If your organization relies on membership, a member directory can be your best friend! Not only does it legitimize your organization, but it also helps your members connect with each other.
Let’s explore how to make your life easier with an online directory.
The history of directories
Before the explosion of the internet, a directory used to be a big book with a list of names, companies and products. In order to find the services you needed, you would skim through all the options and choose the one that best met your needs.
In order to stay on top of the latest changes, directories would be updated yearly or quarterly. This was how people kept up with information on businesses in an area, region, building or industry. These directories were incredible tools, but they had limitations.
The change to online digital directories
Thanks to technology, directories look very different today—and are far more useful! Where a physical directory was only as up-to-date as the day it was published, an online directory is:
- Easy to update
- Environmentally friendly
For membership-based organizations, directories are an invaluable tool. That’s why many membership management softwares have online digital directory systems built in.
Benefits of having an online directory
One of the main benefits of having an online directory is how versatile it is. No matter the structure of your organization, this tool has something to offer. Let’s explore the difference between how a chamber versus an association can use a directory.
A chamber of commerce can use a business directory to:
- Host advertising space for businesses
- Help communities get to know local businesses
- Grow visibility for up-and-coming local businesses
A chamber’s directory is like one big meet-and-greet! Anyone who’s curious about a business can get information on it quickly and accessibly.
An associations membership directory helps with:
- Networking and building connections
- Job hunting
- Improving credibility for members
This credibility part is important! By publicizing their membership to your organization, both businesses and individuals can look more legitimate.
(If you want to see how deeply your members are actually engaging with your organization, you might also benefit from a Customer Relationship Management system!)
Using an online directory software to build your directory
As you can probably tell, a directory contains a lot of information. This is where online directory software can simplify things.
This type of software ideally connects to your member list and can be automatically updated at any time. No more waiting for quarterly or yearly reprintings.
Your member directory software can also be a benefit in your member packages. Most software has user-friendly tools that help your members explore who else is involved in your organization. While hosting regular networking events can be costly and time-consuming, a directory gives your members an instant way to connect.
The 10 best online directory software options
In order to choose your ideal online directory software, consider the needs of your organization. Here are 10 of the best options of software for building an online directory.
Simplify membership management with MemberClicks! Our all-in-one solution helps your association, chamber, or association management company engage your members and increase revenue. Make use of powerful features to save time, grow your membership, generate more revenue, improve communication, build your community, and understand your members.
2. Brilliant Directories
Brilliant Directories offers an Affordable, All-In-One Member Management Solution to streamline all aspects of your membership website or association.
Cote: $145/one time & 7-day Free Trial.
Raklet is an all-in-one membership software that allows you to engage with your community in a meaningful, digital way. Build, grow and monetize your audience through memberships, newsletters and other tools.
WildApricot is an affordable cloud-based software for small associations, non-profits, state and local chapter organizations. Manage membership, website, events and more all in one place.
Cost: $48/month & 30 Day Free Trial.
360Directories is an online visual directory software for media groups, civic organizations and communities. Providing administrative and marketing tools for business owners and a community portal for entrepreneurs, media companies and civic groups.
ListingProWP is an end-to-end directory & listing solution for WordPress with no extra paid plugins required. An All-in-One turn-key solution to build & monetize (worldwide) an online directory.
The plugin’s top features include: Search/Filter, FES, Claim, Pricing Plan, Multi-Criteria Reviews/Ratings, Inbox, Ad Campaign, Appointment Booking, Events, Coupons, User/Admin Dashboards.
Cost: $69/one time
MarketGrabber is an online directory management system that helps users create business directories, generate SEO-friendly URLs, manage featured ads & more.
Cost: $499/one time
IdealDirectories is a directory management solution that helps users launch business directories and coupon websites to promote local businesses.
phpListings.com is a complete business directory website solution. It includes all the tools to run a profitable directory with an intuitive and user-friendly search facility, administrator and member panels, powerful monetization facility that supports automated invoicing and membership plan subscriptions.
The directory software is suitable for business listings, events, places, classifieds, job postings, property listings, blogs and offers.
Cost: $99/one time
Choosing the perfect online directory software for your chamber or association
Don’t get overwhelmed choosing a member directory software—go with the one that integrates with your tools and gives you the power to do more. If you want to make member communication and retention easy, look for the option that can also connect with your Association Management System software.
You know the needs of your organization, so prioritize those above all else! With the amount of member directory software options out there, you’re sure to find the one that’s right for you.