Is Being Listed In An Online Provider Directory Right For Your Business?
The question we pose today is the following – “Is being listed in an online provider directory right for your business?”
The answer is “Probably”.
As you probably know, there are plenty of online directories for business owners to avail themselves of; platforms like Bing, Yahoo, Google+, Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, etc. that list your business, and provide the ability to have a company page that you can develop and maintain with business information. All for free. These platforms also sell advertising which you can purchase to make your company more prominent on the platform.
And then there are platforms that list your business, and, will funnel presorted prospective customers to you for a fee or percentage of some sort. These platforms include very large well-known names like Amazon and LinkedIn, and other companies like Angie’s List, Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor.
Is being listed in an online provider directory right for your businessWorth it?
Well, it’s certainly worth spending the time and/or money (paying someone to do it) to put up a company page on the free platforms. Those ping on the various search engines, and are helpful when prospective customers are looking for a provider like you. You don’t have to buy ads in order to have your company listed, so a pretty good deal. Of course, you’ll get email solicitations from the owner of the platform as soon as you put up a company page, but it’s your prerogative as to whether or not you buy any ads.
The other types of “pay to play” online directories are more difficult in terms of figuring out a good ratio of customer acquisition cost versus revenue. For some small firms, this setup really, really works for them. Others, not so much.
And unfortunately, for a lot of small companies, they’re not quite sure if it’s working because they don’t have a good system for determining the source of new customers – they don’t know if someone came through the door because of the website, or their PPC advertising, or their Yelp page, or a walk-in, or Thumbtack, or a personal referral, or, maybe it was those flyers that were put on car windshields at the Walmart Superstore. Many small businesses are not very good at tracking sources of new customers.
The best advice to give regarding the “pay to play” platforms is to try it on a limited scale, be very diligent about tracking customer acquisition, and see if it makes sense for your kind of business.