I'm new to this forum so hello to all first.
I and an ex-work colleague have started up a local business directory.
There is no current directory offering for our area other than some various national spam directories that have sprung up in the UK over the last few years.
We have been live for 3 months (basically just quietly adding content, testing, and propogating through the search engines) - we have lots of backlinks - DMOZ listing and are getting some organic results in the SERPS for the directory pages.
We have so far got a small number of local businesses interested and paying up:
as part of the paid listing we offer an extra page which they can update whenever they want (very easily)and which can link to their own website if they have one.
They also get a listing in our own search engine - this is a full-blown spidering search engine which contains spidered results from local councils, non-profit orgs, community websites etc. The idea being that we can provide full search engine functionality and flexibility but with a spam-free locally biased results set. We manually control which site get added and indexed.
The site is doing very well in the search engines considering it is so young.
I am just about to launch a press release and have prepared a direct mailshot to local businesses. I also have an appointment with a PR person to see if we can get the local paper to write an article about us.
But, I am not an offline marketer and have not done this before.
For those that have - what should I be doing to get people to use the directory -its ok me going to businesses and maybe selling a little space but I really want this thing to work. I want it to be the first place people think to look when they think about our area.
Any hints / ideas would be most gratefully received.