To start off with a quick tip, if you’re not yet a user of Applegate then go to Google and search using keyword phrases that you think people would use to find your business.

In theory, Applegate pages should be highly prominent in Google.

If they’re not then ask yourself the question “how will potential buyers find my listing on Applegate in the first place?”

Applegate (or any online directory aimed at attracting paid advertising from businesses) is only as good as four things:

  1. How much traffic Applegate get to your page on their directory (using various methods, including their own SEO).
  2. How effectively your Applegate profile grabs the attention/call to action of potential enquirers/buyers.
  3. How many people actually make contact with you via Applegate, and/or who click through to your website from Applegate.
  4. How well your website converts the clicks from Applegate into further interest.  If Applegate do their job but your website is poor, then Applegate could hardly be blamed for not doing their job.


Measuring results from Applegate

If you are listed on Applegate then people who found you and made contact will have used a variety of methods, including:

  1. Email
  2. Enquiry form
  3. Telephone
  4. Carrier pigeon

OK, not the last one …

IF you have an efficient enquiries logging system in your business then every enquiry you gain, regardless of perceived source, you will be logging the date and time of each enquiry gained, so that you can use analytics to dig deeper into how the enquirer found you (if they’re on your website at the time of enquiry.  A1WebStats is particularly good for this.

Using an example taking data from the A1WebStats system, the screenshot below shows (in the Referrer part of the view)  that Applegate brought a visitor into that particular website on 4 January at 11:37 …

applegate-visitor-example-1

If that business had an enquiry around that date and time and it couldn’t have been any other visitor who was on the website at that time, then it’s highly likely that the enquiry originated from Applegate.

If that enquiry led to business then that’s a tick in the box for Applegate.  Even if it didn’t bring business, Applegate has still brought in the enquiry so, strictly speaking, they’ve done their job … if there are enough such enquiries to make the investment seem worthwhile (over a period of time).

 
Analysing ROI from Applegate via A1WebStats

Within the Referrers part of A1WebStats you can see which websites have delivered clicks into your website.  The screenshot below shows that 7 people  have gone to that website from Applegate (over a period of a month):

applegate-visitor-numbers-1

By clicking the tick box next to Applegate and creating a report, we can see the details of each visitor, including the dates and times they visited.  By clicking on this link you can see the results of that example:  http://www.a1webstats.com/stats/view-report.aspx?ReportID=57D244BD-F1EB-4CD5-9FC9-37A1E8B7AFAA.

Below you can see just a small sample of those results:

applegate-visitor-example-2

At a simplistic level, the Referrers report shows that 7 people clicked through to the website during that month.  By digging deeper you can determine which of those made contact.

We would recommend that you keep records of how many visitors you get from Applegate each month and alongside those figures, keep records of how many enquiries were gained from those visits.

However, this isn’t the whole picture …

 
What those Applegate visitors actually mean

Although the A1WebStats Referrers function can show you how many visitors you’re getting from Applegate, it’s possible that some people may have seen your company profile on Applegate and they made contact directly from there (by phone or email).  Provided that you’re routinely asking people how they found out about you, if they say  “Applegate” then you know they’re either on your website or are on/have been on the Applegate website.

It’s also possible that people have seen your profile on Applegate, may also have seen your website, and may have made contact on a completely different day and time (so they’re not easy to link back via data).

It could also be the case that your Applegate directory profile is not strong enough – it may get people viewing it but if another advertiser has a stronger presence then they could be gaining enquiries instead of you.

It’s not an exact science – website visitors analytics has its limitations in what it can tell you.  But it’s a starting point.

In our view, it’s easy to get at least an indication of how well Applegate is working for you …

  1. Write down the figure you paid for your advertising and for how long.
  2. Analyse (e.g. via A1WebStats) how many people come to your website each month via Applegate.
  3. Add in any other enquiries you’ve gained that you believe came from Applegate.
  4. Assess the strength of those enquiries, noting in particular those that led to paid business.
  5. After each month compare the profit from business gained to the cost of the Applegate advertising.
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 until you’ve demonstrated that you’ve gained return on investment from your Applegate expenditure, or have proven otherwise.
  7. If you get beyond step 6 then, in theory, your Applegate presence has generated you profitable business.


Don’t shoot Applegate but do test them out

IF Applegate made claims that you would have lots of people clicking through to your website and your webstats showed that you haven’t, then you would have cause to complain.   However, they’re unlikely to make that claim.

If Applegate suggest to you that you need a stronger profile on their directory in order to gain more enquiries/traffic to your website, then, in our view, they should be confident enough to prove it.   Tell them that you can track visitors from their website to yours and would be expecting a strong uplift in those visitors if you paid for a stronger profile.  See if they will give you a deal that costs you nothing if it doesn’t work out a few months down the line.

Would you be happy to pay for an enhanced profile on Applegate IF they invested resources/time in giving you that risk-free for a decent period of time, and you could see what you gained from it?  Of course you would.

Would you blindly pay for advertising without any sort of guarantees?  Maybe a few years ago companies would have done this more readily but we now live in very different times where there is only one king: ROI.

 

Comments

  1. Hi, the problem with all these paid directories is that if your competitors are there then it’s hard not to follow suit. Here at V and F Sheet Metal we use Applegate and have done for a number of years. We started with a free listing and have slower increased our presence with hot links and banners. Like all these sites I think you get out what you put in. I test them out regularly with keyword searches and as long as I’m appearing alongside other sheet metal work companies than that’s about as good as I can do.

  2. Hi Ray
    We have been getting calls from Applegate so was interested in your post however, we searched your company and found Applegate on the bottom of page 2. We searched Sheet Metal Companies in Fareham and your website was 2nd, Yell.com was 1st but no sign of Applegate

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