In our short marketing course today, here’s a quick look at how certain key directories could be valuable in helping you generate a flow of customers for your product or business. Understanding and using these directories effectively could help you sleep better knowing you have an expanding customer-base while reducing the risks involved with growing your business. So with today’s short marketing course I’ll try to give you enough information to make it easy.
For certain types of business, being listed in a key directory could make all the difference in getting your phone to ring and customers to show up.
In past decades our short marketing course would have been talking about how to use the Yellow Pages.
For a hefty monthly fee the Yellow Pages used to have the ability to turn certain struggling or startup businesses into real money makers.
About 20 years ago an exterminator I knew bought a half-page ad in the Yellow Pages while still working for another extermination company. He figured people would just call him off the ad. So if he could make the ad look like he was a big established company, people would call.
The day the newly printed Yellow Pages were delivered to customers, his phone started ringing and it didn’t stop until he was a multimillionaire many times over.
Of course, as many of you watching today’s short marketing course know, the power of the Yellow Pages has been greatly diminished by Google and the Internet. Which reminds us that with marketing, you should never depend on a single source for all your business.
Because if something happens, you’re screwed.
The good news is, some of the Yellow Page companies along with many major newspapers and other directories have migrated to the Web, and could still help you get listed high in the search engines.
Of course, not every one of you watching today’s short marketing course can benefit from this type of directory. And search engines like Google have changed the dynamics of how you get customers, so people no longer scan a page for the biggest or best ad.
Still, reputable directories want you to make money because they will get an ongoing paycheck from you. So many will get you ranked high enough in the search engines to generate a flow of customers.
The bad news is, you generally have to experiment to find out which ones are more effective than the others.
A tip for today’s short marketing course, to get an idea of which directories are best, is by going to Google and typing in search terms your customers might use, and observing what comes up. For us in Southern California, you’ll generally see top listings that have addresses like CitySearch, YellowPages.com, Local.LATimes.com and so forth, and you can be pretty sure these may be pretty good sources.
For others watching today’s short marketing course, many industries have a directory that buyers depend on to find a valued supplier.
The Thomas Register of Manufacturers, MacRae’s Bluebook of American Industrial Companies, 1-800-Dentist, ServiceMagic and Angie’s List for service providers, voices.com for voice-over actors, and so forth. To find the best directory for a specific industry, you might try the industry’s trade association. You’ll often find someone with enough insider knowledge to help you select the best directory, and the trade association’s own buyer’s guide may be a useful source.
Also for today’s short marketing course, if yours is the kind of business that depends on local directories for customers, there are plenty of FREE online directories you could easily get listed in.
Google Places, which gets you on their map listing, and Google Shopping if you have physical products to sell, are great places to start. And they’re free. If you get listed here, whenever someone enters a related search into Google, your listing will come up, along with a few competitors.
A little short marketing course tip here.
If you want to rise to the top of Google Places, above your competitors, make sure you’re also listed in plenty of other directories as well. And make sure your business name and your street address are listed in each directory, because when Google sees that, they boost your position higher on the page.
With today’s short marketing course it’s important to note that besides Google, other important free sites are also available to list your business. These include Yelp, CitySearch, Yahoo Local, MapQuest, Local.com, SuperPages, WhitePages, Yellow Book, MSN Live Search, Ask City, AOL Local, AnyWho, BigBook, InfoSpace, Switchboard, 411.com, YP.com, FourSquare, YellowBot, HopStop, Live, ZipLocal, NavMii, Best of the Web, Topix, Show Me Local, InsiderPages and many more.
Many of these also have a premium service that lets you post offers and deals to make it easier to draw people to your business.
If you’re trying to find one of these directories, go to Google and type in – GET LISTED ON – followed by the name of the directory, and you’ll generally be taken right to the sign-up page for the specific site.
To make it easier and faster for those of you watching today’s short marketing course, we have a terrific link on OUR website that has tons of these local sites listed, with descriptions, and a link to their sign-up pages.
Go to www.GreatMar.com/local — and it will take you right to this useful page.
For those of you watching today’s short marketing course, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of filling out the forms for each of these online directories, there’s a terrific service called YEXT. YEXT costs $150 to $500 a year, depending on which package you get.
The advantage of using them is, you have a single interface, meaning you only have to fill in your information once, and it automatically gets posted to more than 30 directory sites, including Yelp, Yahoo, SuperPages, CitySearch, MapQuest and tons of others.
Also, your listing shows up faster on these sites than when you submit manually, which could take 36 hours to more than a week for some.
Plus, YEXT allows specials to be easily created and posted to the network of directories. In this way, you can create a special offer to draw people into your store or business, and suddenly it appears on directories all over the Internet.
So, with today’s short marketing course, whether you use a service like Yext or do it yourself manually, if you have the kind of product or service where being listed in online directories can be valuable, there are plenty of great ones to choose.
And again, if you want our page with the links to tons of those directory sites… check it out at www.GreatMar.com/local