The local flavor of your business is a selling point, but you would like to grow your customer base without abandoning area ties or compromising your heritage. Just as offline activities can enrich your digital presence, distinctly local roots can complement your global aura.
Appearing both local and global allows your business to:
- Deepen the connection to locals among both existing customers and prospects.
- Establish and reinforce brand positioning.
- Serve as a destination for tourists or those visiting the area for professional or personal reasons.
- Generate sales of merchandise, services packaged as products and professional services.
I have discovered that there are common themes among local businesses with websites that successfully combine worldly sophistication with down-to-earth accessibility. Here are the best of their approaches that serve local and global audiences equally well:
Emphasize your localness to enhance your global appeal. That is, explain how your geography, historical roots, area customs and local customer base have shaped your business. Giving context to your business model demonstrates its global orientation.
So, although it may seem counterintuitive, showcasing your localness in order to promote a global perspective can make your business appealing to those outside of your immediate area. Use these techniques for illuminating your world-class personality:
- Physical location: Show where in the world you are using Google Maps or similar mapping tools, and give directions to your storefront, office, or whatever site represents your physical presence.
- Staff: Tell customers about your employees, especially those with whom customers are likely to encounter while doing business with your company. Staff profiles can be formal by listing experience, education and expertise, or entertaining by relating leisure activities, fun facts such as the most compelling reason they work for your company, and favorite products that your business sells.
- Image gallery: Illustrate how customers interact with your business.
- Calendar: Let people know about special events in which your business participates or ones you host or sponsor so that they can connect with you or staff members in person and understand what community issues are important to your business.
- History: Tell your business back story and a brief history of the local area, highlighting details that are relevant to your current operations.
- Local vendors: List local vendors to convey commitment to quality sources and sustainability, and further differentiate your business.
Embed global happenings into your local offerings
Showing your awareness of world events expands your business’s reach and appeal. Specifically, taking action to address a global issue emphasizes that you understand how your day-to-day decisions affect people everywhere. But you don’t have to focus solely on weighty issues such as hunger, disease and strife; observe national and world happenings such as new product releases, country celebrations and national day/week/month events.
Consider these ways to give a local face to global happenings:
- Community involvement: Promote your local involvement with an issue of global concern, ideally one with a natural connection to your organization. Start a local initiative or get involved with an established program.
- Best practices: Adapt traditions and practices in another region to your local area.
- Appearances: Appear in person or arrange for a representative to connect with existing or prospective customers, media representatives or vendors at local, regional, nationwide and global events. List these appearances on your calendar.
- Special events: Host special events with tie-ins to national or world celebrations.
Offer resources that are useful and entertaining to a global audience
Improve the quality of your customers’ lives in some way through online resources that entertain and educate. At the same time, these resources should broaden your audience, providing more opportunities to generate sales.
Add content in one or all of these formats to help customers and showcase your expertise:
- Videos: Demonstrate techniques and answer common questions on certain topics.
- Reviews: Review products to give insights on selected products as well as the perspectives and preferences of staff members who routinely advise customers.
- Blog posts and podcasts: Deliver information and commentary on topics that may include industry news, common dilemmas and responses to individual questions.
Having a local plus a global mindset is useful in articulating what differentiates your business from local competitors and companies worldwide, elevating your worth in the eyes of customers. Plus, your unique understanding of global practices and local traditions is valuable in helping nearly anyone in the world to do business with your company, quickly, easily, effectively, and profitably.