It's important to put yourself in the shoes of a possible member. 

You're an accountant and you've just received an email about a website that wants to promote your services for a fee. You would likely want to learn a bit more about this company, so you click on the link and begin to search through the site. The first thing you're likely to do is search for accountants in your zip-code or town. Here are two things you're going to want to see:

  1. A search result page with multiple results. 
  2. At least one "upgraded" member with an active profile. 

Once you can deliver this experience to your prospects, you will significantly increase the chances of signing up a potential member. 

If you have a general directory with 65 total categories, you will most likely find yourself in a difficult position to generate relevant results acorss all categories in all locations. Here are some tips to help manage this issue: 

Tip 1 - Focus on One Geographical Area

Pick one location that you will focus on to start. Oftentimes, selecting the city you live in is a great option. If I live in Chicago, I will make sure that I have multiple members for all of the categories available in Chicago first. If you have a local directory, you can skip this step. 

Tip 2 - Focus on a Specific Industry

If you have a general directory, you'll want to select two or three main industries to focus on. You may select lawyers, accountants and real estate agents for example. If your directory is industry-specific, you can skip this step. 

Tip 3 - Upgrade Well Known Business From Your Target Location and Industry

Now that we know which location and which industries we want to focus on, we can start upgrading free members to a paying membership level and complete their profiles. Make sure to add multiple entries for each feature that you've activated as well. These will be your demo profiles and show potential members that their competitors are already advertising on your website. 

Tip 4 - Now Start Selling!

By following the first three tips above, we've put ourselves in a position to guarantee the following when we contact potential members: 

  1. A search result page with multiple results. 
  2. At least one "upgraded" member with an active profile. 

This is a bite-sized approach that makes launching and growing your business manageable.