Q: A big online directory of veterinarians is asking us to pay to show up. Is it worth it? Shouldn't I be driving traffic
to my own website?
Many directories, such as Angie's List and Google, offer free listings, but for others it'll cost you—especially those that
showcase paid listings.
"Essentially, if you want more exposure, you have to cough up the dough—you'd do the same for a billboard or newspaper ad,"
says Brent Dickinson, practice manager at Dickinson McNeill Veterinary Clinic in Chesterfield, N.J.
Whether your listing is featured or not, directory inclusion may be a good choice depending on your practice's client base.
If the online directory is the only good source you have available to you, Dickinson says it makes sense to pony up the cash
in order to be included. But if there are other viable options, do your research.
Data-backed Facebook Ads, Google AdWords and Twitter for Business all have the potential to reach precise markets and serve
as powerful platforms on which to connect with new clients. You may also find more success advertising with social media,
especially since up-and-coming adults aren't using the phone book.
Dickinson adds, "Any practice with a great website should absolutely drive traffic there. But if a site looks out-of-date,
it may actually deter customers. Build a great website first—then drive traffic to it. It should be the cornerstone of a well-rounded
approach to online marketing."