|Marketing your niche directory|
I've created a portal with a couple of directories. One is a list of retailers, the other is a list of vendors who sell to the retailers.
Any thoughts on marketing this (paid) niche directory to suppliers/vendors?
I was thinking about googling vendors, then doing a direct mail piece. Anyone have any success doing this? Or direct telemarketing?
Other ideas that work?
Firstly, do not link your directories to each other. Google might penalize all of them. As second, you can add your directories' links to other niche directories to the relevant niche. This a good way to get relevant backlinks.
I have a niche directory that I got started by offering "free" listings. Once it reached a certain threshold and started ranking in the SERPs it became self sustaining and I converted it to a paid model.
I seeded it with a few sites and then hit some niche specific discussion groups.
I'm going to mention these again in my next newsletter with a discount, and may still do a direct mail piece. The directories have been around a few years and do drive some sales to listings (I've had calls). But I haven't measured anything.
I've got one directory in my niche targetted at wholesalers. Retailers can sort by manufacturer to get a list of wholesalers,i.e. if they were looking at computers they could find a list of places to buy wholesale HP laptops or Toshiba laptops or IBM laptops, or whatever. Kind of an obvious type of directory, but there's really nothing like it in my industry.
If these businesses have personnel registered with online networking services like LinkedIn, you might locate contact info for the CEOs/owners and email them.
For businesses which don't have owners/CEOs online, you might do a direct promotion mail piece, sending it out directly to the owners. Also, if there are other sites which rank for that niche, you might do some targeted advertising online with them, if they allow it.
Finally, if your directory is seeded with plenty of free listings, you might create a business profile page all about each and every business. If your SEO karate is strong, your profiles can sometimes rank higher than those businesses own sites for their company-name keyword searches and/or category-keyword searches for their locality. When that happens, they'll sometimes beat down your door for an opportunity to advertise and get greater placement on your site.
For paid advertisers, one ploy used by many online business directories is to allow some links/ads for the paid advertisers to appear on the business profiles of their local competitors. An incentive to advertise would be to get the competitors to stop appearing on their own profile pages...
A large percentage of retailers and wholesalers usually go by two signals –
Sites they see ranking in Top 3 in google
Brand recognition ( especially true in trade directories )
So make sure your directory has:
Search engine friendly taxonomy / internal linking structure to rank category level pages ( The B2B space is much more brand sensitive than B2C segment )
External backlinks pointing at category level pages. I’m sure you know the gist.
Brand presence: Be seen in the industry relevant magazines, events, trade fairs
Also, it'd be desirable to run a promotional campaign ( either time sensitive discount / free listing ) till you notice some actual trade traction through your portal.
The first thing I would do is get on the phone with a couple of people in your niche and ask them how you could provide them with value. Then do it. Call them back. Then repeat all over again. You really need to make some friends and involve them personally in your directories. It will make a huge difference. I know some people who started this way, and are making at least 4 figures per month.