Trusted Directories Latest News

Trusted Directories Latest News

Trusted Founder shares the Top 6 factors to consider when choosing the RIGHT online directory for your business.

The Trusted Marketing Agency SK team have noticing recently that more and more companies are entering the Canadian  (and North American) 'local' and not so local, online directory marketplace. Since the internet began there has aways been millions of low quality, free directories that companies get free listings on, but since Googles algorithms refined in 2011- you might have heard of  Google Panda, followed by Penguin and most recently Google Pigeonthese low quality directory links have meant less and less value SEO wise. However GOOD quality local directory listings should be considered vital to local companies online marketing strategy going forward...so where do you start?  

 

 

These days there are considerably more paid options than ever before, of varying qualities. These websites range from $10  to $500+ a month. This means alot of choice for the businesses,  and interestingly many of these websites are now using the phrases 'Trust' & 'Trusted' on their sites when describing their sites and the companies they list. Many of these new or 'recently improved' online directories tell us they offer both consumer and advertisers more than your ' average online yellow pages listing', but do they really offer what they claim or is it just smoke and mirrors?

The Trusted team really wants to help. This is not a sales piece for Trusted. We are happy letting you make your own mind up about where we sit in the spectrum of online directory options, and please feel free to contact us with any questions. 

 

Firstly, let's look at what they offer their prospective clients...local businesses that they want to enrol. 

To help Canadian companies sort through these directories,  and when considering the possibilities and the costs of adding them to their marketing mix, we have decided to freely share our insights, opinions and more importantly our knowledge. This in turn should help business owners understand the value of being listed on 'online' directories, ( local and national) and help guide them when making their decision.  


HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONLINE DIRECTORY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

 

1. EXPOSURE ON THE DIRECTORY

Unless the website membership is free, then the first thing that you should consider is weighing the cost to be on the website in relation to the exposure YOUR business gets on the directory. If you are paying between $1-$50 / month in fees then you should not realistically expect much as far as exposure.

The lack of exposure can be for various reasons:

a. There is no element of exclusivity -There will be unlimited businesses in your category, which means all your competitors can buy a place next to you. Many directories now offer a ' premium membership' promising top 3 or top 5 visible listings...but DO expect to pay more. 

b. The categories are fragmented - to get additional revenue from advertisers the site has 100's of categories and sub categories . Although many advertisers feel they are unique and want their ' own category', it's really confusing for the consumer.

The traditional paper Yellow Pages companies around the World started this trend years ago to increase revenues.  They would use it to instil a 'fear of loss' in advertisers "If you are not where potential customers look for you,  they will choose your competitor!". A great example is window coverings- most paper directories have multiple categories  1.Blinds 2.Window Coverings  3.Curtains 4. Draperies 

At Trusted we know general categories are a much better and simpler option for the user to navigate.     

 

c. Are they city or provincially specific directories on individual WEBSITES or do they just have a National or International directory website with city areas as a field in the search? Having a website for a city that is ONLY featuring and talking about businesses in that city will eventually ( if it is a quality site and done well) BEAT any ' generic' directory site when it comes to SEO, reputation and public preference. Besides having local accountability is important to consumers these days ...even if the business is web based.  

Remember Location, location, location! Laughing LOCAL is best! 

It costs the directory company WAY more to do one website per service area ...but it is the best way for your business to benefit- which is why it's the TRUSTED way! 


2. QUALITY

When deciding which website to choose, think about the quality of the website and the quality of the business model

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Does the website look professional? It should have good quality images for starters. Check the site for spelling and grammar mistakes, do all links and pages work? Is it easy to use? Are the business listings correct/up to date ?  

 2. Is the site mobile friendly? This is important as Canadian are accessing the web via their smart phones/mobile devices more than their desktops in 2014. If the site is not mobile friendly it will be NOT be a site of choice for mobile users. If like Trusted they have an APP, even better!! ( the TRUSTED CANADA App is available on iPhone, tablet and android) 

3. Ask the owners / sales people how often the sites content is updated and what are their plans for future improvements/ enhancements? The internet is always evolving and any online based company of quality will be budgeting to invest in evolving along with the changes!

