Why Advertisers Love Directory Websites

directory advertisersThe last several years have seen a growing shift of advertising dollars leaving the more traditional mediums of print media and moving to various areas online. Within this realm it can still be a challenge for advertisers to sift through the expanses of the internet and find the best places to spend their money online. This is where online directories have been able to gain a solid foothold in the market. Most modern advertisers see directories websites as an attractive option, the two main reasons for this are fairly simple: highly targeted audiences and easily measurable ROI.

Highly Targeted Audiences

With common uses including local search sites, product directories, membership guides, and yellow page sites online directories by nature are highly focused sites. They typically have a common focus by geographical location, industry, subject matter or all of the above. This format tends to bring people together, typically very like-minded groups of people who share the same interests and habits. This provides the ideal landscape for potential marketers and advertisers who are looking to reach a very specific type of audience to get their ads in front of.

Think Niche

Many niche businesses and industries have benefited through the use of online directories. They have made it easy to build sites with focused subject matter and relevant listings and pair them with a blog or set of articles and social media posts that are all related to a very specific industry or niche.

No longer would you need to read a national golf publication to find the best local courses and instructors in your area, instead you could a find local site like LakeNonaGolfDirectory.com and be able to quickly find golf course and instructors right in the area of Lake Nona. This level of targeting is beneficial for both the user and for potential advertisers. From the advertisers perspective they would be able to know that any ads listed on this directory site would be targeting a predominantly male audience between the ages of 35-55, who live in the Lake Nona area and are interested in golf. Gaining access to this highly targeted audience is something that many would be willing to spend their advertising dollars on.

Additionally, platforms such as eDirectory utilize a search feature. This can help potential sponsors to know exactly what keywords and phrases site visitors are searching for and which ones they would like to pay to be found under.

Let’s see an example:

There is an online directory site for Los Angeles area salons. Right off the bat, advertisers would already know that these site visitors are from or near the Los Angeles area and that they are interested in things that a salon can offer, such as beauty products, hair styling, make up, manicures, pedicures and more. Taking it one step further, the directory site owner can share with potential advertisers that the most frequently searched term on their site is “gel manicures”. This can provide a perfect opportunity for a local Los Angeles based salon to post ads related to their gel manicure pricing options and upcoming specials. Plus they could pay for a Premium listing on this directory and make sure they include “gel manicures” as primary keywords in the settings for their listing, ensuring they would show up during searches of this term.

Measurable ROI img-newsletter-how-to-monetize-3 As a marketer, web banners, sponsored content, and email newsletter sponsorships provide keen insight into the success of promotional messages, advertising offers and how responsive a given audience is to that message and offer. These are key factors for marketers and advertisers to be able to gauge their success and determine whether they find their spending to be worthwhile and something they will continue to invest in. A lack of such data can be nerve-wracking at best for an advertiser and lead to rash, uninformed decisions being made.

Luckily, this data is easily attainable through online directory site analytics and reporting, plus pairing your site with platforms like Google Analytics and Saleforce can provide an even higher level of insight. This nformation will provide a directory site owner with valuable selling points that can be shared with potential advertisers to portray the potential for success and gaining a favorable return on investment (ROI) from their ad.

How many people see the ads? How many people clicked on them? Of those people, how many people visited the ad’s website? Which pages did they click on when they were there and at what point did they abandon the site? How many people opened the email, how many people that opened that email came to the company’s site, or furthermore, how many people made a purchase because of that ad? The ways to break down and dissect the numbers into cost per lead, cost per conversion, cost per click—they’re all limitless.

Here is a good article by Forbes about the 10 Online Marketing Metrics You Need to Be Measuring. As a directory site owner, one can use these metrics to not only learn from the data and improve their site but also to gain insight on their site users and gather information that can be shared to help sway potential advertisers and sponsors to become involved with the site.

Interested in developing a profitable directory? Want to discuss ideas about how to better monetize your existing site? Send an email to: marketing@edirectory.com

Market Your Directory Site with this 8 ideas

Market Your Directory Site with this 8 ideas


There are a lot of important steps to undergo when setting up your directory project: developing a unique brand, pairing it with a clear value proposition, building out a great looking directory site, filling it up with listings and content to just name a few. However, the set up is only half the battle. The next and equally important phase for getting your directory site off the ground and gaining traction is to find ways to market and promote your site to potential visitors.

Your goal in this phase is to improve your overall site traffic and increase the number of member sign-ups and paying promotional accounts you add to the site. You will accomplish this by getting your site in front of as many relevant, potential visitors and sponsors as possible. This is a major step towards how you are going to grow your revenue and turn your site into a success.

Below is a list of 8 marketing ideas to help get you started and grow your directory site:

1.    Unique Promotional Materials

There are standard promotional materials that people see all the time and just don’t pay much attention to (how many branded sticky note holders or cheap pens have been thrown out over the years?). An opportunity exists here to take a short moment and come up with ideas that are relevant to your site and the potential target audience you are looking to attract.

Some examples would include: handing out bottle openers or drink koozies for a directory of microbreweries, offering tape measurers or levels for a contractor directory or giving away guitar picks or drum sticks for a music services directory.

Use a unique touch to put a memorable spin on your brand. Try to find items that you know your target customers will use or will stand out and make them take notice. A small, inexpensive item can have a lasting impact. 

2.    Twitter Contests / Creative Hashtags

Twitter is the perfect tool to help generate some quick and easy interactions. Use this medium to hold contests or form creative hashtags that are fun for people to participate in. It can be useful in garnering some communication and sharing amongst your customer base and help drive some traffic to your site if you remember to include links in your tweets.


Some examples would be a recipe or cooking directory asking people to tweet out photos of what they are making that week and have them use the hashtag “#itswhatsfordinner”, or a golf course directory asking players to tweet photos of their golf clubs and equipment and use the hashtag “#inmybag”. Post the feed for these tweets on your site and highlight some of your favorites, you could even offer prizes for the best posts to encourage more people to participate and build some buzz.

3.    Printing Door Stickers for Storefronts

Yelp! and Zagat use this tactic at restaurants all around the world. If you are running a localized directory site then this is a great marketing tactic for you to use as well. Ask all the local companies to place stickers on their storefront windows if they are listed on your site. Additionally, it’s a great conversation starter or icebreaker for businesses that aren’t listed on your site just yet and can now become potential leads for you. Use this tactic to promote your brand and your site while gaining a solid foothold in your local market with lasting visual appeal.

4.    Newsletters

Use email marketing campaigns and newsletters to stay in touch with your customer base. Use these emails to promote your site and new content, offer new deals and specials or just share interesting news in your industry.

It’s important to provide value in some manner to your audience. Send a newsletter that your target audience will be interested in and will look forward to reading whenever they see it in their inbox. You can achieve this by offering newsletter-only discounts or sending out white paper quality content that will be valuable to your readers. Offering them a little something extra will keep them coming back for more.

