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By Brian Cuda: Location is important for your online business, too

It's all geek to us

Posted: July 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.

When an entrepreneur opens a retail location in Santa Clarita, he or she will call a real estate professional to help find a space that fits the company’s budget and business needs.

They will likely look at many properties in every domain in the valley before settling on one that fits their requirements.

As I also happen to be a real estate broker, I confidently tell entrepreneurs that the greatest factor that will contribute to their success is location, location, and location.

Of course, I didn’t personally invent this criterion, and it is not a unique concept to Santa Clarita. Such requirements for determining the desirability of a property have been echoed by real estate professionals for nearly a century.

Similarly, when an entrepreneur decides to open an “e-tail” location (as online retailers are sometimes known), or launch a website, “location” is just as critical.

As an Internet professional, I consult with business owners about choosing a cyber location by suggesting domain names and securing hosting.

A domain name is the business address and hosting facilities that constitute the structure that will uphold their website.

Imagine if your retail store were located in a crowded area. Perhaps some customers leave your location with a bull horn shouting to the crowd that they had just shopped at your store.

Some might include a reason why everyone should visit and purchase goods or services from your location. Others may spread the word more discretely, just walking around Santa Clarita with a balloon above their head featuring your logo.

Either of these scenarios would surely benefit your business.

Thanks to location-based check-in services, customers now have many ways to “shout” about your business to the crowd. Two of the most-used location-based services are Foursquare and Facebook.

These services allow customers to “check-in” at your location using a GPS-enabled Smartphone and then share the news with their network that they visited your location.

Perhaps customers will even comment as to why they visited your website or describe a purchase or service they obtained.

Assuming the average person has 200 people in his or her network and 20 people check-in at your store or restaurant each day; this means the “shouting” might be heard by nearly 4,000 people a day just through this communication channel. At this point, you are probably wondering what would compel one to visit your venue to share their visit with their friends.

Sometimes it might be merely habit, novelty or boredom.

To give your visitors incentive to “shout out,” motivate them with incentives. Consider strategies suited to your business.

For example, if you own a bakery, offer a free cookie to anyone who checks-in at your bakery. Or, maybe offer a percentage discount if they provide a testimonial about how good your treats taste.

By offering incentives, also known as “deals,” you will certainly motivate people to spread the word about your business.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by creating deals on Facebook or Foursquare; customers will see them and respond. 

In summary, giving your brick and mortar business location a boost in desirability may be as easy as offering incentives to customers to share their experience via the Internet.

If done correctly, you will have created a sales team with bull horns that work for cookies.

Brian Cuda is co-founder of Conceptinet, a website design, development, hosting, social media and marketing firm located in Santa Clarita and can be reached at 661-338-0830 Mr. Cuda’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Readers can submit questions to:


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