It’s natural for web designers to think on a global scale, but for small or niche businesses it’s also advantageous to think local. Targeting a local audience can involve a variety of small details to think about as you go about designing your website. Differences in design, functionality, language, and culture can all come into play, even within the same country. A web design approach for a San Francisco-based business might look very different from a Houston web design strategy, for example, due to cultural differences. There are certainly benefits to going local with your design, which are worth looking at in greater detail.
Targeting a Local Audience
For small business owners who are selling services, it’s important to reach out to the local community. Although you may sell products and services online, word of mouth advertising in your town or city can lead to greater face to face sales. Census tools and ecommerce platforms like Shopify allow you to break down your demographic by income, location, and other factors to devise a design strategy. Targeting your brand’s main audience on a local level can help you reach your customers more effectively, and it is relatively easy to do so using online directories, Google maps, and customer reviews.
When you’re creating new content, try to think about what your target demographic will be most interested in. You could include coverage of local events, news stories, and promotional offers that your audience would appreciate. With references to issues and landmarks that are close to home, your audience will be more likely to trust your brand. This could lead to a local customer choosing to buy your product rather than a global competitor’s.
Social media also provides a great outlet for reaching out on a more local level to your customers. You can list your address or location on Facebook, Google+, and other sites. When potential customers run a search for businesses in their area, your ecommerce site will show up. You can also interact with customers more effectively using localized social media profiles, responding directly to comments and questions.
Targeting a Foreign Audience
Another aspect of localization is creating websites which are optimized to the country of your particular audience. This type of localization is more suitable to large, international businesses, but it can create major profits. Foreign buyers are more likely to respond to website in their native language, or to those with cultural references they understand. A Eurobarometer study found that 42% of internet users in the European Union said they would never buy something online in a language that wasn’t their own. By translating and optimizing your site for a foreign audience, you can reach those users who wouldn’t otherwise make a purchase.
It can be costly to implement this second type of localization, however, so it’s a good idea to look for hosting platforms that automatically will use different languages or currencies and make conversions for you. As your business expands, you can then hire native speakers to update and upgrade the site in each targeted location.
Whether you’re interested in reaching out to your local community or expanding your business to target a global audience, thinking locally can carry some impressive benefits.