "appy hour" idea... that was neat

      However....the writing seems to be from a computer/seo guy....just interested in getting listed on google or whatever

      I think you need some one who loves eating out, nightlife....real enthusiasm

      also some pictures...some "offers' - 2 for 1, free drink etc...

      something to make people come back

      The writing under nightlife, dining, events was so canned and repetitive - MAYBE GOOD FOR SEO...but not for making people engage or be interested in your site


      some of the so called blog posts were sooo fake and generic "confused by your wine choices"?

      why not have an interview and pictures with the owner of a popular local wine bar instead? JMO
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  • Profile picture of the author BarbaraP
    Great local directory site. Lots of work has gone into it so kudos to you & your team! Suggestion - separate the categories listed as paragraph on restaurant page. Maybe try a 3 column style -- easier to read and still get SEO. Thanks to James for the OP and contributors to this thread. Very helpful info. We're mapping out our new local biz directory site for our area of Houston. Using it as money-maker and door-opener to pitch marketing services and business growth seminars on the back end. Will come back and share when we're ready for public view. Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    I think one thing would keep people coming back is to get some of the "buzz" spots in town on there...and do article on them, video with the chef, pictures of events.....and yes, offers and coupons

    Has to be kept up or if people go back and see same stuff they will go away

    JMO you should reach out to some local (wannabe?) movers and shakers...people with food blogs, people who post events on facebook....offer them "guest" writing deals...or even gift certs from some of your business owners

    Try for real content, local content, not spin/spun generic stuff
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Great idea....we are looking for guest bloggers and letting people in the community create profiles.....We The People !!! For The People !!!!

      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      I think one thing would keep people coming back is to get some of the "buzz" spots in town on there...and do article on them, video with the chef, pictures of events.....and yes, offers and coupons

      Has to be kept up or if people go back and see same stuff they will go away

      JMO you should reach out to some local (wannabe?) movers and shakers...people with food blogs, people who post events on facebook....offer them "guest" writing deals...or even gift certs from some of your business owners

      Try for real content, local content, not spin/spun generic stuff
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

        Great idea....we are looking for guest bloggers and letting people in the community create profiles.....We The People !!! For The People !!!!
        I have in my most recent project created a program that gives a discount on the first year listing ( my listing prices are less than yours - if you would like to discuss why let me know ) in trade for 2 pieces of content. #1 is a business write up, and the second being a community write up.

        I am beyond a huge advocate of content development. Long term success in most every case of websites is eyeballs, and even more so the case for Directories. End users are what make the internet world go round, and Content is what ultimately gets them there, not once but hopefully repeatedly.

        Content in terms of a project of your scope is not easily produced in a timely manor. when you look at things like: San Diego County, California detailed profile - houses, real estate, cost of living, wages, work, agriculture, ancestries, and more and see that as of 2012 there was 2,238 Restaurants in San Diego County alone. ( also look at the very bottom of this report, you will find a "List of Business'" in the county - good potential target list for your marketing ) Also down there is a list of "Tops list" which is a good source for content write up.

        Throw in Bars and clubs and you are in the what? 3000+ range. There simply is no way to develop and write that much content. So I have found that basically getting the content written for you is a win win all the way around.
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Yes...we are reaching out to local guest bloggers and people who are movers and shakers in their local communities. I totally agree about video !!! Right Johnny Rocket?

      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      I think one thing would keep people coming back is to get some of the "buzz" spots in town on there...and do article on them, video with the chef, pictures of events.....and yes, offers and coupons

      Has to be kept up or if people go back and see same stuff they will go away

      JMO you should reach out to some local (wannabe?) movers and shakers...people with food blogs, people who post events on facebook....offer them "guest" writing deals...or even gift certs from some of your business owners

      Try for real content, local content, not spin/spun generic stuff
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesfreddyc
    Underground -- I don't have that kind of data but I can talk about experiences and the things I've seen happen to my clients regarding SMS list building and push sending...

    It falls under the same/similar CAN-SPAM compliance rules. The problem is that often a new customer of mine will already have had a list built and just wants to start sending promo's out before any opt-in process. They typically will get lots of "STOP" replies (or other profanity-laced replies) because of the highly personal nature of sms and not "really" ever have opted in to get those msgs (even though they did provide their number to the business at some point for some reason).

    Too high-frequency sends ruins the relationship. Again, it's a hyper-personal form of communication and must be treated delicately. Comes with a higher risk of offending the recipients if overused. Here's what I tell my clients:

    1. Use In-store signage with a simple message like "Text deals to 2423 to get an instant free x".
    2. Use the opt-in page (like my mock-up above) by linking to it from the various web-presences. It could even be a Facebook group promo to join the SMS list and vice-versa.
    3. Employ infrequency into message sends. Don't overdo it unless you are running our system for even reminders (a daily task).

    Basically, I think there is just a ton more value in SMS lists compared to email solely for the read rates you get.

    I agree that the "backend" system could be a consistent draw for the business owners that join the directory. My clients use the reporting functionality and "replies" tab to see what those prospects have communicated back with. They are really looking for replies like, "Where are you located?", "More details?" or even "How do I redeem this?" --- those are their prospective customers waving their hands in the air.

    Not only that, but someone that replies positively to an sms push promo is likely going to be a pretty tech-savvy person, at least very familiar with text/sms messaging and their device. This is a big positive in my opinion because getting THESE prospects to forward the businesses promo's to others is where a viral message can begin to move to referrals.
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    • Profile picture of the author Underground
      Originally Posted by jamesfreddyc View Post

      Underground -- I don't have that kind of data but I can talk about experiences and the things I've seen happen to my clients regarding SMS list building and push sending...

      It falls under the same/similar CAN-SPAM compliance rules. The problem is that often a new customer of mine will already have had a list built and just wants to start sending promo's out before any opt-in process. They typically will get lots of "STOP" replies (or other profanity-laced replies) because of the highly personal nature of sms and not "really" ever have opted in to get those msgs (even though they did provide their number to the business at some point for some reason).

      Too high-frequency sends ruins the relationship. Again, it's a hyper-personal form of communication and must be treated delicately. Comes with a higher risk of offending the recipients if overused. Here's what I tell my clients:

      1. Use In-store signage with a simple message like "Text deals to 2423 to get an instant free x".
      2. Use the opt-in page (like my mock-up above) by linking to it from the various web-presences. It could even be a Facebook group promo to join the SMS list and vice-versa.
      3. Employ infrequency into message sends. Don't overdo it unless you are running our system for even reminders (a daily task).

      Basically, I think there is just a ton more value in SMS lists compared to email solely for the read rates you get.

      I agree that the "backend" system could be a consistent draw for the business owners that join the directory. My clients use the reporting functionality and "replies" tab to see what those prospects have communicated back with. They are really looking for replies like, "Where are you located?", "More details?" or even "How do I redeem this?" --- those are their prospective customers waving their hands in the air.

      Not only that, but someone that replies positively to an sms push promo is likely going to be a pretty tech-savvy person, at least very familiar with text/sms messaging and their device. This is a big positive in my opinion because getting THESE prospects to forward the businesses promo's to others is where a viral message can begin to move to referrals.

      Answered all my questions before I could even ask all of them. Thanks James.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Get the url and SMS deals in the hands of motels/hotels, visitor centers, town business promotion
    groups/chambers of commerce. (not all employees know the local events and activities well, especially dates, start times, deals, and other details such as bands playing....)

    As James suggests, in store signage, Table tents, rack cards, ... with exclusive language such as "Guests of x hotel text ...to get your ..."
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    A model to reverse engineer for getting pro-am content written for you:

    Examiner.com - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    • Profile picture of the author Underground
      Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

      An model to reverse engineer for getting pro-am content written for you:

      Examiner.com - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Because the OP referred to his site as a directory I failed to make that connection. His site is more a mixed-use local site where he can incorporate all types of local based content, rather than limiting it to a directory.


      Since he's combing everything on one domain, making pro-am or user-generated content the main focus is the single most important thing he can do.

      I've split my sites up on different domains. I will be promoting the main content/media sharing site heavily to build user-base. There's a firm here in the UK called jogpost who can deliver 20'000 leaflets for 1100 + vat.

