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Niche Business Directory advice

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by poisonsembrace, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. poisonsembrace

    poisonsembrace Registered Member

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    Just want to preempt this by thanking bhw member grafxextreme for his business directory thread.

    Looking for a little advice if anyone can offer some. I've used the search function and there are some great threads but nothing exact. If you would do something different to my plan, i'd welcome any constructive criticism.

    I've registered a business (had to in order a domain.com.au) so everything is on the square and i'm not looking for the quick buck here. Taking a view of 12-24 months here before selling the business.

    The niche market I've picked is not competitive from an SEO perspective. Top 10 local results all have little to no on page optimization. Off page is going to be a little bit of a battle, rank 1 has just over 600 backlinks; more than do-able, just not in 30 days. I think i could hit top 3 within 3 months and have it completely dominated within 12 months.

    I'm creating a nation wide business directory. Let's pretend the niche is pizza shops. I would go on a more local scale, but given we've only 20 million people living here in Australia in 8 cities, i think it's the best approach.

    Once i'm finished on the cities, i can move to more regional areas.

    I'm using wordpress to structure my directory. So it won't be a traditional directory of sorts.

    This way i can have mydomain.com.au/state/pizzashops-in-suburbname/ and later on mydomain.com.au/regionalarea/pizzashops-in-suburbname.

    Now there are plenty of these businesses in each capital city. Likely 100's. I think on the lower side i could get 25 businesses submissions per city.

    I plan to charge $29.95AUD (about $15-20USD) for the first 12 months of my directory. I think this is reasonable.

    25 listings per capital city = 748.75 x 8 capital cities = $5,990AUD. I think i could have it set up within 2-3 months so $2,000 grand a month, that's about the average Australian wage.

    Keeping in mind this is on the low end of my figures and only the capital cities. I could have the regional areas of Australia listed 3 months after that process and by then my domain is going to have some decent ranking (top 10) and generating traffic so i can charge more. I figure $49.95 at this point for 12 months.

    Assuming i break down each state and territory into 5 regions, that's 40 additional regions to list. For each region, 25 businesses is on the lower end of expectations.

    25 x $49.95 = $1,248.75 x 40 regions = $49,950.

    So within 6 months i believe i could have $55,940 in gross earnings.

    I could then spent the last 6 months of the first year building more backlinks etc so that by the time the first year comes around, the site is firmly at #1 with no chance of being taken over without doing a lot of work.

    I then invoice every single business in the capital cities directory. Let's assume the worst and only 10 businesses take up the submission again.

    10 x $99.95 - $999.50 x 8 cities = $7,996

    So for 12 months work (where the majority of the work is in the first 3-6 months) i could possibly gross $60,000

    At this point i can just sell the business the directory off. I'm not sure how much something like that would go for so i'm not including it in my gross.


    Any ideas or advice ? I've experience in sales as i use to work for Telstra selling mobile phones and Internet, so i'm good at building rapport over the phone.

    There is a lot involved in calling all these businesses up but the cost is time, not money, there are unlimited phone call plans here for like $100 a month so it's nothing.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  2. lincolnave

    lincolnave Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I have done quite a good amount of work setting up directories. One thing that stuck out at me when I was reading your post is the lack of structure that you seem to have in the big sceme of things. I understand that you will start out with a small segment and grow. You will need to have a better structure setup from the beginning. I have tried to implement directories on WP and it is like using a car like a turck, it can be done, but it doesn't work out in the long run. I have been able to setup directories with Joomla and SOBI2, this platform has lead to a wealth of functions, like affiliates selling CUSTOM advertising packages (I.E. preferred listings,pictures,URL's,email addresses,IM links, chat boxes,maps,mini-webpages,etc.,etc.,etc.) The list of functions and money making opportunities are endless. They all take work and planning.

    IM me if you need to talk, I will help, even if you don't like what I have to say.
     
  3. skorpion

    skorpion Regular Member

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    I have a local restaurant directory but Im limiting spots for scarcity. I charge $50 /mo or $500 per yr.

    I put an ad on CL for writers to write on my blog in exchange for promoting themselves. I have a blog poster for each day now with me doing nothing.

    I designed my own cool looking directory with DW and use the same template over and over again for different cities...I just modify the graphics and colors slightly. Im thinking about selling the template for like $40 to ppl on DP or TM who want to do this type of thing and making some more out of this.
     
  4. poisonsembrace

    poisonsembrace Registered Member

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    I spent the past few days setting up a directory using wordpress despite advice otherwise, i have my reasons, main ones being i'm well experienced with using wordpress and a little stubborn in using something else.

    I think from a keyword perspective, this is a better option as google has already indexed my directory structure and i'm getting visitors from regional areas of australia who are googling "keyword location" which is how i have my pages setup even though the pages don't have any content besides a google map widget of their local area.

    One thing i didn't consider was that google has it's own local business results in the serps but for my main keyword, their local business listing ranks 4th.

    I did a few cold calls yesterday to get a feel. I didn't pitch anything, i just asked about their business, how they advertise their business and if they think the internet would help them bring in more business. All of them opened up to discussing it straight off the bat. I thought maybe i would get some "fuck offs" but i didn't.