4. How secure is the website and what safeguards do they have in place to stop the sites ' going down'? Do they have defined timeline guarantees when it comes to fixing issues?   

5. How is the navigation on the directory? People get frustrated if they can't get to where they want to go when they are on websites. Does the site do a good job of getting the job done in as few 'clicks' as possible?

6. Can you display your logo(s) in their correct shapes ( some site only have 1 shape option),  and do you have enough space on your listing area to properly ' sell ' your company?  Can you put all your contact details on the listing?

 7. Can anyone advertise on the directory or do you have to be verified to be ' TRUSTED' - do you have to meet clearly defined standards to be a part of the directory?

If there are standards advertised on the site or in their advertising this infers GOOD QUALITY to the public- who will hold you to it!

Business owner this is your reputation,  and you must make sure if you are advertising on a website/ directory that makes CLAIMS that they are the 'real deal' and who says clearly that the members will not RIP YOU OFF, then they better back that up. You are only as strong as the company you keep, and if just anyone can join and they are not penalized ( removed or down rated) if they do wrong then beware.  If there are 'standards' and ' clearly defined expectations' we suggest speaking to other businesses that are already on board, ask to look over the contract before committing and look to see what they expect from you ( beside paying them your membership fee) and what they promise you ( beyond the listing),  and DO check out THEIR online reputation and read their reviews. 

3. ADVERTISING

You can have the best website in the world, but if people don't know about it then it won't be visited, won't get used and won't do anyone advertising on it any good!!


If you are paying a fee of more than $50 a month ask them where does that fee go?


Of course there are running costs - including:

  • office cost
  • administration
  • website costs and hosting fees
  • legal and accountancy fees
  • taxes
  • staff costs ( if they are more than a one person company).
  • Travel costs ( if they cover more than 1 location - assuming you actually meet them in person) 

However what you really need to know is what is their MARKETING PLAN?

How are they going to REACH your target marketplace and your potential customers? How are they going to make sure people know about the site ...and even more importantly know WHY the people should go there instead of simply searching for your type of business on GOOGLE!

If they don't have a clearly defined online and offline marketing strategy for their directory ( just having a Facebook page and a Twitter account doesn't count ) and if they don't have a LONG TERM consistent plan ( not just a launch campaign) that they are committed  to investing in, you really need to consider cost vs VALUE of being part of their website.  

For perspective purposes - Once the businesses pass the application process and become Trusted partners, they pay on average $4000* a year to be part of Trusted Directories ( www.trustedsaskatoon.com and www.trustedregina.com) , and in turn we invest up to $20,000 a month per city directory DRIVING local, quality traffic to the websites. We spend time educating people about what we are, who the partners are and why they should come to our websites FIRST when they want a business. We do this via many mediums - adwords, social media advertising  radio, billboards, videos, flyers, trade shows,  TV, magazines, newspaper, community involvement and sponsorships. Additionally Trusted has been recognized locally and provincially by Chambers of Commerce for our excellent marketing strategy - being finalists numerous times in the Marketing category for both the Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Chambers annual business awards ( the SABEX and ABEX Awards) , in 2014 Trusted was honoured to be the recipient of the SABEX Award for marketing.  


4. MEASUREABILITY

The internet offers measurability for your marketing, and the company that owns the directory websites you are considering should be able to quickly answer, ( and be prepared to prove it in front of you via their analytic data) any and all questions about WHO visits their website(s).

Without this information how can you possibly make an informed decision?  

    

Here a are few things to consider:

1. How many UNIQUE visitors does the site have per month on average?

This figure is much more important than visits- One person can visit a website 1000 a day from their phone, but they are still just 1 unique visitor.  Each 'unique visitor' is not guaranteed to be a unique person - it refers to an IP address ( each device that accesses the internet has it's own unique IP address - like a fingerprint.) 1 person can have multiple devices with different IP addresses - their mobile device, laptop, desktop etc..but by the same token one device can have multiple people using it ( think of library computers, family computer or work place devices), so it is generally recognized as being the best indicator of actual ' visitors ' to websites.  

