There are many different and effective ways that you can expand your reach and exposure on-line. One of the ways that you can do this is by being listed in directories. However, there are some things to consider before opening up your wallet.
“I am reviewing my expenses for the year and I was just wondering what you thought of getting on-line leads from specialized directories like XXXXX? [name removed] I paid for “premium” membership last January and have gotten zero leads. I am located in WA and there are 112 coaches across WA listed – so, I thought my premium spot would bring me business. Conversely I have received more action from XXXXX – and am confident that listing has increased my hit rates. Now, another site XXXXX has contacted me. I've never heard of them. Should I list with them? Do you have any suggestions?
I'll share my thoughts for Sonya, but I hope you share yours in the comments too. Ok, let's go.
Different Types of Directories Give Different Results
There are blog directories, directories of upcoming teleconferences, niche directories, phone directories, etc. all over the web. Some are built as a resource for the public and some are built to help generate leads for your business. Some are no-cost and others have associated fees.
The no-cost options are pretty self explanatory, so let's take a few seconds to address the for-fee sites. There are two types:
Pay for Performance Model
In this model, the developer of the website gets paid when you either get a lead from them (click) or when the lead actually purchases from you. If you are listed for a year and no one sees your listing, you are not out any financial investment. If they do and they act on it, you pay an agreed upon commission.
In this model, you pay for a premium/platinum or other special level in the directory and in return they will list you higher or give you other perks that will make your listing stand out to the site visitor. Since this is the model Sonya is writing about, I'll address the rest of my comments to this type.
Evaluate Before You Open Your Wallet
When I learn of a new web directory or service directory that is trying to get me to list with them, there are a few things that I look at before I take any action.
If the site’s sole way to get you leads is through their web site, then it had better have a better ranking than mine. Check out their Alexa ranking — www.alexa.com this is a site that will tell you how much penetration the site has on the web. You can find your ranking and that of any other site as well.
If they have a low Alexa ranking, I don’t rule them out. New sites are not going to have good rankings. I just ask more questions:
- What are your marketing plans to increase your Alexa ranking?
- What is your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy?
- Do you market with lists online? If yes, what is your subscriber base?
- Do you market with lists offline? If yes, what is your subscriber base?
- Will you be doing any media advertising? (Example, Service Magic is currently running all kinds of tv ads in my area to push people to their site)
- Is your site just a directory or are there other reasons people would look for your site?
- Do you have any joint venture partners that will help you publicize the site? If so, what is their subscriber base?
New sites that are niche directories come and go all of the time. Some are really solid and have a solid business plan behind them and others are not. My policy is to never pay for a site that does not have proven results or strategy of some kind (if they are promising leads).
Consider the Free Directories Too
Hubspot created a great list of free directories that will give you loads of options to list your business. The Ultimate List: 50 Local Business Directories
What do you think? What would you do or have you done? I'd love to learn from you too.
To your “happy I can be found” success!
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