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Dien Rice
July 7, 2012, 11:43 PM
Hi Eva,

Thanks for posting your question...

I also found the article from "Mother Earth News" - the link to it is here...


I'll first go ahead and read it so I understand it better... :)
Hi Eva,

I think it could work... I guess only trying it would tell!

As I understand it, the business model in a nutshell is: get home businesses to buy ads, use the ad revenues to fund the printing, then give the directories away for free via local business outlets; what's left over is your profit.

If I were doing it, I would combine it with a (simple) directory website. For their fee, I'd put the businesses' ads both in the directory, and also on the website.

I think that would be a more attractive proposition (perhaps you could charge a bit higher, too, as a result). I think the website would help promote the printed directory, and vice versa.

Even if you don't know how to make a website, it is quite easy to make one using software - Kompozer http://www.kompozer.net is some free software you could use, for instance.

Many people seem to have a relative (e.g. son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, etc.) who knows how to put up a simple website - maybe you could rope them in? I would make sure I had my own domain name, though (so it looks more professional). I would avoid all the "bangs and whistles" like animation, flash, etc. etc., and would opt to keep it simple and usable.

That's what I would do - though it may not be necessary. My personal opinion, though, is it would help increase the chance of success of the operation.

You could also offer different sized ads - for example, a simple listing is a basic cost, but if they want a larger "display ad" it would cost more.

Another thing I would do is write a press release about the directory, and send it to all the local newspapers and other local media outlets. (You can pay to have one written for you, or contact a local journalist and ask him/her if they will write it for you in return for payment.) Your press release should follow the standard "inverted pyramid" news structure - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_pyramid (On the other hand, newspapers might see you as a competitor for classified advertising dollars. However, radio, TV, blogs, etc. are less likely to see you as a competitor, and might pick up the story.)

Anyway, I think it could work. If I were to do it personally, I would also do the additional things above, which I feel would increase the chance of success.

One last thing - if I were going to do it, I would aggressively go after local businesses. Why? If you succeed, you might attract "copycats." The more businesses you can "sign up" at the beginning, the more success you'll have, but also, it will make it harder for others to compete with you, as you'll have left as little as possible "cash on the table" for them to pick up.

Best wishes!


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