Taking your business to a new global audience will certainly be an exciting time, but how exactly are you going to do it? More than half of all international expansions fail or have to be scaled back within the first 12 months. To ensure your business doesn’t become just another statistic, we’ve put together a list of expert tips for you to keep in mind. Just what you need when you want to take your business in an exciting new direction.
Why Does Your Business Need to Go Global?
Did you know that only 27% of the online shoppers in the world have English as their primary language? We’re led to believe that it’s the world’s global language, and while it’s the closest thing to one, it proves little use to people who don’t speak it.
By taking your business global, you can expand into rapidly growing new markets, become a major player in regions that are crying out for your goods and services, and leverage the power of early entry. It’s such an important step to take and one that will transform your business if you do it the right way.
How to Optimize Your International Marketing
Use top-level domains to maximize your SEO
When you want to maximize your SEO, there are certain tried and tested techniques you can’t afford to ignore. While our friends at the big search engines like Google never really reveal all the specifics of their algorithms, there are certain things we all know to be true.
One of these is the SEO power of top-level domains. It might seem like a great idea to have a dozen standalone websites that show the same content in different languages, but what are you really trying to achieve? Building your website to gain domain authority and having all of your secondary language sites as subdomains is the best way to make yourself visible in search.
Always display your prices in the local currency
You can easily find exchange rate tools online, and yet it’s amazing how few businesses make use of them when they launch internationally. Your customers want to know how much your goods and services cost—not how much they would cost if they lived in a different country.
If you want people to be more likely to buy, you need to remove all of these little pieces of friction from the buying process. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes to your revenue by the end of your first quarter.
Find local experts who can bring you up to speed with spending habits
Trying to do everything in-house might make you feel great, but it’s never likely to be the most productive approach. Reach out to local experts who know the region better than you do, and ask their advice.
What they can tell you in a one-hour meeting will far exceed what you can find out in a month of research. Make use of their expertise, and use it to set the tone and direction for your new venture.
Identify local demographics, and target your ideal customers
The next thing you’re going to need to do is to identify your key demographics. There’s no reason to assume that your primary buyers will be the same demographic from one country to the next. Countries can have vastly different cultures, spending habits, and socio-economic structures.
You’re going to need to start fresh each time so you don’t end up using a copy and paste approach to your analysis. Once you’ve discovered the key demographics, you can start to create customer profiles, and really get inside the mind of the consumers.
Look at how your various niches apply in different countries
What sells great in China won’t necessarily translate to Brazil, and vice versa. This may seem like a bit of a headache at first, but it actually opens a lot of doors for you. By targeting different niches with the same product, or making a selling point of different features and applications, you can potentially unlock dozens of different international markets. It will take time and research, but the payoff can be substantial if you get it right.
Work with native speakers so nothing is lost in translation
Simply doing literal word for word translation will not work, so don’t even attempt it. There are so many turns of phrase and hidden meanings that change during translation that you’ll alter your text beyond all recognition.
Instead, you’re far better off using online services like PickWriters, where you can search for professionals who will preserve your message in a way that’s suitable to the local audience.
Discover your cross-cultural competencies, and play to your strengths
This is a big issue when you’re expanding internationally, and one that a lot of companies pay little or no attention to, for reasons unknown.
You will need different skill sets and people with different abilities if you’re to operate in different countries. You wouldn’t send someone who only speaks Spanish to pitch in the center of Tokyo for example. Draw up a matrix of your key cross-cultural competencies for each region you operate in and use it to start playing to your strengths.
Native keywords are far better than translating existing keywords
Keyword research is one of those subtle skills that a select few Web Nerds can excel at—a mere mortal can only vaguely attempt. Translating your English language keywords is never a good idea, because you’re just crossing your fingers and hoping that people search those terms.
Sentence structure, colloquialisms, and abbreviations don’t translate well in the literal sense. This means you’ll always be far better off conducting new keyword research in any given language if you want to maximize your search ranking and visibility.
Introduce localized offers, discounts, and sales
Another idea well worth pursuing is to introduce localized temporary pricing. National holidays, seasonal buying trends, and annual spending habits will all differ from country to country, so make the most of them.
Work with a Marketing Team Who Knows What They’re Doing
Marketing to an international audience is all about getting to know the local people and giving them what they want. If you can free yourself of your preconceptions of what will work based off of what works in your own region, you can adopt a flexible and adaptable approach that will take your business in an exciting new direction.
Contact the Post Launch team today to discuss your options for an international marketing strategy.
This guest post was created by Kristin Savage. She nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.