The main purposes of a business directly online is to get people using it (ie. generate traffic) to find the businesses that they are looking for. This holds true whether you offer a free listing directory and are looking to make money via advertising and it also holds true if you offer paid upgrade packages.
To word it bluntly, what business in their right mind would bother to upgrade to one of your packages if your directory is only getting a few hits a day.
One of the best ways to get traffic to your directory is by pre-populating your directory with businesses.
What is pre-population?
The basic idea behind pre-population is that you (the directory administrator) will hand-enter businesses into your directory rather than wait around for them to find you.
How to pre-populate your business directory:
- Be sure that your business directory software is installed on your website, and you have been through the administration panel to create your categories and listing packages.
- Search the internet and make a list of businesses that you plan to include in your directory.
- As you go through each business, add their email address to a mailing list for future use.
- Hand enter each business into your directory.
- Send out a mass email to each of the businesses congratulating them on being added to your business directory.
- If you plan to offer paid upgrade packages in your business directory, let the businesses know that they will need to go to the directory and register to gain access to their business listing. Once they have an account they can then make any modifications and upgrades to their listing package.
Now, you can begin marketing and advertising a pre-populated directory and chances are more people will use it since it has the look and feel of a directory that is up and running.