    Some were very receptive to discuss their business and sounded eager to grow it while some sounded like they hated the business they're running and didn't give a shit and were quite happy with just a yellowpages listing.

    I also decided to jack the listing price up $20 to $49.95 as i don't think either price point is going to stop them from taking up the offer, so why not pocket an extra $20 per sale.

    Anyway, i'm just waiting on my VOIP box to get here so i can start cold calling these businesses en masse.
     
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  5. poisonsembrace

    poisonsembrace Registered Member

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    Just an update on my cold calls.

    I sold 6 listings this week. I've spent around an hour each day calling up businesses. Obviously i don't have the money yet but i've posted them their invoices.

    Some people really love to chat and others were not interested, but $300 bucks is not bad for making 30 odd phone calls for my local region. Now i need to replicate this for 50 other regions i've got on my website.

    I need to write up a little script and list objections. Then i'm going to pass all the calling onto my mother and cousin to do and give them 50% of each sale so i can move onto something else.
     
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  6. skorpion

    skorpion Regular Member

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    Great job and congrats. Thats great that you are having luck cold calling. I would be interested in hearing your script and what you say to them if you dont mind sharing.

    Have you done any face to face, door to door selling? It has worked great for me. I can give you some info/pointers on that if you want. :)
     
  7. yazo80s

    yazo80s Junior Member

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    Yeah could share some tips on door to door selling, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    btw i have a coupon site, that i just started, initially looks to be very promising.

    thx
     
  8. fastmoney

    fastmoney Newbie

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    I would walk them through your online site. You should create a page, where they can create their ad and pay at the same time, all while you have them on the phone...

    If they have the internet there.. of course..
     
  9. tyler8541

    tyler8541 Regular Member

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    How do you like the WP directory you are using?
     
  10. Tcm9669

    Tcm9669 Regular Member

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    Do you have an ABN number to send the invoices?
     
  11. poisonsembrace

    poisonsembrace Registered Member

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    Yeah i include my ABN, contact details, business name on the invoice i send them. Billable on Mac is great for this. I encourage them to contact me if they make any changes to their business so it can be updated at no added cost (unlike a yellow pages advert which is that way for the next year, good selling point.)

    You need an ABN to register a .com.au anyway and i also have a Commbank business banking account which runs me $10 a month to keep things right.

    This has been a pretty good money spinner to date. I've also had a few requests to build websites but i cannot be bothered with that.

    Making calls is tiresome and my mother an cousin are not making as many as they were but i spend 3-4 hours every monday making them.

    It's anything but a passive income but it's money all the same.
     
  12. Tcm9669

    Tcm9669 Regular Member

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    What is an employee answers the phone? I mean they will not know anything about hos they advertise the business and stuff.. so you ask for the manager?
     
  13. poisonsembrace

    poisonsembrace Registered Member

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    The niche I'm in is run by small business so 75% of the time i get the owner and if not i just ask to speak with them, if they're not available i just highlight the number to call back later.

    I'm not sure how you would target a larger business where spending is controlled and can't be done on a whim.
     
  14. Bruceorange

    Bruceorange Junior Member

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    Great thread, I'm enjoying reading this would like to hear on some more results.
     
  15. grafxextreme

    grafxextreme Regular Member

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    The concept is good, I'm not sure about the blog part, but if you have a way then go for it. A real directory would be best.

    Two things that jump out at me are:
    1. How are you going to drive traffic to your site?
    a. How are you going to ensure that traffic keeps coming to your site?
    2. You're charging too little

    In the thread you were kind enough to credit me with I recommended $25 because it was easy for the owner of the site seeing themselves sell a $25 listing than selling a $100/mo listing.

    I was addressing their mindset rather than the mindset of the business owner. Sometimes you have to overcome the resistance in the mind of the entrepreneur before worrying about the resistance in the mind of the buyer. 8)

    Since you already have sales experience this would not really apply to you.

    I would recommend you find the cheapest media where businesses buy ads and use the lowest cost as your starting point for selling advertising.

    For example, in my area it's $75/wk for one small classified ad. That would be my base point.

    When you find this media with cheap advertising you've also found some of the businesses who are more than likely to buy ads from you. You know they're cheap and looking for cheap ads.

    Then you start looking around for other cheap advertising such as local giveaway classified ad paper. In the states it would be PennyPower or ThriftyNickle or perhaps those advertising on a flyer with lots of other ads or doing some other cheap ads.

    This is a quick way to identify 50 to 100 people who will be an easy sale. Once you have them then you can grow your business because others will see you're growing and will want to advertise with you.

    The above part is the easy part. The difficult part is driving traffic to your site to prove that it's worth their money to continue to advertise with you.

    If you can't drive traffic to your site and keep them coming in on a daily basis then it's simply not going to work.

    I would also recommend, depending upon your niche, that you start out small with one city and then expand rather than try to go nationwide. You'll have a lot more success. I've tried it both ways and the local way is much more easier and profitable.

    Can you set up a merchant Paypal account and accept credit cards? That might be a way to get paid quickly.

    Just a thought...

    btw: Is your blog cell phone friendly? This is a very important aspect of an Internet directory for obvious reasons.