Continuing my quest to
help business owners
increase their Findability
(the ability for their
customers to find them
online), I want to
highlight a fundamental
element of the equation.
Findability is not about getting
found by anyone and everyone
online, but instead getting
found by your target customer.
So understanding your
Internet voice and your target
audience is absolutely essential
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In the international arena,
this becomes even more challenging.
Cultural nuances and
language styles can either be a
driving sales factor or the
equivalent of cultural suicide. It’s easy to envision the United
States population as your sole audience, when in actuality people
from all over the world can search and find your site.
Connecting and identifying your brand in different, viable markets
is crucial for search marketing as well as converting those
visitors to customers.
After combing through over 100 e-mails for consideration
for a Findability Makeover, I chose TheChateauLoire.com for
our subject this month. After speaking with the company and
getting some background, I knew this would be an interesting
subject with a compelling dilemma — that is, matching cultural
identity to its target market.
“Through the website we would like to welcome
visitors [primarily from the U.S., France
and other countries in Europe] to visit our
property in France — The Chateau Loire,”
says Radika Gadiyaram of The Chateau Loire.
“The website aims to provide information
about the Loire Valley region and also promote
the accommodations available at the property.
We are trying to create the identity for the
Chateau Loire (commonly known as Abbey of
Pontlevoy). Some of our visitors are familiar
with older names of the entities but not the
new brand (Chateau Loire). This poses a challenge
to reach out to people and provide an
assurance that the properties are the same, but
we are trying to create a new brand. So I guess
creating the identity is the main problem.”
Chateau Loire suffered from multiple personality
disorder. By changing their name from
Abbey of Pontlevoy to Chateau Loire, they confused
their local French audience, maybe even offended them. After all, Abbey of Pontlevoy is a historical
landmark established in 1034. In addition, they also confused
their U.S. market — “Chateau Loire” does not really exist on
maps. In an effort to appeal to both U.S. and European audiences,
they diluted their brand and confused their prospective
customers. They were not being found under any of their keywords
that were representative of their event center, or their
historical standing as a chateau in the Loire Valley.
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“Marketing to the French market is quite different
than marketing to the U.S. market in that
you must always appeal to their in-bred sense
of style, depending on the product of course,
and saving money is a side benefit, not the
emphasis. When complimented on a beautiful
dress or new car, the French consider it bad
taste to point out that it was purchased ‘on
sale,’ whereas Americans love to expound on
the deal they made and even direct the person
who complimented them to where they got it.”
— Barbara Pasquet James, Expert on the luxury market in France and
manager of www.ParisTalks.com
French and Americans do not search the same way. As a
result of trying to target both French and American prospects in
one fell swoop, Chateau Loire was targeting neither.
Unfortunately, I had to give them a Findability rating of 25
percent, as they were being found under their old name and
their new name but not other keyword-driven searches like
“Loire Valley Weddings” or “Loire Valley Event Center.”
L'identité votre audience et finissons travailler! (Let’s identify
your audience and get to work!)
Know Your Target Audience
Chateau Loire must clearly identify their audience by country
and set up separate voices. Understanding and tailoring to their
audiences will enable them to market the Chateau to each
group, connect with them online, and start converting those
qualified searches into customers.
We don’t want to downplay the amazing heritage of this chateau,
which matters to the French searchers. However, we must also
re-brand this facility to appeal to American sensibilities.
In order to capitalize on each audience, Chateau Loire needs
Tip #1: Identify Your Audience by Domain
Having a keyword in your domain name is a great way to gain
high rankings in search engines. Because the audiences are
unique, we recommend Chateau Loire purchase two distinct
U.S. Site Domain Recommendation:
The true rebranding of this site is not about an ultra-chic
domain, but instead one that relates to the U.S. search market.
First, we make sure English words are in the domain name.
This helps reassure a searcher that the website is in English, and
also gives them plenty of information about the website before
the click. Second, “Loire Valley Event Center” is much closer to
how an American would search for event venues in France, versus
French Site Domain Recommendation:
This domain has a few key differences. First, it’s a .co.fr
denotation, letting French searchers know this site is hosted
in France. Second, as with the U.S. domain, the words in
the domain are in the searcher’s primary language — in this
instance, French. The keyword strategy is different than the
Americanized domain, as it keeps the historical reference and
elegance that the French adore. This will also re-brand a well
known entity as more than just a chateau but an Event Center
in a well known location.
Tip # 2: Know Your Audience and Value Proposition
Effective findability only happens when a good user experience
is given. Chateau Loire must deliver what each audience wants
when they arrive on the website.
U.S. Site: It’s All About The Money, Honey
As Americans, we are largely focused on value pricing. For
this reason, a value proposition promoting a luxury event center
at affordable prices is a great approach. This site must be in
English and speak to an American audience looking to book a
special event in France. For example, this site could have a section
entirely dedicated to destination weddings for American
brides and speak to their concerns about planning and price for
their special day.
French Site: You Get What You Pay For
Unlike Americans, the French do not see value in affordable
or low-rate venues. As such, the site content should appeal to the
sense of style and history that makes this event center unique.
The language can speak more in-depth on the event center established
in 1034 and has been joined together to form the ultimate
fashionable place for music, conferences, weddings and even
one-night romantic evenings. This site must be in French.
Tip # 3: Test your Audiences — Get Started with
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising using a keyword tool, and setting
up extensive tracking can give you the inside scoop as to
how your target audiences search when they are ready to buy
your product. Chateau Loire could setup PPC accounts for
both new sites and utilize geo-targeting features that will enable
the site to test a large group of keywords divided between the
U.S. and France.
When geo-targeting the U.S., Chateau Loire should serve
English language ad text with a more deal-making tone. Also,
this is a great opportunity to test out a bargain value proposition,
such as offering 10 percent off bookings.
When geo-targeting the French audience, they should provide
French language ad text with an elegant, historical tone in the
ads. The landing page the user would arrive at would complement
this messaging with aspects such as a photo gallery and
They are now serving the exact message by site to the
ideal audience to book their event center. In time they
will gather enough data to tweak many features on each
of the respective sites for increased organic ranking on
www.google.com or www.google.fr.
I look forward to seeing these tips in action and watching
Chateau Loire rise in the rankings!
Need Website Findability?
Do you know a website that could use a facelift, or have you
tried any of these suggestions on your site? Send your suggestions
to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always on the
lookout for my next Findability Makeover subject.
About the Author: Heather Lutze has spent the last 10
years helping business owners get their enterprises noticed on the Web
by their target audiences. She is the author of “The Findability
Formula: The Easy, Non- Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing.”
by Wiley & Sons. She is a Marketing Speaker and runs a Denver Internet Marketing agency.
Visit FindabilityFormula.com for
tools and resources to increase your site’s findability.