How Localisation Can Boost Your Online Profitability
If you’ve ever searched on Google, you’ve probably seen a bunch of local supplier results positioned prominently, often outranking much larger national or global suppliers. It seems strange that smaller companies are able to do this? So how does Google know who to rank and for what?
The answer; online localisation of services.
If you’re not familiar with online localisation of services and you run a business of any size, it’s a really big deal. In fact, whether you’re on running mobile searches, desktop searches or navigating app stores, you’re likely to find that in excess of 50% of the top 5 business results are local, and that’s conservative!
So how do you optimise your business for online localisation? In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the quick wins you can implement to boost the visibility of your business online.
Start simple with a Google My Business listing
Whether you’re a Fortune 500 organisation or a local café, signing up for a Google My Business Listing is an incredibly easy way to position your business at the top of key search results, allowing you to showcase a custom search snippet that will drastically boost the number of clicks you receive on Google.
To get started, head over to https://www.google.com/business/, sign up and complete your profile in full inclusive of the following items:
- Business Name
- Opening Hours
- Service description, and
- Photos of your business and a logo
When your profile is 100% complete, Google will let you know. You’ll also need to verify that your business is at the address you say it is. This is done by having Google send out a letter by mail to your business address with a unique code. This is to prevent identity theft, so make sure you enter your details correctly otherwise your listing won’t ever show, and remember...this process can take up to 2 weeks, so don’t worry if the postman is taking their time.
When your business listing is verified, you’ll begin to see your business show up across Google’s ecosystem of services. Most prominently will be Search and Google Maps. These two services are the major services you’ll likely drive enquiry from, so if you’re listing is not quite how you’d like it to be on either of this services you can make edits at any time.
Reviews are a ranking factor for localisation
It’s probably no surprise that if you run a search on Google for a term you’d like to show up for, that local search results more often than not are placed highly and position providers who have a number of positive reviews at the top of the results.
As a consumer, you have to remember that in some cases these reviews may be fake, however if you’re a business owner it’s wise to implement a strategy which encourages your customers to review your services on Google My Business.
If you’re new to this services it’s really easy. Just direct your customers to your listing by asking them to run a search for your company (i.e. John’s Café Adelaide); then ask them to click on “Write a review”.
Gmail and Search work together to personalise results
One of the really interesting things we’ve noticed occur in the travel industry is personalised booking information in search.
The other day I was on my way to a hotel, and Googled the hotel name to lookup the exact address and was presented with the below personalised booking details.
As far as we can tell this happened because I was logged into the email I booked with (my personal Gmail account), and Google matched this with my search. Wow, big brother is truly watching!
In industries such as the travel industry, service is everything. So, for the hotel I was booked at this was a really nice piece of digital personalisation that even non-tech-loving individuals would find useful. Not only did I not have to look any further than my initial Google search, but my entire itinerary was securely served to me for reference. Cool huh?
So how do you go about implementing something like this? Easy. Simply structure your HTML emails clearly and concisely with proper HTML and naming conventions and Google will begin to pick up your customer details and present them to your guests in this way for you.
Structure your content by location
If you’re running an eCommerce site, the one of the ways you can boost the profitability of your service is by structuring your content for a local audience.
In a traditional setting, organisations would structure their products and services by category. This is still a great way of driving traffic and engagement across your site, but you can extend this model by offering a secondary or alternative means of making purchases tailored to your audiences’ location.
Scoopon is one site we noticed who do this particularly well and use localisation as their primary selling strategy on their app and website.
As shown below when you visit the Scoopon homepage you’re presented with deals structured by key locations. Because Scoopon offers a .com.au domain, they know that their audience is primarily Australian, and can provide more engaging, targeted offers by starting with location as oppose to a category.
Similar to Scoopon, group discount site Groupon uses an even more tailored solution by detecting the user access location. This allows Groupon to not only serve relevant products to local audiences, but target those customers with offers via a personalised EDM (Electronic Direct Mailer) with deals relevant to their local area. A simple yet powerful marketing and localisation strategy anyone can use.
Build your database around customer location
As demonstrated in the Groupon example above, Groupon is clearly building a well-structured database around the location of their customers.
An easy way to do this is with a popup that displays in a non-evasive manner based on user location and/or interest. If your site is structured around location, this is super-easy; however if you’re site is category/product based, have your web development team implement on-site location detection for you in unison with your email marketing platform.
At OSE we often work with email marketing clients such as MailChimp who offer the ability to setup and manage lists. The great thing about services such as this is that you can setup as many email marketing campaigns as you like, allowing you to market to your customer base with precision provided you’re describing your subscriber base accurately.
We’ve seen customers who have extensive subscriber counts well into the hundreds of thousands setup lists with a great deal of custom attributes. If you’re looking to take advantage of local-area marketing by sending targeted emails to potential customers, this is a must. An example of how some of our customers do this is by adding a “region” attribute which identifies where the subscriber is from. Other users tend to group their customers by “country”, “state” and “postcode” for further refinement.
Setup secondary language and currency options for key market areas
If you’re offering services to multiple countries who trade in different currencies and speak different languages (I don’t mean Bitcoin and Klingon), then there’s a strong chance you could benefit from offering a languages and currency selector.
These services come pre-packaged in many well-known eCommerce platforms and can be downloaded and setup by your website professional.
At OSE we’ve created sites for clients who’ve required a combination of both language and currency selectors, and have found that these services in general boost engagement significantly. As users of the Internet crave enhanced personalisation, this localisation technique is a must if you’re looking to boost your conversions!
Pay attention to cultural context
One of the things online consumers really hate is when a parent markets are given more attention than their own. Some simple examples of this include:
- Use of language: This might include U.S vs Australian spelling. The use of terms such as “Mom” or “Mum”, “Specialization” vs “Specialisation” may seem like a small thing, but it does matter to the average consumer.
- Formatting of phone numbers: Did you know most customers find using international dialling codes a challenge? For many people this is confusing, and makes contacting vendors difficult. If you’re committed to offering a truly local experience across your app or site, then take the time to format contact numbers properly based on location.
- Opening Hours: Sure, you may offer customer support between 9am and 5pm, but that’s no good to someone who lives in a time zone 10 hours behind yours. Make sure if you’re supporting multiple locations, provide accurate support times (i.e. AEST) and offer a live chat facility or support email for those outside of your primary time zone.
- Currency: We’ve mentioned currency as an area of your online business you should definitely look to offer greater service. With this in mind, for some reason over the years the default currency for many websites and apps has become USD, which for most people is just plain annoying. If you’re selling to a global audience, the more currencies you can offer the better. Take the time optimise your site for local currencies. This will take any guessing out of how much you're charging and boost your chances of making a sale.
Localisation of your services is an extension of the personalisation of digital services online consumers crave.
If you’re running an eCommerce store or any type of app or website, your business will definitely benefit from undertaking a review of the areas where you can offer your customers enhanced personalisation of your service through localisation.
The Internet is so vast and so easy to consume large amounts of information rapidly, so if you’re looking to boost the number of conversions and enquiries you see online, paying attention to localisation cues is a must.
If you’re looking to optimise your online services for on and off-site localisation, or are simply interested in auditing your current digital strategy, feel free to get in touch with the digital team at OSE.