Benefits of paying for directory listings – Startup Serial #10

Benefits of paying for directory listings

Advertising the old fashioned way: much more worthwhile in my opinion
Advertising the old fashioned way: much more worthwhile in my opinion

As I’m sure anybody who works in a small business will agree with: online directories are extremely annoying.

Take up a free listing on their sites and they will hound you, trying to sell premium listings, web design, SEO, even the kitchen sink.

At this point of the business, I had managed to avoid the majority of these, as I couldn’t justify the extortionate cost of a listing on a website I had never heard of, but then I got called by the big boys: Yell and Yelp.

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I got sucked into the sales pitches and ended up taking up their offers for paid advertising. What did I discover from paying for Yell and Yelp advertising? In my opinion, it totally isn’t worth it.

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It was early days, and we were trying to be as frugal as possible with our spending: focussing on advertising like Google Adwords that has an immediate ROI that is extremely measureable.

I had made bad decisions and was tied into two 12 month contracts, and was receiving nothing in return. I let this frustrate me, and researched whether paid Yelp or Yell advertising was supposedly any good for small businesses: and I discovered the answer to be a resounding No.

We still focussed on trying to build an identity on these sites, and invested decent time into optimising our pages, but in Bristol UK, where no directory has a large portion of market share (in the USA Yelp is a powerhouse of a directory).

This is by far the most negative blog post I’ve written, but paying for this advertising did teach us one lesson: 

Some things do require a punt, as they may pay huge dividends, but if research proves that it’s unlikely to be a profitable venture, it’s probably worth avoiding.

We learnt a valuable lesson from paying for this advertising, and won’t be doing it again so spontaneously.

 

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