The Most Important Element Your Online Directory Needs To Be Successful

I’ve had my head stuck in Business Jump 24-7 for so long now that it wasn’t until a thread in Remarkables FB group yesterday that I thought back to when I had the directory for Mum CFOs.

This Remarkables thread had gained quite a bit of traction while I was offline (and none the wiser), so it wasn’t until someone tagged me in it that I read the comments with interest. It was fairly balanced but there was one comment that I found a little bit funny.

It was, ‘No-one would pay to be listed in an online directory.’

Pfft.

See my face in the photo below? It is my WTF face to comments like those.

After thinking about this thread, I revisited my Mum CFOs PayPal account which was active last year when the online directory for Mum CFOs was up and running.

As you can see below, people DO pay to be listed in an online directory and they will pay you many times over in the format of recurring income – but only if you implement the right strategy behind it.

If you don’t, then yes, no-one will pay.

People that poo poo online directories just don’t understand the driving factors that make them successful.

 

When I opened the directory, I signed up 32 paying listings within a few days. Most were on the $9.99 package and a few on the $19.99 package.

How did that happen? Let’s break it down.

Concept

As I am big advocate of, Mum CFOs was born from a pain point in my everyday life, that I could provide a solution to. I wanted to connect with like-minded Mums who weren’t afraid to talk about creating wealth and who like me, were motivated to be smart with money. I wanted a safe place for there to be a conversation about how to be smart with money, how to budget but also how to create more wealth, like through property investing, shares and the like.

Income streams

I had a few ideas in mind, of course the online directory, but also affiliates, e-courses and digital downloads like e-books. Firstly, I grew my audience, listened to their pain points and thought about how I could provide solutions to them within my products and services. A large part of the comments were asking for recommendations for a particular business or service so I knew an online directory would be a solution. What also happened, was that because these businesses were largely already in the group trying to promote their services (despite the no advertising rules!), I knew I was also providing a valuable solution to them as well, so it was a perfect fit.

Audience

First and foremost, I created my audience before I tried to sell anything. Mum CFOs grew to approximately 6000+ members and my mailing list had about 20,000 emails in around one year and the FB page was approx 10,000 likes, so I used this as leverage.

If you are just starting out, I know you might be thinking, shit Nat, that is a lot. For the more seasoned business owners out there, it is reasonable but what it really is, is social proof. It is a collective audience of potential customers for my vendors. 

You don’t need to have a FB group, although I highly recommend it. What you really need is at least just one or two platforms where you have great numbers and great engagement so you can show vendors you have eyes to put on their business. For me it was my FB group and my mailing list, however, in addition, I also recommend prioritising increasing your website traffic.

Your selling angle

Advertising just for people to sign up on your directory is a bit, meh. Unless you have awesome website traffic. My best tip is to pair your directory with your best performing social media platform.

So for example, my $9.99 package included the listing on the directory and being able to post in the Mum CFOs FB group once per week during business hour. This was a nice automated way for me to offer an extra incentive and it did not require too much of my time. I used Postplanner and scheduled a post at 8pm to announce ‘Business hour is open’ and then at 9pm a ‘Business hour is closed’ post.

Simples.

Now, you need to be super mindful that you construct this part carefully because it is a numbers game. If you choose not to have a group but want hundreds of vendors to sign up, offering them a free post on Instagram or a FB page is going to just not be doable. Save these more time-consuming options for bonuses, special deals or up-sells to a premium, more expensive package so you are getting paid properly for your time.

Strategy 

Directories are a numbers game. It is not complex, it is just a matter of keeping your barriers low and backing up with proof you can provide value. Don’t give too many package options because you want your vendor to make quick and fast decisions, not to go away and think about it.  I had two packages, the $9.99 option which had the bonus of the weekly business hour in the Mum CFOs FB group and then the $19.99 package which had the same but an inclusion in my mailing list as the up-sell. Align a recurring income stream to the listing so that vendors pay you each month. This also lowers the barrier because it is low-risk for them.

Conversions

I feel that a lot of overwhelm and fear comes into play when we don’t understand the law of conversions. Not everyone is going to buy your stuff, in fact it is pretty common for only 1 or 2% to buy, so don’t freak out about that. What you need to do is get more traffic to push those numbers up, and also work on scaling that 1-2% as high as you can take it. For example, I had a client that followed my strategy and converted at 70%.

Here is what this client is up to today, like literally today.

If you want to read more about her journey with Business Jump click here.

