What Are They?
Online Directories are exactly what they sound like – listings of people or companies posted online, most often categorized by demographics – location, industry, etc. The discrete parts manufacturing and machining industries are well represented, with some dating back to the dawning of the Web in the 1990s.
Why Are They Important?
The primary purpose of Online Directories is to create channels that lead to your Website, to make your business found in context by buyers and prospects looking for services like yours. These online models are often discounted, due to the emergence & evolution of content management technologies, Online Marketplaces, Search Engines, and other information providers that serve the manufacturing markets. However, Online Directories are very important to establishing or maintaining the online prominence for your shop. For starters, since they’ve been online for so long, search engines often return their listings high in search engine results pages (SERPs). Also, many long-time or established buyers or purchasing professionals that are your prospects include them in the discovery phases as they look for new suppliers. Consider Online Directories as manually-managed Search Engines for your markets.
Key Elements & Considerations:
Be as thorough as the given Online Directory will allow through its interface. Fill out all contact and descriptive information fields that are provided
ONLY include your company in Online Directories that serve the industries you serve – a ‘shotgun’ approach (including your business in directories for any market or industry that you don’t serve) takes more time and effort than its worth, and will likely deliver few (if any) legitimate prospects for your business
Similarly, ONLY list your company for those categories and capabilities that you are qualified to deliver on. It’s a mistake to believe a buyer looking for something specific will readily listen to you if she feels duped; you will lose more business by following this path than you’ll gain. Just don’t do it
For those directories that allow it, place as many ‘deep links’ into your Website as you can. Deep links are links to pages other than your Home Page, deeper in your site – like your facilities lists, qualifications & certifications, and vignettes
Many Online Directories charge for ‘slotting’ of your business’ listings – that is, moving you to the top of the category pages for which you’ve registered. Your best strategy is to resist paying for placement for a time. It’s best to obtain free listings in these directories and measure the results over time to assess which ones are attracting the most valuable attention & deserve consideration for your slotting dollars
Like Forums, list your business in any and all Online Directories that are provided by the associations and trade groups that you’re a member of. They’re free, and that’s what they’re there for. And they’re as contextual a listing as you can get
Examples of Online Directories that serve manufacturing and machining: