Directory Sites - Still a Viable Business Model in 2011?

81 replies
On this page (link below), you will see 18 listings that come up under the broad google search phrase "little rock adoption attorneys".

This directory page is number one in the natural listings.

Now.... This ONE webpage is worth $18,000 per month to findlaw, as the average client is paying a grand or more...

Now think, they have THOUSANDS of pages, and thousands of clients paying for them.

Also, please take note: These directory listings are basic include only two meaningful features.

1: A link to the clients site
2: A link to the clients "profile".

Check out the profile pages they are selling for a grand per month.

Amazing.

No, directory sites are far from dead, and yes, people still sell one page uniform template style web pages in 2011....only now they charge $1,000 per month for them.

You see it for yourself with your own eyes. That ought to increase someones faith.

Heres the link:

North Little Rock Adoption Lawyers, Attorney, Lawyer, Attorneys, Law Firms - AR

Ps. My own attorney's office is on this page, and they get a positive ROI every month from it.
#directory #sites
  • Profile picture of the author Warrior Ben
    I agree, John, there is plenty of money in directory sites if you have the sales force to go out and get lots of clients. And obviously have the traffic going to the sites to justify it.

    FindLaw has a nice little thing going and is obviously making good money every month from it. I wonder how big of a sales team they have? I'm guessing pretty good size and probably use a call center as well. I'd be interested to know if anybody knows more specifics on them...

    -Ben
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
      Sometimes the simplest things are the best. I noticed the top 4 listings had a big red visit web site button. Are those sponsored listings and if so I wonder how much they cost?

      A grand a month for that is impressive indeed. Does anyone have the "skinny" on their sales pitch and positioning?

      Inquiring minds want to know.
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      • Profile picture of the author Christine2011
        Originally Posted by Kevin AKA Hubcap View Post

        Sometimes the simplest things are the best. I noticed the top 4 listings had a big red visit web site button. Are those sponsored listings and if so I wonder how much they cost?

        A grand a month for that is impressive indeed. Does anyone have the "skinny" on their sales pitch and positioning?

        Inquiring minds want to know.
        Thanks for this post

        Same here, asking...
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      • Profile picture of the author imtim2
        Originally Posted by Warrior Ben View Post

        I agree, John, there is plenty of money in directory sites if you have the sales force to go out and get lots of clients. And obviously have the traffic going to the sites to justify it.

        FindLaw has a nice little thing going and is obviously making good money every month from it. I wonder how big of a sales team they have? I'm guessing pretty good size and probably use a call center as well. I'd be interested to know if anybody knows more specifics on them...

        -Ben
        Originally Posted by Kevin AKA Hubcap View Post

        Sometimes the simplest things are the best. I noticed the top 4 listings had a big red visit web site button. Are those sponsored listings and if so I wonder how much they cost?

        A grand a month for that is impressive indeed. Does anyone have the "skinny" on their sales pitch and positioning?

        Inquiring minds want to know.
        So a couple of things to know about FindLaw - First they're owned by Thompson Reuters, the owners of WestLaw. For those not in the legal industry, WestLaw is one of two go-to resources for legal research. Regardless of city, state, practice and size, 98% of lawyers either subscribe to Westlaw or Lexis Nexis. That being said, the website services are not the bread and butter, they're an added service along document management, client services, office support, etc. Because Westlaw and Lexis offer monthly and quarterly trainings to that lawyers need to stay efficient on their respective research research portals, these company reps (all JDs of course and many with practice experience) can easily pitch a website or premium listing as addons and have the flexibility to discount the web services. Because they also handle client billing and document storage, they can integrate all of this into the site for the lawyers.

        That being said, I have been able to pull a few lawyers from both findlaw and lexisnexis, but it will take rapport building and giving them a high value proposition.

        Hope that helps.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Durham
          Originally Posted by imtim2 View Post

          So a couple of things to know about FindLaw - First they're owned by Thompson Reuters, the owners of WestLaw. For those not in the legal industry, WestLaw is one of two go-to resources for legal research. Regardless of city, state, practice and size, 98% of lawyers either subscribe to Westlaw or Lexis Nexis. That being said, the website services are not the bread and butter, they're an added service along document management, client services, office support, etc. Because Westlaw and Lexis offer monthly and quarterly trainings to that lawyers need to stay efficient on their respective research research portals, these company reps (all JDs of course and many with practice experience) can easily pitch a website or premium listing as addons and have the flexibility to discount the web services. Because they also handle client billing and document storage, they can integrate all of this into the site for the lawyers.

          That being said, I have been able to pull a few lawyers from both findlaw and lexisnexis, but it will take rapport building and giving them a high value proposition.

          Hope that helps.
          Good info! Killer. Now (to add to your awesome post) become a west law or lexis nexis affiliate so you can say "We are authorized affiliates with west law". That carries alot of weight in this niche. Or word it (your affiliation statement) in some crafty way that lends you the most credibility.

          Some "may" read what Im about to drive home here and say "Thats very snake oil like" , my response is "If you don't do this, your TOP competitors will".

          Utilizing every bit of credibility you can muster, and crafting your words is what "Selling" is all about, ask Dale Carnegie or anyone else "The proper turn of a single phrase can make a million dollars".

          Find a way to word your borrowed (affiliation) credibilty that serves you in the highest way. To be successful you have to use EVERYTHING YOU HAVE, otherwise everyone would be successful.

          Maybe even find law does the same thing if you read between the lines but it doesnt matter if they do or not, you still can.

          If Im an affiliate of Walmart through linkshare, then I tell offline prospects "We do marketing promotions for companies like Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Enterprize rent a car, and many others...".

          You bet. Use everything you have.

          You wouldn't think so in the online world, but in the offline world the words "authorized affiliated west law representatives..." goes a long way. The word affiliate goes right over their head.

          Major credibility points.

          Take advantage of all of your resources including borrowed credibility.

          Okay Im off the soap box now. Anyone who grabs onto this nugget will be better for it.

          My work is done here boys and girls. :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author scsheldon33
      Originally Posted by Warrior Ben View Post

      I agree, John, there is plenty of money in directory sites if you have the sales force to go out and get lots of clients. And obviously have the traffic going to the sites to justify it.

      FindLaw has a nice little thing going and is obviously making good money every month from it. I wonder how big of a sales team they have? I'm guessing pretty good size and probably use a call center as well. I'd be interested to know if anybody knows more specifics on them...

      -Ben
      Was playing around their site Lawyer, Lawyers, Attorney, Attorneys, Law, Legal Information - FindLaw as well to get more info
      about them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
    I've become a big believer in directory sites. In fact I am about to complete a turnkey direct mail system that will keep every household aware of/interacting with the community/directory site. (and as you know, advertisers will pay a pretty penny to be where the traffic is).

    The mailer itself will incorporate some very special elements. Recipients will anticipate its arrival. The directories themselves can evolve into an active and useful resource. There is very little limit to web technology.

    Saturation mail is a very difficult medium to beat. Local google ranking can't touch it, yellowpages can't, and newspapers, radio and TV will have
    To work over time to hold their ground. There simply is nothing else that reaches 100% of the population, on command, without fail, with unlimited repetition.
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    • Originally Posted by Doran Peck View Post

      I've become a big believer in directory sites. In fact I am about to complete a turnkey direct mail system that will keep every household aware of/interacting with the community/directory site. (and as you know, advertisers will pay a pretty penny to be where the traffic is).

