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Learn more about B2B online marketing

Finding online directories

There are more than 1,500 market places and online directories worldwide and finding the best and most relevant ones for your business can be a daunting task. You’ll always have to ponder between price, effort and return of your listing. In many cases a few carefully picked, specialized listings can be more rewarding as trying to be in every single directory there is.

Defining target audience and regions in online directories

First of all, consider your target audience and the impact you want to generate. You will most likely be looking for new B2B leads but you might also want to focus on improving your search engine ranking by increasing the backlinks on your company homepage or just increase general exposure on the net. Before you head out, ask yourself a couple of questions:

Do you want to target a specific region or country or do you prefer the biggest reach possible?
What does your usual customer base look like (SMEs, importers, agents)?
Do you want to reach a broader audience or highly specialized industry-specific customers who might be closer to conversion?
Are there any features that could increase relevance of your listing (e.g. “green” directories)?

These exemplary questions can significantly narrow down the available web-services. However, it is never wrong to try and look beyond. The biggest chunk of additional business for your company usually comes from buyers that weren’t actually looking for it in the first place. So a listing in a directory only loosely related to your core product can notably boost sales. Consider the following example: If you were to produce sectional doors for warehouses, a listing in a directory specialized on construction is great but it may be worthwhile to also be on a logistics directory that mostly lists shipping companies.

Checking reputation of online directories

Furthermore, you need to have a close look at the reputation of each website. Looking at experiences shared in online forums can be a good indicator but are to be treated with caution; the veracity of both positive and negative comments is sometimes dubious. It can often be read that these online marketplaces don’t have a substantial interest in fighting scam as they get a share of the transaction and thus benefit indirectly from any additional sale. This can’t really be said as there is, at least not to the knowledge of the author of this article, no transaction-based directory out there. The directories’ business model is based on premium memberships, upselling of additional services and advertisement. The largest proportion of the undoubtedly existing fraudulent activity is however committed by users of the free/basic listings.

Engaging in online directories

Authentication of online directories

Finally, an important decision point is the authentication process which the directory has in place. Some check and vet their member base thoroughly and thus install additional trust amongst its users for your listing. These verification processes can reach from anything like a quick phone call to an on-site visit of the company’s facilities. Sometimes even, a third party is entrusted with the conduction of a background check on your company as well. Obviously, those directories are a fair deal more expensive than others while mostly also keeping a smaller member base. This may however not be to your disfavor. Especially buyers with bigger orders searching for long-term relationships are on the lookout on these high profile online directories.

Support by the expert

As you can see, there is a fair amount of research to be done and knowledge to retrieve that may be hard to get. Furthermore, it is not always easy to grasp the differences of the various premium memberships that each directory offers. Agents like can offer you a significant ease of this process. With in-depth knowledge about all relevant directories world-wide and their respective bundles, these agencies can prove to be incredible utile in this process. With their experience they can select the right portals for your specific needs, boost your online exposure and thus your sales lead generation, while saving you time, effort and money along the way.

More information about online directories