This webinar discusses some ways to present curated content on your website’s home page. It is important to understand which widgets are most relevant to your website and audience since eDirectory offers several different widgets to enhance your home page.
Since this is the first touch point between visitors and your online directory, it deserves special attention. From a minimalist approach to a fully stacked model, there is a lot you can build with eDirectory.
Learn with our CEO James Chubb how to optimize the elements to improve visitors’ engagement while you increase the advertiser’s exposure.
If you are considering starting an internet business, but you are not sure if an online directory is a viable option for you, we’ve prepared a presentation to explain the do’s and don’ts of this tried and tested approach.
The purpose of online business directories is to assist people in making informed purchases. For example, a guide for restaurants in a certain region, or a wedding business-related online directory with suppliers, locations, service providers, or any other niche you could think of.
This type of website is in use since the nineties, if you think of well-known listings-based websites such as Craigslist or Yelp, you are talking about online business directories. These types of websites take their value propositions from two main factors: offering curated content in the form of listings of products or services, articles or events for their audience, while taking advantage of user generated content in the form of reviews.
As the online business directory website gains more and more traction in search engines like Google, it is likely that more sponsors will join the website and more users will consume products and services. This is a vital part of the monitazion methods where the online directory owner can offer banner ad spaces, membership levels and other ways of making the website profitable.
So stay tuned and join us for this week’s presentation and, also, don’t forget to check the related material listed below.
Creating a digital presence for your chamber of commerce is essential to propagate and disseminate the association’s activities, as well as attract new members and increase current participants’ online presence.
In addition to offering goods and services to the community, chambers of commerce play a crucial role in communities of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs, providing ideas and solutions for improvement, based on the demands of the members themselves.
However, how can your chamber of commerce expand the reach of its services and solutions?
To stand out in the marketplace in today’s increasingly connected world, chambers of commerce must consider ways to attract new members, offer benefits that are aligned with members’ reality, and create a more integrated community by incorporating these factors into their operations.
Chambers of commerce benefit from these actions because they help municipalities maintain an up-to-date database of businesses, which contributes to creating new companies locally and moving the economy forward.
Additionally, we have selected the best tools and resources to add to your website, how to make it even more valuable to current and potential members, and how to actually create a functional and interactive site.
Keep reading this detailed guide to learn more about how to digitize your chamber of commerce and all you need to know!
Why go digital with your chamber of commerce?
For businesses and chambers of commerce, having an online presence isn’t merely a recommendation anymore, it’s a necessity.
Having a digital presence increases your chances of being found and of enhancing your results significantly if you know how to position yourself online, and chambers of commerce are not any different.
Digitalization offers you the opportunity to enhance the solutions you provide and allow your association members to integrate more effectively.
So, creating an online business directory for your chamber of commerce is an opportunity to give your members a chance to showcase their businesses, reach new customers, and have a more optimized space for interactions, discussions, and product promotions. In addition, it’s a great offering for businesses and professionals who don’t yet have the resources to establish a strong online presence (like ranking well on Google).
Providing a digital platform benefits all parties involved: associations, companies, and society. An online directory is beneficial to chambers of commerce since it automatically collects monthly fees from advertisers. Members benefit from the exposure, search engine rankings, and interaction like messaging, offers, and lead registration and society benefits from a niche portal that is verified.
How to make your site more valuable to current and potential members?
It is equally relevant to consider what this change might mean to your community members or potential advertisers now that you know the benefits of digitization.
After all, they also need to weigh these benefits before they decide to join, right?
So, to make this space even more valuable to members and to attract more people, you need to offer solutions to the real demands of this group.
As an example, if a potential member seeks your chamber of commerce because they are experiencing specific difficulties in their business, offering support materials such as eBooks and training, valuable content, and a community that shows them they are not alone in their journey will help them feel more connected and make their decision to join your association easier.
So thinking strategically about tools to help your community is what you need to do to make your chamber of commerce website relevant.