      The mailer itself will incorporate some very special elements. Recipients will anticipate its arrival. The directories themselves can evolve into an active and useful resource. There is very little limit to web technology.

      Saturation mail is a very difficult medium to beat. Local google ranking can't touch it, yellowpages can't, and newspapers, radio and TV will have
      To work over time to hold their ground. There simply is nothing else that reaches 100% of the population, on command, without fail, with unlimited repetition.
      Is this turnkey system something you will sell to others or just having it developed for yourself?

      Liz Tomey
      Signature
      Sign up for FREE and get Killer Bonuses with the WSOs
      that you buy: http://killerwsobonus.com/WSW



      .
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  • Profile picture of the author sprks79
    Originally Posted by John Durham View Post


    No, directory sites are far from dead,

    Absolutely, 100%, without a doubt....TRUE.

    I have many local directory sites and still make the majority of my yearly through them. Its all about finding the right area and niche to do this in. Dead??? Not by a long shot.
    Signature

    PBN site builder. Expired domain scraper. Website Hoster.....Oh, and an amazing guy. :)

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

    they get a positive ROI every month from it.
    That's the key John. Doesn't matter about the competition or delivery method. You could advertise businesses on toilet paper and if a business gets an ROI greater than what they pay for the ad, they'll buy.

    Directories that deliver will never die.
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  • Profile picture of the author MrSS
    I'm in. True that a directory website is a good business (and a good website).
    Our company is a directory company, print. Pioneer in Hawaii, the Paradise Yellow Pages, now we are heading online but in Philippines. Through the words of my boss, he said this "Directory is endless business." And the major vital factor is "accuracy", accuracy of all the numbers listed and all the information you have, from typos, address to verbiage.

    The death of directory website is far cry. As of these days, people usually find information online. And being the source of good and reliable information is a good plus to your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author tonyscott
    Yep, my main directrory site is approaching its 4th birthday and going well. It was a massive amount of work for zero return at first but it has certainly paid off.

    Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author zoro
    I have Two (2) Directory Sites. One is for Restaurants the other is for Dentists. I've had them for 6 months and both are ranking #4 Google. I also show them traffic states off between 100-200 unique vistors p/mth to my directory. Whenever I approach these businesses by email or by phone, they all just want a Free Listing. There just Not interested in paying anything. Afterall, "I can get a free listing with the Yellowpages", is what some say.

    I've also advertised in the local papers for commission sales people to sell Ads for me ... I did not get one reply.
    So for me, I have not made one cent from Directory Sites, and it hasn't been so Easy .. Peasy, as some might suggest.?
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by zoro View Post

      I have Two (2) Directory Sites. One is for Restaurants the other is for Dentists. I've had them for 6 months and both are ranking #4 Google. I also show them traffic states off between 100-200 unique vistors p/mth to my directory. Whenever I approach these businesses by email or by phone, they all just want a Free Listing. There just Not interested in paying anything. Afterall, "I can get a free listing with the Yellowpages", is what some say.

      I've also advertised in the local papers for commission sales people to sell Ads for me ... I did not get one reply.

      So for me, I have not made one cent from Directory Sites, and it hasn't been so Easy .. Peasy, as some might suggest.?
      A few thoughts here for Zoro... and Im just brainstorming. I swear to you by my senior warrior status that this is not a prelaunch, just fascinating dialogue, discussing these ideas... Directory marketing has taken on a whole new meaning to me this last 3 weeks and the perfect business model is percolating here.

      A: Man if someone said "I want a free listing" I would find some way to capitalize on their "want", I would try to parlay it into a monthly recurring payment for a free designed listing and first months maintenance... or something like that.

      B: The evidence that findlaw does it, and yellow book does it, and auto trader does it indicates that you still have a good chance if you come up with the right angle because regardless of your experience thus far "They work". So its just a matter of finding your approach...I wouldnt give up on all that work just yet.

      C: The objections you mentioned could be handled in the body of the pitch before transitioning to close with statements like "Hey this is ___ I saw that you have a listing with findlaw..." so the ole "I already am part of a directory" cant be an objection, as you addressed and acknowledged the fact already right from the start, like a pre objection stopper...In fact if we could write down some objections here... We could devise ways together to pre stop them before the close, and before they have an opportunity to come up.

      Alot of sales is knowing your customers objections in advance and pre- addressing them in the pitch so they cant be objections at the end.

      This is going to be a fascinating thread I can tell. Cool that some people are sharing their experiences here.

      Obviously, to many of you, Im not new at the directory site idea... However, I had no idea you could charge this much for listings. That was an enlightenment.

      Here's another thought I had recently, you can easily find your perfect customer base by building your call lists from listings on existing directory sites themselves. Even target low competition towns since most of the major directories are national.

      Those prospects already have all the built in motivations that make someone buy a directory listing.

      Im telling you, my attorney would buy ANOTHER one..., the more the better as long as there is a positive roi.

      I think alot of the guys who are doing rent a site models right now and not having luck could turn their sites into directories, and people would be more apt to purchase or at least hear your pitch, just because of the community social aspect alone, ie; "everyone else is jumping on the premier local directory, we should too".,.

      Just an off the cuff thought. That one motivation wont close every customer for you, but it is responsible for kicking up the percentage of sales that come from people with that particular motivation. As many small things as you can do to even increase that by 5% here or 2% there adds up. The more different types of motivations your idea presents the better.

      The opposite of that is.... There is only one reason "Traffic".

      So you would have the traffic value buyers, the socially motivated buyers, the "i buy everything local" buyers... Each motivation represents a percentage of your buyers. Its not as hard to explain as "rent a site", more common to their thinking... and targets more motivations than just one (the "traffic") motivation thereby increasing your possibilities for a sales with various types of buyers.

      This idea has a ton of built in buying motivations.

      Best part, they are all PROVEN buyers if you make your list from a directory site.

      This idea is taking shape for me more and more and more... Cant wait to hear more thoughts from others.
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      • Profile picture of the author zoro
        Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

        A few thoughts here for Zoro... and Im just brainstorming. I swear to you by my senior warrior status that this is not a prelaunch, just fascinating dialogue, discussing these ideas... Directory marketing has taken on a whole new meaning to me this last 3 weeks and the perfect business model is percolating here.

        A: Man if someone said "I want a free listing" I would find some way to capitalize on their "want", I would try to parlay it into a monthly recurring payment for a free designed listing and first months maintenance... or something like that.

        B: The evidence that findlaw does it, and yellow book does it, and auto trader does it indicates that you still have a good chance if you come up with the right angle because regardless of your experience thus far "They work". So its just a matter of finding your approach...I wouldnt give up on all that work just yet.

        C: The objections you mentioned could be handled in the body of the pitch before transitioning to close with statements like "Hey this is ___ I saw that you have a listing with findlaw..." so the ole "I already am part of a directory" cant be an objection, as you addressed and acknowledged the fact already right from the start, like a pre objection stopper...In fact if we could write down some objections here... We could devise ways together to pre stop them before the close, and before they have an opportunity to come up.

        Alot of sales is knowing your customers objections in advance and pre- addressing them in the pitch so they cant be objections at the end.

        This is going to be a fascinating thread I can tell. Cool that some people are sharing their experiences here.

        Obviously, to many of you, Im not new at the directory site idea... However, I had no idea you could charge this much for listings. That was an enlightenment.

        Here's another thought I had recently, you can easily find your perfect customer base by building your call lists from listings on existing directory sites themselves. Even target low competition towns since most of the major directories are national.

        Those prospects already have all the built in motivations that make someone buy a directory listing.

