How to Create a Marketing Strategy for Your Online Directory

create marketing strategy online directory
Last Updated on: Posted inBlog

Creating an online directory is an excellent business, but it won’t generate revenue until you get the word out.

That’s why marketing is so crucial.

Building a solid marketing strategy paves the way to your site’s success.

With it, you’ll have a plan you can follow to help you reach your revenue goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If you’re creating an online directory and you’re wondering how to market a directory website, you’ll find all the details below using WordPress and the GeoDirectory plugin.

Feel free to skip down to the section that’s most relevant to you:

Creating an Online Directory

Before cracking into the details of marketing a directory website, you’ll need to build one.

If you haven’t done so already, you can create one now that’s scalable, secure, and performs well.

Combine WordPress and the GeoDirectory plugin, and you’ll make quick work of creating an online directory.

You won’t even need to touch any code.

Our GeoDirectory plugin extends the capabilities of the core WordPress software so you can turn your website into an online directory.

Our WordPress listing plugin adds features such as:

  • A drag-and-drop listing submission form
  • Unlimited Custom Fields and easily formatted page templates
  • Ratings & Reviews and other customizable widgets
  • Maps with the ability to get directions
  • Contact forms
  • Google Analytics widget
  • A long list of other capabilities

Add-ons are also available to customize your online directory further:

For details on creating an online directory, check out these resources:

You can also check out Online Directory Business Model Explained to gather ideas on which kind of Online Directory to start making money with. 

How to Create a Marketing Strategy for Your Online Directory

To plan a reliable marketing strategy to get the word out about your online directory, you’ll need a goal and market research.

Then, you can build out your strategy, test it, and adjust what you need.

Every online business and directory will be different.

So, while it can be helpful to see what your competitors are doing, be sure to plan a marketing strategy that makes sense for your site.

1. Decide on a Clear Goal

You need to define a goal before you start. This helps you stay focused on what you need to accomplish as well as what your strategy should be aiming to fulfill.

Whatever goal you choose, it should be specific, actionable, and quantifiable.

You also need to decide on a timeline that is realistic.

Specific Goal-Setting

Your goal should be specific enough that it becomes a clear target.

For example, reaching 500 created listings in one to three months is a great goal.

Simply deciding on increasing sales is too broad.

Creating Actionable Goals

An actionable goal means that it’s as effortless as possible for you to take action on working toward reaching that goal.

There need to be clear steps that you can take to reach your goal.

If you take the example from earlier and you want to get 500 newly created listings in your online directory, actionable steps could include:

  • Engaging in social media marketing (being helpful on sites like Reddit, Quora, Facebook group,s and local forums related to your niche is great marketing for your brand)
  • Setting up a social media ad campaign.
  • Writing guest posts for relevant blogs to spread the word about the directory.
  • Starting an email list and a newsletter.

Or other possibilities.

All these actionable steps would increase the directory visibility and create higher chances of new listings being submitted.

Measurable Goals

A quantifiable goal is one where you can clearly measure its success.

There shouldn’t be any room for guesswork.

For example, you either get the 500 listings created or fall short.

Either way, it’s possible to see whether you reached your goal and how far along you are to achieving it.

Otherwise, you risk putting in a lot of arbitrary work that doesn’t land you the results you want.

Choosing a Timeframe

A realistic timeline looks different for every marketing strategy, site, and business.

But it’s essential to choose an achievable timeframe.

Depending on the methods you choose to market your online directory, each tactic takes a certain amount of time that you’ll need to consider.

If you want to write guest posts, for example, you can’t reasonably expect an article to be written, submitted, and published to start driving traffic to your site all in one day.

2. Conducting Market Research

Once you have defined your overall goals, you’ll need to research your market.

This is crucial because you need to find out what needs your online directory can solve for your visitors.

Searching for questions related to your directory’s niche and the shortcomings of your competitors gives you unique insights into what you should focus on.

Again, sites like Facebook groups, Local Forums, Reddit, Quora, and Twitter can help you understand what people in your target niche require and what they expect.

From there, you can ensure your directory checks all the boxes your audience is looking for while also gaining valuable insight into what kind of marketing they may be receptive to experiencing.

For example, if you notice people are generally professional in tone when reading their questions, then your marketing will need to align with that.

3. Building Your Online Directory’s Marketing Strategy

Once you have a better insight into your target audience’s needs, you can start planning your marketing strategy.

Some crucial areas to consider are:

– Branding and Brand Positioning

Branding means how your business is publicly presented.

It has to do with the style and tone of voice in sales copy, the design of your logo, how your business is represented on social media, and other similar elements, such as brand positioning.

When it comes to a brand’s positioning, it’s all about how people perceive your business and what sets you apart from your competitors.

Building brand positioning takes time, but starting from the ground floor is crucial.

If you don’t think about how you want your customers to view your business, it’s more challenging to think of a marketing strategy that aligns with it.

It helps to consider these questions when thinking about your branding and positioning:

  • What feeling do you want your customers to be left with after creating a listing?
  • What do you want your audience to (virtually) take away when they leave your site?
  • How is your online directory different from your competitors?
  • How do you want your customers to perceive your directory when comparing your site with your competitors?
  • What style and tone would your audience connect with the most?

A key aspect of brand positioning is repetition.

According to studies, it takes at least four to nine instances of repetition for a subject to be remembered reliably.