Scaling recurring income

Maybe you’re thinking I should have had more conversions with those numbers. But, I’m going to let you on a little secret in the interests of full transparency.

I kind of did it all a bit half arsed.

My time was already spread thin with Business Jump. I just didn’t have a lot for Mum CFOs.

I was working on two businesses, neither as effectively or productively as I knew I could or should have been.

I didn’t do a big launch or anything fancy. Those 32 vendors came from a few posts in the Remarkables and Mum CFOs Facebook groups.

The reason why those 32 vendors signed up off the back of a couple of posts, automatically, with no conversation or direct contact with me, is because they saw the 6000+ members in the FB group and 20,000 emails and saw value. They saw that I could get eyes on their business – social proof.

So, imagine the potential if I’d invested in a consistent and fully effective strategy and played my A-Game on it like I did with Business Jump.

Imagine where Mum CFOs would be now if I had chosen Mum CFOs and dropped Business Jump instead.

Imagine if I was running FB ads, nurturing my audience, creating new content, growing my audience and advertising the directory out there in full-force and working on Mum CFOs the same way I work on Business Jump.

See the potential of it when you apply your time and energy?

Let’s be clear about something as well. Those weren’t once off payments. It was $9.99 per month x 32 which equalled a recurring income stream of $319.68 per month.

Imagine if I continued to do more posts and on-boarded another 32 vendors ($639.36) and the week after another 32 vendors ($959.04) and kept on scaling.

However, none of that could have happened without the audience to place my vendor’s businesses in front of.

My audience were the value my vendors were buying.

Without your audience, you have nothing to sell and that is why most directories fail. People try to hard sell listings before they can show they have value to exchange.

This is how I know the power of an online audience and why we must make it our first priority in business when getting started. It will create results for you in a compound manner when you learn to leverage off it.

When I look back at my time in business, I can see the successes that I had were when I was close to pulling a simple traffic > leads > sales strategy into alignment. I would then get distracted, spread myself too thin and lose the momentum. My results would dilute and I would have to start from scratch again.

All the pieces of the puzzle clicked into place for me when I finally nailed this strategy, and this is what I teach in the e-course I provide my clients, because I know it is the crux for success in any business.

No matter the model.

You don’t need to study a business degree to be successful, you just need to put a few key strategies into place, like;

The 80:20 rule
Mindset first
Outsource and automate
Master one thing at a time
Just do it and work it out as you go
Spend the majority of your time working ‘on’ the business, not ‘in’ it (profit producing areas)
Grow your tribe on social media (traffic)
Move your tribe over to your website (traffic)
Create trust, relationships, connections, tell your story, serve instead of take (leads)
Move traffic onto your mailing list and sales pages (sales)
Continue to nurture and warm your audience (sales)
Continue to give value (more sales)

If I’d have  known and actioned these things 10 years ago, I would be a bizgillionare by now.

It’s funny when I look back at the stats for both my businesses, the month I decided to leave Mum CFOs for ‘another day’ was the month that Business Jump went to the next level and continued growing and growing like a freight train.

Mum CFOs has been sidelined for almost a year now because I realised that I just didn’t have the time or mental capacity for both businesses. I knew I needed to make a decision on which one to continue with because my time was being spread too thin across both – and then fate stepped in.

I had someone who I had partnered with try and make a claim on Mum CFOs.

Mum CFOs was my idea and I had invited her to come on board but a few months down the track I removed her from the partnership and offered her a pay out. I’d had many, and I mean MANY people messaging me about her offensive behaviour. I asked them to show me screenshots and I have a whole folder full of horrible names and fights that she had with members that I had been unaware of. Ultimately it was damaging the brand reputation and I wanted to hold profit that I alone had created until she was long gone.

Secondly, the website was hacked and after that, it didn’t function the way I wanted it to. It was riddled with issues and I was struggling to find the time to go back and refine how I wanted it to work.

But really, what I believe in my heart are those things were a realignment.

It was the Universe showing me that Business Jump was the direction I needed to go in.

Doing what I do at Business Jump is in my blood.

It is an unwavering knowing that I am living in my purpose.

I know it and feel it every day and what started out as a whisper, is now a strong and confident voice telling me that this is without a doubt what I was put here to do.

It is about empowering and giving confidence and a vision to mums just like you that anything is possible.

That an online business can be the vehicle for living the life that we want to live.

The feeling of living each day with fulfilment and within purpose, whilst not always smooth sailing, feels like intoxicating contentment.

I went where my heart led me and used what I have learned along the way to show others how to be successful too.