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Top 10 Ways How Listing Platforms Make Money

Ways to monetize your listing platform and generate a certain income

There are plenty of ways a website can make money, from affiliate marketing to e-commerce. One of these numerous ways to monetize your website is to build a listing platform. Also known as a directory site, this platform lists and links to other websites and businesses in only one or a few niches. 

If you want to monetize your listing platform and generate a certain income, you’ll be happy to hear there are numerous ways to achieve it. However, setting up a listing platform is not easy as it takes a lot of time and hard work. Once it’s ready, you will be able to try out these numerous revenue streams that could bring you a lot of money. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 10 ways how listing platforms make money with useful tips on how you can do the same. 


Table of contents
  1. Charging of list
  2. Letting businesses claim their own listings
  3. Selling Advertising Space
  4. Making some listings private
  5. Create memberships
  6. Having a platform for selling services and products
  7. Focusing on marketing
  8. Building a content marketing strategy
  9. Utilizing PPC for your listing platform
  10. Create extra services

1.    Charging for Listings

Of course, the most obvious way to make money from your listing platform is to charge for listings. As we already said, your listing niche can be anything from restaurants and hotels to software solutions and financial services. You can charge companies just to place their listing on your platform or they can even upgrade to a premium listing that will show additional information in return. 

Providing Different Types of Listings on Your Platform 

These premium listings can differ in price, depending on what you decide to offer. For instance, your most expensive listings can consist of additional features such as images, social media links, additional text space, etc. Most of the times, premium listings are placed on the top of your page ensuring every visitor sees it immediately as he enters your platform. 

If you decide to sell your listings, that can help you create recurring revenue as well. You can have monthly fees where the listing will be displayed until the last paid day. Keep in mind that if you’re trying to charge for listings, you will need to demonstrate these businesses your listing platform is receiving adequate traffic to encourage them to pay for it. 

2.    Letting Businesses Claim Their Own Listings 

If you wish to keep your listing platform relevant and updated while you’re also generating profit, you should consider encouraging businesses to claim their own listings. This way, you will not have to hard-sell them. Your focus is that your platform displays the correct information. 

Additional Options - Photos, Links, Text, Opening Hours

Businesses can turn to Google Business and Yelp to successfully claim their listings. Then, companies can claim or purchase these listings. Claiming their listing implies these businesses can enjoy the option of adding more photos, contact links, text, reply to reviews, update of their important information such as opening hours, etc. 

Also, companies can use these listings to promote their brand. But how can a listing platform owner benefit from that? Well, you can easily generate traffic and display the correct information about all of these businesses without having an aggressive sales approach. 

3.    Selling Advertising Space

When thinking about ways how listing platforms make money, you will notice that many of them choose not to charge for the listings or even for claiming them. The reason for that is that having all of these companies listed is very crucial for you if you wish to have a successful listing platform and provide accurate and valuable information to your audience. 

Connecting Your Ads to Specific Content on Your Platform

On the other hand, charging for listings might result in a platform that’s not displaying accurate information about these businesses. If that happens, you will lose your visitors and unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get them back once they leave. That’s why many listing platforms owners will choose to sell their advertising space as a way to earn money. 

You can place the advertisements on your page or your posts. You can even connect your ads with specific content so your audience can benefit in more than one way. They can be charged as a recurring fee which means you will have a regular income from it. This also requires you have a proof of your website traffic to encourage a business to pay for an advertisement on your listing platform.

4.    Making Some Listings Private

Listing platforms can also make money by charging their visitors to view the content they have on their platform. If you decide to make some of your listings private, you can charge your audience the access to these listings. 

Hiding Listing With Plugins 

There are even plugins you can get that will help you hide listings you want until a user has paid to access them. You can choose whether you’ll charge it as a one-off payment or as a recurring subscription. Once your users have paid, they can view all of your private listings. 

However, if you choose this method, make sure your hiding listings are truly worth the money someone is going to pay for them. Think about the type of listings your audience would be willing to pay and start crafting your strategy. 

5.    Create Memberships

If you set up a listing platform that provides a membership of various types, you can also generate recurring revenue. Your users will have to sign up and pay a certain fee to access your platform and see the information you have on it. Most of the times, listing platforms will charge this fee once a month, but it can also be a one-off fee. 

