How to Get Businesses to Buy Premium Listings: 4 Incentives

How to Get Businesses to Buy Premium Listings: 4 Incentives
Last Updated on: Posted inBlog

If you’re starting (or already running) a business directory, one of the ways to monetize your directory website should be premium listings.

These paid listings add value to your directory and make it more attractive to businesses looking for visibility in the marketplace.

But how exactly does a premium listing gives businesses an edge over their competitors? How do you sell them on it?

In this blog post, we’re going to share four things that will convince businesses to pay for a premium listing on your directory website.

And then, we’ll show you how to start offering one with the GeoDirectory plugin. 

Ready? Let’s go.

What is a premium business listing? And how is it different from a free listing?

A premium business listing is essentially a paid version of a basic or free business listing.

It typically includes more information about a business and typically comes with additional features or benefits.

Here are a few key differences between premium and basic/free business listings:

  • Businesses can add more information: A premium business listing typically includes more details about a business, such as its address, phone number, hours of operation, hi-res photos & videos, and description of the products or services it offers. A basic or free listing may only include limited information like the business name, address, and logo or a basic picture.
  • Gain more visibility: Premium business listings are often given more visibility on websites or directories, meaning they may appear higher in search results or be more prominently displayed. This can be especially useful if you want to attract more customers to your business.
  • Get special privileges: Premium business listings may come with additional features or benefits, such as the ability to add more photos or videos, the option to highlight your listing, the ability to add links to their social media, or the ability to respond to customer reviews (new feature coming soon into the pricing manager add-on). Basic or free listings may not have these options.
  • There’s a cost: Of course, the main difference between premium and basic/free business listings is the cost. Premium listings typically come with a fee, while basic or free listings are, well, free.

Overall, a premium business listing is a great way to get more exposure for a business and provide potential customers with more information about what they do.

It can be a valuable investment, especially if you’re looking to attract new customers or stand out in a crowded market.

Show them all the enhanced features and functionality

When customers are searching for local businesses, they want to find the most relevant and up-to-date information.

They want to learn as much as possible about a business before they visit.

So, the more information you let businesses provide to customers, the better!

A premium business listing gives companies access to a range of enhanced features and functionality, such as:

  • Contact information and hours of operation
  • The option to upload unlimited photos – putting a face and place to a business helps to build trust with potential customers.
  • Add videos and other multimedia – video can be a great way to show off businesses in action or company culture.
  • Include links to your website and social media profiles – this helps customers learn more about any business and stay connected.
  • Highlight listings – draw attention to important offers or promotions with the ability to highlight your listing.

When you build your directory website on GeoDirectory, you can tailor the information you collect/display, including adding your own custom fields. 

The custom fields are flexible and go deep, so you can set up exactly what you want premium users to mention as extra information regarding their business.

There’s even a feature that allows you to either keep things private for admins, or visible to the public.

The credibility & trustworthiness factor

As we mentioned earlier, a premium listing lets businesses add more information.

Stating your address, phone number, and hours of operation and adding photos and videos of an establishment and its people give potential customers a better understanding of what you do and what they can expect when they visit your business.

And when you display businesses more prominently on the directory website with a “Featured” or “Recommended” badge, customers can feel more comfortable about choosing that business for their needs, knowing they’re an established organization with a solid reputation.

Speaking of reputation, a premium listing also helps customers see a company listing’s reviews and ratings at the forefront, which is important for persuading customers to choose one business over others, as many people rely on reviews and ratings to make their buying decisions.

In fact, 58% of consumers would pay more or travel further to support a company with good reviews.

Mention how they will get more exposure

A premium business listing can increase the visibility of local businesses on a directory website in several ways:

  1. Higher search ranking: Premium listings may be given higher priority in search results, meaning they appear higher up in the list of search results when someone is looking for businesses like yours, making it more likely that potential customers will see your business and click on your listing. (Advertisement add-on required for this)
  2. Prominent display: Paid listings are typically displayed more prominently on the directory home page and directory pages, such as being highlighted (e.g., shown as “Featured”) or given higher rankings on category pages or sidebars. This makes businesses stand out and draw more attention from potential customers.
  1. Additional features: Again, premium listings also come with additional features that can help to increase visibility, such as the ability to add photos or videos, or highlight your listing. These features can help to make business listings more attractive and share-worthy to potential customers and increase the chances that they will choose a business over others.

Make it easy to see the potential for more business growth

A premium listing can attract more qualified traffic to a business to generate more leads and customers.

This means that your users may see an increase in revenue from the paid listings alone. 

