Last week, Joe and I were helping a franchisor supplier understand the value of his business listing in a online directory.

Companies and franchisors can pay between $150 to $900 monthly for a business listing in a specialized online directory.

They want referrals or leads.

But, many fail to understand how to evaluate the effectiveness of their listing.

We asked our client (2) questions.

1.  How many leads/month did he get from the listing?

2.  How did he know the answer to the first question?

He thought that he maybe got 5 leads/month.  He based this upon what the owners of the directory told him & what the leads said.

I didn't believe these numbers - more on why in a moment.

So, I asked him what he asked the leads?  "Oh, I ask them where they heard about us."  

"And you prompt them, don't you, with "Did you see us in X directory?" or something like it?", I said.

The client agreed - and then realized that of course the lead had no idea if they had seen his business in the directory.  The lead was just being pleasant and agreeing with him.

And what about the franchise directory owner's and their numbers?

"Well, they tell me that 5 leads is about what they see?"

"Really - and what reports are they sending you?", I  asked.

Despite the site having Google analytic tags, the franchise directory owners were not sending any reports on what traffic the listing was actually seeing.  

Because the franchise directory owners weren't tracking events, they could not they track how many people had visited the directory & clicked through to his website for a demo.

There are a number of solutions to this tracking problem - as long as you can access your directory listing and change the content.

1.  You could insert you own google analytics code - and get direct reports.

2. You could insert some other tracking code, from either Compete.com or Quantcast.com

But the solution, we favor and like, is different.

Put a simple form on your franchise directory listing - first, last name & email.  Offer something of interest in exchange for their first, last name & email.

And here is the extra sauce: construct a process by which the lead qualifies themselves for your product before you ask them to sign up for a demo.

One thing we are keen on is getting a LinkedIn verified lead - so that we have someone's Linkedin profile before we put a lead into our sale process.  

And we have various ways of getting the person to ask to connect with us - if they don't, they aren't a prospect only a suspect.

In fact, if you like this idea then, sign up for Franchise-Info newsletter.

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