        Im telling you, my attorney would buy ANOTHER one..., the more the better as long as there is a positive roi.

        I think alot of the guys who are doing rent a site models right now and not having luck could turn their sites into directories, and people would be more apt to purchase. Just an off the cuff thought.
        John, you share some great thoughts and info here ... Thanks!

        Question: Both of my directory sites are for small towns, populations of approx 100,000, hence the sites are only getting between 100 - 200 unique visitors. Do you think this is enough visitors to be attractive to perspective advertisers? I know in the end its all about ROI, but I can't prove any of that to them unless they give it a try first.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Durham
          Originally Posted by zoro View Post

          John, you share some great thoughts and info here ... Thanks!

          Question: Both of my directory sites are for small towns, populations of approx 100,000, hence the sites are only getting between 100 - 200 unique visitors. Do you think this is enough visitors to be attractive to perspective advertisers? I know in the end its all about ROI, but I can't prove any of that to them unless they give it a try first.
          Well its enough to get started selling $24 per month listings because your customers will recieve more benefits than just unique traffic from it, suich as "having a web presence" or a good back link...Even one good back link can be the one that ranks your existing site sometimes. as you know.

          Offline business owners dont know anything about the $50.00 backlink packages you can buy on internet marketing forums. So at a low price point you could still provide alot of value to them and give them an inexpensive web presence..., but I think you need alot more traffic to sell $1000 per month listings honestly...
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    • Originally Posted by zoro View Post

      I have Two (2) Directory Sites. One is for Restaurants the other is for Dentists. I've had them for 6 months and both are ranking #4 Google. I also show them traffic states off between 100-200 unique vistors p/mth to my directory. Whenever I approach these businesses by email or by phone, they all just want a Free Listing. There just Not interested in paying anything. Afterall, "I can get a free listing with the Yellowpages", is what some say.

      I've also advertised in the local papers for commission sales people to sell Ads for me ... I did not get one reply.
      So for me, I have not made one cent from Directory Sites, and it hasn't been so Easy .. Peasy, as some might suggest.?
      I'd try creative stuff to get some excitement going. Here are a few ideas off the top of my head that may spark something:

      * somehow co-promote the two directories. Dentists are always handing out toothbrushes. I already have six of those. Tell the dentist you'll provide him with discounts at local restaurants that are in your restaurant guide that he can give to patients. Then go to the restaurants and do the same thing with discount dental visits or something related.

      * come out with printed mini-guides centered around local events. Cinco de Mayo Day? You publish a one-sheet of local Mexican restaurants and hand them out around town. You might even be able to get sponsors just for your mini-guides.

      * interview local dentists about oral health care topics. Post it on your dentist guide on-line as a helpful article. Then print one-sheets and let the dentist have a copy for their customers.

      * interview the restaurant owners. How did they start? What did they learn most? What do they like most about the town? Publish that on-line on your restaurant guide and then give each owner a copy to hand out.
      Or publish half of it on the printed version and say "read the rest at our online restaurant guide."

      Constantly send press releases to local media and online press release sites as well as your own site. Try to get on local radio talking about your latest mini-guide or cool promotion. Raise your profile from a "local restaurant drectory" to "the coolest restaurant and nightlife resource." (What? OK, I am just making this up as I go haha)

      Obviously these are rough ideas. I think you need some juice. Right now their reaction when you call is "meh."

      But if you get some cool promotions going they will have more awareness when you call. They'll say "Oh yeah, you are the guys that do the Cinco de Mayo guide. I heard you on the radio talking about it" or whatever.

      Plus all these activities get you out in to the community and selling/interacting face to face which means a lot in mid-sized towns (assuming you are in town).
      Signature
      Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
      - Jack Trout
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    • Profile picture of the author infoseek
      Originally Posted by zoro View Post

      I have Two (2) Directory Sites. One is for Restaurants the other is for Dentists. I've had them for 6 months and both are ranking #4 Google. I also show them traffic states off between 100-200 unique vistors p/mth to my directory. Whenever I approach these businesses by email or by phone, they all just want a Free Listing. There just Not interested in paying anything. Afterall, "I can get a free listing with the Yellowpages", is what some say.

      I've also advertised in the local papers for commission sales people to sell Ads for me ... I did not get one reply.
      So for me, I have not made one cent from Directory Sites, and it hasn't been so Easy .. Peasy, as some might suggest.?
      can you share you site URL ?
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  • Profile picture of the author MrSS
    TPAM (To person above me) (Zoro),
    I see how frustrating that experience is, I think you just miss some important key points to convince advertisers. I would like to quote my post here from other topic:
    Originally Posted by MrSS View Post

    Not Interested: I bet you already how hint. Alright, this client is similar to “Know-It-All Ned”, they tend to know about everything. But the ultimate rebut you can say is "How could you be not interested to the things you never heard before? If you don't have time to spend for the thing that could actually benefit you business then you're losing business". Yes, this might be harsh.

    Thanks,
    MrSS
    You should also say the advantages of being online compare being just in yellow pages. Like for example:
    • 24/7 Accessibility. You can browse the internet and look for the business they want. Contrary to yellow pages, in case a household don't have that book, they wouldn't see you.
    • Wider Scope. Yes, since it was internet many people not only your country men can see your business even those who are in other country, who knows if they look your business when they get in your place (tourist perhaps). Unlike being in the yellow pages, only people having the yellow book will have access to your information.
    • Changing of information made easy. Since it was online and not printed, an advertiser can simply ask to change their information like if they have changed their phone number or a new branch was open, and you'll do it fast. Unlike in yellow book, you need to wait for more or less a year before the changes be replaced, that's a loss for your business.
    • Free listings is no guarantee. If they rely on free listings in the yellow book, only few will read and scan that book to look for product / business. What they'll notice are those big ads placed within the page they are looking at.

    That's my opinion.

    Edit:
    John Durham is pretty effective, getting some prospect advertisers from existing Directories, that's smart to find prospects.
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  • Profile picture of the author MrSS
    Do you think this is enough visitors to be attractive to perspective advertisers? I know in the end its all about ROI, but I can't prove any of that to them unless they give it a try first.
    That would be the challenging part, to explain to them how they could gain something out of web advertising. But look, just like what Mr John Durham said, you are willing to give them a web presence. Even 1% is still a chance. Also the other problem about advertisers is they tend to rely and complacent for having advertisement in the yellow book or on online. Yes, for me, it's just a win win situation. If the advertiser get more out of their investment, that is great. However, if it seems not effective in you area, at least they give it a chance.
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    To Zorros issue.
    Just throwing this out there though its not neccesarily an angle Id go for without knowing a lot more about the targetted area.
    offer listings free/subsidised to the X% of the lower end of your target market , get them results / leads/ sales, (once results are received they could then pay you retrospectively )
    issue PR about their successes (not yours)
    the bigger boys will notice their competitors (who they may have had visions of destroying/ buying out ) start to prosper more and will come knocking for some of the action,
    you offer it to them now at a far higher rate as its a well proven model

    Mike
    Signature

    Mike

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  • Profile picture of the author tonyscott
    I'd encourage anyone looking at the directory model to think long term. The real value to the directory owner is the residual income when an advertiser rebooks for the year or continues their monthly payment. The big payoff is the ultimate sale of the directory.

    That means delivering results and a positive roi as John rightly points out.

    If you can't or don't deliver, you'll suffer from the leaky bucket syndrome and that's no fun at all.

    Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author dtang4
    To respond to zoro's concerns, from my experience, you need to provide a really compelling reason why advertising on your site will give them an advantage over their competitors.

    E.g., their ad will be very prominently displayed, their ad will be above the fold, maybe even all other business listings will be hiddin


    On a related note, for those looking for a turnkey solution to launching a niche business directory, check out the link in my sig. It goes beyond just the site itself, as it also does scraping.
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    • Profile picture of the author midasman09
      Banned
      I've done "Group" advertising programs for 30yrs and one thing I learned is;
      "No One Wants to be First!"

      By that I mean, with my very first "Group" program, Placemats...I had space for 12 local businesses. I took an 8 1/2 by 14 sheet of paper... placed an ad for the restaurant in the center and 12 BLANK squares around the edges.

      The first 3 biz owners I showed my "Mock-Up" to....told me "No!"...even when I dropped my price in half!

      So....I decided to put 3 ads in from biz cards I had picked up.

      I did NOT tell my next prospects that I had placed the ads that are in the spaces now....at NO charge and...without the biz owners knowledge.

      So...when I showed my mock-up with 3 spaces filled and 9 spaces available....I THEN got Sales...at FULL Price.

      So....the Directory program is also a "Group" advertising thing and...with the "Town Mobile Site Directory" I'm putting together for my town, (mine will have only 1-Page mobile sites with Logo or Photo at Top...a paragraph of what the biz is about...a "Tap to Call" button and a Google Map at the bottom)....and I have placed THREE Mock-Up pages with 3 biz there so that the "Directory" looks like it's MOVING and people are "Jumping On Board"!

      No one wants to "get on board a Train that's just sitting at the station!"

      So....put some "Fake" Ads in there! Then...when you've got some spaces filled....go to the "Fake" ads and show them that..."You've Already Created a Space for them!"

      By this time they will SEE your other "Paid" ads and will WANT to "Get on Board" because your "Train" is moving!

      Works for me!
      Don Alm
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      • Profile picture of the author ShayB
        Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

        I've done "Group" advertising programs for 30yrs and one thing I learned is;
        "No One Wants to be First!"
        Exactly.

        Same thing with forums, programs, etc.

        If you can show other people have "taken the plunge," then it makes conversions skyrocket.
        Signature
        "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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      • Profile picture of the author zoro
        Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

        I've done "Group" advertising programs for 30yrs and one thing I learned is;
        "No One Wants to be First!"

        By that I mean, with my very first "Group" program, Placemats...I had space for 12 local businesses. I took an 8 1/2 by 14 sheet of paper... placed an ad for the restaurant in the center and 12 BLANK squares around the edges.

        The first 3 biz owners I showed my "Mock-Up" to....told me "No!"...even when I dropped my price in half!

        So....I decided to put 3 ads in from biz cards I had picked up.

        I did NOT tell my next prospects that I had placed the ads that are in the spaces now....at NO charge and...without the biz owners knowledge.

        So...when I showed my mock-up with 3 spaces filled and 9 spaces available....I THEN got Sales...at FULL Price.

        So....the Directory program is also a "Group" advertising thing and...with the "Town Mobile Site Directory" I'm putting together for my town, (mine will have only 1-Page mobile sites with Logo or Photo at Top...a paragraph of what the biz is about...a "Tap to Call" button and a Google Map at the bottom)....and I have placed THREE Mock-Up pages with 3 biz there so that the "Directory" looks like it's MOVING and people are "Jumping On Board"!

        No one wants to "get on board a Train that's just sitting at the station!"

        So....put some "Fake" Ads in there! Then...when you've got some spaces filled....go to the "Fake" ads and show them that..."You've Already Created a Space for them!"

        By this time they will SEE your other "Paid" ads and will WANT to "Get on Board" because your "Train" is moving!

        Works for me!
        Don Alm
        Thanks Don, what you say makes a lot of sense. I can tell your from your writing that you're from the old school in sales experience.
        I might try your suggestion and find a tele marketer on oDesk or somewhere else, that could sell directory listings for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by dtang4 View Post

      To respond to zoro's concerns, from my experience, you need to provide a really compelling reason why advertising on your site will give them an advantage over their competitors.

      E.g., their ad will be very prominently displayed, their ad will be above the fold, maybe even all other business listings will be hiddin


      On a related note, for those looking for a turnkey solution to launching a niche business directory, check out the link in my sig. It goes beyond just the site itself, as it also does scraping.
      Wow, I know alot of people looking for that solution you offer.

      Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

      I've done "Group" advertising programs for 30yrs and one thing I learned is;
      "No One Wants to be First!"

      By that I mean, with my very first "Group" program, Placemats...I had space for 12 local businesses. I took an 8 1/2 by 14 sheet of paper... placed an ad for the restaurant in the center and 12 BLANK squares around the edges.

      The first 3 biz owners I showed my "Mock-Up" to....told me "No!"...even when I dropped my price in half!

      So....I decided to put 3 ads in from biz cards I had picked up.

      I did NOT tell my next prospects that I had placed the ads that are in the spaces now....at NO charge and...without the biz owners knowledge.

      So...when I showed my mock-up with 3 spaces filled and 9 spaces available....I THEN got Sales...at FULL Price.

      So....the Directory program is also a "Group" advertising thing and...with the "Town Mobile Site Directory" I'm putting together for my town, (mine will have only 1-Page mobile sites with Logo or Photo at Top...a paragraph of what the biz is about...a "Tap to Call" button and a Google Map at the bottom)....and I have placed THREE Mock-Up pages with 3 biz there so that the "Directory" looks like it's MOVING and people are "Jumping On Board"!

      No one wants to "get on board a Train that's just sitting at the station!"

      So....put some "Fake" Ads in there! Then...when you've got some spaces filled....go to the "Fake" ads and show them that..."You've Already Created a Space for them!"

      By this time they will SEE your other "Paid" ads and will WANT to "Get on Board" because your "Train" is moving!

      Works for me!
      Don Alm
      This is Golden!! Absolutely. I recommend filling your site with free corporate listing...because corporations arent going to pay anyway, but when you market to fast food, and you have McDonalds and Burger King (Dang Typos) on your site, even though they are free mock ups... it causes the other business owners to see a chance at playing on an equal field with the big boys.

      Good thoughts!
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  • Profile picture of the author 242Studios.com
    Hi John,

    I've purchased just about all of your books now and I'm a huge fan. I'm curious as to what approach you might use in cold calling businesses to sell them the directory site listing. I'm assuming you would use a slightly different calling script than the one you supplied in the Bower Formula book?

    -=Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Not really. Why change what works?

      The bower script is based on literally 10's of thousands of successful closes...

      I would use my own words and be more off the cuff because I have learned it well enough to kind of "own it", but at first it seemed just as odd to me as it probably does to you, and clunky and cumbersome...

      It takes awhile to see why its written the way it is and understand how to use all the nuances, but theres only one way top get there...thats by clunking along and trusting the system until you start seeing why it makes sense. The difference between us and the 18 year old TM, is that he HAS to keep doing it word for word until he starts getting it... he has no choice but to repeat it verbatim til he owns it or he will lose his job.

      To answer you question though...

      Yeah I'd use my own words, tweak it to my offer, but the outline of the bower script is designed to lead a person to the logical conclusion of a close.

      You have to practice it alot, just like the cubicle guy. The bower script is what I used to personally close 5 people per DAY, until I got promoted to GM.

      Change the greeting, tweak it to your offer...but the path to a close is there if you don't stray from the basic outline... tweak the questions to fit your style...
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      • Profile picture of the author 242Studios.com
        Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

        Not really. Why change what works?