Obviously you have to factor in a few other things too- for example:

 

  • New sites are going to be starting off with lower visitor numbers but will probably have more page views/ visitor ( as people check out the site for the first time)  and the number of visitors should be steadily growing - so you should consider this number along with their marketing strategy - ask them what they are aiming for in their first year? 
  • Also size of marketplace is a factor- a large number of visitors in Saskatoon would seem a tiny amount in New York City  


2. Where are the website visitors coming from?

If you are a local contractor, service provider or a local retail destination, then it just makes sense that most of your potential / target customers will probably be local.  If it's a local directory and most of the traffic is not local ( city , surrounding area or provincial - depending on the service area of the directory you are considering) then BEWARE as it may be ' false traffic ' paid for to unethically boost the visit and unique visitor numbers of the site.  One indication is a lot of traffic from countries in eastern Europe, Turkey, Africa and the Far East   ..

Here is an example of traffic from a (unnamed) Canadian ' National directory' that is based in Toronto, but  has a 'search by city' feature for every city on Canada  ...as you can see  the 2nd largest city by traffic is in India ...this is bought visitors and it is done to inflate visitor, visits and page view numbers! Know what to look for, and ask to see proof before you invest a penny. 

3. How long are they staying on the website?

 

We are all BUSY, and if visitors finds the directory website useful, relevant and/ or interesting they will stick around for a while. If they don't they will leave pretty quick ( 5-10 seconds). On average website visitors stay less than a minute visiting a page of a website, and even less time if they are using a mobile device.

Directory websites generally are at the low end of the time scale with the average visitor spending just 20-25 seconds - users tend to quickly

a. fill out the fields to ' search by category and location'  

b. then choose a business from list offered( or not if they don't find what / who they are looking for ) then

c. leave (either by closing down the site and calling the business or following the link going to the business www. for more information.)

Directory sites ( IF they are just quality business focused sites) have the advantage of the consumers going to them for a need, so as long as the time spent is reasonable and the HOME PAGE BOUNCE RATE is not over 55%  then that is a positive indicator.  

Bounce rate is when a visitor enters and leaves a site from the same page ( without going anywhere else) - so a high bounce rate on a websites home page is always bad ( this shows the page and therefore the website is not of interest to the visitors) in fact a high bounce rate with a few seconds time spent is bad on any page.

*It must be noted that on a directory website category page a high bounce rate is to be expected ( someone looking for a VET is looking for a VET not window shopping for a new salon, then a plumber, then an auto body shop. BUT to be quality it MUST be combined with reasonable time spent on the category page- (at least 30+seconds)*

Trusted individual category pages are generally viewed for at least a minute and the home pages have average bounce rates of between 25- 35% well below the 50% average for all websites.


4. How did they get to the Website- source traffic?

This is important because it showcases 2 important factors you must consider as a potential advertiser - their SEO and their Marketing.

Marketing: If they are doing a good job of driving people to the site via their marketing plan this should be obvious. Analytic data shows how the visitors came to the site - did they come from Adwords, Facebook, Twitter and other referring website...or did it come DIRECT?

Traffic that comes to a website direct means people typed in the web address into the search engine ( where this article address is right now at the top of the page), or they may have the site as a favourite site or you come up as a ' predicted option' in the Google search bar.   Lots of consistent DIRECT traffic generally means the site is well known and popular. 

SEO: Lets just ignore the rest of the search engines and concentrate on the head librarian of the Internet GOOGLE- if they have traffic coming from Google as the primary source to the website it means they are well indexed on Google when people are searching for the services offered .  Good google rankings don't happen over night, they take time and effort to achieve. So hold that in mind when judging younger websites- ask the owners what their SEO plan is for the directory but also YOUR category. 


6. SOCIAL

 

Simply put SOCIAL = Long term SURVIVAL in business today both ON and OFF line . 

