Thinking about digital marketing is probably something most small business owners and managers have thought about, but can be reluctant to commit to. This is partly because people assume digital marketing takes a lot of specialist knowledge, and secondly that it sounds expensive. The onset of pay per click advertising is often at the root of these concerns. In fact, the route into digital marketing can be both painless and free of cost. By listing your company in a business directory, you can take this first step without spending a lot of time, and then use the results it gives to target any outlay on further listings, which may be a better option for you than committing money to pay per click.
What Is An Online Business Listing Site?
An online business listing site is an updated version of paper listings books. This updating gives online listings a huge number of advantages over the traditional directories. As well as being constantly updated, online listings are much more searchable. Services such as local removals companies will obviously need to be listed online by geographical area. Suppliers of certain products may want to compete at a national level, rather than supply a locality. Online listings are searchable either and both ways; a customer looking for a certain item or service may look nationally first, and then wish to hone their search to their nearest supplier. A business directory site gives the choice of both options, giving either priority.
Very much like traditional listings directories, it takes effort to have your business appear where potential customers need to see it. Luckily, with online directories this process is quick and simple. The basic listings services almost all directories offer are free and take a few minutes to complete. Here you fill in your physical address, opening hours if you have them, and especially your website’s URL. There is space to set out what type of business you are, and who in particular would benefit from using your company. It is at this stage that knowledge of both your competition and the particular words used for searches in your sector are valuable. For this reason, using a reputable provider is well worth the investment. Combining knowledge of both the search process and your competitors’ strategies maximises your chance of generating online traffic. It may be that pay per click is your best option, or more targeted, upfront marketing may be more worthwhile.
How Do I Know if Online Sites Are Working?
There are useful online tools which highlight how successful any type of marketing has been to date, including online listings. Google Analytics is one example, and is well worth learning how to use. Of course, this can be time consuming, especially as this type of activity needs to be done regularly. Analytics programmes show raw numbers of visitors to your website, and the route which those visits came from; i.e. if the previous visit was to your online listing. As you are likely to have more than one listing, you’ll need to decide which listings are worth keeping, and which could be stopped or changed for another directory. Specialist online directory providers can provide expert help with this ongoing process.
Using the Right Directory
As online directories and listings are part of digital marketing, everything about them can be analysed. This means that using the right directory or directories is itself important. As well as the quality of your own offering, Google and other search engines use the online reputation of the listing sites. This in turn means that any listing you have with a reputable site will automatically rank higher than one one a site which is little used or not as relevant as it could be. As with all digital marketing, keeping up to date in this respect is also vital, and should be part of your ongoing monitoring programme. Of course, a trusted and well ranked online directory site will do this monitoring for you, so everybody wins apart from your competitors.