        The bower script is based on literally 10's of thousands of successful closes...

        I would use my own words and be more off the cuff because I have learned it well enough to kind of "own it", but at first it seemed just as odd to me as it probably does to you, and clunky and cumbersome...

        It takes awhile to see why its written the way it is and understand how to use all the nuances, but theres only one way top get there...thats by clunking along and trusting the system until you start seeing why it makes sense. The difference between us and the 18 year old TM, is that he HAS to keep doing it word for word until he starts getting it... he has no choice but to repeat it verbatim til he owns it or he will lose his job.

        To answer you question though...

        Yeah I'd use my own words, tweak it to my offer, but the outline of the bower script is designed to lead a person to the logical conclusion of a close.

        You have to practice it alot, just like the cubicle guy. The bower script is what I used to personally close 5 people per DAY, until I got promoted to GM.

        Change the greeting, tweak it to your offer...but the path to a close is there if you don't stray from the basic outline... tweak the questions to fit your style...
        So do you think the same pitch would work for a much higher monthly fee? In the Bower method we were talking about $24.99. However, if I have a real estate company directory, I'd want to charge $400 per month per client due to the competition of the keywords. Would the pitch work for that you think? For the directory site model, I'm guessing we'd take out the questions about what colors they'd like us to use and the concept of us giving them the "website" if they want to host with someone else?
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        • Profile picture of the author John Durham
          Originally Posted by 242Studios.com View Post

          So do you think the same pitch would work for a much higher monthly fee? In the Bower method we were talking about $24.99. However, if I have a real estate company directory, I'd want to charge $400 per month per client due to the competition of the keywords. Would the pitch work for that you think? For the directory site model, I'm guessing we'd take out the questions about what colors they'd like us to use and the concept of us giving them the "website" if they want to host with someone else?

          Good question, No I dont think it will close a four hundred dollar per month client on a one call close... unless its a TO or a call in... Also, you should fashion the questions to your offer, its more the understanding of the function of the questions than the actual precise phrasing ...

          With a "fax/callback/close" strategy it would work to phone close within two or 3 calls (once you have em on the line and are closing in on it) ...Just like any local newspaper makes it work... Like below:

          At the end you may say "Okay Bob, well here is what I think I can do for you....(explain your price with justifications) and say (Assume) , Im going to go ahead and fax over some documents for you to look over, to make sure you agree on everything...once you have a chance to read them either give me a call back or better yet, or I will call you back this afternoon to answer any questions and we will go ahead and get started, fair enogh? (That was a tie down).

          Fax him the contracts or agreement or whatever, and call him back an hour later and ask if he has any questions.

          If not, "Oh okay Im going to go ahead and send this off to our webdesigner to get the project started then...Now as far as billing goes we handle all of that electronically through visa mastercard or AmEx... Which one of those is gonna work best for you today?

          Okay, you got that in front of you? Great,

          and you said Visa?

          Great Whats the name on the card?

          Good deal and I will need you to call of the sixteen digit code on the front of the card for me please... awesome , and the expiration date?

          Great let me read that back to you to make sure Im correct (Of if you feel brave make them re read it) , alright and Bob, what was the 3 digit code on the back of the card...

          Awesome...


          Proceed to close up the call... the standard "Bower pitch" way, only tweak it to your circumstance.

          Hope this helps.

          Ps. A seasoned pro can make anything work, and even maybe do a one call close on a $400 per month deal..., but if you arent seasoned it may take a few calls to close a prospect, and alot of practice in between.

          Think of stockbrokers and insurance companies...merchant companies...People phone close all the time, its not jumping tall buildings in a single bound exactly...although it feels like you are superman when you nail one down and get to "scratch the pad" with some business!

          There are other angles, as they cross my mind I will come drop them here.
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          • I am actually thinking about getting into but to be honest with you guys i just thought it was dead.

            But obviously you guys are proving that wrong.

            How long do you think it will take to get a customer?
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            • Profile picture of the author ivanela33
              I think you just have to offer a different perspective that will have a "wow" effect with your clients. For example, I'm surprised that these type of video business directory sites haven't really been exploited.

              www. videosomething.com
              www.whatshotsouthjersey.com

              Imagine who wouldn't want to have a video commercial portraying their business.... You can let your imagination go wild with this and command a nice hefty monthly premium.
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    • Profile picture of the author breathclean
      I have been working on ranking a small handful of local sites and initially went with plural names (ie-somethingsINsomewhere.com). i was originally following a business model where i would lease adspace exclusively to one client.

      The idea of breaking it up sounds more and more appealing. for one, there is potential to bring in more money. for two, it seems like an easier sell in the sense that I could afford to let each slot go for less.

      third, it seems like a more sound long term plan in the sense that you are sort of an authority resource of sorts instead of just displaying the ad whoever you land as a client for kewords like "best ......" "top......" , etc.

      downside--> having to land, contract, invoice, answer to that many more clients.

      for those who have succeeded, seeing as how keyword research for local words sucks, what trends have you found that are in fact delivering traffic. like does it tend to be

      industry/service + city
      or
      city + industry/service
      or
      industry/service "in" city

      ? plural or singular? i know that results will be all over the place because all of these terms are being searched but is there any definite trend?
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      • Profile picture of the author LynnM
        I live in a fairly rural area, and most of the nearby towns are very small (mine has less than 4000 inhabitants). Recently I was searching online for a specific service locally, and it was almost impossible to find one, mainly because of the proliferation of directories such as Thomson local and Yell, most of which had inaccurate and out-of-date information.

        I thought then that offering a place in a dedicated small-town directory might be appealing to local businesses. It would have up-to-date listings, be prominent in the search engines, and possibly have a blog section to which local business news, offers etc. could be added (for a fee). It would be a place where local people looking for a local service could be sure of actually finding one easily.

        Going to suggest it at the next (and my first) local business association meeting and see what happens.
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        • Profile picture of the author breathclean
          if you could get some type of associate or network to fund it or pool funds and pay you that would be awesome. i was going to say that you could pick a handful (5-10?) industries/services and have one domain and different pages with the targeted keyword in the url/tags/etc then backlink for those keywords and essential get more mileage out of one site for these varying industries around your small town/towns. sounds very! easy to rank for
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  • Profile picture of the author atrbiz
    Hey Guys,

    Just thought I'd chime in.......I've been working with Dentists for the last few years now and have several dental clients that we do web design/seo work for.

    I basically sell them on either web design and seo or just seo (if they already have a site) plus social media marketing, sms marketing, etc, etc. AND as a bonus for being an SEO client they also get listed in my dental directory (which is slowing ranking higher in G)100% free. I just started testing this out the last few months and it's actually working, I'm able to sell more SEO services to Dentists since I can pitch the free added bonus of being listed in a dental directory which is also going to rank high in G.

    Good luck,
    Ahmad
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeannie Crabtree
    Good information here. One of my questions has been how much to charge for these different directories. I was thinking of the number of visitors as how much lead value they might have and then charging a portion of that for a listing, as one has a number of people the leads are being shared with.

    I have a directory for apartments and property managers to list their business and people can click through to their listings on their site.

    If someone actually rents once they look the place over, it could be around $75 to me if I had the licensure to deal with real estate listings. So that is the value of a renter, leads sell for about $10 to $15 each.

    The directory is listed at #5 for gooogle, yahoo and bing. I have started to do the mock up with a couple businesses and sent over about 35 people between two listings to look at what rentals the two property manager sites offers.