5.    Google Adwords

For online advertising Google AdWords is the standard on the web. With an account, you can pay Google to have your site’s advertisement show up whenever someone searches for keywords that you are interested in. You can choose the specific keywords and phrases you want, how much you are willing to spend, the location of the searcher, the time of day searched and more to ensure you optimize to reach your ideal customers. This is an extremely high level of targeting and a great way to garner relevant site traffic.

Local Search site owners also have the luxury of advertising relatively cheaply through Google AdWords. With keywords and phrases as low as 5-10 cents per click, and Google periodically offering $100 credits to start a new account, this can be a great way to drive traffic to your site and build repeat visitors at a lower cost.

Learn more about Google AdWords and how it works here.

6.    Bartering

Advertising and promotional campaigns can be costly and many of the available options are just too expensive or unreasonable for a new directory site. This is why its important to work with the resources and assets that you do have (such as the ad space on your site or connections you have within the industry) and work on trading and bartering these to your advantage.

Trade free advertising on your site to a business in exchange for being able to put up flyers or hand out branded materials in and around their business location. Trade free listings in exchange for a link on their corporate site or a shout out on their social media accounts. Use what you have available and see if you can find some opportunities to make some new deals and gain some value back for your business.

7.    Drive Traffic with a “Best of…” Program

Run a “Best of …” promotion by naming winners for different categories, decide on the winners yourself or use feedback from your customers or social media followers to vote for the winners. Local magazines and newspapers do similar awards programs and they can garner a lot of attention.

A local directory could reward the “Best Bakery”, “Best Happy Hour”, “Most Dog Friendly Park”, and much more. Feed off the interests of your target audience and choose the restaurants, businesses, people or locations that will fit into your niche and drive some interest. It will help to bring traffic to your site from both customers and businesses while encouraging people to interact more and stay connected through your site.

8.    Guest Blogging

Find other websites and blogs where you can write articles and share ideas in areas that are relevant to your site and your target audience. Use this avenue to share your subject matter expertise and gain influence while also spreading the word on your own site.

Be sure to provide links back to your own directory site whenever possible but make sure the content you are writing is of high quality and is interesting to your target audience. Give them a reason to want to check your site out to find other blog posts or content you have written and see what its all about.

Have any questions about eDirectory and how it can help you build the site you are looking for? 

Contact us:

Call us @ 800-630-4694
Send us a message here

10 Tips to Creating Successful, Revenue-Generating Online Directories

Revenue-Generating Online Directories

Whether you have recently purchased an eDirectory license or are thinking about creating online directories, it’s very important to understand what is involved in developing, building, launching and marketing your site in the first year and beyond.

There are two main areas to focus on when starting an online directory:

  • Developing the business plan or idea behind the directory
  • Getting the word out and promoting your directory

First is the development of the directory as a business itself, which will be covered in the first 5 steps. This aspect focuses on what you are providing to people and how effectively you are providing it. It’s all about your business model and how well you are executing it.

The next group of 5 steps will touch on the promotion of the site and growing its readership. Even the best and most original of ideas and businesses need to get noticed and must constantly work to find new ways to spread the word about their idea or product.

If you put the work in to develop a solid business plan, bring more awareness to your site, develop the right network to increase your visibility and continually develop rich, relevant content, you can start to see financial success within 6-8 months of your launch.

1. Patience

Any business, even an online business, is rarely an overnight success story. Honing vision for a site, developing content, getting indexed by Google and building lucrative business partnerships are all critical elements to building a successful online directory, and each of those steps take time. There’s a very good chance you likely won’t see ROI in the first few months, but if you invest your time wisely, and treat your venture as a business, not just a side venture, you have the opportunity to generate significant recurring revenue.

If you throw in the towel after three months, however, you’ll likely never know what potential your vision had, and in that short span of time, you’ve never really given your business a chance. Every good thing takes time to blossom and flourish, and your directory site is no exception.

 2. Do Your Homework

It’s important to do some online research on the line of business, industry or theme that pertains to your directory. Take the time to research a large amount of keywords and topics throughout the web that are related to the same type of subject matter that you will be presenting.

Learn from what you find. Take note of what and how much is out there. Is it a very competitive landscape? What are they providing their audiences? Are there gaps or opportunities in the marketplace?

Think long and hard about what you will be able to offer and how you can use your directory site to offer it better than anyone else. Look for the things you like and can implement in your own site. Also take note of the things you saw that didn’t quite work and make sure you know how to avoid them yourself.

 3. Develop a Strong Value Proposition

Based on the homework you’ve done, you should develop a very poignant value proposition. This should include the strengths and attributes that your site offers that others don’t. You should continue to develop your site with this value proposition in mind. Build to your advantages and apply what you have learned from your research.

This proposition will be the answer to the question “Why should I come to your site?” or “Why would I want to list on your site?” Having a definitive and persuasive answer to questions of this kind will be an important tool when lobbying for your initial sponsors.

4. Establish a Brand

As you start to develop your directory, you should make it your goal to make a name for yourself, and establish your site as the leading media vehicle for your area of interest. If you’re developing a Ski Resort Directory, you should be known as the “go-to source” for skiing information. If you are creating a local search site, you should make a name for yourself locally and be the voice of your town, someone who has the finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the area, day in and day out.

Developing a brand is similar to putting a personality on your business or project. Align your brand with the things you learned from your research and your value proposition.

What do you want people to think of when they see your logo or your site? Do you want to be seen as informative, discerning and serious or open, knowledgeable and friendly? Make these decisions first and keep them in mind when decided on a brand name, logo, color scheme, typeface, catchphrase (if you have one) and overall writing style. You want all of the visual elements of your site and your brand to convey the symbol of the brand that you are creating.

5. Listings

Listings are the building blocks of your directory and the bulk of the data that will drive future visitors and sponsors. You should heavily, but honestly populate your directory as best you can. Fill your site with the type of listings that you want your site to be the main resource for. eDirectory’s “Claim this Listing” feature will allow these listing/business owner’s to claim them at any time and become paying members of your site if they want to edit or promote their information.

Because each page has its own mini ‘website’ with a unique, SEO-optimized URL, it’s important to have listings in your directory, so these URLs can be crawled and indexed by Google even before your site is launched.

Speaking of SEO, its now time to move away from the planning and setup phase of your directory and onto the marketing and promotional aspects that will drive traffic and help you start generating revenue.

6. SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is more commonly called, can be a daunting task and confuse even the most tech savvy of business owners. SEO can be made simpler if you focus on just a few key factors for optimizing your site.

a. General Setup

First, there are a few things to set up for your site:

  • Install Google Analytics and set up Google Webmaster Tools and link the Analytics account to your eDirectory site. This will help you to track your site traffic, indexed pages and more so you can see your site’s progress.
  • Create a robots.txt file and upload it to the root directory of your site.
  • Create a sitemap.xml file and submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools for indexing. Your sitemap can be found in the SEO Center of your eDirectory under the Sitemap tool.

b. Keywords

To be most effective in being found by your customers in search engines its vital to optimize your website with keywords and phrases that are most important to your business. Drawing on the homework and research you did earlier, gather the keywords you will want to be related with and use these tips to optimize them throughout your site:

  • Include keywords in the description fields and headings on the Basic Information area of your site in the Configuration section of eDirectory
  • Include keywords within the content itself especially the Listings, Article and Blog posts. Use the “SEO” tab for each item in eDirectory to include relevant keywords in the Title, Page Name, Keywords and Description fields.
  • Include keywords when adding images: keywords in the Image Title and Image Description.
  • Link keywords in your content to other pages on your site: creating internal links by attaching URL’s to a keyword on one page to other pages on your site such as blog posts and articles is a great SEO tactic
  • Include links to your site on social media posts, email signatures and newsletters whenever possible (but not spammy!)

7. Content

If you run a business or website then you have a certain expertise that can be shared with your prospects. You can show you are knowledgeable and have a chance to build up trust in your ability as a potential product or service provider. Content provides a great opportunity to become the first stop for any kind of information in your market.

Articles & Blogging

The simplest, yet most effective, way to leverage this expertise is through business articles and blogging. It allows you to demonstrate your know-how and become your own micro media company, able to publish your knowledge for others to see. Educating your readers is key, it will be easier to sell your site’s benefits when people trust your authority and see you as a thought leader.

This type of content will help you to build up your inbound links and also help to raise your website’s rank for main keywords and phrases, which are crucial for SEO and growing your site’s organic traffic.

 High Quality Content

High quality content is meant to go a step deeper than articles and blogging and really drill down into some topics for your visitors. The goal of this content is to convert a lead to a customer.

An example of this is that your blog may have brought in a visitor to your site and helped them to understand what your business is about. Now you can introduce them to a case study that shows them direct benefits of your services and provides them with a clear success story that they can relate to. Sharing a real-life success story will help them feel more comfortable with becoming a customer themselves.

Besides case studies some other examples of high quality content that can be highly affective includes webinars, white papers, eBooks, tutorials, slide decks, demos, videos and infographics.

8. Invest wisely

It’s important to understand what your budget will be and how much you will be able to spend. If you want to help get the word out about your website in person, it might require making an investment in marketing collateral, promotional materials, or your business may benefit more from online advertising in order to gain significant traction to your site. Plan your spends accordingly and stretch your budget as much as possible.

Some of the lower cost options for physical marketing collateral would include business cards, fliers, napkins, buttons, window stickers and more. Resources like Vistaprint and Fedex Office can be great places to find professional yet affordable materials.

For online advertising Google Adwords is the standard on the web. With an account, you can pay Google to have your site’s advertisement show up whenever someone searches for keywords that you are interested in. You can choose the specific keywords and phrases you want, how much you are willing to spend, the location of the searcher, the time of day searched and more to ensure you optimize to reach your ideal customers.

Local Search site owners also have the luxury of advertising relatively cheaply through Google Adwords. With keywords and phrases as low as 5-10 cents per click, and Google periodically offering $100 credits to start, this can be a great way to drive traffic to your site and build repeat visitors at a lower cost.

9. Shake Hands

Many people often ask the best way to make a sale to a business in their directory. The important thing to remember is that before you make a sale, you need to build a solid relationship with potential advertisers. Rather than walking into a business, slides in hand, trying to pitch them on a sponsorship opportunity, it’s better to form business relationships first and foremost. Introduce yourself as THE person who has started a directory where
people come to find businesses like theirs and explain to them the opportunities that they can take advantage of (free listings, guest blog posts, etc).

In making a name for yourself and getting the word out about your directory, it’s important to get in front of most, if not all decision makers in your industry. The best way to get yourself introduced to businesses that are populating your directory, or other potential advertisers, is to take a journalistic angle. Rather than go in to pitch them advertising or talk up your directory, try asking them to do a feature story, article, or interview. These are
things that add value to your site and also make for a great ‘in’ to any business you’re pursuing.

10. Never Stop Working

The success of your site is directly correlated with how much work you put into that site. Our most successful clients have been on board with us for a few years, and they constantly work at improving their site on a daily basis, and they’ve all at one point or another, followed most, if not all of steps 1-9.

Even after your site becomes profitable, you shouldn’t be putting your site on cruise control. The only way to maintain the success and exceed it is to strive for continuous improvements and to always be on the look out for new market trends and opportunities.

You should be meeting new businesses, updating your listings, posting news stories or writing whitepapers in addition to finding new markets, creating new marketing campaigns and finding innovative ways to strengthen your brand.

eDirectory has provided you with the tools, now its up to you to build your idea into a success!

Take a Guided Tour of eDirectory

The American Ceramic Society – Case Study

The American Ceramic Society – Case Study

Executive Summary

This case study focuses on the use of an online directory to increase engagement in a member driven association or not for profit. The directory is not only helpful for those in the industry to reach out to colleagues in other organizations, but it also is a critical component to further marketing the listings (companies) that make up the site.

About our client

The American Ceramic Society

Location: Westerville, Ohio

Industry: Non Profit (member based organization)

Year: 2012


The American Ceramic Society is a member based non-profit organization designed to bring together a community involved in both the arts and science of ceramic materials. ACerS is comprised of over 9,500 members, including scientists, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, plant personnel, educations, students and marketing professionals alike from more than 70 different countries.

Their members vary in background, some working at universities, government agencies or small businesses, while others represent large global corporations like Toyota.


After having used both an inhouse solution as well as eSyndicat in the past, their goal was to create a system that was more user friendly, both to their staff as well as their end users. They also needed a solution that would seamlessly export their data and import that data it into graphic layout applications like InDesign or Illustrator in order to take the entire directory from online to print for their yearly Ceramic Source publication.


After developing an in house solution developed in SAP, which quickly became outdated and difficult to manage, the American Ceramic Society moved to a formal directory solution, eSyndicat where they hoped to make the content more manageable and develop a robust directory site to showcase their members, educational organizations or any other member of the ceramic community.

“eSyndicat wasn’t as robust as we had expected, the back end was a bit confusing and we had trouble organizing the data the way we wanted to — we have hundreds of categories we use to organize each business,” said Scott Freshour, Web Manager.

After two iterations of directory solutions that didn’t meet their requirements or expectations, The ACeRs moved to eDirectory to manage their directory publication.


Upon migrating to eDirectory The American Ceramic Society was able to reach out to their members and other members within their industry in an effort to engage them more in the directory. They used eDirectory’s multi-level listing feature to offer corporate members higher level listings in the system, thus giving the more exposure in the directory. They emailed members to send emails to listing holders encouraging them to update their information.

