How to Price Listings, Banners and More for a Directory Site

We received an interesting question inquiring as to what was the best way to price listings, banners and more for a directory site.

First, there is no one correct way to price your listings and there’s no one standard or uniform equation to pricing out your listings.

In our experience, having dealt with hundreds of clients and also having experience in the publishing industry, your pricing model should be competitive to your market specifically. The price of a diamond level listing on a biotech or pharmaceutical directory where sponsors include multi billion dollar companies like Amgen or Genentech is going to be drastically different than a diamond level listing on a local search site in Billings, Montana (no offense Montana).

Look at the advertisers you’re looking to attract and find out where they are advertising.

These are likely your direct or somewhat direct competitors. They’ve set a market rate for these businesses and established a standard upon which they’re used to paying. This is your best guide to determining the right pricing model for your site.

One thing to keep in mind are the differences in print and online competitors. A 1/2 page ad in a print publication that boasts a circulation of 15,000 is drastically different than a 728×89 leaderboard with 15,000 impressions.

One thing we encourage all of our clients to do is to focus on maintaining the value of your sponsorships. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re working on bringing in a new client and quote them $100 a month for a featured (diamond) listing. At that time, maybe you’re getting 10,000 page views a month on your site. $10 CPM isn’t that bad. Now let’s say 6 months down the road he comes back to you to purchase the advertising — or perhaps even renew his existing contract with you. The price he last saw was $100 a month for 10,000 page views.

Now your site has reached 30,000 page views and you’re charging $200. You’ve tripled the traffic to your site and only doubled the cost of your sponsorship and your CPM is down to $6.66. At the end of the day, you’ve created a more cost effective advertising vehicle for your sponsor, but him justifying a 2x increase in ad spend from what it was last time can be very difficult, despite the substantial increase in audience size. So what to do in these situations?

Price your ad units at competitive or slightly above competitive lines out of the gate. If you had come in at a $200 price point with 10,000 pageviews ($20CPM), it may be a little steep, but you can ALWAYS have value ads in the deal with your advertiser, such as buy 4 months and get a 5th free to make the cost sting a little less. This way, your sponsorships (listings, banners, etc) maintain their value ($200 a month) and you don’t have to worry about constantly increasing your costs to reflect the growth in your site traffic.

Many marketers can understand and justify the price increase above, but in many cases, when you’re running a local search site, you’re not dealing with savvy marketers, you’re dealing with small business owners who are trying to keep their operational costs to a minimum. Some things to remind them of when trying to reinforce the value of your site’s sponsorships:

  • Guaranteed impressions - In their print publication, they’re sold a circulation number, but this by no means reflects how many people actually read the publication or saw your ad for that matter.
  • Relevance - Use Analytics information (search terms, time on site) to SHOW your advertiser that people come to your site to FIND businesses like theirs.
  • Reporting – Provide your advertiser with a detailed report on how many page views their ad got, how long the average visitor stayed on the site, what they were searching for when they came to the site, how many people clicked on their listing, redeemed a deal, etc.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? Leave them in the comments section or email marketing@edirectory.com

The Importance of Great Web Design

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People are going to make snap judgments. Within the first few seconds of viewing a new site, visitors will make up their mind as to whether they are going to stay and look around or head elsewhere.

This is why it is so important to get to your design right for your website. Paired with great content and engaging copy, a good-looking site with a clean design will draw new visitors in and keep them interested in what you have to say.

Your Website Defines You

How a site looks and feels will define how the visitor perceives your business and the brand as a whole. A visitor will make assumptions about the amount of success, level of expertise and overall personality of the brand based on how the site looks to them visually.

If your web site looks modern, sharp and professional, your potential clients will think you run a modern, well-organized and professional business. On the other hand, if potential clients visit your site and think it looks outdated and cheap, then that’s exactly how they’ll perceive your business as well.

This is an opportunity to cultivate a brand identity that commands respect and trust amongst potential new clients. Perception is everything, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you want your brand to stand for and make sure your site portrays that.

Navigation

The navigation of a website is a key element of its design, this is especially true for websites packed with many pages (such as online directories!). Website navigation typically includes a navigation bar and the various other page links that differentiate the sections of the website.

Good navigation should be simple, clean and inviting. It should be very intuitive and require little thought for someone to understand how to make their way around the site and find what they are looking for. This is typically achieved their proper spacing, great-looking graphics and clean, concise copy throughout the design.

High Resolution

Speaking of great-looking photos, advancements in digital photography and the screen resolution of computers, laptops and mobile devices provides website owners with a great opportunity to display some stunning images. Many of the most popular trends in current web design themes include the use of prominent, high-resolution photos or graphics that help to provide an impressive accent.

A single image can be used to define your site and your brand. The proper image can portray ambition, excellence, beauty, excitement or stature in ways that are difficult for the written word to achieve.

Content

Your content is the backbone of your site, especially for directory sites. How this content is presented can be equally as important. Good-looking design that invokes thoughts of expertise and knowledge will help your site and your brand achieve a high level of respect and trust.

This is how a site with a great visual design can command attention and provide confidence to its visitors that this is the content they have been looking for.

Looking for great web design on your directory site? Give us a call at 1-703-914-0770 or email sales@edirectory.com