      £11'000 to reach 200000 people. Maybe the same in leaflet printing, so £22,000. I will inviting people free to the site to use as a place to share their content and loads of other stuff. If you got even 1000 consistent contributors your site would explode. Investing up to that amount of money in stages, if it was even needed to hit some many people, to invite pro-am contributors would be the first in line for fund allocation.

      I've had that plan for a while as the way to kick-start my sites and generate traffic.

      After seeing the growth stats in that wiki article I can't wait till I can get to put that plan into action, and seed the main couple of sites with an army of content creators creating all the viral content and buzz I'd need. After a certain critical mass is achieved you'd never have to worry about buying traffic again.

      Plus these kinds of sites have viral email referral systems built in where you can invite other people.

      I was reading an article the otherday on growth hacking. It was one of those words I'd heard that I thought was just jargon but never looked into. But it spoke about the massive growth of air b'n'b. And how it grew because of the way they had their users do all the marketing, promotions, etc.

      What is Growth Hacking? - The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking

      Tapping into that can obviously make a site grow like wild-fire when done properly.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Underground View Post

        I was reading an article the otherday on growth hacking. It was one of those words I'd heard that I thought was just jargon but never looked into. But it spoke about the massive growth of air b'n'b. And how it grew because of the way they had their users do all the marketing, promotions, etc.

        What is Growth Hacking? - The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking

        Tapping into that can obviously make a site grow like wild-fire when done properly.
        here is a link to what I believe is the true core of what growth hacking is: http://www.warriorforum.com/growth-h...tes-aarrr.html

        AARRR is really cool to see for what it is and how you can literally focus on each element
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      • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
        Growth hacking is great idea !!! Thanks for sharing idea !!!


        Originally Posted by Underground View Post

        Because the OP referred to his site as a directory I failed to make that connection. His site is more a mixed-use local site where he can incorporate all types of local based content, rather than limiting it to a directory.


        Since he's combing everything on one domain, making pro-am or user-generated content the main focus is the single most important thing he can do.

        I've split my sites up on different domains. I will be promoting the main content/media sharing site heavily to build user-base. There's a firm here in the UK called jogpost who can deliver 20'000 leaflets for 1100 + vat.

        £11'000 to reach 200000 people. Maybe the same in leaflet printing, so £22,000. I will inviting people free to the site to use as a place to share their content and loads of other stuff. If you got even 1000 consistent contributors your site would explode. Investing up to that amount of money in stages, if it was even needed to hit some many people, to invite pro-am contributors would be the first in line for fund allocation.

        I've had that plan for a while as the way to kick-start my sites and generate traffic.

        After seeing the growth stats in that wiki article I can't wait till I can get to put that plan into action, and seed the main couple of sites with an army of content creators creating all the viral content and buzz I'd need. After a certain critical mass is achieved you'd never have to worry about buying traffic again.

        Plus these kinds of sites have viral email referral systems built in where you can invite other people.

        I was reading an article the otherday on growth hacking. It was one of those words I'd heard that I thought was just jargon but never looked into. But it spoke about the massive growth of air b'n'b. And how it grew because of the way they had their users do all the marketing, promotions, etc.

        What is Growth Hacking? - The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking

        Tapping into that can obviously make a site grow like wild-fire when done properly.
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  • Profile picture of the author sodomojo
    Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

    Hey Warriors

    I am taking a crack at a Local Business Directory style website for San Diego. We just went live on Friday March 20th and are still in Beta Mode for the next few weeks.

    I would appreciate 2 things, some input on the design and functionality of the website. Also, how it looks and functions on Mobile and Tablets.

    San Diego Local Spots - Restaurants, Night Life and Events San Diego Local Spots

    I would also appreciate any ideas and or strategies to help us get business owners to upgrade from a Free Listing to Paid Listing.

    Thanks in advance my friends !!!

    James Hickey
    I think it looks great. I agree the copy is pretty bad. Just seems really unnatural and spammy. Are those really the prices you plan on using? If so I can't see how anybody would purchase it and if they did I can't imagine anybody renewing. I'd reconsider the pricing.
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  • Profile picture of the author infoseek
    Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

    Hey Warriors

    I am taking a crack at a Local Business Directory style website for San Diego. We just went live on Friday March 20th and are still in Beta Mode for the next few weeks.

