Which Do You Choose – Directory or Web-Based Advertising

Photo by Ian Britton and licensed under Creative Commons

It’s a new year and you have a limited marketing budget earmarked until the end of the financial year. You know that you want to promote your company to the widest audience possible and you are determined to spend wisely.

You have a number of choices – which way do you go?

Phone Directory Advertising

The traditional way of bringing in new customers was to pay to advertise in the local phone book. These are delivered free to the local area that they cover, although it is possible to order them for another area. You are listed alongside similar companies, which makes it easy for a potential customer to locate you but if you are not among the first five letters of the alphabet, then you may be at the end of a very long list. The directories last a whole year, which makes them very out of date by the time they are being replaced. Most directory companies are now offering online search services alongside their paper directories and this has more advantages in that the directory cannot get lost and that they may turn up in a search engine. If the companies are household names then this service may well offer more value for money.

In this blogger’s humble opinion, paper directories are on the way out like the Oxford English Dictionary and directory companies are more likely to focus their efforts on their websites.

Local Directory Websites

A number of companies have sprung up which use a national name offering a local service. The local website is usually a local franchise and so the service can vary with the franchisee. Some of them work on recommendations, which can help businesses build a good reputation, but most of them are still paid advertising. They are completely web-based and if well-promoted in their local area, may bring in some good results. It would be wise to ask around whether any in your network have had experience of using these companies and what kind of results they have had with them. It is also worth checking that they rank well in the search engines.

These kinds of websites include:

www.thebestof.co.uk

www.01527.com (or your local STD number)

www.upmystreet.com

Local Directory Franchises

There has been some anecdotal evidence that using local directories can bring good results. Unlike  a phone directory, the local directory contains a mish-mash of advertisers which is delivered through your door, either monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Advertising is usually cheaper than in the phone directories and is linked to the size of the ad and the frequency it appears. The directory is usually an A5 size, and is easily kept to hand. I have known some to come with magnets attached to put on the fridge!

These local directories can be effective as long as they are reaching your targeted audience. Look at distribution rates and frequency of delivery. They also sometimes offer networked events for advertisers which can offer further opportunities for company promotion. The advertising offered is at reasonable rates which can allow even small businesses a chance to advertise.

These are just three ways in which you can spend your advertising budget. Which you choose can depend on your business and the money you have to spend. Whichever way you decide to spend your cash, it is worth researching the different options. The most important thing to look at is value for money. The cheapest option will not necessarily be the best for your business, so look into it all thoroughly before committing your cash.

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