Whoopee. It’s renew your directory subscription time.

It’s about that time of year when all those directories and other third-party websites start to call, asking you if you’d like to feature there in 2015. Maybe you’re already on one or two of them. You might even have one of their “enhanced platinum executive star highlight essential classic lead generation display entries” which means that they put a logo next to your company name. Or something like that.

Are they worth the £50/year they’re asking? Or the £500/month? My bet is that the vast majority of marketing managers booking space on these directory and news sites haven’t got a clue. They take up the offer based on the perceived honesty of the salesman, or having spotted that their biggest competitor features heavily. That’ll be the competitor whose marketing efforts they regularly laugh at, only to copy them when it comes to things like this.

Stop.

If you’re already on the site, you have the data as to whether they’re any good or not in your own website analytics. Go to “All Traffic”, set the period to however long you’ve been on the site, find that site in the list of referrers, and click on it. You’ll see a graph of the traffic they’ve sent you.

If you’ve got a way of assessing the quality of that traffic, that’s great. It might be “goals” you’ve set up, or you could look at “segments” of – for example – engaged visitors from the UK. But even if that’s all gobbledygook to you, at least there’s a total number of visitors they’ve sent.

Now stick a value on each visitor; I’d suggest £2.50, as you can almost certainly buy one for that amount using Google AdWords. (And let’s face it, if you took out a small £250 advert in a magazine and got 100 website visitors as a result, they’d probably be rushing you to A&E to recover).

So in the last 6 months, the directory which wants you renew your entry sent 15 visitors? Well, that makes them worth £75 a year to you. How much are they asking for next year? £70? Oh, go on then, if you can be bothered with the paperwork. Sorry, £700? Oh, thanks for your call, cheerio.

What if you’re not on the site? Easy, just tell them you might come on board if they’ll give you a free month first, to see what it looks like. Say that if you decide to take up the offer, you’ll be happy to have that first month retrospectively included as part of the subscription, which only seems fair. Remember, it costs them nothing but pixels to have you on the site. Then you can measure what happens.

(Any BMON AdWords management client which would like us to analyse their recent visitor records and put values on third-party sites in a short report, just ask. Completely free, like everything else, of course)

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