The Internet is a great enabler. With it, you’re able to start a business from anywhere in the world. More importantly, you’re able to reach any audience in the world, no matter where your business is located. In this post, we will go into some necessary points to add to your success expanding internationally.
You’ll have to consider international fees and exchanges, but the minor hassle of such bookkeeping pales in comparison to the potential profits available in an international market. Just look at some of the fastest growing companies worldwide, such as Bridgestone, Ticketbis, Baidu and Priceline.
A Study of Culture
In order to succeed in a global online market, you need to consider your own culture, your target culture and your personal biases carefully. This study and awareness of culture is called cross-cultural competency, and it’s essential when you’re expanding into a foreign market. Even amongst primarily English-speaking nations, cultural differences can make simple habits of online communication cause a rift that depresses your marketing efforts.
Effective cross-cultural communication requires one of two things; a central staff that understands regional awareness or the willingness to hire local agents who will assist with localisation, social marketing and other culturally biased communications. If you’re thinking of expanding into more foreign markets, the need for effective cultural awareness grows even more important.
For social media marketing, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, you will likely want to create multiple accounts or business pages for various countries. This is so you don’t confuse or put off your readers by posting in a language they don’t understand. This requires a deeper investment than the typical social media plan, but the effort is worth it.
On the Internet, it’s easy to forget that there are drastic differences between countries. Internet communications tend to run together, with a source country coming second to the value of the content. When you’re dealing with international business, however, you need to recognise that countries can act very different from one another. In particular, you need to be aware of:
- Restrictions on advertising tactics. A sort of commercial that’s quite commonplace in America might be banned in another country as being too biased. Certain areas, such as, medical advertising must usually be approved by local health officials, and some typical advertising language may be frowned upon in other locations.
- Sales tactics and regulations. Some countries have restrictions on the sorts of promotions you can run, even commonplace promotions such as “buy one get one free” and competitions.
- Product and manufacturing laws, as well as shipping tariffs and other fees involved in distributing a product. The last thing you need is to discover too late that your product contains a dye that is illegal in your target country.
Running your web content through a low cost translator is unlikely to do you any favours. Native speakers of a language can easily tell when a piece of content has been translated by a machine or inexperienced translator. Often, a straight translation isn’t going to help you in terms of SEO.
Rather than translate your articles directly, you might consider hiring a local writer to provide you with new content targeted to keywords in the language most frequently used in the country you’re targeting. For that matter, you may need to adapt your strategies entirely if your target country uses a different search engine than the big three. Of particular note and challenge is ranking on the government-controlled search in China.
Take care when you’re expanding into a foreign market. Often, these markets are ripe for expansion, if you approach correctly. Unfortunately, if you lead off with the wrong impression, your reputation in the market is likely to be damage for years to come. Care and planning are your strongest allies.
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Online Market Experts are here to help you achieve online success by saving you time, connecting your business with practical outcomes and help you avoid theorists. We are not a sales company pushing a product or range – we serve as a collective of industry experts focused on improving the eCommerce and the digital landscape, offering independent consulting to businesses of all sizes in eCommerce. We learn about your specific needs and goals before presenting recommendations and strategy outlines for you.