Making business in another country is a dream for many entrepreneurs. With e-commerce at its peak, it’s now easier to tap foreign markets by advertising your business internationally. However, just like putting up a business in your home country, scaling into the international stage comes with risks and challenges of its own.
In this post, discover how to win international markets with marketing tactics that are relevant to their local trends and be ahead of the local competition. It’s also essential to know the risks involved with language barriers to avoid being strapped to the cancel culture and become a laughing stock to locals for sending the wrong message or being lost in translation.
International marketing, or global marketing, is a stratefy of offering products or services to foreign countries . It is a way scaling at a global level by introducing a brand in one country to another. It aims to tap international audience and seize the opportunity to increase brand awareness, boost sales, and discover a more diverse market.
Successful local businesses aim to target the global market due to the endless opportunities it offers. They can stumble upon a territory as a pioneer of a product or service or gain a competitive advantage in the local scene with a unique offer. Other than that, most benefits lies in the following factors:
In just a few clicks, you can now advertise your business to different countries. However, marketing your products and services to a different country can tap new challenges such as costly fees, legal issues, and marketing on the wrong crowd. Here are some considerations before you start marketing your business beyond the border:
Before going all in with your marketing efforts, check the potential market in your target country. Based on your market research, create a buyer persona or conduct customer segmentation. Different ways to know more about your international market is through the following methods:
There’s more than one way to establish your business abroad. Before marketing your products or services, ensure that you explore your options and see where your industry fits well. In most cases, budget is also a consideration in choosing a type of international business presence. Check out the international business strategies below and choose what's best for you:
Probably the hardest part of marketing your business internationally is getting through the laws and regulation of your target country. Every country has their own restrictions when it comes to the following which you should be careful not be involved with:
The language barrier is one of the challenges in entering a new market. Therefore, it’s best to choose a country with a language that’s not too far from your language. Another option is to look at the languages used in that country. A good example is Canada that has French-speaking regions and majority are English speakers.
Choosing a totally different language from your home country may need a bigger investment when it comes to translation services. Every aspect of your marketing and online assets must have a multilingual option to cater to your international market. Therefore, you should expect additional overhead costs to handle your international growth.
Political issues and financial crisis like recession can greatly affect the way international market will perceive or treat your brand. They may find it hard to afford your products or services if they’re under recession or in the middle of civil war. Unless you sell a basic necessities in the field of food and emergency response health services, you may want to steer away from countries in unstable economic conditions.
Consider choosing the same demography that you have in your home country before expanding to a new set of customers. It’s best to scale on the international stage with a demography that you’ve already proven and tested in your home country. It is also easier to cater to the same demography in countries in close proximity for ease in shipping concerns and cross-regional shared values and beliefs.
When marketing internationally, you’ll need to expect an addition of staff for your business, Whether they’re remote workers or local staff, you’ll need extra pair of hands with expertise in handling foreign markets and become advocates of your brand. Some clients prefer using translation apps to translate their content to save on costs. However, some languages can't be translated by word since they change in meaning such as Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish. So, hiring native speakers are crucial to send the right message to the local market.
Knowing your international target market is one thing, but checking out your local competitors is another strategy. Your local competitors have done the math, extensive research and all the hard work to attract your ideal customers. You can leverage on their marketing efforts and see where you can fit and change the narrative for your brand. You may check their web content, social posts, promos, and newsletters and discover what works for them and the opportunities you make take advantage of.
There are a few common mistakes that businesses make when advertising internationally. These include not doing enough research, not tailoring campaigns to specific markets, and failing to measure results accurately. Your mindset should be aimed at thinking like a local and immerse yourself in their culture and customs.
Here are some tips in advertising your business internationally and successfully grow at a global scale:
We are in the age where cancel culture is rampant. One honest mistake on the branding or marketin can turn the tables before you even gain a wider customer base. Take the Balenciaga issue as a good example how a single can get you cancelled.
Your international advertising campaigns need to be well-crafted and tailored to each individual market. They should be culturally relevant and engaging, while also promoting your products or services in an effective way. What may be considered an effective advertisement in one country may not be as effective and culturally-sensitive in another.