This means you need to mention key phrases, your directory’s name, and similar words at least four times. That doesn’t mean you need to repeat something that many times, all in one sitting.

Over time, you can disperse the repetition over several articles, ads, and other marketing materials.

– Target Audience

As touched upon earlier, your target audience consists of the people who you want to focus on reaching with your marketing.

It’s essential to consider the following when you’re building your marketing strategy:

  • What do your potential customers need and want from an online directory?
  • What does your ideal audience like and dislike?
  • Your ideal customer’s schedule and lifestyle
  • What are the values of your target audience?
  • How do you want your customers to think and feel about your online directory?

When you understand your ideal customer deeply, you can create a well-fitted marketing plan.

Doing so makes it easier for them to connect and interact with your brand because they will want to do it naturally.

That’s where knowing as many details about your target audience as possible is beneficial.

When you understand their schedule, for example, you’ll better know when to publish social media posts and articles.

You can pick a time when you know your audience will be available and on social media.

Beyond that, understanding what your customers value the most is also critical.

A person’s values are an integral part of their identity.

If you align your business with their values, your potential customers will instantly connect to your site and will be more likely to purchase.

Everyone is different but shared values are family, time, peace, freedom, love, patience, privacy, safety, security, pets, money, energy, consistency, and anything else that’s important and that personally connects with your target audience.

If you know you value privacy, you’re not going to purchase from a business that doesn’t have basic security measures in place, for example.

When you deeply understand your target audience with concepts such as these, you can reach them much faster and easier.

– Marketing and Social Media Channels

When planning your marketing strategy, it’s essential to consider which social media channels to use.

You need to consider which platforms your target audience uses. Those are the ones you should focus on populating.

If you’re short on time or resources, you don’t need a huge social media presence on multiple platforms.

Choose the one or two most active for your audience and stick with them.

Publishing relevant, engaging content regularly and consistently is key.

The more of your business people see, the more likely they will be to remember your online directory and actually visit it.

Keep in mind that your content also needs to provide value.

You don’t need to give away the farm, but you need to offer something significant enough that your audience notices.

– Marketing Methods

Read on for examples of specific marketing tactics and methods you can use for your marketing strategy.

You can also check out 8+ Ways to Monetize a Directory Website.

4. Test, Analyze, and Adjust as Needed

Once you’re done creating an online directory and marketing strategy, it’s time to test it out.

Start implementing it, then track your progress.

Depending on your strategy, use tools that appropriately measure your goals.

For example, if you want to analyze your site’s traffic, use a tool like Google Analytics.

You can also let your listing owners track their traffic with the Google Analytics add-on.

Other tools, such as A/B testing software, including CrazyEgg or Hotjar can help you test changes to see if they’re more successful than what you currently use.

That way, you don’t waste your time with changes that don’t work.

Some visitors will see your original page, while others will see an alternative with your adjustments.

Once data starts rolling in, you can accurately measure your progress and adjust your plans accordingly and as needed.

Review your marketing strategy and see where you can improve if you notice that you’re off track with your goal.

Then, test out your changes, and analyze the data once again.

Adjust your strategy as often as necessary to reach your goal.

This is called the PDCA cycle (plan, do, check, act)

How to Market a Directory Website

Now that the basics of creating an online directory and a marketing strategy have been covered, here are the finer details of marketing a directory website.

There are so many different marketing methods you can try out, including, but not limited to:

  • Provide free valuable information for your readers through your blog.
  • Create a lead magnet or free offer.
  • Populate listings and set up the Pricing Manager add-on and Claim listing plugin so visitors can pay to claim a listing as their own.
  • Run a contest on social media or on your online directory.
  • Use Adwords, or Ezoic, or Mediavine (depending on your traffic).
  • Write guest posts to publish on relevant blogs.
  • Create a high-converting landing page.
  • Run a pop-up when a visitor tries to exit the site with an enticing offer.
  • Publish articles regularly on your site’s blog.
  • Create a badge with the Embeddable Ratings Badge add-on customers can use on their website that links to your directory.
  • Use the MultiRatings and Reviews add-on to include highly-customizable, in-depth, and shareable reviews on your directory.
  • Create a Facebook group based on your online directory’s niche.
  • Partner with relevant influencers to share your directory.
  • Collaborate with other businesses in your niche.
  • Connect with several related businesses and create a group package with discounts, free offers, and similar items for visitors and customers.
  • Use the Events Tickets Marketplace add-on to let customers sell event listings in your directory.
  • Use BuddyPress and the BuddyPress Integration add-on to add a social media component to your directory.

There are so many marketing tactics you can use.

Whatever you decide on should fit your business and target audience well, so keep that in mind.

For more, check out The 6 Rules to Monetize a Directory Website, and 8+ Ways to Monetize a Directory Website.

Wrapping Up

By now, you know how you can go about creating an online directory and how to market a directory.

An online directory is a great business or an optimal way to create an extra income stream for your existing online blog or business.

Over to you: Do you have any questions about creating an online directory or how to market a directory? Ask away in the comments below.

You can get GeoDirectory here today:


Published by Paolo

Paolo Tajani is the co-founder and growth hacker of AyeCode LTD. With his business partner Stiofan, they are the makers of the GeoDirectory, UsersWP and Invoicing plugins for WordPress. Paolo developed his first WordPress website in 2008. In 2011 he met Stiofan O'Connor and together they started building and marketing successful themes and plugins for WordPress. Today their products are used by +100.000 active websites.