On the web today, there are tens of thousands of business directories, allowing any type of organisation to register for a free or paid listing. This is perfect for getting links to your business out on the net, with minimal effort. Being listed in many different directories ensures your companys name, contact information and website are floating on the world wide web in as many locations as possible. But is this really going to work for you? Will this pull in greater revenues and ensure more impressive profits? It is highly unlikely. Whilst some would consider this a form of e-marketing, it is more a simple blanketing exercise through which your information is seen by few people – even fewer within your target market.
So how can directories actively work towards forming a solid foundation for an online marketing campaign?
For starters, free directory listings will only get you so far. Whilst its good to be listed in all the major commercial directories for your area/country (i.e. Yell.com for the UK etc), it makes more sense to focus on industry-specific directories. Pick as many as you can for free listings, ensuring all information is short and detailed enough to attract clicks. The main problem with free listings is the fact that they tend to get filed in long behind paid listings, and receive no further notice through being featured or highlighted. This essentially means that free listings should only be used to supplement a primary directory/set of directories that you employ as proper marketing tools, through full paid listings. Free listings only really exist to serve the off chance that customers will stumble upon your listing without real care being taken to search specifically for what it is that they want.
Paid listings are the key to making directories work for you as traffic-driving marketing tools. Pick your primary directory/directories carefully. They should be industry specific, ensuring the money spent here is not wasted on traffic not interested in your product/service. Paid listings will allow your business to be seen by far more people than an equivalent free listing, as it will often be featured and can contain far more detail. Securing a solid relationship between you and your directory representative can also help to earn free incentives to stay with them, such as free homepage exposure and advertising space.
Netwise Hosting have been in a long relationship with Serchen, the worlds largest hosting and web services directory organisation. They run a number of industry specific directories which significantly boost traffic and revenue for those service providers who choose to employ their services. Our relationship with our representative has ensured our ability to gain key advertising space and homepage exposure with interviews and awards.
Take time in developing a directory strategy, and do not think your work is done when your business is named in every free directory on the net. You get out what you put in, and unless you are operating in an industry which is highly driven by customers finding you directly, paid directory listings are the only guaranteed way to ensure directories actively work for you; instead of you working for them.