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Build a Local Directory for Lead Generation
Recently I've been setting up local directories to help bring businesses together. It's not very difficult to do if you have basic Wordpress skills and can edit the designs quickly, so I would highly recommend trying this out for a few towns in your area if you have any digital service like SEO, Web Design, Logo Design, Programming, etc. because you can later pitch your services, or they will likely contact you when they see who developed the directory.
Now, you'll want this to be a working directory, not just something a person lists their website or business on and that's it. You'll want to build a sort of community that revolves around the directory and brings people together. Remember, companies get superpowers when they work with other businesses in the area, so put them all in one place and get them talking!
SEO, Design, and Programming Aren't Easy To Sell
If you've ever been on the phone with someone and talking about SEO, you'll quickly realize how many people have no clue what it is and why they need it. It's much more challenging to sell SEO than it is web design or a logo design because people already know what those are and what they're going to get in return.
Cold selling something isn't easy at all because you're talking to someone that doesn't know what you do, doesn't think they need your services and didn't contact you about getting more information. So why would they ever purchase from you?
The beauty of this directory setup is that you can put yourself in front of all the businesses in your area and talk to them over time. You can eventually pitch your services to them after you've engaged with them multiple times, and now you're not cold selling to them! Warm them up a bit before you talk business, help them with some problems they are having, and they will likely work with you when they need something.
Easier To Pitch A $3 Listing Than A $500+ Service
Talking to a business owner and saying, "We can get more traffic to your business for just $20" seems too good to be true. When you're talking to these business owners, you will always want to add in your traffic stats, something that will get them to convert, and they will gladly sign up for that $20 a year listing fee.
Think about it, if you were to get 1,000 businesses in your town to sign up that would be $20,000 in your pocket for just letting them add their business information to your website. Now, you may not have 1,000 businesses in your town, but you can always start fresh in a neighboring city and repeat the process until you have 20,000 sign ups
Set Up Payment Plans
What I like to do is offer people a one-time yearly fee of $20 or let them sign up for a monthly subscription of $3 a month. A lot of people will opt for the $3 a month subscription to see how well your website/directory helps them out, but the majority of them will forget to unsubscribe, so you're still going to make a decent amount off of them in the long run.
When people start to love your directory, they will gladly opt for the $20 a year subscription because it will save them a few bucks and they will not have to worry about their listing getting removed for the next 365 days since their subscription will be active.
Yes, you need to remove the listings that aren't paying you a subscription fee because it won't be fair to keep them around when other people are paying to list their businesses.
Set a "Lifetime Listing" price
The price of this lifetime listing will vary based on how much you're charging for an annual listing. My annual listings are for $20, and my lifetime listings are for $100 because I multiply the yearly price by five. Most businesses can swing an extra $100 to get their website listed on your directory forever, but most will opt for the $3 a month or $20 a year listing, so don't push this too much. Make sure it's a visible option for people to sign up with, but don't make it seem like you're pushing people towards this because they will get annoyed rather quickly and unsubscribe from your services.
Start Generating Traffic
You'll need to generate traffic before pitching to businesses about how they should sign up for your directory. If you don't have any traffic, then why would someone pay you to put their business on your website if you provide absolutely no value?
An easy way to boost your traffic right away is to set up a Facebook ad and start running super-targeted ads. What should you advertise? Well, I'm sure you've listed your own business on your directory. So start promoting your business listing in a facebook ad and show other business owners what they could be doing.
In your ad, you will need to talk as if you do not own the business you're mentioning. People need to see you as advertising a company that paid the $3 a month, $20 a year, or $ 100-lifetime membership fee and now they're getting promoted. If you can get in front of the right people and businesses you will be able to get a decent amount of signups in your first week.
Creating a directory like this will create a few different revenue streams. You will be able to pitch your digital services using a banner, link, or mention it to other members. You will also be able to bring on businesses and have them sign up for a $3 per month, $20 per year, or $ 100-lifetime memberships to create a few additional dollars coming in. What you need to do is re-invest all your profits from this to boost your traffic streams and be sure to provide value to the business owners who are listing their websites and locations on your directory. Why would they pay you for a listing instead of going on Google My Business or Yelp? Because you're niched down and super targeted!
Thanks for reading!
- Tommy Carey