    I am starting to make calls and got a no from one I had sent about 15 people to his website. Then I got the flu and lost my voice, it is better now. And that is where it stands. I need to decide how much to charge and polish my sales talk.

    Jeannie
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Jeannie, most apartment complexes have a deal where you can make anywhere from $200-$500.00 for referring a customer. I would ask the apartment complexes what they pay for referrals and base my price on that. Find some good ones. Thats a great idea!~

      Also you might focus on different (niche) areas, like linking up people with bad credit, to apartments that specialize in that... Many times conversions are low because the apartments qualification process is too hard on those with rough credit, who will probably be a large percentage the ones seeking assistance on getting an apartment, because they are having trouble...

      Some are managed by major corporations, it would be cool to find some that are independently managed because they can work with your prospects more and it might increase conversions.

      Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author tall guy
    I have been working a local business directory for my town, but have not found a plugin that really works.
    Any ideas about what to use?? does not have to be free. But must work and have a support system.
    Thanks,
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  • Profile picture of the author Ant Marshall
    Hi John,

    I admire you immensely. But I have different views on this.

    Whilst a directory site may still be generating revenue, it certainly isn't going to prepare you for the future. Marketing is shifting rapidly to social media.

    There is no interaction with a directory site and people have come to terms that with everything they see these days they are able to find a review for somewhere online. If a business isn't using social media, they are falling behind every single second.

    The way Facebook is changing now is going to change the way we interact with the world. I'd even go as far to say that websites won't even EXIST in 10 years. (Remember I said that in 10 years.) People want interaction. They want to 'like' something and touch it. Facebook actually creates a page for your business without you even having to now.

    With the new apps coming out for Facebook along with the new 'Timeline', this whole FindLaw business model could be replicated with an app. If FindLaw don't pick up on this, I'm afraid they will fall behind too.

    So whilst directory sites may still be making some people money, they won't last much longer. They are too generic now and old news. It's time to shift gears to keep up with the future.
    Signature

    If you haven't made money online yet then just send me a PM and let's see what we can do together.

    Did my post help? Click thanks! ->

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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      No prob Anthony... Much love.

      All I know is that my attorney is investing 1k in his directory site listing...and he is profiting 5k and more per month from it... Without any social media that I know of ...

      I think just because one thing comes in, that doesnt mean everything else goes out.

      To a guy like my lawyer...it isnt either/or...its more "lets create as many streams like this as we can".

      Facebook has been around for just a few years, and maybe for many more...But YP has been around for 100 years... it has seen all kinds of forms of other things that threaten it come and go...and it still rocks.

      I think Facebook can add to that, but the visitors gotten through a directory site which is designed for people who are searching for something specific like that would have to be more targeted... I would think.

      My thought on this is "Dont throw the baby out with the bath water", directory sites are just now beginning to show their potential in my opinion, after having seen alot come and go in the last 15 years concerning offline marketing.... I think they are the best model personally, because you only have to rank one site, and you can host 1000 clients on it.

      Spend a few hundred with Matt Laclear and you got yourself a top ranking site thats a viable thing to sell listings from, to biz owners.
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      • Profile picture of the author dtaylor
        To jumpstart your directory, you could approach a local school or other organization about fundraising.

        The companies that are participating in the fundraising would gladly pay to have a few thousand people come to their website. The first one or two you may have to put up for free but after you show the traffic stats they would be begging for their space.

        I have not finished mine yet, but here are a couple of ideas I was toying with:

        Have the students sell cards with the businesses listed on them for $10.00 each. You provide the cards so it is all profit to them. The client goes to the website and finds coupons or other specials applicable to the fundraiser.

        OR... have the students pass out cards with the website on. Each time someone buys thru the website or from a coupon, the school gets $1.00 (or some amount)

        Or...the website visitor donates $10.00 online (goes directly to the school, don't handle their money, ever) and gets access to all the goodies for one year.

        Most fund-raisers are limited primarily to food items, with this model there is really no limit to the type of business that could participate.

        Like I said, I have not fleshed this out yet but there is a LOT of money to be made with this idea.

        Thanks for a great thread John.

        DTaylor
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        • Profile picture of the author midasman09
          Banned
          Go where the Money is!

          The "Assisted Living" homes make HUGE PROFITS and....there's Good Competition in each area.

          So....set up an "Assisted Living DIRECTORY" for your town (or any town) Give a FREE Listing to every facility and....offer "Logo Ads at the TOP" for $300/mo!

          I know one guy who has 83 Assisted Living facilities paying him (one man).....$300/mo to have an AD in his "Assisted Living DIRECTORY" for his town and surrounding towns.

          83 x $300 = $24,900 A MONTH! Well worth checking into.

          Don Alm

          Then....make a Video for them using PhotoStory3 or Windows Movie Maker and charge $2,500 initially and an extra $200/mo
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          • Profile picture of the author kosmo101
            Anyone have an example of a directory that would work for the idea below?

            **************************

            =midasman09;4823562]Go where the Money is!

            The "Assisted Living" homes make HUGE PROFITS and....there's Good Competition in each area.

            So....set up an "Assisted w..?


            Living DIRECTORY
            " for your town (or any town) Give a FREE Listing to every facility and....offer "Logo Ads at the TOP" for $300/mo!

            I know one guy who has 83 Assisted Living facilities paying him (one man).....$300/mo to have an AD in his "Assisted Living DIRECTORY" for his town and surrounding towns.

            83 x $300 = $24,900 A MONTH! Well worth checking into.

            Don Alm

            Then....make a Video for them using PhotoStory3 or Windows Movie Maker and charge $2,500 initially and an extra $200/mo[/QUOTE]
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            • Profile picture of the author dvduval
              Originally Posted by kosmo101 View Post

              Anyone have an example of a directory that would work for the idea below?

              **************************

              =midasman09;4823562]Go where the Money is!

              The "Assisted Living" homes make HUGE PROFITS and....there's Good Competition in each area.

              So....set up an "Assisted w..?


              Living DIRECTORY
              " for your town (or any town) Give a FREE Listing to every facility and....offer "Logo Ads at the TOP" for $300/mo!

              I know one guy who has 83 Assisted Living facilities paying him (one man).....$300/mo to have an AD in his "Assisted Living DIRECTORY" for his town and surrounding towns.

              83 x $300 = $24,900 A MONTH! Well worth checking into.

              Don Alm

              Then....make a Video for them using PhotoStory3 or Windows Movie Maker and charge $2,500 initially and an extra $200/mo
              [/QUOTE]

              I think the key is setting up a program that includes talking to real people in the industry, and actually developing a relationship built on trust. It's great they would pay $300/month, but the main reason they would do that is because they are making that much because of your directory.

              Obviously, just one referral to an assisted living facility would more than pay for their ad, but you need to not only earn the confidence of one advertiser, but you also need to develop a reason that many would believe in what you do with your directory.

              A great way to start is to actually talk with some of the people at these facilities and learn more about their business. Immerse yourself in what makes them tick. Find our how they are getting their clients, and then go down the road to another one and do the same thing. You'll find different facilities use different methods of marketing. Then find some things you can offer to all facilities through your site.
              Signature
              It is okay to contact me! I have been developing software since 1999, creating many popular products like phpLD.
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    • Profile picture of the author SendCards
      Originally Posted by Anthony Marshall View Post

      With the new apps coming out for Facebook along with the new 'Timeline', this whole FindLaw business model could be replicated with an app. If FindLaw don't pick up on this, I'm afraid they will fall behind too.

