DirectoryM Revamps with Lead Gen in Mind

After research showed that its advertisers were most interested in getting leads from its online directory, DirectoryM revamped its product to better deliver them.

The local ad solutions company, which syndicates its B2B directory to a number of large online publishers, polled its small to mid-size business advertisers this summer, and the results helped the company re-shape its product offering, Chris Hill, DirectoryM’s SVP of marketing, told ClickZ.

The biggest changes include an increased importance on generating qualified leads, and improved search engine friendly listing pages for each advertiser. The new directory product, rolled out in early September, has resulted in a 152 percent increase in the number of leads delivered to advertisers, Hill said.

The company’s B2B directory is distributed on a network of business sites, including WSJ.com, FT.com, BusinessWeek.com, and ZDNet. Where it had previously offered information about a company, with further links to that advertiser’s site, it now has a more direct path for users to express interest in the advertiser through a “proposal generator” that serves as a lead generation form for advertisers.

That form, customized for each advertiser category, gathers key information about a potential customer’s needs and sends it to DirectoryM’s advertisers. Before that takes place, the submissions are reviewed by DirectoryM staffers to ensure they constitute valid leads.0

All leads get the once-over to determine if they are coming from a real company, and have complete data. If a submission looks suspicious, or if it’s in one of the top 20 high-volume categories, staffers will also call the company to make sure the lead is valid, Hill said.

“We’ve positioned ourselves as a trusted advisor for small businesses,” Hill said. “Many of them are getting to the point where they want to increase online advertising, but branding is not enough. They want to see the ROI.”

DirectoryM has also optimized the landing pages for each advertiser’s listing, to improve their ranking in search engines. A new URL structure includes the category and region, as well as the name of the publisher partner the listing is found on. The advertiser page also prominently features that information at the top of the page, and includes two links to the advertiser’s own site.

All of these enhancements combine to improve an advertiser’s chances of appearing high in the results for searches on the category and region the listing is found in, Hill said.

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