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Monday, March 31, 2008

Web Newbie Mistake - Hiding Your Location

from Scott Fox, author of "Internet Riches"





Here’s one of my Top Ten Web Design “Pet Peeves” – basic mistakes often made by online marketing newbies.

Not being specific on your web site about where you are located.

Few web design mistakes shout out “I’m new to the Internet” more loudly than saying either a) “nothing”, or b) something like “We’re in Springfield”.

Do you know how many towns called Springfield there are??

By missing the basic disclosure of your location, you demonstrate that your thinking is still stuck in the pre-Internet days of marketing only to a local geographic area. Remember, the Internet is GLOBAL.

If your web site doesn’t clearly disclose where you are, you are missing an opportunity to communicate credibility to your audience.

Saying nothing leaves potential customers guessing and a vague “Springfield” isn’t much better. (In fact, it may be worse – you don’t want to distract potential customers by causing them to question your location. “Springield, Ohio? Springfield, UK? Springfield, Afghanistan?...”)

Yes, your web site visitors are interested in your physical location. There are lots of good reasons for this. They include:

- They want to visualize the real person or people they are dealing with. A location helps them form a mental image. They may have visited your town or know someone from there.

- They may be interested in buying something. Where you are located can affect the shipping time, shipping costs, and sales taxes of their purchase.

- They may want to meet you in person or introduce you to someone locally. If you are near by geographically, it’s a lot easier to get together.

- They may be a competitor interested in targeting a similar market. If you don’t clearly stake your claim to at least your own locality, you’re inviting them to do so.

Scott Fox’s Recommendation
Turn a generic mention of your “Springfield” location on your web site into a selling point instead.

You don't have to drill down to disclose that you're actually just one guy/gal working in Apartment 14 of 1234 Orange Street, but at least state clearly that you are based in Springfield, Washington, USA.  And you can easily do a bit better than that. 

You can turn your real world geographic location from a web site afterthought into a design and marketing asset. Using words to paint a picture of a memorable location, the happy and helpful staff who work and live there, or other unique qualities about your town can help your business come alive in the potential customer’s mind. (And photos can be even better – they’re worth 1000 words, I hear...)

So how about this?: “We’re located in the newly renovated warehouse district of beautiful Springfield, Washington, USA, on the banks of the bone-chillingly cold Sparkly River.”

Communicating your location is an easy way to personalize the impersonal online world.  Your customers crave the personal touch, just like you do.  So give it to them!

Scott Fox is the Los Angeles-based Author of "Internet Riches", the best-selling guide to starting and growing small businesses online. Scott is on the board of directors of the Technology Council of Southern California, and is actively involved in the local technology industry. If you found this article helpful, please visit ScottFox.com (www.scottfox.com) for his blogs, free email newsletters, and free research reports on e-commerce marketing tips, profitable start-up strategies, and web site vendor recommendations.


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