      So whilst directory sites may still be making some people money, they won't last much longer. They are too generic now and old news. It's time to shift gears to keep up with the future.
      Each model is still going to need a database and as an example FindLaw can easily and quickly repurpose their current database vs. the new guy that just releases an app that offers the same service and has to build the database from scratch.

      Anyone currently building and running a directory will also be able to repurpose heir web based databases for an app delivered by smartphone. I think most IM folks will already have that jump on their radar.

      Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author I.M.Retired
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author midasman09
      Banned
      With the "Directories" I've done (my first being, Listing Businesses by Alphabetical Categories, in 2 Columns, on front and back of a Phone Book Cover)....I found that to get Top Dollar for my Listings....I had to provide "Exclusivity".

      One business per Category. With that, I was able to get 80 Listings for $495 a Year....in 6 Small Towns (Glenwood Springs, CO pop 7,000, etc)

      When businesses saw they could be the ONLY one in a Category....they BOUGHT!...and Bought Fast!

      And....by applying the same exclusiveness to OnLine Directories....biz owners PAY for the exclusivity.

      Don Alm
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      • Profile picture of the author indata7800
        Does anyone have a wso or a guide on how to start one of these?

        thanks.
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        • Profile picture of the author NikkiBlue
          Originally Posted by indata7800 View Post

          Does anyone have a wso or a guide on how to start one of these?

          thanks.
          This thread is probably just as good as any WSO on the topic. The WSO Alton mentioned (above) looks pretty good and I will be trying it out for small niche directories.

          I currently use PHPLD which is the BEST in my opinion. The script isnt perfect but its way ahead of the other directories out now. My main page category pages have Pagerank which was hard for me to achieve with other scripts. Also - I have sites linking back to my directory just because Im using the script.

          Ive launched about 5 directories in the past, unfortunately I let the 4 niche directories go because I didnt want to put the required work in to make them successful. The general free directory I kept, is doing well but doesnt make much money because all of the traffic is from webmasters looking for easy backlinks.
          Niche Directories are the way to go if you want to make good $$$!

          Also, if you plan on building a large directory , check out Dan's directory list/tips/tools here: Free Directory List - SEO Friendly - Info Vilesilencer
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        • Profile picture of the author LynnM
          Originally Posted by indata7800 View Post

          Does anyone have a wso or a guide on how to start one of these?

          thanks.
          There's one in the War Room you might find useful:

          http://www.warriorforum.com/war-room...ay-rights.html
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        • Profile picture of the author midasman09
          Banned
          Great thread here. I just popped in again and would like to add something.


          In towns of 20,000 to 100,000 pop....setting up a "Lawyer Directory" is worth doing (Go for the professions with the BIG Bux per each client)

          However....when a buddy gave it a try he fell flat on his Fisterous! His lawyer prospects didn't feel there was enough "traffic" to justify paying a monthly fee to be IN it.

          So....I told him to
          1) Get a Domain that has LOTS of hits (LawyersIn"YourTown".com)(AttorneysIn"YourTown".com) (check the Google Adwords Tool) and....much to his surprise....it was open

          2) Rather than just list Law Firms on a first come, first serve basis...and "stack them up like cordwood....... create SEPARATE "Law Practice" categories;

          Accidents
          Adoption
          Appeals
          Bankruptcy
          Business, Corporation & Partnership
          Collections
          Construction
          Contracts
          Criminal Law
          Divorce
          Driving (DUI-DWI)
          Elder Law
          Employment - Labor
          Family Law
          Insurance
          Juvenile
          Land Use & Zoning
          Personal Injury
          Property Damage
          Social Security
          Taxes
          Trials
          Wills - Estate Planning & Probate
          Worker's Comp
          Wrongful Death

          Now...here's the "Kicker"; Offer EXCLUSIVES in Each Category!

          Granted....in small towns many lawyers cover many Categories...however, decide on a Price per Listing (similar to how Findlaw does it)....then offer a 2nd Category at half the fee of the first.

          My Golly...Miss Molly....there's 25 Categories a Law Firm can be listed in!

          What if....in your small town...instead of getting $1,000 per Law Firm, you charge $100 per Exclusive Category.

          $100 a Month from 25 Categories? You kiddin' me? That's $2500 Monthly for doing nothing but doing some backlinking once in a while. Heck! In my local Phone Book there's over 60 Law Firms listed....in an area of about 40,000pop.

          Again...rather than just offering a "Listing" in your Directory....offer an "EXCLUSIVE" Listing in their Category.

          Plus....charge $100 set up and 3 months "Trial" in advance ($300)...so you collect $400 initially. Then...when renewal time comes around in 3 months, you can raise the monthly!

          Any Hoo....most of my Advertising Projects, in small towns, had to do with "Limited Numbers of Participants" (As the above is. ONE in each Category!) When prospects realize THEY...can be the ONLY Law Firm in a Category...now the Directory becomes more Valuable...to them!

          So....have a Great 2012 and.....the OREGON DUCKS WON THE ROSE BOWL! Yea! Go Ducks!

          Don Alm in "Ducksville, Oregon" getting ready for the BIG Winner's Parade this weekend.
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          • Profile picture of the author midasman09
            Banned
            What about the following;

            Ex: Rockford, IL is a town of about 150,000 pop

            Find a good Keyword in G Adwords Tool - dentist in rockford il (1,600) or rockford dentist (2400)

            Now...there's 2 ways to go;

            1) Whenever anyone types in "dentist in rockford il"....Re-Direct to the Main Site of a participating dentist

            2) Make a 1 page site with "Thumbnail Photos of 4 dentists stacked with a "Rotation" Java Script that rotates the Photos with each new person entering so each dentist gets equal exposure. Clicking any Thumbnail connects to the dentist's regular site

            Now....for an "exposure" of 2,400 monthly.....in #1) going to ONE dentist and #2) 2,400 monthly divided between 4 dentists....WHAT would be a price to charge for either #1 or #2?

            Thanks,
            Don Alm
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      • Profile picture of the author DJVan
        Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

        With the "Directories" I've done (my first being, Listing Businesses by Alphabetical Categories, in 2 Columns, on front and back of a Phone Book Cover)....I found that to get Top Dollar for my Listings....I had to provide "Exclusivity".

        One business per Category. With that, I was able to get 80 Listings for $495 a Year....in 6 Small Towns (Glenwood Springs, CO pop 7,000, etc)

        When businesses saw they could be the ONLY one in a Category....they BOUGHT!...and Bought Fast!

        And....by applying the same exclusiveness to OnLine Directories....biz owners PAY for the exclusivity.

        Don Alm
        What about a best of directory with your paying advertisers listed as the best of your town?
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  • Profile picture of the author HypeText
    Directory Sites are a simple implementation of what is known as "Cooperative Marketing & Advertising".

    The concept is simple, lower Customer Acquisition Costs by sharing the expense among a number of advertisers.

    The concept will never die....it's been a mainstay for years and will continue to thrive...
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  • Profile picture of the author swilliams09
    I bought a domain name for a future restaurant directory but I still haven't figured out how to monetize it yet. Good posts all around, lots of things to think about.

    - I like the idea of a video directory being that video marketing is my thing. The listing could be free, I could charge for the video production and hosting.
    - I like the direct mail approach, A directory + direct mail with the back side full of coupons/ads could generate revenue
    - I like the concept of charging for a top banner
    - I had the concept of giving the listings away for free but to be featured on the front page would cost. To be featured in a category would cost.