9 must-have resources for chambers of commerce websites
In addition to adding value to users and potential members, using resources that facilitate navigation, content consumption, promotion of services, and interactions between the community on the site is essential.
1. Build a custom website for your audience
One of the most important aspects when building a trade guide for trade associations is to think about customizing it according to the needs of your audience.
This will be a community space. Therefore, feeling welcomed within the virtual environment is crucial to keeping members engaged and retaining them. Thus, thinking about a personalized identity aligned with the interests of your audience is fundamental.
Set the location of your business guide to facilitate searches for companies and services at different levels (city, region, neighborhood) and customize display information to satisfy users’ search interests.
Segment your trade association members for easy identification when launching promotions and marketing campaigns. Offer free and premium profiles for new members to sign up for your trade association’s ad portal, each with its own features.
2. Consider a responsive website
The responsiveness of a website determines how a user can interact with your chamber of commerce site on any device: mobile, tablet, or computer. Visitors and members are guaranteed to have the best visual and user experience when your site is responsive.
In order to increase conversions and retain users, your chamber of commerce website should be responsive and optimized. The eDirectory platform allows chambers of commerce and associations to create online directories and classified websites that are responsive to all devices. You can also build an iPhone and Android app for your website so users and members can access it anywhere.
3. Have an exclusive “members only” area for your users
A members-only area is another key feature of your chamber of commerce’s website. From there, members can edit and add information about their services, post photos, videos, blog articles, and interact with visitors and collect leads.
A “members only” area creates the feeling of belonging to the group, much like a club for selected companies. eDirectory provides businesses and service providers with a control panel that allows them to display information, offers, and services in a well-organized and optimized manner.
4. Have a “Join our chamber of commerce” sign-in button
Having a button that allows them to join a members-only area is also helpful. Placing these buttons strategically on the site will allow users to easily join the association when they browse the platform.
The ability to automate the entry of new members is essential to the growth of your chamber of commerce in a digital environment. It offers a “sign up” button to make it easy for new users to sign up, as well as payment automation, email reminders, tools, and call-to-actions.
5. Valuable content is key to attracting new members
By creating valuable content in a niche, you create authority, and relevance, create a sense of community and attract new users to your website organically. This is because people are truly interested in what you have to say, and this is no different for chamber of commerce’s websites.
For generating organic traffic to your portal, content marketing strategies remain relevant. Searches on Google are geared toward topics that people are interested in, and if your chamber website matches the keywords, it may appear in the first results.
Online business directories are excellent for search engine rankings. This is because the richer your association website is in ads, events, classifieds, and text articles, the more often it will appear in the top spots.
So, this is a helpful strategy to keep in mind when building your website, and remember: invest in quality and relevant content for your current and future members.
Featured webinar: generate more revenue with agency services
6. Create a welcoming environment for new members
It is easier to adapt to a new community if you feel welcome from the beginning. It might seem like a small detail, but it can have a tremendous impact on member retention.
When new members register on your chamber of commerce website, consider creating a welcome space for them in a featured area; the new member should receive an automatic welcome email that contains relevant information and content that can be of assistance during this first interaction.
Make sure to add welcome videos, and articles on the basics of “how to start”, and consider creating a knowledge base area in your chamber of commerce website with short articles and a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section.
7. Add a featured members section
It is possible to create a desire in new users to register on your website by taking advantage of certain mental triggers. Highlighting members on your portal ends up encouraging other companies and service providers to join so that they can also promote their activities.
Therefore, make sure to include a section on your chamber of commerce website to increase exposure to the most valuable members in different categories. Create contests in your community to determine people’s choices in every category and also, the editor’s choice with highly rated members from your city.
8. Create a FAQ page on your trade association’s website
Your page users will likely have some questions about membership before joining, right?
This can be easily remedied through an FAQ page, that is, a page with the most frequently asked questions related to the trade association, answered objectively and directly, and made available to the user easily.
9. Invest time in good design and a great user experience
In addition to all the elements mentioned above, having a beautifully designed website that aligns with the association’s goals, and high-quality images that value the city or region and the association’s work is crucial.
