by Tim Waldenback | Guest Contributor | BUSINESS
We are living in an online world. The age of the Internet has changed life for everyone. Clever business owners and marketers are making full use of our virtual lifestyles, making it more accessible to market your business in multiple countries. But, it’s not always an easy ride.
There are six fundamental rules you need to adhere to if you want to take your business internationally.
#1. Test The Waters, But Don’t Commit Before You Spot Traction
Your business may be suitable to a particular country, but not to another. There are so many factors that will influence the suitability of your business model with various locations, including social factors, cultural factors, and economic factors.
So, it’s vital to ‘dip your toe into the pool,’ so to speak. Test the temperature before you dive headfirst. As soon as you can feel your business gaining traction through monitoring the data, don’t commit 100%.
If you do, you’re risking a loss of time, money, and effort.
#2. Focus On The Markets That Drive Your Revenue
You could decide to market your business in 3 different countries such as:
Note that all 3 of these countries are populated with English-speaking inhabitants.
Within these three countries will be various demographics, and each market will respond differently to your business.
You must track and monitor the data carefully. Not only should you evaluate how each country is responding to your marketing efforts, but also the demographics within the country.
For example, if you were selling an online course teaching Spanish, the way each country responds will differ because their need to learn the language will contrast.
Those from the United Kingdom may need to learn Spanish for their annual holiday to Marbella.
Those from the United States may wish to learn Spanish for high school.
And lastly, those from Australia might fancy learning Spanish as a side hobby.
Each of these markets has different degrees of necessity. So, your marketing strategies need to reflect that.
Zooming in on each of these, you’ll be able to investigate the demographics that are making the purchase.
You’ll want to focus most of your time, effort, and finances on the specific market driving your revenue.
#3. Test Different Marketing Platforms, And Know That Different Platforms Work In Different Countries
There are many forms of digital marketing. Each marketing platform will work differently depending on the country.
Digital marketing platforms include:
It’s essential to consider the most effective marketing style in each country you aim to market your business in.
Consider China, for example. China is the world's most densely populated country. There are some strict website restrictions, and some of the most used social media networks in the world aren’t permitted here. Rather than Facebook or Twitter, a Chinese audience will most likely be found on messaging app QQ.
If your goal is to market your business in China, paying for ads on Facebook would be a massive waste of your time.
The only way to truly understand which marketing platform works best according to the country’s most effective marketing style is to do your due diligence and market research.
#4. Don’t Go Too Broad With Your Marketing Before You Find Marketing Campaigns That Work
The word ‘broad’ strikes fear in any business owner.
And for a good reason.
Going too broad with your marketing means spreading yourself thin on the ice. It’s easy to lose track of your marketing campaigns, and you’ll find it nearly impossible to track the progress.
Instead, after doing your market research, restrict your efforts to a limited amount of marketing styles.
As with most strategies, it takes time to view an accurate representation of their impact.
By selecting only a handful of marketing strategies, you’ll be able to dive deep into the data after a considerable and fair amount of time. You can then analyze which campaigns are performing well and which can be substituted for another marketing method.
#5. Try To Become A Household Name In At Least 1 Country Or Market. If You’re Too Spread Out, Your Brand And Organic Revenue Will Suffer
As with every brand, your business will need to level up from a well-advertised brand to a firm favorite among your target audience.
Apple, for example, has a family of loyal customers who would never switch to a Samsung. This is down to one simple fact: Apple is a household name within their demographic.
Again, the key to becoming a household name in a country or market lies within the research.
You need to understand your niche and industry, evaluating where the market is at this moment in time.
After this, you need to zoom in on what appeals to your target audience.
Remember the example we used earlier about the Spanish lessons?
A holiday to Marbella is appealing to Brits. Over 18 million British tourists visited Spain in 2019. So, learning the language on a vacation level will be appealing to them.
Use social media to research the fundamental problems your audience has without your product or service. Then, mirror this problem and pose your product as the solution.
With a firm household name, you’ll see your brand go from strength to strength, simply based on word-of-mouth.
#6. Different Markets React To Different Messages. Make Sure You Understand Each Market You Enter
Your market - regardless of its location - is exposed to millions of marketing messages per day.
Whether they’re scrolling through ads on Facebook, walking past billboards, or receiving direct mail through their letterbox, marketing messages are getting harder to craft in a unique way that stands out.
Depending on the country you’re marketing to, you’ll find the reactions will differ. It’s down to sociolinguistics (i.e., the language used within different social groups).
You could go even further and zoom in on dialect changes within each state or zone of a country.
However, if you’re aiming to market your brand in more than one country, it’s best to brush up on the culture there.
Something as simple as your brand’s name can change depending on the location you’re marketing it to.
For example, in the United States, we’re familiar with a brand named T.J.Maxx.
However, while the brand exists and thrives in the United Kingdom, it’s named T.K.Maxx.
This brand name switch came from market research. The United Kingdom plays host to another large brand called TJ Hughes. So, T.J.Maxx founder, Bernard Cammarata, made the wise decision to change an initial to help the brand stand out and have its own unique identity.
Think carefully about the language used within that country. The word ‘cool’ or ‘coolie’, for example, could be your go-to if you’re launching a product for teens. While that may work for an American audience, it’d be offensive to countries within Asia, where this word is considered an ethnic slur.
You can see the difference in messaging on our site. For example, we published an article about the ins and outs about getting a provisional licence in the UK. This would be of little use to an American audience, though, as the driving rules and regulations and driving culture have significant differences from country to country. So, instead, we posted this article.
We adapt our messaging and focus on topics that will contrast depending on the country we’re aiming our business at. Because we chose to take Zutobi international, the content strategy we have needs to reflect the demographic alteration.