The good old days of the print directory are obsolete and have shifted into the online world as buyer behaviour changes and businesses look for more effective ways to advertise their products and services. The Yellow Pages, the giant directory book that for years helped small businesses thrive and survive is now a dust collector and is used on the odd occasion to give yourself an extra reach to the top shelf.
The book that once competed for top space on your shelf has been cast into Google where competition in the online marketing space is heating up. Everyone is eyeballing the top four spots on Google and businesses are continually looking for less competitive spaces to advertise in.
Sydney startup Top4 founded by Michael Doyle brings the consumer to the brand in an online social directory. Doyle and his team have created an open source platform that reinvigorates the simple and outdated online directory by introducing social media allowing clients to cross promote.
“We’ve given our clients an opportunity where they don’t have to pay half a million bucks a year with the Yellow Pages or True Local. I think they’re limited and outdated models. Clients can now publish news across Facebook and Linkedin and it’s all on one platform,” says Doyle.
“I think it’s another avenue in the marketplace. Google’s had it quite good for a long time in Australia, it has had the monopoly, but smaller players in the marketplace feel robbed.”
Top4 is based on a pay-per-lead business model that charges clients a fee each time a user inquires into their advertisement. The system is used to attract potential buyers and attract attention to a page that would normally be fighting for advertisement in Google and paying top price on AdWords.
This way of marketing asks companies to shift the risk of advertisement and product sales to the vendor. A great amount of trust must be placed on the vendor who must provide a platform that supports each business model and work to increase traction and online visibility.
Doyle has had years of experience and has worked in the digital space since 1997. In 2001 he started his own company The Website Marketing Group, which has big name clients including; Jeldwen, Stegbar, GWA Group, Caroma, B&D Doors, Amber Tiles and Monier Roofing. All the major profits from the business are being put into Top4 and so far the startup has encouraged existing clients to join and sign up.
“We believe that there’s a lot of action in the marketplace and our initial feedback from our first few clients who have tested the system including a couple of large publishers have said ‘hey this is a really good system.’ So I thought why don’t we offer this in the marketplace and they can compliment our other advertising solution,” said Doyle.
The new marketing platform provides a clear airspace for clients to sell, promote and deliver their products and services both nationally and internationally. The concept is to be tested across all industries, with Doyle explaining that he hasn’t really focused on a niche and believes that his site has the ability to promote any business in Australia.
The navigation path of the site is based around the searcher looking for a solution to a problem. For example if you’re looking for a Plumber in Castle Hill you type in the service and the site provides you with a list of options where you can click for more information and contacts. Top4 allows everyone to list their business and brand for free and only charges a fee per lead.
“Similar to how Gumtree works, you can bump up your ad if you need more leads. So you can increase or decrease your traction based on your business,” explains Doyle.
Top4 launched officially to the public on January 4 and has already made it to the first page of Google. Doyle is excited to announce that his startup has already proven their concept and satisfied the big players.
“Our real goal initially is just to make sure everyone knows about it and give them the opportunity to use it. Our existing major clients believe we’ve really done something quite special,” says Doyle.
In March Top4 will be showcasing their platform at ad:tech, the biggest digital marketing conference in Australia. ad:tech are also a client of The Website Marketing Group and has been a large supporter of the startup. Doyle says that the next be move is to grow Top4 and take it to the market from a sales perspective to encourage other big clients to sign up and give it a try.
Image: Michael Doyle. Source: Supplied