Social media and more importantly social engagement is an important consideration for any business wanting to be around long term, and definitely for one reaching out to the public with a service as important and well used as a local directory should aim to be - Online directories are here to replace the traditional print books that anyone over 25 can probably testify to using weekly 'back in the day' before the internet became so accessible to all . With 83% of Canadians online - only the very old, the very young and the very poor  ( and perhaps the very stubborn) are NOT online and most of them spend more time being ' social ' than anything else.

The quality LOCAL online directory you are considering should know this, they should have local social points of contact and ideally have local content on their social sites! If you are paying upwards to $200+ a month for your listing then this should be an absolute DEFINITE - and they should be constantly growing their fan base. They should be communicating why their directory is a good choice, using it to promote their members ( advertisers / partners) and their social sites should be top referring sources to the directory. 

NUMBER OF FANS and FOLLOWERS is NOT the major factor...KNOW what to look for- engagement, interaction and where their fans are from ..check out the real examples below. 

Here is  a Trusted Facebook page - Trustedregina.com 5800 fans most of them from Regina and you can see ( anyone can do this) when you click on their page likes ( left side of their page)  that most of the interaction is from local  REGINA people


     

 

Lets compare this with another new local Canadian online directory below ( that shall not be named by me). This companies website is not live yet, and as far as I am aware they are not advertising yet, but they did start a Facebook page  and Twitter account in July 2014.

Apparently it's taken them just 2 months to accrue 4300 Facebook fans ( for reference it has taken Trusted Regina over 2 years and Trusted Saskatoon over 3 years to accrue over 5800 fans per city Facebook page - and even the popular MySask411 Facebook Page ( owned by the huge multi $million  corp Sasktel)  has just 3800 fans after 4 years of consistent, ongoing, quality posts on their page, combined with contests and lots of other marketing) .

NOTE the significant differences- that absolutely indicate that this pages fans were all bought and paid for, apparently from young Turkish people.....this is a common but unethical practice as social fans can be used as ' value added' . Be sure to check out pages you  partners with regularly and ask to see their Facebook Page - Page like data too ( if they won't show you that is a red flag)  



Take your time to check out these directories online-  see how they interact socially with the public, with the businesses and how much they engage with their fans.

A good QUALITY online directory can help you with growing your fan base, so this is a real added value- and being on a good quality site will help your SEO ...but VALUE across the board is where the Trusted directories really set ourselves apart from all others in the marketplace! 


For more information on what sets Trusted Directories apart from the 'rest' read this article  

 

Here is a YouTube video from Google webmasters that clearly explains how QUALITY is everything when it comes to how Google views the value of online directory listings for businesses

 

*$4000+ GST is for 1 listing on 1 directory for 1 year 2014 rate - in comparision this is $333/ month-  equivalent to  between 5-7x 30sec local radio ads / month or one of the  SMALLEST  display ads in Paper Yellow pages ( based on a Sasktel rate card 2014) 

 

Trusted Directories support local business with their online strategy

We received a wonderful email from a happy Trusted Saskatoon Directory Partner today ....the Trusted team love our career's and we love that we are able to help such wonderful local businesses in so many ways, it really shows how our commitment to ADDING VALUE INCREASES TRUST & LOYALTY with our clients !!

 

Trusted Local Good news story 

We wanted to showcase one of the many Trusted partners who have embraced all of the training and are now using their social media platforms with a strategy. Before they were Trusted Partners they had no Facebook presence for their business, no Google plus pages and no interest in online advertising.

The Trusted Saskatoon team got them up and running, gave them basic training, they attended a group training session and provided 1 on 1 coaching as they prepared to advertise on Facebook for the first time. Thier flyers were being dropped in certain towns in Alberta and North Dakota, so we suggested they target the same towns, and their ' ideal customer' using the targeting tools on  Facebook. The result?

