Our enhanced listing sales are down about 10%. It is not really surprising... business is down and people are cutting expenses. Sadly, advertising is one of the first things to get cut when revenue is declining. However, in slow times, advertising can be more important than ever. I thought I would take this opportunity to make a few observations about the benefits of an enhanced listing on Source of Title. And, why I believe that advertising with us can help you pick up new clients, even in this turbulent market.
The first thing we want our users to understand is exactly how our directory works. We have two types of listings: free listings and enhanced listings. The biggest and most important difference is that free listings are only available to our subscribers - which is less than 2% of our registered users. By contrast, enhanced listings appear above the free listings, in bold, and they are available to all of our nearly 16,000 registered users. That really makes it more likely to get noticed by potential clients.
Our directory is searched an average of 10,885 times each month. If you have an enhanced listing, your listing is five times more likely to be seen. Why is that so important right now?
We are seeing more abstractors close up and go out of business. And, we are seeing new abstractors sign up on Source of Title. Over the past six months, we have seen an average of 35 new listings in our directory each month. So, the question is... when a client is looking to replace an abstractor that has gone out of business, will they find you in our directory... or a competitor?
There is no doubt that business is slow for most of us. That means that picking up a new client, when you can, becomes increasingly more important. If you are cutting back on your advertising - those new clients may be going to one of your competitors. I certainly understand the need to cut expenses in times like these. However, enhanced listings start at only $99/year - how much potential revenue can you generate by adding only one new client this year?
While I obviously cannot guarantee that an enhanced listing will attract new business, many of those who have them are seeing results. The vast majority of them renew year after year. Here are a few messages that have been posted in our forums:
I wonder if people who visit here realize just how inexpensive and effective an ad here can be. Robert has set up a unique site where abstractors can advertise their services by state or nationwide and for very little money. Where else can independent abstractors consistently display their services for less per month than we charge for a current owner search? D.B./Texas
I've had an enhanced listing since the service was offered and in the past, have gotten quite a bit of business from doing so. H.G./Georgia
About half of our client base has been a result of SOT, so the fee charged for the [enhanced listing] has more than paid for itself. It is not uncommon for us to get a phone call, and the person on the other end says they got our name off of Source of Title. S.M./Kansas
I routinely speak to those who advertise with us and most of them tell me that even though they do other advertising, our directory is by far the most effective part of their marketing plan. We have worked hard for several years to create the premier directory of title professionals. With more than 6,600 companies listed, nearly 16,000 registered users, and over 130,000 searches of our directory in the past year, is there any better place to get noticed by a potential client?
One advertiser, when calling to renew his enhanced listing, recently told me that he might have only picked up 5 new clients last year... but one of them was responsible for about $50,000 in revenue. As they commonly say in commercials, "those results may not be typical," but it does show that one new client can pay for the advertising many times over.
What I can say with certainty is that with so many clients relying on Source of Title to find their abstractors, if you don't have an enhanced listing, you are at a significant disadvantage over the competition. If you aren't aggressively advertising for new clients, how do you plan to pick up that new client seeking to replace their old abstractor who has gone under? Or... will you be the one closing up?
In this market, this is the time to be advertising. Clients are still searching our directory looking for abstractors. I would encourage you to upgrade your free listing to an enhanced listing.... click here for more information.
Robert A. Franco
SOURCE OF TITLE