People are easily attracted to appealing visual elements, and having this notion is key to ensuring a successful website. Add images that show positive aspects of your city/region and value the work of the trade association, consider offering professional image production to your members as a way to increase the chamber of commerce revenue.
Create a legacy for your community
And finally, by digitizing your chamber of commerce, your earnings will go beyond new members and revenue generation but the legacy for your city will be enormous, as a great repository with the best services, restaurants, leisure options, and shops, all organized and updated, that is, a lively commercial guide full of new activities.
Creating an ad portal for your trade association
Now you know the main aspects of creating a website for your chamber of commerce in a functional, responsive, and truly member-oriented way.
So, finding a complete platform that offers you everything you need to create your website optimized, scalable, and monetizable is essential.
eDirectory offers you all this on a single platform. With our solution you can:
Create a scalable website, starting with a small space and becoming an advertiser for thousands of users and visitors.
Monetize in a variety of ways: add a periodic subscription session, members area, advertise, add a classifieds and events area, etc.
Develop a space to provide different types of content such as blogs, ads, classifieds, events, offers, and more.
Create an exclusive area for members, where they can access and manage their accounts completely autonomously, optimizing your time and theirs.
Moderate the content made available on the site, ensuring the quality of the information shared.
Add resources to member pages and edit them as you wish, customizing them in a variety of ways.
Did you realize the importance of creating a website for your chamber of commerce?
Being digital is an increasingly urgent business need, and trade associations are included in that list.
Now you know how to best optimize your services with eDirectory and create a responsive, functional, monetizable, customizable, and fully thought-out website for your audience.
The time has come to think about offering more quality services and scaling your business once and for all.
To learn more about the eDirectory solution and get a free demo,click hereto learn more!
With the release of the new eDirectory version 13.1, the suite of eDirectory apps became even more powerful. The new App was built using a Google technology named Flutter which delivers improved performance and visual consistency on different platforms.
The new technology was combined with a new design to make the eDirectory App look fresh and current. It took the eDirectory team months of research and prototyping to get to the final product: an app that’s fast and looks great on any device.
We were joined by Fernando Nascimento, product manager for eDirectory. In this webinar, he will describe in detail the eDirectory App’s main features, to help you understand what it can do for your business.
These are the main new features of the eDirectory app:
Creating a local search site will help you unite your community around the best businesses and services offered in your town – with the added benefit of being able to generate recurring revenue.
Make sure you include as much content as you can, with both breadth and depth: e.g. as many listings, services, and classifieds as possible, and depth, which is how strong your listing’s content is, with comprehensive descriptions, very good photos, a video, features, hours, map, social media feeds, and so on.
If you happen to live in a big city, the quantity of content you can find might be overwhelming, so curation is the key to having a relevant local search site. Members (and new users) are drawn to content that is well-done and informative.
Define your target such as residents, tourists, and retirees so you can include relevant content for each one of these audiences. They will have different interests and will look for a variety of services and products on your website. Make sure to work keywords and SEO in your listings so your local search site can be ranked on search engines like Google.
In this week’s webinar, we went through the best practices and strategies to launch your own local search site with eDirectory including strategy and a hands-on demonstration. Enjoy this session.
In this week’s webinar, the marketing team discusses crucial strategies on how you can effectively pitch your online directory. From the very beginning, we look at how to:
What is a Pitch presentation
Who you should target
The best practices to be more precise on your pitch
During the early stages of your online directory, prospecting new sponsors is your most important task. Be sure to add some listings and classifieds to your website, write a good and complete description, and update the contact information, address, websites, and photos. Your prospect is going to take notice of this and will be more inclined to listen to your proposal.
You also need a good relationship with the people who can help connect you with the decision-maker of the business you are trying to reach to pitch your online directory. Known as gatekeepers, these individuals can be your most valuable allies if you are able to leverage them to your advantage.
Revenue Strategies for Online Directories can be different depending on your niche.