“eDirectory was easy to use and much more modern. We took what the solution offered out of the box and developed a quality product. We were able to make modifications with ease and make the site our own,” Freshour added.

With the export feature, the American Ceramic Society was able to better format the directory listings to be more compatible with graphical applications like InDesign or Illustrator.


The American Ceramic Society found success in using eDirectory having used both an internal proprietary solution as well as one of eDirectory’s competitors, eSyndicat. With an easy to use interface, robust feature and a customizable look and feel, ACeRs were able to leverage their online directory to not only further engage with their members and offer an advertising platform to increase their exposure, but work within an easy to use, manageable systems both for their internal staff, as well as those that held listings on their site.

If you’re a non profit organization and want to learn how an online directory can increase membership, advertising funds and overall engagement, please send us an email to sales@edirectory.com or call us at (703) 914-0770.

Gleames Creative Design – Case Study


Who: Gleames Design (on behalf of Ohio Bridal)
Where: Pierce, Nebraska & Springboro, Ohio
When: 2009
What: Create a highly customized, interactive directory driven site for Ohio Bridal.


While Ohio Bridal has become one of the most dominant companies in the bridal market, the biggest hurdle they’ve had to overcome in the last few years is establishing the same dominance in an online arena. With the help of Gleames Creative Design, Ohio Bridal was able to streamline all of their online efforts and help accentuate their presence in the wedding world.


As a small agency that opened its doors in 2000, Gleames Creative Design has served a variety of clients throughout the country, having most their business gained through word of mouth referrals.

While Gleames’ owner, Jennifer Gleason, concentrates mostly on web design, the project that brought her to workwith Ohio Bridal was mostly print based. While the earlier projects called for print design, it wasn’t longbefore Jennifer and her team were tasked with honing and maturing Ohio Bridal’s online presence. As the projects grew, so did their working relationship and to date, Ohio Bridal is one of Gleames’ biggest clients.


While Ohio Bridal has experienced a high rate of growth over the past few years, organizing the websites that were developed along side of that growth became difficult and somewhat of a headache. Ohio Bridal had developed a few sites, one of which included a list of all the vendors they either worked with in the past. Each time they worked with a new vendor, or had to edit the information of an existing one, the process required manual entry in the back-end of the site.

They had also developed an entirely separate site where vendors could publish coupons and other promotional offers. In addition to these two resource sites, they had a corporate website and a site for each bridal show. The challenge was streamlining these websites all of these websites into, thus reducing the redundancy between them and even more importantly, taking the manual work out of updating them all of the time.


With their list of vendors and industry partners growing, Ohio Bridal needed a way for vendors to be able to update their listing information and publish coupons without the strain of going in the back end system and manually entering it all. With their concentration rooted mostly in managing vendor data, Jennifer Gleason felt that a directory – driven site would encapsulate all of Ohio Bridal’s data management needs.

She had familiarized herself with directory software in the past, and knew that she needed to incorporate a solution that would grow with them as they incorporated all of their sites into one. “ I knew directories could be profitable,” Gleason said. “The fact they seem to rank so well on search engines drove me to suggesting a directory-style site. Ohio Bridal had all of these vendors and so the big thing for them was getting web traffic to their site and to the vendors sites as well,” Gleason added.

From there, Gleames went shopping for the most intuitive and feature-rich solution that could manage their vendor listings with ease. After doing some internet window shopping, Gleason was unable to find any solution that would help in automating their SEO efforts, give vendors the ability to edit and upgrade their listings, as well as bring ease to promoting some of their vendors service offerings like eDirectory could.

“It (eDirectory) was a little pricier than other solutions out there, but it had everything I knew they needed to succeed. If they wanted to get to the growth point they were striving for, they needed to go with eDirectory. There was little other options for them, but at the same time it was the best option because it offered a platform where all of their vendors could manage their own data,” said Gleason regarding the purchase of eDirectory.


eDirectory software helped Gleames create a central depository for their bridal events, vendor listings and promotional materials. Not only did eDirectory provide a platform to help attract bridal businesses to advertise on their site, it allowed their existing vendors to create photo galleries, create and edit listings and also promote them more vigorously at an additional cost. Finally, their new site, driven by eDirectory, allowed Ohio Bridal to showcase all of their local events and most importantly of all, drive powerful search traffic to their site.

While much of the new site is still being integrated from all angles, Ohio Bridal was slightly skeptical at transitioning their websites at first. “At first they didn’t understand the scope and didn’t realize what they were getting but they are turning on to it now. Galleries, Coupons, Banner ads and so much more that they can offer vendors with the new site,” said Gleason on the integration process.

As web developer & designer, Gleames was able to appreciate what the eDirectory solution could offer when developing a directory-driven site. “As a developer, this makes constructing a directory site much easier to do. I would recommend it to other agencies or web design shops, not only for the software itself, but the support you get after the fact. It’s been tremendous.”


While eDirectory helped Gleames Design put a directory-based structure into place for Ohio Bridal, it also offered them the ability to aggregate several websites together to better organize and present their content. On top of making the content more cohesive and centralized, it offered more valuable resources to their vendors and prospective clients, all while driving heavy search traffic to their site.

The Google Long Tail: Opportunities to generate unparalleled search traffic through online directories


The Google Long Tail: Opportunities to generate unparalleled search traffic through online directories

If you’re already familiar with the Google Long Tail, the first part of this document will serve as a refresher, and perhaps open your eyes to a few examples the Long Tail model has played into the success of many businesses.

The Long Tail is a concept describing how selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities can generate more total revenue than the blockbuster. This is largely made possible by advances in technology that have lowered distribution costs. This white paper details how a Long Tail strategy can be applied to raking in search traffic by targeting niche keywords using an online directory.


The Y axis in this chart shows popularity of any particular item. This could relate to amount of downloads, sales, units, or any measurable standard of success in today’s market. In music, the ‘Popularity’ column could be replaced with number of CD Sales, downloads or plays. In Google’s case, this axis represents the number of dollars in ad sales. We see the head, or red portion of the graph accounts for the highest CPC (Cost Per Click) rate that advertisers spend on desirable popular keywords like “Insurance,” “Mortgage,” “Cars,” or ”Hotels.”

In his book entitled “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More,” Chris Anderson sheds light on an example of how Rhapsody capitalized on the opportunity they saw in the Long Tail. In terms of music, the ‘head’ or red shaded part of the graph would represent those artists or groups who have the most sales, downloads or plays. These are more popular artists with multiple billboard topping, platinum or gold selling hits. These are what record stores or stores that sell records/CDs are selling. In the orange portion of the graph, we have the tail, which includes an abundance of less popular artists. These are bands whom you’ve likely never heard of, who are on small time record labels and tour small clubs throughout the country but have avid, cult like followings of small groups of people.

