Many of my marketing and business development colleagues HATE directories and withdraw their firms from participating in them. Recently, Legal Marketing Association and Law Firm Media Professionals engaged a research organization, BTI Consulting, to help understand the benefits of participating in these time- and money-consuming submissions.
They came to the same conclusion that is foundational to figuring out a solution to almost anything: it depends on your objectives and how participating in directories is going to help you achieve those objectives.
Evaluate the benefits of directories
Going back to my very first blog of Jan. 13, 2014 (time flies!), I outline an approach to solving marketing and business development challenges: research, plan, implement, measure, evaluate and do it better the next time!
Depending on your objectives, directories may or may not help you achieve them. Some directories may be stronger at helping you and some may be weaker. The trick is to define what your endgame looks like so that you can select, or not select, directories that will help you. Then further shortlist your directories selection with the ones that provide you with the most efficient use of your time and money.
Each directory has unique traits
If your goal is to increase your profile in a certain market, find directories that have a proven track record in doing this. Ask the directories for evidence and references.
If your goal is to increase your credibility for your clients, then select directories that are credible with your clients. Ask the directories for evidence and references.
If your goal is to increase the number of referrals you receive, find directories that have been able to refer actual, profitable clients. Ask the directories for evidence and references.
If your goal is to help you with your social media and to be able to manage your profile and social media activity, find directories that provide this assistance.
If your goal is to improve your search engine keyword and traffic, find directories that are savvy in this regard. Ask the directories for evidence.
The stronger directories will provide you with online statistics or independent research that provides you with evidence that what they claim may also happen for you.
Be careful of spreading yourself too thin
Doing all that it takes to be considered in a directory and then get published is sometimes a long and costly journey. While your marketers and business development people might want to discourage you from participating, they will help you if you are clear on your goals. Simply wanting your face published is not a good reason. We call this a vanity play because it is not really aligned to a business or communication goal.
Be selective in how many you choose to participate in as you might find that focusing on fewer has a better payoff.
Directories might help you with your marketing and business development goals. Don’t be so quick to want them or discard them. Do a bit of due diligence in how they can add value — and then decide to select or abandon them.