To be honest, the “Premium Listing” model is arguably a declining model due to:
(1) The influx of so many free listing platforms around the web; and
(2) The fact that consumers are charged an ongoing fee to search for businesses.
However, there is still one well-known player in this category – Angie’s List – that is alive and kicking.
What’s the deal?
Angie’s List is a directory of service based businesses. If you’re a service professional, you can sign up and pay an ongoing fee to be listed in this directory. In order to get access to search through this directory, clients / homeowners need to pay an ongoing fee to get access to search, review and hire these professionals.
Angie’s List touts over 3 million individuals who are “members” of its platform, and about 54,000 participating service providers (i.e., who are paying to be listed) as of the end of September 2015.
A way to think about this platform is that there are “serious” customers here looking for professionals they want to hire. You can call them serious because they are paying money to get access to businesses like yours (if you’re listed, of course). Point being – they can afford spending money, and having clients who can afford paying a lot is a good thing!
There are additional advertising products you can purchase on Angie’s List to get promoted in front of its homeowners. You can promote the “ratings grades” that customers give you towards the top of search, or you can promote your business profile in front of local homeowners on the platform.
Angie’s List’s Business Center explains at a high level their goal as a platform. In short, it’s kind of like a smaller Yelp for business and homeowners to pay to get access.
How do I set it up?
You can go Angie’s List’s business center and either claim or create your profile: http://www.angieslistbusinesscenter.com/
From there Angie’s List will send you a starter’s guide of how to subscribe and the things you can do to start promoting your business.
What are the risks?
The risk is that you pay a lot to be listed without have any clients reach out to you at all. So you’re incurring an ongoing fee but you are getting no return out of it.
At one time Angie’s List (which was founded way back in 1995 actually) was the ideal place to be listed and to find premium local professionals, but now with all the directories and search platforms out there for consumers, the amount of customer inquiries that go through Angie’s List doesn’t justify the price. The company’s reported numbers are saying the same thing – a decrease in the number of service providers on platform from a year ago.
I would be careful jumping into the premium listings game. For the most part, clients searching for service professionals should not have to pay to be able to simply search…but Angie’s List forces this.
Now, if you offer extremely specialized services, then premium listings might be right for you. For homeowners who want specialized and high quality service, then paying a few bucks a month to give them some further assurances at times might make sense. I would simply reflect on your type of business and ask yourself if you really need a “premium service” listing, or if there are plenty of other ways for eager clients to find you.