    I would appreciate 2 things, some input on the design and functionality of the website. Also, how it looks and functions on Mobile and Tablets.

    San Diego Local Spots - Restaurants, Night Life and Events San Diego Local Spots

    I would also appreciate any ideas and or strategies to help us get business owners to upgrade from a Free Listing to Paid Listing.

    Thanks in advance my friends !!!

    James Hickey
    would like to connect with you - i have this one: Sabor de Miami
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    Here is a Update: We have close to 500+ Listings now and we are slowing starting to rank via SEO on some of our Keywords. Throwing a launch party and putting together a small sales team around June 15th.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Sorry guys (infoseek) , my Dad recently passed away (massive heart attack), I haven't been online much lately. Another tragedy that can be chalked up to obesity. 300 pound people do not live to be 80, I have heard it said on here. So, I wish that I could say it was a surprise, but I saw it coming. Nonetheless trying though. I have a lot going on lately, but will try to get on the WF more in coming days/weeks, and participate.
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    • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Sorry guys (infoseek) , my Dad recently passed away (massive heart attack), I haven't been online much lately. Another tragedy that can be chalked up to obesity. 300 pound people do not live to be 80, I have heard it said on here. So, I wish that I could say it was a surprise, but I saw it coming. Nonetheless trying though. I have a lot going on lately, but will try to get on the WF more in coming days/weeks, and participate.
      I'm sorry for your loss John...take care
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    Update of my Directory Site - What I learned
    My Directory site is still up and running....but I have paused working on it. With having an event page and so many businesses closing and opening, its pretty much a full time job to keep it current and useful. I also realized to get paying business owners, I am going to need either a call center or outside sales person. I am estimating paying someone $3K to $4K a month to manage/oversee this site for me. I am looking to hire that person after the holidays and really blow this thing up in 2016. I will report back in a few months.
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    • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
      Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

      Update of my Directory Site - What I learned
      My Directory site is still up and running....but I have paused working on it. With having an event page and so many businesses closing and opening, its pretty much a full time job to keep it current and useful. I also realized to get paying business owners, I am going to need either a call center or outside sales person. I am estimating paying someone $3K to $4K a month to manage/oversee this site for me. I am looking to hire that person after the holidays and really blow this thing up in 2016. I will report back in a few months.
      yep, as a consumer, i dont use those type sites much because their information never seems to be up to date or very complete. I'd emphasize the date on the site when your listings are updated so the site visitor knows its current. It would be handy if it was searchable by date. Hey, what events are going on this friday? I think there is oppty for a well managed site. Esp targeting hotel guests not familiar with town.

      What happened to Midasman??
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      • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
        We are still working on SEO....so when we start ranking on Page One Google for our Top 8-10 keywords, then its game on and bring in someone here in San Diego to update the site daily and sales team to sell listings.


        Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

        yep, as a consumer, i dont use those type sites much because their information never seems to be up to date or very complete. I'd emphasize the date on the site when your listings are updated so the site visitor knows its current. It would be handy if it was searchable by date. Hey, what events are going on this friday? I think there is oppty for a well managed site. Esp targeting hotel guests not familiar with town.

        What happened to Midasman??
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      • Profile picture of the author mojo1
        Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

        yep, as a consumer, i dont use those type sites much because their information never seems to be up to date or very complete. I'd emphasize the date on the site when your listings are updated so the site visitor knows its current. It would be handy if it was searchable by date. Hey, what events are going on this friday? I think there is oppty for a well managed site. Esp targeting hotel guests not familiar with town.

        What happened to Midasman??
        I think he may have been banned from here months ago.
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  • Profile picture of the author zoro
    I've been following this thread with interest and have some questions below:

    I have started a Local Service Business Directory targeting all cities in my country.

    Q1) Would you recommend that I pre-populate the directory with Free listings to get it started, or is it better to contact the biz owners first?

    Q2) If I was to include say, 3-5 well known brand businesses as Premium paid listings for Free, to give my site credibility (like JD suggests), should I ask them first, or should I just include them without their knowledge and follow them up later?

