As you know, getting companies to place advertisements directly on your website without using a middleman is the most advantageous for you. You can earn more money and establish a personal relationship with your advertisers, something both parties will benefit from. It’s often tedious to get advertisers for your website, especially if its not your primary focus, but if you are building a directory in a vertical where you don’t have much knowledge or contacts, here’s a quick suggestion.
Do some research and find the biggest franchisers and largest organizations in your industry. Many companies in the industry will proudly display their memberships on their website, and you can easily see what companies are part of a franchisee. Instead of contacting smaller companies individually, contact the CEO or Director of Marketing for the franchise or organization, and try to get all of its members to sign up for advertising.
Offer the company or organization a considerable discount for its individual franchisees or members if the company or organization offers an endorsement of your website. Ask to be included in the marketing materials as well, since many provide a guide to marketing for members.
Some organizations won’t do endorsements, but you can ask for their rates to market to their members. Most have newsletters and other types of sponsorships available for your company. If you can’t afford to pay for the marketing costs, offer to do a marketing exchange by adding banners, special offers, and/or other special marketing exchange.
Working with the largest groups can help ramp up your revenue quickly.