Creating an online directory brings a fantastic opportunity to generate a recurring revenue stream. From using the built-in payment tools that eDirectory provides to offering links to 3rd party affiliate products and services, opportunity abounds when it comes to monetizing your website!
One of the best ways to start generating revenue is if your online directory already has good content that people are consuming or looking for online. You could consider creating a members-only area on your website, similar to what newspapers do, allowing only subscribers to read or access your material. Invite writers to publish articles as guest bloggers, giving tips and recommendations on restaurants, wine, books, movies, or other materials your audience could find valuable.
Another great way to make extra revenue out of your online directory is by advertising your newsletter. Send a curated list of the best or new services and products listed on your directory to your audience and sell the ad spots for your sponsors, therefore, their brand could be in the spotlight in front of a selected audience.
In this webinar, our CEO James Chubb shows the main methods of monetization used for businesses to generate revenue online.
Revenue Strategies for Online Directories
Online directories are one of the best media businesses out there because the production costs are low, and they gain traction on google rapidly because of the constant content generation (mostly user-created) and they are relatively quick to launch.
Have in mind that promotion takes an important role as you need to make your website visible to your audience. Invest some time to study paid media strategies (PPC) and SEO to generate more organic traffic to your online directory.
And of course, have in mind that the key is to keep your sponsors on board and attract new users. Recurring revenue is the way to make your online directory become profitable in the long run and eDirectory is built for that.
CRO (Conversion rate optimization) is the process of optimizing web pages based on visitor’s behavior to maximize conversion rates, which means increasing the chances that visitors will take the desired actions on your site, such as form submissions, downloads, newsletter subscriptions, clicks, and other.
In order to optimize a website, there are two main elements to consider:
Design – How visitors will perceive the content they are searching for.
Copy – This is the text that will capture the visitor’s attention and will persuade them to take action.
For directory-based websites, you must also think about two verticals of optimization:
Conversion for visitors – drive them to premium content.
Conversion for advertisers – drive them to sign up for a plan.
In this week’s webinar, the eDirectory marketing team shared strategies on how to optimize conversion rates through data analysis and conducting multiple tests, tweaking content to make it more relevant to visitors, and drawing appropriate conclusions from the data.
In this week’s webinar, we covered one of the most useful Google web tools: Google Tag Manager (or GTM). If you own a website or manage one but are not a developer, you most probably already felt the need to implement snippets of code from Google itself or other services such as tracking pixels (Facebook), social media sharing, and a myriad of widgets. The benefits of Google Tag Manager are both in the ease of use as well in managing your tags.
And speaking of Tags, think of them as plugins, these snippets of code can make your site smarter by adding several types of tools in your website. Examples of tags are Google Analytics, Hotjar, remarketing tools, CRM integrations, submission forms, and the list goes on.
Prior to GTM, trivial things such as tracking codes would need to be hardcoded on your site by a developer.
Tag: A tag is a code that sends data to a system such as Google Analytics.
Trigger: A trigger listens for certain events, such as clicks, form submissions, or page loads. When an event is detected that matches the trigger definition, any tags that reference that trigger will fire.
The tags work in conjunction with triggers, which are what release the tags to start tracking. It basically tells GTM when, where or how to fire a tag. These triggers can be set by page views, link clicks, form submissions, or even scroll depth.
Watch the webinar and discover the benefits of Google Tag Manager for eDirectory
Buyers’ guide websites are essential for providing information plus reviews for customers to make informed decisions prior to the purchase. The objective of this category of online business directory is to provide detailed information about products, software, and services.
A good buyer’s guide should also include reviews from real customers who have purchased the product, providing a basis for other users to make an informed decision based on their experiences.
As a result, the added information will help users find the products they want and increase the conversions on your buyer’s guide website.
When a customer searches for a specific product, they want to know why one product fits their needs better than another. Think about choosing software for web development. There are some tools you know you need. However, through a buyers’ guide, you might find that the software of interest requires even more features. The added information about the product will show how your product can solve your users’ problems.
