A Business Directory Just Isn't Enough Anymore!
By: Martin Lemieux
Do you own a business directory? Are you having a tough time beating your competition? This article will help you towards leaving your competition far behind.
The idea here isn't about getting as many business directory listings as possible. The idea we need to create is about more community within your directory.
I always like using a "saying" I learned from network marketing: "I would rather utilize 1% of a hundred people's effort, then utilize 100% of my own to market my business." If you keep this in mind, there is nothing you can't be successful at.
With that in mind let me be quick to point out that, I am not talking about creating an affiliate program. Those come a dime a dozen and can be bought. What we need to do is create something larger than ourselves. I am talking about taking our directory and improving everything involving people.
GENERAL DIRECTORIES ONLINE:
For these types of directories, it gets a little harder to create a community people can relate to. This is only true simply because the more broad your audience/visitors are, the harder it is to target your resources.
Here are some ideas you can use for a general directory:
- Create a blog and use it to feature some new listings within your directory. Maybe even offer a review of some kind.
- Offer the ability to add a logo or image attached with the listing in order to personalize it more.
- Give people the ability to submit more information than most of your competing directories out there.
- Make sure to include a detailed search function.
- Create an online questionnaire on tips to improve the directory. Use these tips right away.
- Email everyone within your directory maybe once a month outlining all of the new listings posted online for that month.
- Make sure to have a "news" page so that visitors can see what's new.
I think you get the idea now. The whole point is, there is no limit as to how you can expand "around" your directory listings in order to increase the value of your directory online. The more you give back to people, the more they might tell their friends about your directory.
TARGETED TOPIC RELATED DIRECTORIES:
Whether your directory is targeting the local business community or you are targeting the international health community, having a directory that is more content specific will make it a lot easier to create a community based website.
Here are some ways to better your targeted directory:
- Create a forum detailing all of the topics within your directory so that people can discuss issues or tips within those categories. For ex. If you own a local business directory, create a forum to allow local business owners to discuss business related issues, hot commercial real estate properties, special deals on office equipment, etc.
- Create a news section that outlines some local news & events within your community. This will especially help to bring more local visitors to your directory and expose your listings further.
- Offer weather & traffic reports within local community directories.
- Add a feature page where you actually interview one directory member (maybe once a month). This will help people to get more familiar with the members of your directory and it will also help promote your directory. People who are submitting to your directory may only submit just for the chance to get interviewed about their service/product/expertise.
- Add a blog with your experiences related to the topics of your directory. This will help in two ways:
1) People will be able to relate to you and feel more connected with you.
2) People will begin to respect what you are doing and may tell more people about your directory since they are starting to feel that your directory is more people oriented instead of just simply getting the most listings in the world.
- Add related tips to the industry. The internet is full of reprint articles for your website. I am 99.9% sure you can find articles related to your industry. Maybe start a newsletter for members of your directory and send them tips on their industry. Who doesn't want to learn more about their industry!?
As you can see from above, by simply taking some ideas here, and implementing them within your directory, you will be well on your way towards creating a more community-based directory. This is very important these days as more and more directories like yours are popping up everywhere.
Let's not forget about search engines. They too are increasingly rewarding communities more than they are rewarding simple directories online. The more resources and content you add around your directory listings, the more valuable they become in the end and the more traffic you will get.
The more valuable your listings are, the more visitors will be willing to come back from time to time and possibly tell their friends about it. You never know what will make it or break it but, all we can do is try our best to increase the value of our increasingly popular online community.