May 20, 2019

How do I monetize online referrals to local "brick and mortar"? NOT selling leads (necessarily)


Hello IndieHackers-
Man what a great site this so far. Was recommended to me by a man named Mick Meaney (of profit Copilot) Just giving credit where it's due.

My question is:
I would like to start a website/blog about somewhat specific types of businesses, etc in my hometown. My attempt is NOT to rank a local site and sell leads. It IS however to write about businesses I like in my hometown on my own accord, by my own interests and standards of what constitutes a good and interesting business to shine a light on and essentially promote.

Because I would be putting in the time, care and skills (limited as they may be) I would like this to be a profitable project or venture. Helping myself by helping others. Also, it seems a great way to get back to a social life--by interviewing local vendors, etc.

Is there a tool or step-by-step way to make this essentially an affiliate blog? Or a standardized way to track and earn commissions for referrals to brick and mortar businesses?? Some of them have websites. Some don't.

Thank you so much for taking a look and for your assistance : )

  1. 1

    If they don't have a website that's going to be hard.

    Something that I just thought of that would be pretty cool is if on your articles featuring the local business, you created a twilio proxy number to measure the number of calls that the local business got from your content. That coupled with web traffic referrals could give you enough to get paid every month.

    You could even reconcile the lead's phone number with the stores sales to see if it resulted in any affiliate sales.

    1. 2

      LOVE this idea. Creative solution!

  2. 1

    I would love to hear from someone on this as I have a similar idea for a software product that is free for users and would be funded by referrals.

    I assume the answer is to get these businesses on the phone and agree to a deal. The crux is going to be proving that their new sales actually came from your referral. Maybe provide a code that gives the reader 5% off?

  3. 1

    Have no ideas on how to monetize it, but I would think towards Nextdoor or some local forum to get started with a few stores and then go and talk to the owners of those stores to try and figure out their angle on it.

  4. 1

    I think about this and am often tempted to do something too. Partly because I really believe in investing in my local community and also because it's a great way to build up your social network. Where are you based?

    A few months ago I read an amazing story of a (small) company creating local communities, it was quite inspiring. I can't find the link though, will need to keep digging for it and remind myself how they make money.

    I don't see how affiliates could work on a local scale.

    I think the key is to create a local connection, with residents and businesses. Help connect the two and see how you can make money from the businesses. Company listings, news, promotions, encouraging people to shop local and from independent businesses.