The best mindset in a multicultural marketing approach is that a country’s shared belief and customs affect their perspective of a specific product or service. There are five dimensions in multicultural marketing, such as:
One common mistake in international marketing is a comprehensive market research. Make sure you understand the local culture and customs before creating your ad campaign. The last thing you want to do is to offend anyone or become a laughing stock for being lost in translation.
Your target market in another country can have an entirely different demography than what you have in your home country. Not every market is going to be a good fit for your business, so it’s important to do your research and figure out which ones offer the most potential. The following factors should be diligently researched to achieve a higher chance of conversion once you launch your international marketing campaigns:
Advertising internationally can be a big undertaking, so it’s important to develop a clear and concise strategy before you get started. This should include your goals, target markets, and budget. You must be equipped with the mindset that local competitors have a foothold on your target country and you have to strongly differentiate what you can uniquely offer to your customers. You must define where will your brand fit in the target market’s needs.
Figure out what your international market need and what’s the closest way to market your solutions to their needs in a way they’ll relate to it. In today’s internet age, selling is not enough. You need to add value to your target market, inspire and captivate them in stories that they can relate to.
International marketing will require a more comprehensive approach in measuring the results of your marketing efforts. In business, you can’t solve what you can’t measure. Therefore, you have to set certain metrics and parameters to see if you’re getting the attention and conversions you need from your marketing efforts. You can check how your marketing efforts performs through the following:
As a foreign brand to your international market, your website and official social media accounts are the closest they can ever get to meet you as a business entity. Therefore, your website should:
Some global entities like Netflix has a dedicated social media pages per country. Each country have different trends when it comes to movies and series in the local market. Therefore, each country post different content to ride the waves of virality and social trend.
Different trends and viral issues can differ in every country. Therefore, your socials and content marketing strategy must catch up and ride the wave of the trend to stay relevant. An example of these are the Gen-Z lingo, memes, and the current issues with competitors that you can seize to stay above the competition.
Partnerships can make it easier to introduce your brand in the local market. They alrteady established a name in the local scene. Combining your brands together can attract new clients and gain you a high-ticket client internationally. However, when it comes to partnerships, there are hefty rules that you should follow as they vary per country.
MiQ is one of the companies that partner with international brands to introduce their products and service to the Chinese market. They are following the programmatic marketing which led foreign brands to flourish in Shanghai and other parts of the country. They have bi-lingual especialists that taps on the local market deliver ad campaigns relatable to them.
It’s also important to consider the biggest hurdle in international marketing - language barrier. Even if you are advertising in English, some words and phrases may not translate well to the local market. Make sure to research, consult a bi-lingual, and test your ads before launching them.
Though English is the universal language, idioms, communication style, references and catchphrases can be lost in translation, lose their expected effect on the target market, and make them feel alienated.
If your brand’s language is too far from the language of your target country, it’s best to make a translated versions of your ads or social content. For example, translating an English ad copy will not have the same meaning when translated to Chinese or Japanese when run through Google Translate. Invest in a bi-lingual staff to curate and translate yourc content to avoid sending the wrong message to your audience.
A simple social post on local holidays will go a long way for international clients. Posts aboud holidays like Ramadan will make your brand more relatable and relevant to your target country. They may even appreciate you for being aware and respectful of their culture and customs and may spike engagement on your socials.
One of the country-specific event is the White Day in South Korea wherein the man reciprocates the gift of his loved one who gave him a present in Valentine's Day (Feb. 14). As a brand, you may seize this opportunity to post White Day related content or come up with promotions to ride the trend.
Lastly, start small when launching your brand internationally. You don’t need to immediately launch social media pages per country if there’s no demand for it. You may start with one global page for your brand and build a new page when the demand for local customers starts to grow.
You should also post your paid ads for a limited time and see how it performs. Test your marketing strategies, observe the conversion and engagement rate, and see how you can improve from there. Start small and never rush on investing too much in your ad spend. Sometimes, you need to give your business some time to be recognized for the solutions it can provide.
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