Our clients are often phoned up by people selling entries in various online directories. The sales tactics they use are often akin to the high pressure sales tactics you see featured on TV programmes like Watchdog, and they often quote misleading information (for “quote misleading information” read “LIE“). If you think the salesperson sounds convincing then there is no harm in trying such services. However, remember that – if you have Google Analytics installed on your website – then by looking at ‘traffic sources’ you can see how many visitors these directories REALLY end up sending to your website.
So, never agree to sign up for a year, only commit to a month (if the directory person can’t or won’t do this then that says something about how much they believe in their own service – put the phone down). At the end of the month look at your analytics and see how many people that advertising brought to your website. Remembering that only a small percentage of people who visit your website end up buying, calculate the rough cost per sale (which will be far higher than the cost per visit). If you think this is too high then DON’T commit to any further spend on that directory – or negotiate a price to a level where the cost per sale is right for you.
We’ve just had one case where the directory salesperson claimed 10 times more visitors over a year than were reported by Google Analytics, which led to a cost per click of easily over £25 per actual visitor. Comparing to a direct advertising cost – in this specific case – on Google AdWords of just 25p per visit, this represents dreadful value for money.
So, tread with caution when dealing with paid for directory entries… remember, by using your website Analytics, you can test the effectiveness of any advertising over a short period to see whether it seems to be working for you, and if it is then go for it!
Also, remember, that Google ignores ANY links from paid for directory listings, so if the directory sales person say that it will help your Google ranking then they are definitely ‘quoting misleading information’!