Most record stores won’t carry these artists because, well, they aren’t high in demand and their records aren’t flying off the shelves, so how cost effective could it really be carry their CDs? Think of it this way: If bands represented keywords in the graph above, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bon Jovi & Pink Floyd are in the head of the graph, and Hot Rod Circuit, The Victory Year and Sir Salvatore are bands in the Long Tail.

 The point being there aren’t thousands of Bon Jovi’s or Pink Floyds, there are, however millions of bands like Hot Rod Circuit, Victory Year and Sir Salvatore that you’ve likely never heard of before. The secret of the Long Tail is in what isn’t shown on this graph, specifically on the far right side. This model doesn’t rapidly take a nose dive into the ground as it moves more toward the right as one might expect. In fact, it takes a very gradual, slow decline and spans out for quite a distance. Why? Because there are millions of bands in this world with smaller record labels going on local tours than there are bands major record deals performing in stadiums around the world.

What Google saw was big spending advertisers on prime keywords and phrases in the red, or head of the graph, on words like ”Insurance,” “Mortgage,” “Cars,” or ”Hotels.” But what Google realized was there were millions of potential advertisers in the Orange. So what did they do? They provided a platform that would allow smaller advertisers to buy more niche CPC phrases, piped them through thousands of ad networks (think small
publishers) and accordingly, advertisers are able to pay 10 cents or 25 cents a click, which becomes affordable to a business of nearly any size.

Google made advertisers of nearly every business in the world that has an online presence and today, this accounts for over 30% of Google’s business. What did Rhapsody do? They took all the music that record stores and Walmarts wouldn’t carry, and hosted it online. Currently, these ‘Long Tail’ artists on Rhapsody’s music application account for 25% of its’ business.

So what does this mean? Well if the key to success in online business is selling less of more, there’s something to be said about what these Long Tail search keywords can do for generating search traffic to a website. Many businesses concentrate on the SEO quality of their site and often overlook at what quantity can do for your search traffic.

If there are as much, if not more opportunities in the tail, and content is king, why not create Long Tail keyword-driven content to rake in search traffic? Let’s take all the content in the tail, centralize it, organize it and create a valuable resource to website visitors. Online Directories produce thousands of pages of unique, Long Tail-driven content and consequently rank very well on search engines.

You can spend time with SEO experts modifying your content, adjusting your page titles or URLS in order to rank higher on search engines, but developing unique content through directory listings can do as much, if not more to drive search traffic to your site. While directories may not rank #1 in “New York Restaurant” they do rank very high on more niche, specific terms like “French Provincial Restaurant Upper East Side.”

Where there is search traffic, there are ad dollars to be made. What makes the opportunities at hand even more lucrative is the fast pace transition media is taking from print to online. Print is dying. It’s not dead, and it’s not right to say People, Time, or the New York Times are going under anytime soon, but print media is on its way out. It’s not cost effective, it’s not as easily accessible and for marketers, it’s simply not measurable enough.

Web 2.0 guru Gary Vaynerchuk said, regarding the opportunities with print money moving online that there is “a trillion dollars in ad revenue that is going to leak down to all the hyper, local, super nichey-niche-niche opportunities.”

During a seminar he conducted while promoting his book, “Crush It,” Vaynerchuk mentions the site midtownlunch.com. Owner Zach Brooks covers 6 blocks of street food (vendors, etc) in New York…6 blocks and generates $70,000+ a year from this site. Why?

It’s a niche site that offers its visitors a resource of valuable information. It’s an online directory for food selections in Midtown Manhattan and Zach is crushing it.

Internet users are lazy. No one wants to search the menus of eight different restaurants to find a good restaurant in New York. They want to find a local search directory that will house all of the menus under one roof. They way we search and find information is changing, thus the mediums to which we access that information is changing and savvy advertisers are taking the money they spent in print and putting it strategically into online portals, directories and sites that cater to the way we search.

Think about this:

When they first came out, Priceline, Orbitz, Hotwire and Travelocity were great sites because they aggregate flights, hotels and car rentals. Each of these sites made it considerably easier to make travel reservations without having to go to the websites of Southwest, United, US Airways, Hilton, Sheraton, Best Western, Hertz, Budget or Thrifty to evaluate costs side by side.

Then Kayak came along and became an even better alternative. Why? They aggregated all of the travel aggregators listed above. They made searching and booking travel easier by centralizing he information that Priceline, Hotwire and others had aggregated in their booking portals. This is the trend technology in media is taking and this is where online directories become a valuable arena of consolidated, information packed content.

Similarly, directories help make finding information easy for those browsing. From newspapers developing local search sites or dining guides, magazine publishers developing supplier, vendor or industry directories to a directory of Certified Mold Inspectors, online directories create niche focused sites full of rich information.

About eDirectory

Designed to increase web traffic and provide systematic organization, eDirectory’s platform offers a low-cost, easy-to-use online directory solution. Our software empowers its’ users to publish a variety of directory-based websites that help maximize advertising revenue. With elaborate search functionality, advanced SEO reporting, and mobile access–as well as a fully customized platform–eDirectory is the performance leader in its market.

eDirectory also allows your advertisers to track and adjust their marketing efforts in an age where ROI in advertising has never been so critical.

Grow Your Directory Site’s Traffic with Curated Content


Grow Your Directory Site’s Traffic with Curated Content

Content curation is one of the fastest ways to achieve growth in web traffic for publishing, directory, business and media sites. With the rise of social media and growth of mobile devices, content can now be viewed and shared more quickly and easily than ever before.

Mainstream sites like Buzzfeed, HuffingtonPost, Distractify as well as more niche properties like Colossal (www.thisiscolossal.com – Art & Design blog) use curation at their core to drive visits to their site.

What is Content Curation?

Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, organizing, and displaying information. It is increasingly becoming an effective tool for companies to increase their online presence and it’s easy to see why.

Why is it so valuable?

Curated content puts you at the front, as the gatekeeper or tastemaker for which of this content is used on your site. You will have control over amassing it from a variety of sources and delivering it in an organized and unique fashion.

Sites using content curation also tend to be highly efficient in increasing their natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which in part increases traffic to their site. Sites with curated content are updated rather frequently, and search engines will reward these up-to-date sites by indexing them more often.

  • Grows Your Site’s Traffic

Content curation websites attract vast amounts of traffic. We live in an age of abundant content and these sites are drawing in huge amounts of visitors all across the web.

  • Quicker Way to Create Content

It can be pretty difficult to create great content on a regular basis. Compared to that curating can be easier, quicker and cheaper than producing all of your content on your own. It’s a leveraged value-add for your readers, and thus can potentially be more profitable for your site.

  • Builds an Identity

By curating content for a specific subject matter, you can start to build and cultivate an identity for you site. You can use this identity to give your site a personality for visitors to relate to within your topic’s niche.

