Creating a business directory or online classifieds is not like opening a coffee shop in the heart of the city. Nobody goes through a website and decides to appear randomly. This is why digital marketing and advertising are so important to digital businesses. This is also why publishers need to work so hard when promoting a business directory if they want to generate traffic and cultivate a loyal audience.
You may be wondering what it means to promote a business directory and what tactics are most effective in creating an engaged audience. While there is no single strategy for promoting a classified ad directory, there are certain approaches that work better than others.
When it comes time to promote a business directory, you have more options than you think. Some of the marketing strategies highlighted below may seem obvious, but all have proven to be highly effective for digital publishers.
1. Internal Ads on your Website
Why promote other people’s businesses when you can promote yours? Posting internal classifieds for your new business directory on the home page of your publication’s existing website allows you to capitalize on your audience. Consider placing a banner ad for your new business directory directly above your website header, or along the sidebar on any article page. Static ads will work fine here, but slideshows and galleries are also useful ad formats when promoting a business directory.
2. Promotion in Electronic Newsletters
Most digital publishers already have lists of email subscribers who have indicated that they are interested in publishing. These subscribers are the perfect audience for a new business directory. Take advantage of the audience you have already created by inviting your existing email subscribers to review your new business directory before its “official” launch. This gives a plus of exclusivity and will make people talk about it. A well-placed link in the header or footer of an email newsletter can do wonders for people to click, as can an embedded logo or static ad.
3. Search Engine Optimization
When people search for businesses in your city on Google, which websites do they see first? Check out websites like Contact Classifieds which have very good Google search results for many small and medium businesses. With the right search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, you can also ensure that your business directory appears on the first page of results.
The most important thing to know at this point is that Google greatly favors listings with complete business information, which means it is important that you have a phone number, hours, address, and website links, etc. The more information the ad has the better. You can do this from free rank checker.
4. Google Pay Per Click Ads
Let’s face it, getting to the first page of Google results can be difficult for a business directory just starting out, but that’s not to say impossible. Why not start a pay-per-click campaign to ensure that people find your business directory online? You can create ads using keywords that people might use when searching your directory, for example, local bookstores in Querétaro, and target those ads to people in specific zip codes or other demographics.
5. Exit Pop-Up Windows
Display ads aren’t the only type of digital marketing that publishers can rely on when promoting a business directory. Pop-up windows are advertisements that appear as an overlay in the middle of a web page when a user moves their cursor to the address bar. Although publishers generally charge a premium for running pop-ups on their websites, these ads are free when you serve them on your own publication’s website.
6. Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing never goes out of style. Start telling your friends, acquaintances, and potential advertisers about your new business directory. While you won’t reach as many people through word of mouth marketing as you would with the other strategies on this list, but there is a chance that the people you told from your business directory actually visit the website, and that you will share the directory link with your friends in the real world and on social media.