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How to populate DP listings—and then e-mail owners without spamming?

I have a new directory I am manually populating with listings. No wholesale scraping or .csv data dumps. I am choosing what I consider the “best” businesses in a certain demographic as a starting point for the directory. I would like to email each listing owner and tell them that • I have given them a listing • I have given some of them a 90-day listing • They may be getting email inquiries from my site visitors about products they may stock, and they can then deal directly with the buyer • And if they like the results they get, hopefully upgrade to a paid listing. We only sell listings. These businesses are worldwide, so they clearly come under many separate laws regarding email spam. What are your experiences with populating your DP listings under similar circumstances? Do you always depend solely on the business owner somehow finding his listing and then claiming it? Or have you contacted owners of the businesses you list as I plan to do? Have you experienced email spam charges doing this?

Created: July 2, 2013 at 9:47 pm

  • Mark Fail
    Mark Fail
    July 3, 2013 at 12:47 am


    Firstly, great job on doing things manually, this is the way to go as mass importing large amounts of content right off the bat will get you no-where (SEO wise).

    I suggest you start with smaller businesses or family run businesses, they generally check emails personally and get back to you sooner. If you word it like you are reaching out to them personally it will come across better than just bulk mailing.

  • David Harris
    David Harris
    July 3, 2013 at 4:30 am

    I suppose for the cost of a phone call you could also send a nice fax,if they have one. Nicely designed and personal, might be a good way that?

  • Mark Fail
    Mark Fail
    July 3, 2013 at 5:13 am

    its an idea 🙂

    if your listing prices are say $100 a year a fax or phone call would be well worth it.

  • Richard Bonk
    Richard Bonk
    July 3, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Or a personal visit – nothing better than a face-to-face meeting. 🙂

  • Ian
    July 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Or a personal visit – nothing better than a face-to-face meeting

    These businesses are worldwide


  • David Harris
    David Harris
    July 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Skype video chat then. 😎

  • Harry
    July 3, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Hi Larry,

    I have 2 directories built on Mark’s excellent Directory Press.

    Like you I initially manually created listings. With the Claim Listing feature it really is brilliant.

    My advice would be to use your SEO plug ins to get the listings ranked / appearing on the Search Engines.

    If you are using effective SEO tools then it won’t take long for the listings to show on Google searches.

    Once they appear on Google you can phone if poss with a follow up email with details of how to improve their listing. This works because the client can see the benefit of their listing and the potential it offers whilst allowing you to build a rapport.
    My oldest clients were approached this way and are also my most supportive clients.

    As your clients are worldwide I suggest a Skype call it costs nothing.

    I hope this helps and good luck.

  • Larry
    July 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. I will use the Skype option.

    As on old SEO guy I am constantly astonished at the power of DP regarding SEO, indexing pages in Google and search engine rankings. Each listing (or in Shopperpress, each product) is a separate highly optimized WP post and can fly on its own and compete extremely well in search engine rankings. I also use Yoast’s SEO plugin to tweak the head tags and insert good “marketspeak” into the description. Good points, Harry, as one can pair up the merchant’s name with a location and also with your directory title. I always leave the | directoryname on the end of the <title> tags. So the SERP will also show my directory name– in addition to linking to the listing in the directory. Free advertising. And since my listings are location sensitive I work in the merchant’s location into the Listing title in addition to the head tags <title>. Works like a charm.

    In the case of not being able to complete a phone call or Skype call (can’t often tell if an unreturned call is a rebuff, or the person’s just too busy), would an unsolicited e-mail be risky business? I take David’s point about making the email personal. But I don’t want to run afoul of anti-spam laws. I do believe the more personalized an email is the less chances of a complaint. Has anybody consistently emailed in this manner and lived to tell about it?

    After reading the US and UK spam laws it almost makes you afraid to get out of bed in the morning, LOL.

  • David Harris
    David Harris
    July 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Do faxes come under spam laws? Never gave it much thought.

  • Harry
    July 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm


    IMHO I have found that whilst it may seem attractive to approach or list the “best” businesses in a certain demographic ; initially you may find it more productive to concentrate on businesses that you can demonstrate positive results of joining a new / unproven directory.

    Most of the “best” businesses will already have good presence in the Search Engines whilst those not so successful online will be able to see the increase in their online presence and ratings.

    Of course if you can afford a good internet marketing strategy, then you can speed up the process using Social Media and online marketing to highlight your site.

    Hope that makes sense and helps. All the best,


  • Mark Fail
    Mark Fail
    July 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    good feedback, thanks for sharing

  • Larry
    July 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm


    I agree. My “best” businesses include those most likely to benefit from my directory by making a leap onto the international playing field. Therefore I purposefully seek out those who don’t rank as well in the search engines.

    The downside of that is it’s sometimes hard to sell analog Moms and Pops on the concept, but if was easy everybody would be doing this, right?

  • Narender Kumar
    Narender Kumar
    July 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm


    can you pls guide me to the best and must have seo tools to get fast rankings in serp as you said, in view of the current changes google is making. And if you could share some good things about promoting a site.


  • Harry
    July 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Narender,

    IMHO there are many SEO tools / plug ins; however Yoast seems to work. I myself use this on certain sites. SEO Pressor is another great plug in.

    Mark has made an excellent product that I love which works – especially if you make your listing content search engine friendly. To me that means making sure that Titles are descriptive and effective, Main descriptions should include H1, H2 & H3 titles.That may seem obvious but it does work.

    I also believe that the Google changes will not affect sites that have well written content that delivers. Simple.

    With regards to promoting a site – that depends on your budget. Most people concentrate on Google / search engines. The fact is Social Media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, Stumble Upon etc.) are extremely popular ways of generating traffic.

    Another way to promote is to make videos, create press releases and of course build networks.

    Please don’t get me wrong, these are not guaranteed to succeed so do not quote me.

    Hope that helps and good luck with your site.

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