You’ve decided it’s time. You have a great product and now you want the world, not just your country, to know about it. And in this era of global e-commerce, why not? There are great sources of revenue in foreign countries, particularly in those that have rapidly expanding middle classes.
By Dina Indelicato
Expanding into and then promoting your business in another country will require investment of time and money, and you want to do it right. Here are some key things to think about and some tips to get yourself established and earning some revenue.
- Make sure that there is a market for what you are selling. Do some research; enlist advice from natives of any country you plan to move into. Selling beef jerky in India is probably not a good idea.
- Check out search engines in your target countries. While Google is certainly big everywhere, there may be local search engines that are more popular. SEO may be a bit different in your target country, so it would pay to find a local SEO expert to walk you through the key strategies.
- Be very mindful of keywords. Products/services in another language may not be searched for using and exact translation of the keywords that are working in your native language. This is a part of localization, and it’s key if your target audience is to find you.
- Localizing your website has to be done perfectly. Do not count on amateurs. Instead, take the time to research by accessing a site that provides trusted translation reviews, and get a pro who is also a native of your target country. There is more to website localization than just text translations and nice visuals of your products. There are cultural aspects that only a native understands. An owl, for example, is a sign of wisdom in the U.S. – not so much in several other countries, where it can actually depict evil, sorcery, or death.
- Consider buying a Country Code top level domain name. “.com” works fine in the U.S., but far better to have a domain name like “.co.uk” if expanding in the UK. It also helps with SEO in that target country.
- See what you can do to build relationships with a few “influencers” in the target country. They may be tough for you to find, but if you have a local SEO expert as a consultant, s/he can explore your niche and identify some. Again, if you reach out to them, make sure that all of your translations are correct. Write some amazing blog posts for your localized business site, and get them submitted to hose influencers; ask influencers if you can re-post some of their popular posts. If you’ve been doing that in your native country, you “know the drill.”
- Use local social media. Take a lesson from the Chinese here. Once you purchase an item from a company that is based in China, you will begin to see that company touting its products on your Facebook newsfeed. And, again, while Facebook is certainly global, there are other social media platforms that may be just as popular in your target country. Consider buying ads too.
- Develop an email marketing list, beginning with your very first foreign customer. Offer discounts and specials if they will share your email with their friends. To do this effectively, you will probably need to have a translator or translation service on retainer – you want those emails to go out on a regular basis.
- Customer service is important anywhere you go. You want easy ways for your customers to contact you, and they will be doing that in their own language. Your best strategy is to employ, even on a contractual basis, a native of that country to manage this part of your business. He can translate the customer concern/issue for you and then translate your quick response. While some cultures value patience, don’t count on it. Rapidly responding to any customer is part of promoting yourself and your brand.
It’s a Big Challenge
Deciding to move your business into foreign markets is exciting and can bring in new, great revenue streams. There are a host of challenges just getting set up in a foreign country. But once that is successfully accomplished, you have the often-bigger challenge of promoting your brand. These nine tips should help you get started. Many of them relate to SEO strategies, most of which you already use locally. You need to be “found,” and you need customers to help promote you. Find out where your targets hang out online and go there. and once you have those customers, make sure that their experience with your site and your business is amazing.
Dina Indelicato is a blogger enthusiast and freelance writer. She is always open to research about new topics and gain new experiences to share with her readers. You can find her on Twitter @DinaIndelicato and LinkedIn.