In addition, premium listings are often cheaper than other forms of online advertising, such as pay-per-click or Google Ads – making them a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to promote their products or services. 

Additionally, when it comes to business growth, it can be smart to leverage data transparency and social proof to incentivize businesses to pay for a premium listing:

  • Let businesses track analytics: You can set up front-end analytics for premium users to monitor incoming traffic from your online directory. The measurable results will make your directory business one that can be trusted and used long-term.
  • Enable embeddable reviews & ratings: 95% of people say that reviews, positive or negative, influence their purchasing decisions. Needless to say, they’re very important. As mentioned earlier, by allowing reviews on your directory website, premium listings can show off their positive social proof both at the top of search results and on their own website with the embed add-on to boost revenue. Businesses can also show that they care by responding to customer reviews publicly – which can be set as a special privilege for premium listings only. (Both these options are coming soon to the pricing manager add-on.)

How to start offering premium listings to local businesses

Want to make some money from your online directory? The first step is to actually build one. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.

1. Build out your online directory

First things first, you’ll need to have a hosting plan set up and have WordPress installed on it. From there, you can easily install and activate the GeoDirectory plugin.

GeoDirectory allows businesses to showcase their products and services on an attractive listing page that features all of the important details about the company, like contact information, hours of operation, and photos and videos.

The plugin is easy to set up and manage, so you can quickly get your clients’ premium listings up and running in no time.

And best of all, businesses can track their success over time, making it easy to optimize their listing for maximum impact.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our video guide: How to Create a Directory Website with WordPress.

2. Set up premium listings with the Pricing Manager

The Pricing Manager add-on for GeoDirectory allows you to sell premium listings that include more fields for users to fill out when creating listings, such as extra pictures, categories, tags, a longer description, and custom fields.

These premium listings can also be “featured” and displayed in prominent places on your site and can be contingent on subscriptions, where users can pay for recurring featured listings. 

Your premium listing setup would look something like this:

The plugin offers many possibilities and can be customized to create a unique directory that stands out and generates reliable sales.

3. Calibrate your paid listing offerings

As a directory website, you can arm business owners with a range of tools to manage premium listing much easier:

  • Recurring payments allow for a steady income stream without the need to chase up businesses for renewals on their paid listings
  • Alternatively, you can shoot payment reminders for single payments to ensure businesses renew their expired premium listings
  • Offer free trials as a no-risk option for businesses to test out your premium listing service
  • Create unlimited pricing packages to cater to different paid business listing needs. For example:
    • Standard: includes basic listing information such as business name, contact information, and a small number of pictures.
    • Premium: includes all the features of the standard package plus additional pictures, a longer business description, and the ability to include videos in their listing.
    • Platinum: includes all the features of the premium package plus the ability to include a “featured” tag on their listing, and priority placement in search results.
  • VIP: includes all the features of the platinum package plus the ability to include special promotions, a dedicated customer support representative, and a customized webpage for the business.
  • “Pay to Claim” feature, when paired with the Claim Listings Manager, allows you to require an upgrade in order to claim a listing. This means that you can offer a free basic listing, but for businesses to fully claim and manage their listing, they would need to upgrade to a paid version.

Example of a directory website using premium listings

Many businesses already use premium listings to gain an edge over their competition. For example, is an online directory for American Wineries, where businesses can pay for premium listings to stand out from the crowd.

When someone searches for wineries in their area, those with a premium listing appear more prominently on the home page and the search results page:

Notice how the premium listing has featured badges that indicate a ‘Featured’ status for more trust and credibility. These perks make featured listings stand out and catch a customer’s attention from the rest.

Parting Words

A premium listing on your directory website can be an effective way for businesses to promote themselves and generate more leads.

It provides customers with the assurance that they’re an established, reputable business while also allowing them to see customer reviews and ratings at the forefront.

Plus, it’s a cost-effective addition to other forms of online advertising.

To measure success and optimize for maximum benefit, track key metrics such as website traffic, sales, conversion rate, visitor engagement rates, and search result visibility and makes these data available in the advertising landing page.

So the next time you’re scratching your head on how to sell businesses on your paid listings, refer back to this article. 😉

You can get GeoDirectory here today:


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Published by Paolo

Paolo Tajani, co-founder and marketing lead at AyeCode LTD, works alongside his business partner Stiofan to develop key WordPress plugins such as GeoDirectory, UsersWP, and GetPaid. Starting his journey with WordPress in 2008, Paolo joined forces with Stiofan O'Connor in 2011. Together, they have been instrumental in creating and marketing a range of successful themes and plugins, now actively used by over 100,000 websites.