Are Online Business Directories Becoming a Sunset Industry?

Just a decade ago, when we started to experience the world of Internet, online business directories are one of the most sought-after new advertising mediums of that time.

Companies can easily receive new buying prospects each day from their listings on the internet business directories. Marketing managers won’t mind paying thousands of marketing dollars on the listing fees and also buying up media banners and ad spaces on these popular business directories.

However today, online directories are no longer as effective as before.

Here are the 3 Big reasons why?

1. The “Google” Era

With Google, Everything Can be Found at “Lightning” Speed, Unlike the Directories.

Google and other major search engines came into the picture to make search easy; prospects can easily search and find for the products and services that they are looking for in lightning speed. Google has therefore become a much more convenient search tool for prospects than online business directories. Hence, the priority for the new age marketing manager, is to get his or her company’s url to be “visible” on the first 3 pages of Google.

Perhaps, sales people from online business directories may also argue that their websites are on the first page of Google too; so your annual investment on their website is worthwhile. However, one thing that you may need to consider is what I called, the “points of connection” with your prospects.

If I get to your website on Google and respond to your call to action, there is two “points of connection”. If I get from Google, to the business directories, to your company listing, then to your website and then respond to your call to action, there is altogether four “points of connection.”

The less “points of connection” you have, the higher the conversion of your prospects becoming your buyers. Hence, if a prospect knows and types your URL address on the browser, this prospect must be your die-hard fan.

2. Too Many Competition

Business Listings are Competing Fiercely for the Prospects’ Attention.

The more saturated your market is, the more competitors you would have in your market. For business survival, online directories owners need to have more paid listings for each category. That also means your listing ad will be queuing together with maybe another 5 to 20 of your competitors listings. You may also be persuaded to pay more marketing dollars to put your listing on the  ”premium” section of the directory so your ad will be more prominent. Your competitors can also follow suit. Just pay more than you.

You need to ask yourself these questions, will such marketing tool increases your website conversion rate and as a result giving you more business profits? Or are you feeding the online directories owners with your marketing dollars?

There is an increasing numbers of paid and free online directories each day due to low barriers of entry; each is competing very hard with one another for the advertisers’ money; hence, as time goes by, its effectiveness will begin to fade.

3. Too Many Choices for the Prospect

Your Prospect Will Have Too Many Choices to Decide The Best Where Everything Looks the Same.

Imagine that you are your prospect, you came into an online directory and see the list of companies that have the product you are looking for. You will click a few of them and read the details of the companies on a similar template of the directory. And then what most prospects will do, is to click to see the company’s websites. Hence, companies without website, will tend to lose out more. Even if you have a website, the probability of the prospect converting into your buyer will be much lower due to the too many choices in the prospect’s mind.

Things evolve each day. Cool things in the past are no longer cool today. Realistically, online business directories will soon be a saturated sunset industry in the coming years ahead, directories will therefore need to think of creative out-of-the-box ways to make them stand on the forefront of their industry.