Can Business directory owners make money through free listing?

This is an interesting question. Whether business directory owners can make money through free listings has been debated by numerous marketing experts. There is a point of view that once you give something free, patrons will never pay up later. However, providing free services or discounted pricing on products seems to be a favorite marketing practice. Obviously, this tactics of providing free advertising on business directories seems to be working for, at least, some of them. Here are some probable reasons why there is a phenomenal growth in business directories, some of which have been successful in making money.

What should you do to get patrons to pay for listing?

Assuming that a website starts off with free listing in their business directories, there are ways in which they can monetize their site. Giving value for money may seem like a cliché but is a fundamental pillar of business. Many website owners erroneously think that once they have listed business in their directories their work is done. Unfortunately, making money with business directories is much more than mere listing. Value proposition, in this context, means providing adequate and enough exposure to businesses listed in these directories.

Powerful search features

People and buyers don’t have enough time to view all the pages in a business directory. A powerful search engine which provides the right results quickly can enhance the quality of user experience. Finding the right business can mean the difference between a successful business directory and mediocre ones.

Providing quality content

The magnetic pull of quality content on any website cannot be overlooked. Besides free listing on business directories, there must be provision for featured products and services. These must be exhaustively reviewed by peer group and experts, giving pros and cons of the business. Visitors to the site must be able to make up their mind after perusing the information. The content provided must be compelling, comprehensive and easy to understand. Use of complex technical words and jargon must be avoided under all circumstances. The content on the business directory must be enhanced with the use of tools such as Google Maps and Google Places.

Showing deals and discounts prominently

Businesses are forever working on schemes to increase sales. Come holiday time and there is a rush to offer promotional deals and deep discounts. Local businesses would find the proposition of displaying paid advertisements attractive if directories provide sufficient exposure to such deals. The crux of the issue is to create a win-win situation for all.

Use of directory software

Use of directory software or plugin in case of users of CMS like WordPress is a powerful method to energize and invigorate a business directory. Automating search function, creating suitable deals and discount opportunities and displaying eye catching images of products can all be accomplished easily with a quality plug-in or software.


Even if a business directory provides free listing, there are sufficient opportunities to monetize a site. The key lies in providing value to the customer by effectively promoting the listed businesses through other channels. It’s possible to have free listings on a business directory and still make money out of it.