"Trusted team, I am completely stoked with the results I am getting, my flyers cost me $10,000.00 to print/ distribute, Facebook cost me $130.00 to reach the same areas we dropped flyers in ! I've reached more people using Facebook, people I know are interested as opposed to people who aren't and simply throw away our flyers... I had no idea what this was all about. I will be rethinking my advertising strategy, spending alot less on flyers and more on Facebook. THANK YOU THANK YOU"

Trusted Directories team shares a testimonial from a happy Trusted Regina partner

We received a wonderful email from a happy Trusted Regina Partner today ....we love our job and we love that we are able to help such wonderful local businesses in so many ways, it really shows how our commitment to ADDING VALUE INCREASES TRUST & LOYALTY with our clients  !!

" Thanks for the great seminar last week and thank you for taking the time to meet with Brian and I this morning. Now to put this knowledge to work !! We know slow and steady is going to win this online race. Could we pick your brain at tiny bit more, just name a time , and we will met you here. Thanks again, it certainly was our pleasure spending time with you. Have a great afternoon and Many Thanks again. "

How Much Does Marketing with an ad agency, marketing company, social media company and video companies really cost?

How Much Does Marketing with an ad agency, marketing company , social media company and video companies really cost?

At times Trusted partners and prospective partners don't know how to measure their online marketing success , and they may not realize the full VALUE of the many extras only Trusted offers our clients...

...You might want to grab your fainting chair — The industry average marketing rates will give you a case of the vapors. Not your Trusted Marketing Services in Saskatoon, SK though.

Blogging

Custom design and template creation most Charge – $1,000-$3,000 /month

Writing/Editing Content for the blog plus ongoing training – (Assume 1-2 posts a week at this rate) Most Charge – $1,000-$3,000 / month

Ghostwriting blog posts – Most Charge – $75-$200 per blog

Cost to Trusted partners- FREE

 

Twitter

Set up Twitter account and personalise Most Charge – $500-$1,000 one time fee 

Ongoing Account Management and Training – (For this service, the more content you need provided for you, the higher the fees) Most Charge – $500-$1,500 a month

Cost to Trusted partners- FREE

 

Facebook , Google Plus, Linkedin and You Tube

Initial Setup Most Charge – $500-$1,500 one time fee Trusted does it for FREE

Monthly Content Management and Creation –Most Charge – $1,000-$2,000 a month Facebook Promotion Creation- Short-Term (1-3 months) Contest, including branding for the app, limited promotion on other channels such as Facebook and Twitter to promote the contest. Fee doesn’t include prize and Facebook Ads to promote – Most charge $1,500-$20,000

WE PROMOTE TRUSTED PARTNERS INFO ON FACEBOOK to 1000's of local consumers FOR FREE and actually invest in Facebook ads for individual partners for no additional cost!

How Much Does an Audit of your social media cost?

What if you just want an audit of your current strategy with an expert consultant, with a few pointers on how to improve? Better bust out the AmEx, because it's going to cost you anywhere from $2,000-$10,000.

Trusted does it for FREE

 

Cost of videos ( comparable quality to Trusted videos )

Average cost for 2min video - $500-$750 

Cost for creation of 25min ‘ slideshow’ Talk to Experts style video with audio bed - $500 -$800

Cost for 2-3 Minute ‘tour’ Video with music bed - $1,000 - $3,000.

Cost of a Talk to the Expert RADIO Show with 21 x 30sec radio ads running week of show to promote

$2000

Trusted invites partners on the show for FREE and pays to promote the partners via Facebook for a week before 


SEO Consultation

- $200 - $500hr plus travelling expenses

Trusted does it for FREE

 

The average Trusted partner invests just $4000 a year in Trusted ..and we offer all this as additional value, along with dispute resolution, mystery shopping, free catered networking events, a coop rebate program, a Trusted gift certificate program, online reputation management consulting, free booth time and individual promotion at local trade shows and a category specific local Google Adword campaign.

The Trusted team are confident that we offer more value and a better service than anyone in the advertising world...  so the question has to be WHAT do your Yellow Pages, Radio, TV, Magazine, Newspaper reps and other media companies do for their money ....