Throughout this article, you will learn how to create a killer buyer’s guide website and the best platform to start your project. Let’s get started!
Topics covered in this article
What is a buyer’s guide website?
Why is creating a Buyer’s Guide website so Important?
Popular types of buyer’s guide websites
Create a Buyer’s Guide Website with eDirectory
What is a Buyer’s Guide Website?
You may be asking yourselfwhat is a buyer’s guide. A buyer’s guide is designed to streamline purchasing by supplying all the necessary data about a determined product, service, or company. Customers should be able to access a clear message about a product with a simple click.
The purpose of a buyer’s guide website should be to increase the user’s confidence before making a purchase. It doesn’t matter if you are simply showcasing products and services or if you are also promoting your own affiliate links. The most important thing here is to provide trustful content, especially through user reviews.
Why is creating a Buyer’s Guide website so Important?
In this topic, we will cover four points to explain the importance of creating a buyer’s guide website. As mentioned above, we learned that educated customers become well-reasoned customers. These users are not just browsers; they are people who want to get the best product facts. Buying guides are essential as they help consumers with valuable content and maximum sales potential. They should include product specifications, and customer reviews to help customers make an informed decision.
Keep your Audience Well Informed
Imagine you are looking to purchase a new smartphone, a laptop, or even a new marketing software for your company. Where do you start your search? Probably going to Google to find the reviews and opinions from people who actually have purchased and used the product you’re looking for.
The same goes for everyone else searching for any kind of product on the web, and here’s where creating a buyer’s guide website can be very interesting. Focus on your area of activity and offer comprehensive reviews based on user-generated content. People tend to trust other people’s experiences.
Remember: social proof drives sales and well-informed customers and around 90% of online shoppers read at least one review before making a purchase.
It’s great for SEO
When shoppers decide what to buy, they will look at search engines like Google and Bing, or even Amazon. All of these websites index and rank content (products) differently. However, all algorithms value original content, and customer reviews feed the search engine website which can be translated to a better ranking of your buyer’s guide website to surface among the results on the SERP (search engine results page).
Sixty-three percentof all shopping starts online. If your optimized guide’s visibility increases for particular search terms, you can drive more traffic to your site. For that to happen you will need to work on content first, be sure to go after sponsors that will advertise on your buying guide website, make sure to include all the products that are relevant to your niche, and take advantage of keyword tools such as SEMrush, Ubersuggest orGoogle Keyword Planner to understand what are the search terms used by shoppers when looking for product reviews and make sure to incorporate these keywords to the results page and product pages of your buyer’s guide website.
For example, Shopper Approved and G2 rank highly on search engines for gathering user-generated content in the form of reviews, demonstrating how reviews are a powerful form of customer content that boosts organic traffic.
Increase your conversions
Through SEO or paid ads, your buying guide website is likely to gain traffic as well as rank higher in search engine results. Once you’ve generated enough traffic, you need to convert that traffic into leads. This is what we’ll call conversions.
Your audience’s purchasing patterns can vary as new trends emerge. You may uncover new customer groups as you research your buyer’s guide. Remain flexible and acclimate to the facts you discover. It’ll help you create more compelling content that drives sales.
Take Advantage of User-Generated Content (UGC)
One of the top benefits of user-generated content is that it serves as excellent social proof. Seeing content from real customers increases the advertiser’s credibility and brings their brand’s promises into perspective. In addition, people trust user-generated content over most other types of review content. Therefore, incorporating user-generated content will enhance the trustworthiness of your buyer’s guide website.
Consumers have different reasons for wanting to try a product, and UGC can play an important role in this decision. Numbers are very clear about the impact UGC has on them, more specifically, UGC increases conversion rates 85% better than other content types.
A recent study from Harvard Business School found out that the more stars a brand or product has on Yelp, there is a boost of 5% to 9% in sales and lead generation. eDirectory is prepared to receive UGC in the form of reviews and stars that will be displayed for other users to read and make informed decisions.
Popular types of buyer’s guide websites
Here are a few buyer’s guide websites you could take as inspiration for your own project.