    Q3) To upgrade all the Free listings to Paid, I may consider hiring an outsourcer from the Philippines to call each business to offer them a special deal if they upgrade. Is there any good call script you can recommend that I can give to my outscoucer?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Here's how I would personally do it Zoro.

    1: Hire 2 low cost telemarketers from classified ads (Not foreign).

    2: Have them do the pitch for me.

    3: Transfer the closes to me.

    You can pay outsources to pitch for you... but dont ask them to close. Just hire them to run through the numbers and say your pitch to as many people as possible. They can do that like robots... but most cant go the distance and close after pitching.

    Note: I say "outsourcers" loosely. They should be your own remote telemarketers. Not from a BPO company. They should work exclusively for "You".

    MONITOR THEM. Do it on a dialer whereby you can manage their activity level... basically manage them yourself, remotely. Doesnt take 100% percent of your attention, just a glance here and there, and reloading the dialer with leads, making adjustments where necessary and making sure everyone is talking. You can see all of this on the screen, and even listen if you want.

    Telemarketers will suck if you dont manage them. That's why they aren't entrepreneurs. Keep a window open with the dialer on it, and manage them yourself. Doesnt take much effort.

    Make sure they are pitching consistently... Thats all. If they are doing that, then you will get transfers.

    At the end of their pitch, if the prospect is interested and wants to go for it, have the telemarketers say " Im not authorized to collect your billing information, I am going to go ahead and transfer you to our processing department. Please hold.", and then I would have them transfer it to me personally. I have a little live transfer closing pitch that works like a charm for a minimum of 2-3 out of five live transfers... to collect the billing information.

    If you can afford three telemarketers, then hire someone else to say your processing pitch verbatim. As long as the formula is followed, then anyone can close the desired amount of transfers. Thats not the same as one person pitching and closing.... Make it easy on your telemarketers, and you will get more out of them. If they think they dont have to close they will pitch more. After that transfer the closing pitch is only like 60 seconds... it's the easy part.

    Note: You may not want to be the person who does the closes , but thats the money, and a few closes per day adds up to alot of residual income quickly... without taking up your whole day on the phone. I would do it myself, and be the closer for awhile, personally...

    If you could do 3 closes per day for 30 days, out of 10 live transfers per day, you are adding about 100 customers per month.

    Let's say at $97.00 per month?

    Do the math

    This can be done with quiet force. What I mean by "force" is" Running the numbers consistently every day". With your remote crew.

    That takes 2 consistent part time telemarketers, a dialer, and a damn good pitch for them repeat like machines....

    Bingo... Now you can sell any kind of subscription you want to.

    Directory listings? Advertising space on a website or print rag....? This gets it done. It's just plowing through all the BS and making it happen every day with quiet force...


    As far as your other questions go?

    As many listings as you can have are great, you can always go back and upsell any of them to paid status. However if you even start with a few credible listings in each category its workable. Credibility goes a long way.

    I would definitely contact the credible listings first.... you will want their testimonial, or for them to say a good word about you in exchange.... and that will take you a long way. Asking them first kind of obliges them in a sense... because they agreed.

    However, even if you dont have the testimonial, there is a certain power to having them featured on your site anyway.... A good way to call them is to tell them you are giving them a free listing, and you want to make sure its the way they would want it before you upload it , out of courtesy, and let them have some input and take partial ownership of the creation.
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    • Profile picture of the author zoro
      Thanks John, makes a lot of sense. Your answer covers my Q3), do you have any thoughts or recommendations about my Q1), and Q2) ?
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      • Profile picture of the author John Durham
        Originally Posted by zoro View Post

        Thanks John, makes a lot of sense. Your answer covers my Q3), do you have any thoughts or recommendations about my Q1), and Q2) ?
        Edited and added those answers above. Sorry Zoro, didnt thnk you would respond so quickly. The forum runs so slow these days...

        By the way, Thank you for letting me share what I know.

        This whole subject is awesome, if a person really gets it.

        Anyone who thinks this idea is outdated and wont work is an idiot (IMO) but thats not a fact, only my opinion.

        This model is truly hundreds of years old and isnt going anywhere anytime soon...

        Businesses will always pay to be listed wherever their peers are being listed.

