Underpin Your Business’s Global Expansion with Digital Marketing
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of UK businesses exporting abroad increased by 6.6% to 235,800 in 2017. The effect of the events of 2020 on all business growth is unknown but is unlikely to hamper the innovation and hunger for success displayed by UK organisations throughout history. The power of digital marketing has removed so many of the barriers that stood in the way of global expansion so as you plan and review your long-term business strategy it is an area that you may wish to consider. Here is our summary of how marketing could help you on your journey to international success:
Before you start planning how you are going to reach your potential global audience, it is imperative that you check that you have one! Not every business is suited to international expansion. This could be due to the nature of your product or services, legislative import/export restrictions, prohibitive cost implications for set up or simply that your business is quintessentially British. By doing your research you may find that whilst you would struggle to find an adequate target market in certain parts of the world other countries are crying out for your products.
There are lots of companies you can use to do this research for you, but lots of tools are available to enable you to do it yourself. Make a start using:
- Web analytics. Look at who is browsing your website and where they live
- Google Market Finder identify new international business opportunities using market insights
- Government websites not just the UK government website, check out local legislation and restrictions on the relevant country’s government website
We cannot stress the value of adequate research and competitive analysis at the idea stage enough. Make sure you unearth any unexpected charges, restrictions or nuances that could prevent success, and identify hot areas before you invest too much time and money into the project.
It’s always in the planning
Don’t be overwhelmed by the challenges ahead, plan for operational changes and update your marketing plan to ensure you have appropriate content and allocated budget to target your new audience.
Do the maths and facilitate easy payment
As part of your final checks before pressing ahead with global domination, make sure your venture will remain profitable. From supply chain research to tax requirements and export costs, concentrate on the figures to ensure your cost of sale is not going to render your services uncompetitive. Consider the expense implications of delivery and returns, if applicable. Also, make sure your online store takes into account the regional payment method preferences. Generally, PayPal and Worldpay are globally accepted and should be sufficient to get you started.
Break down those language barriers
Once you have ascertained reaching out to an international market is a viable option for your company you need to look at how you will communicate with your new customers. Start with your website: you can have one website which offers translated content or numerous websites for each country you wish to trade in. There are advantages and disadvantages to each and making the right choice may be dependent on the nature of your business as well as budget.
Don’t let your brand or messaging get lost in translation. Make sure your content is localised and not translated using a word-for-word automated translation service. Invest in the services of a translation expert to ensure local dialect and native phrasing is used to help you connect with your audience.
Check the performance of your website and make sure it will work well in the countries you want to target and be mindful of local internet capabilities.
Don’t get missed by those search engines!
When you’re branching out into a new market, you want to be found when your potential new customers are looking for the services you provide. You can do this by ensuring your international SEO (search engine optimisation) helps search engines to understand what countries and languages your content is targeting.
If you’re breaking into a new market you probably won’t want to rely on organic growth to get your name in front of potential customers. Take advantage of the opportunities digital provides and support your international campaigns with search advertising, display advertising and advertising on social networks. Don’t assume that social networking behaviours are the same in every country and do your research for any local networks that may give excellent ROI on advertising budgets.
If you have an online presence that allows your international customers to communicate with you on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, make sure you have someone available to respond quickly and in the appropriate language. There is an expectation of rapid response to social media comments, so set up an automated response advising you will get back to the customer within a set amount of time to reduce the likelihood of damage to your brand reputation through poor reviews or complaints.
Ready to venture into unknown territory?
We appreciate that we have only skimmed the surface but have hopefully given you some food for thought. If you would like to know more about how you can test the viability of global expansion or would like the support and expertise of a professional PR and Marketing company to assist you, please get in touch.