Capterra The Capterra online marketplace acts as an intermediary between technology buyers and suppliers within the software industry. Here, users can read other users’ opinions on a vast variety of software and online products to make an informed purchase decision. This is a classic buyer’s guide website that relies on UGC to take inspiration.
Software Advice In more than 300 market categories, Software Advice provides consulting, research, and user analysis services on software applications. Similar to what we see on Capterra, but with Business intelligence, marketing automation, CRM, HR, and construction are a few of them.
Glass Door In addition to being a web-based review company for job boards, Glass Door is another kind of review website, where you don’t actually buy anything, but rather, get the opinions of actual employees about companies, jobs, salaries, and other work-related matters. Just to illustrate what types of buyer’s guide websites you can build with eDirectory.
Create a Buyer’s Guide Website with eDirectory
Now that you understand how effective a good buyer’s guide website can be, it’s time to choose the right platform to build your own. eDirectory is a software where you can easily build classified ads sites, online directories, events guides, and, of course, buyer’s guides and review websites.
With eDirectory, you can take your idea from scratch to the finished product easily. With its intuitive drag-and-drop page editor, you can quickly create pages and insert widgets for anything you need. Your sponsors will benefit from eDirectory’s powerful categories and subcategories, as well as flexible listing templates that let you completely customize the layout and features of the listing for each level of subscribers.
Quick steps to create a buyer’s guide website with eDirectory
Sign up and create your account in eDirectory
First things first, go to edirectory.com andsign up for a free guided demo. As your first contact with the platform, you will have access to the site manager back panel. For a complete understanding of what eDirectory can do for you to create a great buyer’s guide, we recommend you try the demo first!
Here you’ll manage your buyer’s guide, create listings, moderate reviews, create categories, design new and existing pages, etc.
Select your target location
You can set up your buyer’s guide websites in any location you’d like, no matter if they’re local, regional or national. When offering local deals or classifieds, as well as for SEO purposes, this is quite important. Make sure you select your time zone and the language in which you want your dashboard and website to be displayed.
Adding categories and subcategories
Depending on the niche of your Buyer’s Guide website, you will have different categories. If your business is focused on food and restaurants, it is most likely that your website will have categories related to it. Creating categories in eDirectory is quick and easy, you will find the categories feature inside Content > Listings, and then click on categories. Create as many categories as you need with up to 9 subcategories.
Import your first products or business
Now that you’ve created your categories, you can import your products or services. In the initial stages of your buyer’s guide website, you can either register all items individually (which can be a time-consuming task) or use bulk imports to expedite the process.
On the Content tab, click the Import option and then click Listings. You can upload your CSV or XLS spreadsheet file and follow the instructions. This will only take a few seconds, as you’ll be asked to match the fields on your spreadsheet and that’s it.
Connect your domain name and spread the word
Lastly, don’t forget to set up your new domain name using your favorite platform, and don’t worry about the SSL certificate and hosting, as it comes included in every eDirectory plan. If you want to self-host your buyer’s guide in another service, go ahead as this is also an option.
Don’t forget to set up the Google services like Maps, Analytics, and Tag Manager.
Once your buyer’s guide is live, is time to promote it and spread the word about your service. Remember that Google loves good and unique content, and buyer’s guides are an excellent source of UGC, so leverage this strategy. Go after partnerships with local brands or suppliers, offer them exposure or free premium subscriptions for a couple of months, investing in paid advertising on social media and PPC (pay per click) campaigns. You’ll very likely drive way more traffic and attract new sponsors.
The purpose of this article was to demonstrate what could be accomplished with a buyer’s guide website. Additionally, it allows users to generate content, making it a reliable source of information for people to make informed decisions. This makes it not only a great business model for recurring revenues but also one that encourages user-generated content.
Your buyer’s guide website can cater to any niche, not only tech products and services. There are review-based websites for everything, like jobs, food and restaurants, cars, games, apps, events, lawyers, dentists, and doctors. It truly fits every industry.