  • Develops a Following

As you start curating content of a particular type, you will eventually start attracting an audience that favors content of that type. If you’re the person your readers come to when they need new information on a given topic, then you’re doing your job effectively.

Sounds great, so how do I do it?

Having topically relevant keywords and phrases throughout your site is very important to your site’s SEO. Yes, I said keywords AND phrases. A common mistake people make is focusing too much on individual keywords.

Most of these will be far too limiting and competitive to gain much ground in the search ranks. Instead, it’s much smarter and efficient to focus on a common idea or subject matter and find phrases and long tail keywords that fit into that set.

  • Pick your Subject Matter or Theme

Choose a specific and relevant area that fits your website. Keep your topics as specific and niche as possible.

  • Find a List of Sources

Comb the web for sources of content. Not all of the best sources can be found on search engines and can require a bit more digging. Try these areas and you’ll always have an amazing link to share:

    • Use Social sharing websites like Reddit, Imgur and Digg
    • Find a blog or website you like and follow the trail of links that you can find on their content, also be sure to set up an RSS reader
    • Try this Chrome extension called Pin Search, it “leverages the power of Google Search by Image to give you a wealth of information about any picture you find on Pinterest. Find similar pictures. Find all the websites where the picture appears…”
    • Publishing platforms such as Tumblr and WordPress
    • Social bookmarking tools like Delicious.com
    • Social Q&A websites such as Quora.com
    • Other websites and resources for finding useful content: Inbound.org Digest, Medium, Panda, BuzzSumo, and Swayy
  • Collect and Publish the Best, Most Relevant Content Possible

This is now where you sift through the content that you have been able to find and pick out the highest quality content and what you think will be most appealing to your visitors. Which are the most attractive? Which ones will draw people in? Which ones best fit the subject matter of my site? These and more are the questions you must be asking when looking for content to curate.

  • Provide Context

Use an annotation method to add your own comments and insight. This will provide some context for your audience on why the content is important and why you are sharing it with them. This puts a personal touch and some ownership on the content even though it is from another source.

  • Curate Consistently

Establish a publishing schedule and make sure to stick with it. No need to overwhelm yourself or make it too demanding, just decide on a cycle that is reasonable and can be met consistently.

  • Share and Promote

Make sure you always attribute the original sources of content you curate and link to them. Be sure to always give credit.

  • Track, Analyze, Optimize

Keep close tabs on the how your content is performing and use this knowledge to guide future curation. Constantly look for ways to optimize your content and make sure you are focusing on the topics your audience is most interested in.

So are there any negatives?

Good question, there are a few things to keep in mind when using curated content:

  • Copyright Issues

With the majority of the content coming from another source you must be careful in making sure you are citing and providing links to the original source when you show it on your own site to avoid any copyright infringements.

  • Quantity Over Quality

Focusing on getting the most content up instead of the best content can have an adverse affect on your site and its incoming traffic. Having high quality content is one of the best and easiest tools a site owner can use to grow and keep visitors. Take your time and be selective when choosing your content, it pays off in the long run.

  • Don’t Forget About Original Content

Relying too much on curated content can leave your site without its own voice and style. Google and other search engines will consider a site with only curated content to be “thin”. This can hurt your site’s SEO efforts. To combat this your goal should be to have a good blend of curated content and original content. Create content that fits your site’s identity and your target audience will be interested in.

Have any questions about eDirectory and how it can improve your directory site? Call or email us.

How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Niche Business or Online Directory

How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Niche Business or Online Directory

Inbound marketing – for online directory and other businesses models – is defined as the marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than having to go out to get a prospect’s attention. Inbound marketing gets the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content. Best of all it’s usually free or comes at a very low price.

For smaller or “niche” businesses the larger-scale outbound marketing initiatives (newspaper ads, TV spots, billboards, etc.) would cost a larger sum of money and end up reaching an audience that is around 99% irrelevant to your business. However, inbound marketing lets you appeal to the most qualified prospects to your business or niche industry by using highly targeted subject matter.

Our goal here is to maximize your growth from inbound marketing while keeping your time and costs to a minimum. To do this we are going to focus on the “Big 3” for inbound  marketing to get the most out of your efforts: SEO, Content and Social Media.

SEO: Simple Tips for Big Results

SEO can be made simpler if you focus on just a few key factors for optimizing your site. To be most affective in being found by your customers in search engines its vital to optimize every page that is on your website with keywords and phrases that are most important to your business. For niche industries, the more specific the keywords and phrase the better.

Here are some simple ways to optimize:

  • Include keywords in the page properties: URL’s, meta descriptions
  • Include keywords within the content itself: headers, page text, captions
  • Include keywords when adding images: keywords in the name of the image, using an alt tag with the keyword in it
  • Link keywords in your content to other pages on your site: create internal links by attaching URL’s to a keyword on one page to other pages on your site such as blog posts and articles
  • Include links to your site on social media posts and newsletters

For a more in-depth look at SEO check out our white paper titled “SEO Toolkit for Directory Sites” by visiting our website or shooting us an email.

 Content: To Educate is the Best Way to Sell

If you run a business or website in your niche industry then you have a certain expertise that can be shared with your prospects. You can show you are knowledgeable and have a chance to build up trust in your ability as a potential product or service provider. In niche industries the availability of useful content is fairly minimal and it provides a great opportunity to become the first stop for any kind of information in your market.


The simplest, yet most affective, way to leverage this expertise is through a business blog. It allows you to demonstrate your know-how and become your own micro media company, able to publish your knowledge for others to see. Educating your readers is key, as it is established thinking that in any industry it is easier to sell when people see you as an authority and a thought leader.

Blogging will help you to build up your inbound links and also help to raise your website’s rank for main keywords and phrases, which are crucial for SEO and growing your site’s inbound traffic.

High Quality Content

High quality content is meant to go a step deeper than blogging and really drill down into some topics for your visitors. The goal of this content is to convert a lead to a customer.

An example of this is that your blog may have brought in a visitors to your site and helped them to understand what your business is about, now you can introduce them to a case study that shows them direct benefits of your services and provides them with a clear incentive to join as a customer.

Besides case studies here are some other examples of high quality content that can be highly affective:

  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • eBooks
  • Tutorials
  • Slide decks
  • Demos
  • Videos
  • Infographics

Social Media: Reach Your Specific Audience

The social media tools available to you from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or an industry-specific social network allow you to directly connect with your target audience. The more narrow you focus, the easier it is to pinpoint the specific people and businesses interacting on these social networks about your niche industry. Utilize these platforms to engage with your prospects outside of your website and outside of an in-person or over-the-phone interaction.