        "One" might not, but another one will, and there will always be that "nother one that will", everyday, as long as you have a system that is working to uncover them from the pile.

        Objector: "I would NEVER do that, only a moron would do that"...

        Me: "Okay, later on".

        Next number! That wasnt the person.

        Google doesnt list direcotry sites or respect them?

        Look up "Miami Fine Dining". That's precisely what you would search if you wanted to eat well in Miami right?

        The WHOLE first page is nothing but directories.

        Again; all the cries that this model doesnt work are hot air.

        I'm out.

        Nice to see this great thread come up again.
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        • Profile picture of the author zoro
          I'm wondering if the business owner/manger wouldn't first want to view the directory website before committing to a listing, and/or if they would they would subscribe for a paid listing if the directory was not on page one of google?

          My Directory is new and needs a lot of SEO. Perhaps I could promote it via paid advertising like Adwords, and let the biz owner know?

          Any suggestions/ideas?
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          • Profile picture of the author zoro
            Just looking for your feedback re my question.
            Anyone got any suggestions on how to start selling listings for a new Directory that's not ranking on page one yet?
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            • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
              I don't feel its really ethical to sell listings to a business owner if you aren't able to prove to them legitimate web traffic. Even if you are using Social Media and Google Adwords to drive traffic, you would need show the business owner its going to be worth it to them to be in your directory or they will just leave after a few months. You want them begging you to be in your directory.....


              Originally Posted by zoro View Post

              Just looking for your feedback re my question.
              Anyone got any suggestions on how to start selling listings for a new Directory that's not ranking on page one yet?
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              • Profile picture of the author zoro
                Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

                I don't feel its really ethical to sell listings to a business owner if you aren't able to prove to them legitimate web traffic. Even if you are using Social Media and Google Adwords to drive traffic, you would need show the business owner its going to be worth it to them to be in your directory or they will just leave after a few months. You want them begging you to be in your directory.....
                Thanks for your reply.

                So, if I was able to get their listing ranked on page one of Google for their Main Keyword, it should be worth it for them, Yes?
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                • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
                  That would be a good start. Depending on size of your city, you need to show them at least 1,000 Unique views per day. Nobody will pay on regular basis unless you get them some trackable results from their listing



                  Originally Posted by zoro View Post

                  Thanks for your reply.

                  So, if I was able to get their listing ranked on page one of Google for their Main Keyword, it should be worth it for them, Yes?
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            • Profile picture of the author ShayB
              Originally Posted by zoro View Post

              Just looking for your feedback re my question.
              Anyone got any suggestions on how to start selling listings for a new Directory that's not ranking on page one yet?
              I use a directory site in conjunction with 2 publications and other promotional opportunities.

              Even when first starting, I could still guarantee a certain amount of publicity if they advertised.

              Not the way for everyone to do it, but that's what I do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

    Hey Warriors

    I am taking a crack at a Local Business Directory style website for San Diego. We just went live on Friday March 20th and are still in Beta Mode for the next few weeks.

    I would appreciate 2 things, some input on the design and functionality of the website. Also, how it looks and functions on Mobile and Tablets.

    San Diego Local Spots - Restaurants, Night Life and Events San Diego Local Spots

    I would also appreciate any ideas and or strategies to help us get business owners to upgrade from a Free Listing to Paid Listing.

    Thanks in advance my friends !!!

    James Hickey
    That featured spots tab on the front really blares at me like a wall of text. Shorten, stick a small thumbnail on them, and introduce a "continue reading" link. JMO

    As far as getting a featured listing, I would want proof to buy into that. Something along the lines that the featured listing would somehow get me to the first page above the fold of the google search results for the intended keywords. More SEO for the money I guess - which all points back to your site anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
      Thanks Jill, we still have much work to do on this website. I should have it rocking late 2016.

      Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

      That featured spots tab on the front really blares at me like a wall of text. Shorten, stick a small thumbnail on them, and introduce a "continue reading" link. JMO

      As far as getting a featured listing, I would want proof to buy into that. Something along the lines that the featured listing would somehow get me to the first page above the fold of the google search results for the intended keywords. More SEO for the money I guess - which all points back to your site anyway.
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