This post is a question, more than an answer. I’m a bit confused as to why, when I’m giving away something for free that has real value, people aren’t going for it as much as I would have suspected they would.
My latest venture launched a week or so ago at DeclareMedia.com. We are building tens of thousands of niche business directories. We offer two types of listings; free, and paid. Free listings get a full page where they list their business name, contact info, business description (5,000 word limit–not exactly limited), and a link to their website. Paid or “featured” listings get the same thing, except they get a summary that shows up prominently on the homepage, in the case of state or metro directories, as well as on the city-level pages. National directories offer paid listings at the national (homepage) and state levels.
During the past week we’ve launched over 700 directories. Most of these have not been publicized or promoted in any substantive way. But in the case of several (less than 10) I have sent an email out to potentially interested individuals. And yet the directories about which I have emailed in many cases have no more than a single listing, and in some cases have not a single listing. In some cases I have sent a message to upwards of 60 people about a single directory, without more than 5 people signing up. One such case is UtahSEOFirms.com. I run a Facebook group for Utah SEO professionals, and it has around 60 members. I sent a message out to all of them announcing the new directory. Granted, the directory isn’t ranking terribly well for “utah seo” yet. It’s down at #33. But it is #1 in a search for “utah seo firms”. In other words, if you own a Utah SEO firm, you would want to be on this directory. It’s relevant, it’s got at least some good rankings, and it’s likely to improve in the rankings where it isn’t already #1.
However, only two people (other than myself and an employee of mine) have created free listings. One person has create a paid listing, so I’m not worried about them. But why only three listings? Why not 10, 20, or 30? There are certainly a lot of SEO firms in Utah that should be interested in listing themselves, definitely more than three. In my mind, there are a few reasons why this could have happened:
1. The Facebook message malfunctioned and didn’t get sent out.
2. People misunderstood, didn’t realize there was a free option, and never even checked out the site.
3. People checked out the site, but the “free” part wasn’t visible enough.
4. People just thought it all sounded spammy and quickly deleted the message.
Now, being part of the target audience myself, I don’t find items #2 and #4 realistic. If someone sent me a message about a new directory focused on Utah SEO, I’d at least check it out, whether I thought it was free or paid and whether it sounded spammy or not. I can see people going to the site and thinking “Well, I’m not going to pay $20/month for this” and leaving, not realizing they could list themselves for free, and we’re working on a remedy for that potential situation, and I can certainly see #1 having happened, since I later sent out another message asking why people hadn’t responded, and nobody responded to that second message either.
But if you’ve got other ideas or suggestions, let ‘er rip.