Whether you emphasize community flavor or encourage patrons to drop by your neighborhood store, localizing your site gives current customers a better reason to choose you over larger online competitors. Bud Matto, 37, is just one entrepreneur finding success with the strategy: As founder of Matto Cycle, a Pottsville, Pennsylvania, motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle parts vendor that sells products online and off, Matto goes out of his way to use his site to target local customers.
Although Matto's initial intention was to reach a global audience, he also realized the importance of localization. "[The site] gives our fairly large local clientele the option to order a product online and have it shipped to them instead of having to drive an hour to the shop and an hour back," Matto explains.
To further enhance his local following, Matto recently began advertising on Schuylkill.com, the online version of his local newspaper, the Republican & Evening Herald. The Herald placed on its Web site a banner ad that went to Matto's own Web site, which the newspaper had helped create. The move has paid off well: Since Matto began advertising with the newspaper, online sales have more than doubled.
Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at email@example.com.