If you are new to exporting, it is vital to spend some time getting your international marketing strategy right. The following tips are tailored to companies who want to break into new markets for the first time, but can also be used as a checklist for companies who are already export professionals.
Optimize your website and live chat functions
According to Internet Live Stats, there are more than 1.1 billion live websites on the internet today, and roughly 40% of the world population has an internet connection. Those stats show that the internet offers tremendous potential to businesses. Generally speaking, a website is a cheap and quick option to promote products globally, with an average website taking around 12-16 weeks to build. Particularly for companies who are only starting out on their exporting journey, a webpage can be the perfect way to explore options without a huge financial investment.
A survey carried out by the Common Sense Advisory highlights the potential of local websites. Consumers who participated in the survey were asked if they only buy from websites in their own language. The results show that 70% of Japanese participants only purchase from websites in the Japanese language, followed by Germany (68%), France (61%), and China (54%). We recommend that you ensure your website speaks the right language when marketing your products to an international audience.
A website communication tool that has also grown in popularity, especially among the online shopping community, is the live chat function. Live chat allows businesses to chat in real-time with website visitors. The advantages are that customer service staff can respond immediately and often reply to more than one customer at a time. The disadvantage is that the chat representative might not hold the authority for all requests, such as a refund to an unhappy customer. We recommend that you ensure as part of your international marketing strategy that the live chat function is manned by a native speaker to avoid customer frustration.
Adapt your social media to the target market
When it comes to international marketing, social media is a vital ingredient in the marketing communication mix. For any business planning to export, it is important to choose the right social media platform to market their products.
When promoting a business overseas, the first question the management team will have to ask itself is "What social media platforms are my potential customers using?". Don't assume that LinkedIn is the right place to connect with customers just because it's very popular among the British and US business community. In German-speaking countries, XING is still the number one social networking site for businesses. XING was first launched in 2003 and is now available in 13 languages with 90% of page views coming from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
The international marketing strategy on social media should always focus on a company’s business objectives. This means that the social media activities should result not only in an increase in likes and shares but most importantly, in an increase in sales.
To sum it up, it is vital for a business to know its target audience to create a successful international social marketing strategy. Questions the management team must answer before choosing a social media platform are: Who is our target audience? What age group will want to buy our products? Do our products target male or female buyers?
Don't miss the trend of video marketing
Finally, a few words about video marketing – currently the trend among marketing professionals.
Videos are everywhere, and marketing agency Insivia reports that internet users spend one-third of their online time watching videos. The average user is exposed to 32.2 videos in a month and 36% of online consumers trust video ads. Once again, it is important for a successful international marketing strategy to get the details right. In the case of video marketing, this may mean adding foreign language subtitles to your English videos when promoting them in Germany, Russia or China. Don't just assume that everyone is comfortable watching videos in English. Subtitles are also a great SEO tool as they can help boost your organic ranking in video marketing platforms.
With all the tips above, creating an international marketing strategy can be just as easy as working on your local marketing plan. It’s just a case of getting the small details right to take advantage of the global opportunity.