Use these tips to get the most out of your social media efforts:


  • Determine how much time and resources are needed to participate affectively in each social network and participate in the ones that make the most sense for your business. Some may be useful for you and others may be too time consuming and wasteful.
  • See who is using social media and determine why they look there and what they are looking for.
  • Identify if these users are potential customers or if they carry influence over those who may be your potential customers.
  • Find out what types of content these people are most interested in and are likely to link to and share.


  • Leverage your online profiles and make sure to provide information about your business and most importantly link back to your company’s site. Use this area or the “About” section to provide a short elevator pitch about who you are and why people should use your business.
  • Promote your original content and provide links back to your website. Create enticing headlines and tags to grab the attention of potential readers and bring in more visits.
  • Share links and content from others. This can be a useful practice to build relationships and goodwill between yourself and other influencers in your industry.

With built-in tools for SEO, content management and social media integration eDirectory can help you grow your business directory.

Learn more by visiting www.edirectory.com

Marketing an Online Directory


Marketing an Online Directory

Whether you have an existing directory you’re working from, or you’re using eDirectory to get your business off the ground, there are many ways to better position your site for success. While we provide our customers with a robust platform to develop an information packed, highly interactive directory, there are many steps that need to be taken to help make your site a valuable advertising or promotional vehicle.

Think Niche

When they hear the word ‘niche’ many people often think it means restricted or constrained, but niche directories are almost always the most successful. Just because your focus or scope may be narrow, it doesn’t mean your audience, or pool of potential advertisers is at all limited. Let’s say I want to develop a business directory for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I want to include a list of a variety of types of business, shops, stores, business services, restaurants, happy hours, drink specials, events and more. Keep in mind this will likely include tens of thousands of listings and with something this broad, I’m bound to rub up against competitors with similar directories. With a broader focus and other competitors in a similar space, my value proposition loses quite a bit steam.

That is, I can’t offer a poignantly focused arena for advertisers to promote their business. As we’ll learn later, nearly all advertisers have a very specific type of visitor they’re hoping to attract and your value proposition should reflect that.

If we narrow this down to something in a little smaller scale, it becomes exponentially easier to compile information and I can profile my audience in a much simpler way. By changing the focus of my directory from the city of Pittsburgh to a sub section like North Huntingdon Township, I offer a more niche, personalized resource where I stand a less of a chance to go up against bigger sites like Yelp, City Search and About.com. At the same time, however, the site still offers thousands of companies in the region a highly targeted advertising vehicle for their business or services.

The same concept applies to product directories, or services guides as well. One could try and develop a physician directory, or a wholesale manufacturer directory, but a simple search in Google for similar sites shows we’re up against many existing platforms with the same business model.

If, however, we are able to hone the focus to something more specific, like Nephrologists Directory or Beer wholesale Manufacturers Directory, we have a more personalized product to offer our potential advertisers.

After all, Bob’s Wholesale Beer Distributor is much more apt to advertise on your website than something more broad, like the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. In the next document of this two-part series entitled “Selling a Directory,” we’ll cover how this becomes a very powerful selling point.

Listings, Listings, Listings

It’s difficult to sell ideas or concepts; people have more faith and confidence in tangible products or solutions. It’s not easy to sell web design services if you don’t have a portfolio of site’s you’ve done in the past.

Similarly, it’s difficult to sell advertisers on your product (directory) before it’s fully developed. Some of our clients, after purchasing a license, immediately pursue advertisers for an immediate ROI, before ever having developed any content on their site. While we understand our clients want to justify their spend, it’s always best to show them a fully functional, populated directory. It’s important that when you approach potential advertisers, you tell a story and physically show them how your site can help bring more visibility to their business. There’s no question that populating your listings takes work, but our industry partners such as datadepot.com provide data and listings to help fill your directory with information your visitors are looking for.

From barbershops in Santa Barbra to Nephrologists in Nebraska, Data Depot is a great resource to help get information your directory. Content, or listings are the heart of your site and without them you make it impossible to achieve organic (natural) growth on search engines. Without organic search rankings, your website traffic from these search engines is extremely limited. Without website traffic, your directory has no value to the advertisers. Your user will likely search in two different ways, but regardless of how they search, it’s vital that we have the content in place to make sure our organic search rankings rise for searches that match our site. Let’s go back to the example of having a directory of Nephrologists. Someone looking for such a physician will search one of two ways:

“Washington DC Nephrologists”

“Nephrologist Dr. Zimmerman”

In the first search scenario, the user isn’t certain of which doctor they want to go to, but rely on a directory that we’ve developed to help them fi nd that doctor. In the other instance, we know the name and location of the doctor that we’re looking for, but we’re not quite sure of his or her contact information.

If we have a list of Nephrologists in Washington DC or in the second case, Dr. Zimmerman in our directory, we’ll most definitely be a match on both of these searches. As we continue to be matched with these search terms, our search rankings will continue to increase. If we don’t have the directory properly populated with all of the data to support search terms like this, we can’t achieve the web traffic we need to gain the business of advertisers.

If you have any questions, or would like to further discuss how to improve the way you’re marketing or selling your directory, we would welcome a phone call or e-mail anytime.

Tips on running the sales team

Tips on running the sales team

By James Chubb, CEO


Do you really need a sales force?

Online directories are a great business model. They are easy to get started, overhead costs are low, and they can generate the best type of revenue – recurring revenue. The business scales naturally with how much time and money you are willing to invest – a small investment can generate as great a return on investment (ROI) as a large investment if compared on a percentage basis.

You can absolutely run a directory without a sales force, and many people do it successfully. If you have a dominant online brand, great email marketing or PR, you may be able to get business in the door without making personal contacts. A number of eDirectory customers just put Google AdWords and some affiliate program links on the pages, do a little Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and watch the dollars deposited in their bank accounts with virtually no effort.

While it won’t generate enough money to get your face on the cover of Business Week, the investment is so low that the returns are excellent. In order to create a bigger directory business, a sales team is an essential element.

Doing sales yourself or running a sales force takes more effort, but it is a component of virtually all the success stories. If you are looking to create a lasting brand, and become well known in the directory subject matter, successful sales management is often the core to making it happen. This document will give a few tips on setting up, training and managing the team.

Differences in Local vs. National sales

Nearly all financial successful directories (and business startups in general) focus on some type of niche. The person that says “we’re going to be the next Yahoo” generally doesn’t have the resources to get it done, and they get spread too thin to do anything significant.

A focus area is critical. In the directory space, people often focus on either a local area (city, state, country, area, etc), or they focus on a vertical (“welding equipment suppliers”, “asbestos attorneys”, etc). Sometimes to further reduce the size of the playing field a local area + a vertical is a great idea – “weddings in Houston”. After finding success and proving the model, you can always expand the niche.

From a sales standpoint the differences are:

• Local areas generally are small enough where you can get people on the ground for face to face meetings.
• Verticals are often national or internal, and face to face meetings with potential customers infrequent and most sales rely on calls.

