Generating leads and acquiring new customers is high on the wish list for pretty much any company hopes to achieve by registering in online catalogs and directories. Online catalogs and directories can also be a valuable tool in beating competition, by engaging in a “virtual attack” on their online presence and by reserving key online real estate for your own company.
This article explains why a planned approach to web directories is so important, which conditions should be met, and aims to identify the most common mistakes made when pursuing this type of strategy.
Thus, in order to generates, traffic, and gain a competitive advantage, it’s important to consider all phases of a web directory campaign—whether domestically or internationally.
- Strategy Development
- Start-Up (data entry)
- Management (Checks, Updates, Communication)
Unfortunately, many companies lack the internal knowledge in order to plan these sorts of initiatives effectively. It often happens that once the entries are booked and initially filled in, they are ignored. Furthermore, it can be difficult to choose the right assessment tools to determine the quality of a particular directory. Without strategy, planning, controlling, and performance measurement, it’s impossible for the company determine if a particular listing has been successful or not.
In general, it’s easy to discern between B2C and B2B directories—and between vertical and horizontal portals. B2C web directories are particularly suitable for item with a regional (hairdresser, crafts, on-site services) focus, whereas B2B directories focus on industrial products or services offered nationally or internationally. Horizontal portals are thematic and are aligned across industry lines and therefore have a broader audience. On the other hand, so-called “vortals”—vertical portals—have a specific theme, industry, or audience in mind. In order to choose the right portal and directory type at both the international and national level, it’s important to develop a strategy from the get-go.
In order to develop a sustainable strategy, not only should goals and targets clearly be defined, but one should also think about the scope of the implementation, controlling, and potential optimizations measures that are also needed. Does the company have enough resources? And if so, where are they located? These questions should be clarified in advance, so that the actual goals of the campaign can be realized, as well as to make the web directories a sustainable part of the online marketing mix.
Common goals of a web directory campaign are as follows:
- Lead Generation
- Customer Acquisition
- Increasing website traffic/visits
- Virtual image versus your competition
- SEO—pushing your website up the organic rankings with valuable backlinks
- Complement SEA measures
- Presentation/dissemination of new products and services
The type of directory chosen has a strong influence on which of these objectives can be easily achieved. The scope of an entry or the amount of information allotted in a given portal makes a huge difference in terms of outcomes.