Determining What Information is Worth Paying For

If you wish to create a successful membership strategy on your listing platform, you will first need to ensure that your platform is full of useful, valuable content that somebody will gladly pay for. What type of information would users in your niche pay for just to have access to them? 

Besides listing, you should also think about creating your own blog which will have videos, podcasts, industry overview and trends, infographics, webinars, live events, member forums, etc. If you update your platform with high-quality content very often, people will be more willing to become members. After all, that’s how listing platforms make money nowadays. 

6.    Have A Platform for Selling Services and Products

You can also decide to monetize your listing platform if you turn it into a page that is actually allowing businesses to sell their services and products. The most known example of such a platform is AirBnB. 

Benefits for Businesses that Sell their Services and Products

Depending on the niche’s nature, you can determine how you will shape the platform so these businesses can also make the most of it. This will help you keep traffic on your platform and encourage your recurring visitors to come back. 

Of course, your users will need to see certain benefits from selling their services and products on your platform. Providing them only with an online place to do it is not enough, once again, you will need to have all the numbers. 

7.    Focusing on Marketing

Your listing platform is an excellent source for the marketing of these businesses. For instance, you can lend them your visitor database and they can use it for the upcoming marketing campaign. You can help companies send promotion news, advertise their campaigns and so much more just by charging for the information you already have about your visitors. This way, these listings will not only be promoted on your platform but also to their email address. 

Providing Your Audience With Additional Content

If your platform has a big visitor database, this method will make you more money than any other. When you’re marketing your customer information, you are also ensuring your customers are getting more valuable information which helps you build a good reputation for your listing platform. Gradually, you will notice an increase in your traffic numbers and, of course, a bigger revenue. 

8.    Building a Content Marketing Strategy

We’ve already mentioned running a blog as an additional feature to provide to your users who are willing to pay for the content you have on your listing platform, but you should also consider creating an entire content marketing strategy for this as well. 

Writing Guides and Connecting Articles to Your Listings

Most of the times, these listing platforms have so little content and having a place where you will provide something of value should be one of your main focuses. You can use that blog for internal linking and connect it to your listing categories to help visitors find the information they need. 

You can write guides on your blog or even run a monthly showcase where you’ll feature a particular business. Companies will enjoy that type of exposure where you’re mentioning their name and talking in more detail about their business. You can easily charge for interviews or case studies on your blog but you will need to have very high traffic numbers as well. 

9.    Utilizing PPC for Your Listing Platform

PPC is an abbreviation that stands for pay-per-click advertising. If you’re wondering how listing platforms make money from PPC, it can be utilized to get people to list and to get traffic. The choice will depend on your goals but you can also combine these two to get a better result. If you’re just launching your platform, you will want to invest your money in PPC to get the traffic as you need it to fulfil your objectives.

The Risk of Investing in PPC Campaigns

Then, as time goes by, you can advertise it in order to get more listings on your platform. If you’re already an established platform, you can choose to go with both or choose the one that has more sense for your platform at the moment. You have to be aware that PPC is riskier than all the other methods, but if done right, you can gather a significant amount of money from the traffic your PPC campaign gained. 

10.    Create Extra Services

Once you’ve established your listing platform and you are recognized within your niche, you can create extra services for all of these businesses and sell it to them. For instance, if you’re listings are for real estate businesses, you can sell your guide on how to close deals more faster with suggestions from industry leaders all over the world. It can really be anything as long as you can provide an expert perspective on the topic and your audience is willing to pay for it.


Final Thoughts

Today, listing platforms make money from different sources and there’s no reason for you to neglect the profit you could earn from it. Of course, it’s up to you to choose among these ways to make money from your listing platform. Your decision should be made based on the maturity of your platform, the size of your audience and the nature of the niche. Whatever you do, make sure you’re providing quality to your visitors as that’s the only thing that will make them come back again and again!




Joel Koh

Joel Koh is the director of One X Tech's Technology Management & Digital Solutions practice. He leads the firm's Asia Pacific office efforts in continually evolving and growing new capabilities to serve clients in technology-led transformations.

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