Commission Schedules and Base Salary

Traditionally the sales staff is compensated with a commission on each sale to incentivize them to close the deals. Some companies do “commission only” where sales people make nothing if they do not generate sales, and others offer a base salary, and give a commission on top of that.

Depending on the type of directory business you are running, this mix between base salary and commission will vary. More professional media companies often have a higher base salary and offer benefits. Startup local search companies often try a commission only plan (often with questionable success). Good people are expensive, so look at your competitors in the space and see what they are doing.

From our experience, it is good to offer some type of a base salary, even for outside reps that never come to your office. The reason is the sales team can help you build out content, and even if they are not making sales, they can get information to help you build out your database.

A good rule of thumb on how much base salary to give may be the value of 1 or 2 listing sales a week, which is easy enough that a mediocre sales rep can break even. Having this base will motivate them to keep making visits, and at least getting unpaid signups to build out your mailing list, and you can up sell them later.

For the commission schedule, we usually recommend a tiered approach; where after they make X sales a month, the commission percentage goes higher for additional sales that month.

Also it is important to set the commission such that there is an aspiration reward that would put them in an income bracket higher than their pears if they do well. An example of such a commission schedule is “First X sales per month get 30% commission, and after 10k is reached commission goes to 50% for any remaining sales”.

Actual commission amounts highly depend on the directory site. If you have a well known brand, and the site gets significant traffic and already generates solid revenue, you can pay the sales reps a small percentage of the dollar value of each sale. A new site with an unknown brand and relatively little traffic will probably require you to pay a very high commission percentage. We have seen some directory sites that pay their reps a nominal
base, and then 60 or 70% commission on each sale.

A big reason why directories can be such a great business model is attributed to “recurring revenue”, wherea customer just renews and you don’t need to do any additional work. We recommend you do not pay sales people commission the recurring, but instead just pay them a higher percentage of the initial sale. This makes the bookkeeping simpler, and keeps them motivated to bring in new business, instead of coasting off past sales.


Hiring the right people is probably the most important part of any business. Your sales team is the public face of your company, and it is critical you get the right types of people. For small directory businesses, we recommend you hire multiple sales people so there is a sense of competition and you gain perspective on a good vs bad sales person. Avoid the temptation to start thinking about “advantages of economies of scale” hire a large team and let them run.

Before doing any hiring, put together the profile of the idea rep. This should have education and experience levels, salary, etc. This way you know what you are looking for.

Collect a lot of resumes! The more people you bring in the door, the more likely you are able to find the right candidate. When hiring, here are the traits to look for:

1. Positive, upbeat, attitude.

2. Relevant sales experience. If you are a national media company, you need a polished rep that can confidently close a substantial deal with an executive. A small local directory company may look for someone that has had success selling knives door to door. You can try to farm a large team of people that have never sold anything before, but your cost savings on the labor will likely be less than you lose from the high turnover.

3. Comfortable talking about money. Some people that are just not comfortable talking about money – they were often raised to be polite and not discuss such things openly. They will dodge around when you ask them about past salaries or earnings. The best sales reps are financially motivated, and have no problem discussing pricing, salaries or anything else with a dollar figure on it.

4. Competitive – Look for that type of person is that is aggressive about coming out on top.
There is an excellent book on sales hiring called “Great Salespeople Aren’t Born, They’re Hired: The Secrets To Hiring Top Sales Professionals” by Joseph Miller.


Training is essential. Consider the following at a minimum:

1. Map out the sales process and train the reps on eDirectory, benefits of what they are buying etc.

2. Prepare a sample sales scripts to be used on the phone and door to door visits.

3. Prepare a comprehensive list of questions an advertiser may have and responses.

4. Practice sample pitches with the reps.

5. Follow up with the reps weekly and adjust the training to fill gaps.

Goals, Metrics and Day to Day Management

A set of goals is absolutely critical to move the business forward. We recommend you set either weekly or monthly goals for the reps, and longer term goals that management keeps internal.

Remember, each “customer relationship” has value, so even if you just signup free listings, there is some value there because you may convert them later. Use your sales team to help build content.

For local, we recommend a quota of with a minimum number of visits per week and for national, a quota of a set number of calls. Each visit should attempt to get some names and email addresses, and additional content for the listing even if the sale isn’t closed. A prospect list is also essential – you can use your listing database to pull listings by zip code, and give each rep a list dividing up the territory. When going door to door, send the reps out with a laptop and a digital camera to take photos of the business.

Sample goals for a local directory:

• 30 customer visits per week minimum.

• 85% of the visits should results in a name, email address, a 2 sentence description, and 2 photos.

• 6 listing sales per week.

It may take a couple visits to get a paid listing, so after one rep completes a territory, consider having a second rep double back and talk to them again.

For overall sales metrics, we suggest you keep it simple, and just record 3 or 4 at most. Consider tracking number of signups and number of sales each week.

Tip: To keep things interesting, do a special bonus for your sales team from time to time. Weekly or even daily meetings, and publicized statistics are essential to a well run team. If the team is geographically dispersed, you might have everyone dial in for a conference call. During the meeting try to get feedback on barriers the team is encountering and see what you can do to remove those obstacles.

Making the numbers public will create a sense of competition on the team. Expect turnover. Unfortunately the nature of sales, especially in this business is there will be significant turnover of the sales staff. By having an efficient hiring and training process you can mitigate this aspect.

Equipping the sales force

It is essential you send your sales people in with the right equipment to win.

We recommend the following:

1. Content on the website – don’t send the sales team out without making sure the directory is full of data and looking good. Create a couple premium listings in each category with nice photos and reviews – give free listings to the market leaders – if you are trying to sell to “mom & pop steak house”, you’ll have a lot more success if there is already a beautiful listing in the system for “Ruth Chris Steakhouse”.

2. Marketing collateral – a brochure on the benefits of joining the directory.

3. Sales script they have memorized.

4. Sample question and answer list you have tested them on.

5. Laptop with wireless internet for the demos – minis can be had for under $400. If wireless is spotty in your area, send them out with a recorded demo of some screenshots.

6. Territory walk list – list of businesses to visit, with boxes so they can fill in who they talked to. Be sure to leave a blank page at the end they can fill in with who else they may have came across on the way. This list should have exact time and date, and name of person they talked to so you can keep them honest.

7. If local, send them out with a Camera so they can take a few pictures and build some unique content.

Sales Team Setup Checklist:

1. Write profile of successful sales person.

2. Design salary and commission structure.

3. Post job ads for candidate.

4. Filter candidates by phone interviews.

5. Meet candidates in person and hire the best.

6. Train sales people on the system, benefits of the products, and the sales process.

7. Decide sales territories.

8. Write up sales script.

9. Write up list of questions and responses that may come up during the sale.

10. Do a training session where the reps can practice.

11. Design weekly goals.

12. Do weekly meetings to review goals, and adjust sales script and sample question list.