16 Nov 7 Tips To Make Your Website Appeal To A Local Audience
7 Tips To Make Your Website Appeal To A Local Audience
While we often talk about making web content appealing to a global audience, businesses that operate locally can benefit from employing location-specific tactics and strategies that make their brands more appealing to local audiences instead.
Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or an online business that is not going international quite yet, attracting and converting more local customers doesn’t have to be difficult.
By taking advantage of the latest developments in location-based technology and staying on top of local events, you can easily create a website that appeals to a local audience. Here are 7 tips for you to try:
Target a carefully-defined demographic
As with all marketing strategies, the first step to making your website appeal to your local audience is learning everything you can about that audience.
Are you targeting customers in a particular country? A whole geopolitical region? You may even be focusing on a single town. Regardless, start asking and answering as many questions about the people you’re trying to reach as you can.
How old are the people? What are their levels of income? What are they interested in? What are their buying habits like? These things may all seem very basic, and they are, but you simply can’t get anywhere with local targeting if you don’t understand your audience first.
Research local long-tail keywords
Your website can be the most beautiful example of web design the universe has ever seen, but it will not get you any sales if your target customer never actually finds it.
To get your site found, you need to get ranking in search results, and to do that you must figure out what your target audience is searching for locally. You need to get as deep as you can with the searches, going far past the most generic keywords. Think about precisely what people are looking for.
Buzzsumo is a great tool to use for keyword research. It even has a free trial, so give it a shot if you’d like to save some time.
Once you’ve figured out some relevant long-tail keywords, sprinkle them throughout your site and include them in your site’s meta descriptions, URLs, and product descriptions.
When a member of your target audience stumbles upon your website, there should be no doubt in their mind that you sell exactly what they need in their area. This will speed up their decision-making process, and boost your conversion chance.
Incorporate elements of local culture
A study by Stanford University showed that 46.1% of people base their initial assessments of the websites they visit on their superficial visual elements before they start evaluating any of the content.
Accordingly, even before you start tailoring your content to a local audience, you might want to see if you can make some web design swaps first.
Incorporating recognisable elements from local culture, architecture and symbology can really set your website apart and make it more appealing to local audiences.
It communicates shared values and experiences and provides an element of credibility even if your website visitor is from out of town.
In short? Visuals matter, and if you can find a way to connect your website design with the local culture, you will be one step ahead of the game.
Avoid regional design blunders
Speaking of credibility, make sure your web designer is deeply familiar with the local context even if you are not incorporating specific local elements or symbols into your website.
Different colours can mean different things in different countries, regions and even cities. Target’s red bullseye works great for an American audience but may be ineffective or even offensive in some other parts of the world.
For example, the colour red is associated with funerals and mourning in China.
Therefore, you are not going to want to use a red colour scheme for your new ecommerce brand with a primary audience of middle-aged women in Shanghai.
This applies for tone as well. Look at how a store like Pure Bondi uses tonally-appropriate copy: “Our 100% Aussie made suncare protects, hydrates and nourishes your skin. Rubs in instantly, leaving no white marks. For that perfect vacay vibe #ThatsPureBondi.”
In the context of a beach brand, saying “We’re Bondi Born, Aussie made and here to help #BabesMakingWaves.” makes total sense. Would that kind of hashtag work in a more conservative region? Probably not! (Also, the store is apparently for sale, so check it out if you want to get your hands on an established Australian business and like the idea of getting a “Pure Bondi feeling”.)
There are a million little design considerations like this, so if you have a local audience in mind, stay on top of these to avoid accidentally making an irreparable design blunder.
Write about local news stories
Local news stories are great for drumming up some extra attention and showing that your brand is invested in the area you’re trying to operate in.
Not every piece of news is going to be relevant to your business, but if you can find creative ways to connect what you do with what is going on in your city, you’ll have some success.
Your level of organic traffic will rise, and through that local touch and attachment you’ll be able to connect with locals in a way that a big, faceless brand never could.
Support local businesses and events
In a similar vein, supporting local businesses and events can make your website more appealing to local audiences.
For example, you can sponsor a local 5K and then write a post about it on your company blog. Alternatively, you can partner with a local nonprofit and feature it on the homepage of your website.
When a customer sees that you are involved in their community, they will be more likely to trust and buy from you.
Talk about locally-relevant topics
It’s commonly considered a joke of a topic, but if it makes sense for your business, talking about the weather can be perfectly reasonable.
For example, it makes total sense for an insurance company to talk about preparing for hurricane season, or for a realtor to create a blog post about rising property taxes.
However, don’t just stick to chit-chat. Make sure that your locally-targeted content is actually valuable to your target audience.
How-to guides and explanatory videos are really good options for building trust with a local audience and making people want to return to your website again and again.
If you are targeting a local audience, creating an emotional connection is key. Adding local keywords to your content is essential, but it won’t take you as far in terms of local appeal as a story about you partnering with a local non-profit to sponsor a 5K.
The best thing to do is start small and scale up. Get your keywords right, start discussing useful local topics, and slowly increase your specialisation. Eventually, you’ll be able to build up a valuable base of local followers.
Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert for Ecommerce Tips. He understands how important it is to keep your skills updated in the digital age. Visit the blog, and check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.