Someone with a new directory recently asked me for advice on how to market it.  Here are 9 marketing strategies that you can use:

1.  Directory Lists.  You want to make sure that you are on every possible directory list imaginable.  Hunt them down and get your directory added.  People use these lists as a basis for deciding what directories to submit to.

2.  Link Building.  Link building is important.  This is because a quality directory has a lot of pages, and the more pages a website has, the more links it needs to be indexed and regularly crawled in the search engines.

3.  Sponsor Templates.  For link building, sponsoring templates (for instance WordPress and phpLD) is effective.  You need to be sure to sponsor an attractive design for this to work.  As with any website, you should be sure to use a variety of link building techniques and not rely exclusively on any one method.

4. Caution with Buying Links.  In the current climate, I’d be cautious about buying links.  That being said, I know some of the largest directories do this and don’t get harmed by it.

5.  Pagerank.  I wouldn’t worry too much about Pagerank.  Most people care more about your individual reputation and the directory’s reputation than Pagerank.  And realistically, you don’t want to deal with the Pagerank hounds.  They submit to the category with the highest Pagerank, regardless of relevance.  When you move their listing to the proper category, they send you a barrage of nasty emails (I’ve even been threatened with legal action!) and eventually do a chargeback.  You need good clients, not any old client.

6.  Marketing Focus.  I’d focus on marketing to small businesses and SEO companies.  Individual webmasters generally prefer to spend hours spamming to get a link rather than pay a modest fee.

7.  Charge What You’re Worth.  As you improve the directory, don’t be afraid to raise your fees (I’m a big fan of annual fees but they’re not for everyone).  If you are doing a good job with your directory, it’s not cheap to run.  Plus, you’re providing a lot of value to your clients.  And it doesn’t matter that at some two-bit forum there are people selling links with higher pagerank at less than your review fee.  You’re not selling links or pagerank – and you’re not trying to get the same clients they are.

8.  Blog, Blog, Blog it All – Blog It If It’s Big or Small.  You may want to add a blog to your directory, as it is often easier to market a blog than a directory.  Adding a blog to any website is an effective marketing strategy.

9.  Quality Listings.  Adding quality listings to the directory itself is important not only for building a quality directory, but for marketing too.  Ultimately, the better the quality of your directory, the less hard you need to push its marketing.