Does everyone have a directory these days?
It seems that everyone is looking for the best list to be on, and everyone is professing to be the best list to be on.
In the case of online directories it typically all begins with a free listing. If you get pursued for a paid listing, you may respond like I do - why should I spend money with your directory? Invariably the response is about number of hits. So it would seem to be useful to have a list of evaluation questions to review when sizing up yet another pitch for a paid-for-listing for your startup or small business.
Apply it to your business by considering the following aspects:
- The site as a destination
Are the hits as a result of search or a direct visit? Search would indicate a good google page rank, whereas direct hits imply that the directory is well known.
- Perception of the site as a useful resource
How many repeat visits does the directory get? If people come back, chances are the site is useful to them.
- Investment in marketing and branding
Professional design and a solid marketing base will indicate the directory may have a reasonable lifespan and growth potential. How does the directory attract visitors?
- The clarity and thought behind the categories
Heavily populated categories (compared to others) would indicate that more time is spent recruiting those listings, or users of the site seek those types of businesses. If it is difficult to categorise your business in a way that properly defines who you are, then potential customers may have trouble finding you.
- Site visitors
How certain are you that the site is one that your intended audience or customers will use? Does the directory have any idea of the profile of their visitors? Does it have any resemblance to your target audience?
- Age of the directory
How many of your competitors feature? A lot could make it a given that you need to appear, not many may prove that they don't know about the directory either. If all other points point to the directory being a good one, then it may be worthwhile to dominate. Look generally at the sort of businesses who are paying for listings.
- Search functionality
How well does the search work? Can a potential customer searching for your kind of product or service in their local area, find you? How user-friendly are the displayed results (for the user)? Are the results returned relevant to your query?
- Geographic focus
Does the directory focus locally, regionally, nationally or other? Does its focus suit your aims for recruiting customers?
How many sales or customers do you need to obtain from visitors to the directory to not only cover the cost and effort, but become worthwhile?
If you have useful indicators of how good an online directory is, then please share them below.
Bronwyn Durand writes the Marketing Ideaology blog for JupiterJasper Practical Marketing.