    Some random brainstorming ideas off the top of my head.

    Maybe do a directory gift card. Businesses opt in to be on the card. Will business pay to be on a card? I dunno. Someone wiser than me will have to speak up on that.

    Speaking social media - Set up a facebook fan page for the directory, offer ad space on the facebook page. Offer featured monthly posting for a fee.

    Create videos promoting the directory, offer a featured spot for a company (basically a commercial for them) and end it with find this business and many more in "local area" at "mydirectory.com" Promote it online, in your social media and if you have the budget on television.

    This is just off the top of my head, all of those could be horribly wrong....if anyone has experience running those sort of campaigns let me know what you think.
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  • Profile picture of the author Megyn
    Banned
    Largely overwhelmed but in these niches:
    Property Damage
    Social Security
    Taxes
    Trials

    I suspect value still exists.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbishop
    I have been looking into building directories for some time. This is a great thread with alot of usfull information.

    I bought a directory script and start working with it, but then I fell in love with wordpress. I bought the wp-localplus WSO mentioned above. I just went live with the directory, but I am still trying to decide which direction to go with it.

    Thanks for all the input!
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    • Profile picture of the author Yogini
      I'm working on my local site (which is for a town rather than an industry). My thought is to have free listings and then have one paid one per category. I also plan to use the blog to interview local merchants and have posts/videos of some of the nature spots in the area. Hopefully, this can also grow into offline private projects. I'm eager to see how this thread develops.

      Debbie
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      • Profile picture of the author DJVan
        Originally Posted by Yogini View Post

        I'm working on my local site (which is for a town rather than an industry). My thought is to have free listings and then have one paid one per category. I also plan to use the blog to interview local merchants and have posts/videos of some of the nature spots in the area. Hopefully, this can also grow into offline private projects. I'm eager to see how this thread develops.

        Debbie
        Sounds like a good plan!
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  • Profile picture of the author amarketing
    John, what advice could you offer about recruiting salespeople for this type of business model. Once you got the directory set up, you could conceivably market across the nation and be like one of the "master directory" (find law, etc.). You could charge a lower monthly price, but make it up on volume. In order to really catapult this model, yo would probably want to hire a sales force to build up your clientele quickly.

    Thanks for any advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author GerryMedia
    Directory sites are here to stay.

    Good for getting new contacts with website owners
    Good for promoting offers targeting website owners
    Good for backlinking
    Low maintenance

    You can flip them for profit.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    The most successful people that cross my radar (we sell the leading directory script) are the ones who actually have a plan that is well developed, and are in some way marketing in a different way or offering value not found elsewhere. Often they are doing something in a niche. I do believe "old" way of just putting up a script, announcing the directory, and waiting for people to pay for listings is less viable now. However, even in that model you see people that have high pagerank sites getting a ton of listings sold.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes new directory owners make is they don't have a plan. It really helps to talk to people, and study others. The business is always changing, but there are always new ways of making money if you look.
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  • Profile picture of the author bryson
    How about scrape all the business in the niche and populate your dir, then start calling each one

    Idea #1 You could give the spots way free and set up a pay-per-click for an active link

    Idea #2 Set it up as a bidding system for position on the page - ppc or mo fee, then add exclusive front page placement on a monthly fee and rotate the adds in each spot you set up, say 3 for each.

    Idea# 3 Set it up as a pay per call, they will only pay for actual leads that call them
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    • Profile picture of the author dvduval
      Originally Posted by bryson View Post

      How about scrape all the business in the niche and populate your dir, then start calling each one

      Idea #1 You could give the spots way free and set up a pay-per-click for an active link

      Idea #2 Set it up as a bidding system for position on the page - ppc or mo fee, then add exclusive front page placement on a monthly fee and rotate the adds in each spot you set up, say 3 for each.

      Idea# 3 Set it up as a pay per call, they will only pay for actual leads that call them
      Yes, scraping is a pretty common practice. We even have a spider that will run and grab enough to create a directory. Then there is a "Claim Listing" link where people can pay to upgrade, or similar.

      Ad spots work great for directories that are receiving more traffic. Bidding directories had sort of "craze" around 2008 but I have not seen any recent directories that were successful using this model.

      Pay per call I have not seen yet, but I think that is a great idea assuming there is a good way to implement it. On a larger scale, certainly sites like apartments.com already do this.

      Great ideas!
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  • Profile picture of the author jefffffffrey91
    Can anyone refer me to a list for legitimate free online site submission directories? Preferably, cell phone and technology related. Here's a list of good ones I've come across (meaning they're actually free and spam free):

    Top Online Shopping
    ShoppingAide
    TXT Links
    REMlinks
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinG30
    Great information. My question though is with google places do to think this still works? Is it even possible to rank above the google places listings? If someone googled lawyer+city then would they be pulled up in top 7 already? I love the idea jus wondering of its still possible because of google places.
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  • Profile picture of the author IMBXBomber
    Very viable. I make double digit figures per month from my directory sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinG30
    Are you competing against Google places at all or are you targeting keywords that dont have GP listings?
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinG30
    I have a question about ranking a directory site for keywords. Say for instance you build a directory site for Lawyers in a state. Say the state has like 50 cities with good population you want to target. Would you just create a page for each city on the site and just do that for seo with typical backlinking? Or is their a better way to do this?
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    • Profile picture of the author dvduval
      Originally Posted by JustinG30 View Post

      I have a question about ranking a directory site for keywords. Say for instance you build a directory site for Lawyers in a state. Say the state has like 50 cities with good population you want to target. Would you just create a page for each city on the site and just do that for seo with typical backlinking? Or is their a better way to do this?
      I would say this is a good strategy to start out for sure. As you develop the model you'll surely want to make the site more interactive and welcoming. For example, you'll probably want to add one or more images for each lawyer listing to give it some personality and improve click through rate. You may find some of the firms have videos or twitter feeds too. That way potential clients will have a better chance of learning more about the lawyers, and actually move to the next step of contacting the lawyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author pizzatherapy
    Great topic.

    John you are KILLING me:

    If Im an affiliate of Walmart through linkshare, then I tell offline prospects "We do marketing promotions for companies like Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Enterprize rent a car, and many others...".
    What a great testimonial and credibility!

    Of course I do marketing promotions for all of the sites you mentioned and more!
    It is all how you frame things I guess. Because what you are saying is true!
    I will put that on my own websites where I offer video services and website creation.

    I have started 3 local directories.

    I have put my directories on Word Press Blogs.

    My question: what software are you using. Are you manually putting in each listing or is being generated automatically. Are you putting each business in by hand?

    Sounds like some of the directories are charging a flat fee to get listed. I would think you could charge much more for a top listing.

    Do you have any other software you recommend for you listing?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rambo007
    Hi guys,

    Anyone else have any thoughts on selling categories exclusively? Sounds like a good idea but no one has responded much to the post at the top.
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  • Profile picture of the author Leshok
    I really want to start a directory for my small town in Ohio. Would you suggest a directory of many businesses ie. restaurants, Lawyers, shops or should I focus on one category?
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  • Profile picture of the author Leshok
    Sorry, double post.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojo1
    I have a state + attorney based site that ranks on number 1 and 2 for "best keyword attorney" without the quotes.

    Although this keyword phrase only receive a handful of searches per month, the site overall gets 50-100 searches per month. This was a test for the rent a site model but after reading this post, I'll retool it into a directory type site.

    Thanks John for starting this thread as it's certainly given me a better and more robust site model to consider.
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