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B2B: A new sales channel is emerging for local search directories

B2B: A new sales channel is emerging for local search directories

Local search directories are propelling small businesses online and seizing the opportunity to offer them more digital solutions. SMBs are increasingly seeking business solutions like payment acceptance and scheduling software for bookings. In fact, during the pandemic, Yell (Yellow Pages UK) saw 76% of their clients added such solutions, leading Yell to refocus their strategy altogether.

I’ve worked in local search and digital media for nearly three decades, with 17 of those years spent managing the publication of Yellow Pages. I’ve seen how directories and other brands that service SMBs work day and night to provide their customers with the services and tools they really need to start a business online.

But with Google dominating the industry, especially when it comes to ads and SEO, local search directories want to explore more innovative avenues for growth while keeping their core offer intact. In this article, I will dive into an emerging trend amongst directories: offering DIY services via B2B collaboration to support business growth.

Offer a world-leading SMB website builder to your clients.

online directories or SEO local search to discover local business

DIFM vs. DIY services

Traditionally, directories have offered contact listings (name, address, phone number, website, business email) as well as Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) services to establish such lines of communication (web hosting, website building, etc.). DIFM is the standard in the industry, for example coordinating online advertising and digital marketing on behalf of the client. This channel, though often costly in terms of time and resources, also allows for direct upselling on products and services.

But SMBs are becoming more self-reliant when it comes to marketing and tech. According to the 2024 Small Business Report by VistaPrint and Wix, 71% of SMBs do all their marketing themselves, and 79% are confident in their marketing knowledge. And the 2024 State of the SMB Report by Localogy finds that 90% of SMBs are using some form of SaaS, signifying a certain level of dexterity when it comes to leveraging tech platforms.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) marketing technology has emerged as a new sales channel for online directories, bringing with it the next evolution of the industry. DIY makes building a website intuitive for SMBs, and allows them to seamlessly link their site to their business listing. The offering can be sold directly through existing marketing channels, without the need for additional overhead on sales and fulfillment. And with millions of business listings sitting in directory databases waiting to be monetized, even a 1-2% conversion rate can make a significant impact on a directory’s revenue.

DIY doesn’t need to replace DIFM—it can serve as an additional sales channel. Plus, DIY users who need assistance can be redirected right back to the directory’s DIFM services, letting the two channels combine to form a cohesive loop for revenue growth.

integrating a DIY funnel or functionality

Offering DIY services as a directory

To offer DIY services, a directory needs to form a B2B strategic partnership with the right DIY platform. The platform must be intuitive and business-oriented, allowing any type of business to launch quickly online, accept payments and scale.

The platform should be on the forefront of technology, offering AI tools, (like an AI website builder) to make creating an online presence as smooth as possible. SMBs should also have 24/7 access to product support should they have any technical questions. It’s best if the product is already known in the industry, with a history of success with SMBs.

The platform should empower SMBs to leverage all the business features they need. As Sherilynn King, Senior VP at Pages Jaunes (Yellow Pages Canada), puts it,

“Our strategic partnership with [DIY web builder] Wix has strengthened our website offering, making it easy for SMBs to add on additional features including eCommerce and online booking.”

Pathways from the online directory to the DIY partner product should be seamless and well-engineered as a co-branded offering. This can only be achieved by a product partner’s expert team that can develop the right APIs and integrations to create an optimal user experience.

In addition to product, a DIY offer requires the right funnels, tools and tactics to grab the attention of a free SMB listing and properly convert them. The best strategic partnerships allow you to learn from the business partner’s marketing strategies, data analysis and experienced success teams. Simply offering a functional DIY product is not enough. To nurture leads and drive revenue, a business requires best practices and dedicated support in order to identify and convert high-intent users.

build your online presence with DIY funnel

Many leading online directories have already chosen a partner to offer DIY website-building services as a core part of their business strategy.

“We chose Wix as a partner because we believe in the Wix brand,” says King. “As Wix continues to evolve both their business and their products, we believe we can offer our customers the best website products on the market.”

“I think that's the best way to future-proof your business,” she continues, “finding the right, trusted, credible partner to move forward with you.”

Learn how a channel partnership with Wix can drive growth for your business and your SMB customers.

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