Contact us if you want to find out more - Sara@trustedcanada.com 

     

 

 


Sources - 

http://www.mackcollier.com/cost-of-social-media-in-2012/ 

http://www.contentfac.com/how-much-does-social-media-marketing-cost/

Trusted share's absolute proof that being Trusted is the best online choice for reputable local businesses

So does your marketing work? How do YOU measure the effectiveness of the medium and the company that you choose to advertise with ?

Many business owners expect their customers or the public to tell them where they got their names from and how they ended up calling/ visiting them .

The hard fact is, is that it is simply NOT THE CUSTOMERS JOB to remember or even care where they found you or heard about you....so if this is the main way you measure,  you need to re think your position!

  

 

Of course we understand the need to know what works and what doesn't work, especially for the small- medium businesses with limited marketing $'s to invest, local businesses  like the ones we promote and partner with on www.trustedsaskatoon.com  and www.trustedregina.com directories.  

Sara the Trusted Online Directories founder sold advertising in the past, everything from Yellow Pages to Radio and was frequently asked about measurability from clients. She always said if you get busier and the only difference is that you have bought something new, chances are that is why you are busier! This was true especially of long term consistent branding radio campaigns ,  as lets face it, customers rarely walk into a retail store and say " Hi, I heard your ad on the radio on Wed morning and decided to come in and see what you had " .

Yellow Pages was a different beast,  as much of time customers were calling businesses like plumbers etc..with the book in front of them, so when asked on the phone where they got the companies number from they said immediately Yellow Pages , even though lots of times they were searching specifically for that business because they had heard their ad on the radio, or they had seen their van at a neighbors house and that company was ' top of mind' in that category for them at that moment- which should be what every company strives to be!      

 

Now lets talk about the internet - the ultimate tool of measurability we are told, yet many businesses still don't have a website, nor do they understand how measurable,  measurable really is and most don't know what to do with the data, or what it means.  

 

The Trusted websites are local directories with local resource libraries attached and as such people go there for a SPECIFIC NEED not just a read like other local websites that carry news, weather , traffic reports and other entertainment.

When we sell the product we make sure to explain to the partners that we do not sell CLICK through's, as it is not an accurate measurement of the Trusted product. You see our directories have very comprehensive listings with a lot of information to help the consumer to make their decision, and the consumer can contact the business right there- we make it easy and this mostly means the consumer doesn't click through to the businesses site unless they are super interested and want even more info than what has been provided. We would expect other online directories that just list the basic details- name, number, www, category  and a sentence or 2 about the business to have a much higher ' CTR ' ( Click Through Rate) as people look for more info to base their decision on. You see people in Canada spend 75% of their total shopping time online these days- research is key ( and if you can't be found you will LOSE the chance of getting the sale completely !!)  

         

 

So we were pretty interested ( and a wee bit surprised) to see the analytic data from 2 of our partners on www.trustedsaskatoon.com. We are sharing the source traffic data - that shows how visitors to their website actually got there and I think you will agree we have just proved our worth...

 

Case Number 1- company listed in Kitchen and Renovation Categories on the Saskatoon directory 

 

  • www.trustedsaskatoon.com is the 1st referring source after Google.
  • The most time spent on the website is from visitors from www.trustedsaskatoon.com( this indicates quality and engagement)
  • Trusted team helped this company set up their Facebook page and help them manage the content to get the best results from social - clearly it had helped.

 

  

 

Case Number 2- company listed in Auto Repair and Tire Categories on the Saskatoon directory 

  • Number 1 referring source after Google
  • Way ahead of any other online directory ( this company advertises in Yellow Pages)
  • Great level of engagement 
  • Currently doesn't do much with Facebook and what has been done has not been that effective - we are helping them to implement a new plan and expect to see this have an immediate effect on the numbers. 

 

 

So absolute proof of the valuer of Trusted - analytics don't lie :) 


If you want to meet with us to chat please contact us by emailing sara@trustedcanada.com

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ADDRESS

S & E Trusted Online Directories Inc
TrustedCanada.com
434 20th Street West
Saskatoon, SK   S7M 0X4
Ph: 306.244.4150

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