If you have decided to expand from the Canadian market, you may be looking to attract an international audience. The potential for a larger customer base, increased profits, and the growth of your brand are all incentives to go global. Other developed markets, like the US, Europe or Japan are always of interest. Emerging markets might present a rapid growth opportunity.
However, the digital marketing of your business or brand on a global scale comes with risks and pitfalls. Below are some tips for adapting your website to a global audience, so that you can be successful from the get-go.
If you try to do too much too soon, then you will be doomed to fail. Scaling up too quickly, trying to reach too many markets, and adopting a one-size-fits-all approach are all common mistakes. It is much better to focus your efforts on just a small number of countries, and tailor everything to those regions.
Identify where you want to expand, which will depend on the fact if you are responding to a demand or not. If you already know that your site has a lot of interest from certain countries, those should of course be the ones to target. If your approach is more speculative, it is even more advisable to be cautious and do market research before going all-in. You should use tools such as Google Trends, analyst house reports or general market statistics to assess the eligibility of the market for your product.
When it comes to websites, global means local. This means that your site should look and feel like it is from the target country and not from abroad. Customers are more comfortable when the site feels familiar, and they are more likely to engage positively.
But how can we achieve this? There may be more things to consider than you realize. Ideally, you should adapt your entire site according to these tips, but at the very least there should be a landing page that is specific to the country.
This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when creating international content. For most people, web designs are universal. However, if you look at any websites from Japan, you may be proven wrong. To the western eye, a typical Japanese web page can look busy, crowded, and confusing.
Martin Visser from mrcasinova.com – an affiliate business promoting casino welcome bonus in Japan shares their experiences, “We have presence in 8 markets, but Japan, along with Thailand, was the largest challenge for our Europe based team. We had to rework the website design, so it incorporates many images, colours and highlighted elements. Also, content had to be very informative and detailed, which is in contrast with the EU market where people preferer a direct, clear answer to their query and mostly only skim-read.”
There are many reasons why this is the case. But no matter what, if you try to create a sleek and subtle website for Japanese customers with a western approach, it just won’t work.
English may be the international language, but only thirty percent of the global population speak it. Content in the native language of your target market simply essential. Make the extra effort to translate your site properly as well. This means that you do not rely on automated online translators, but work with a translation agency or an individual who is fluent in the language. Nothing puts readers off more quickly than badly translated content.
If your website localisation includes a lot of marketing, then you may not be able to rely on the platforms that you are used to. This goes for everything from social media to search engines to messaging services. In the United States, iMessage might be the most popular messaging tool. However, in Europe, WhatsApp is the app of choice. Telegram is more popular in Eastern Europe. So, if you want to add omnichannel chat feature to your website, make sure to use the right tool.
Remember too that demographic for social media use vary significantly between countries, so you may not be reaching the audience that you think when you promote on a certain platform. Facebook is becoming place for the older crowd, while younger generations use TikTok more.
Respect the Culture
This could also be included in the above category, but we think it’s important enough to mention separately. Cultural differences go further than language and web design preferences, and it is virtually impossible to anticipate them all. Something that is perfectly fine in one country may be uninspiring or even offensive in another.
There are steps you can take to ensure that your content is appropriate for your audience. If possible, access focus groups online in the country or countries where you wish to expand. This not only gives you up to the minute insight into the preferences and desires of your customers, but it will highlight anything that may be culturally inappropriate or irrelevant. Culture represents shared values. Very often, marketing to an audience of a liberal country will mean different messaging than conservative communities.
It may seem obvious, but after you gather data on your new market, you must implement your findings. If that means adapting something that you don’t want to change, then maybe this market is not for you. You must be prepared to compromise and be accommodating.
All too often, the results of market research are partially or wholly ignored. Business owners assume that, because their product or service is successful domestically, then it is sure to succeed in other markets. If the market research reveals that major changes should be made, many choose to push ahead regardless. This, of course, is a recipe for failure.
When entering a new market, it’s essential to consider both the opportunities and the associated challenges. Marketing should be considered every step of the way. Be prepared that it may take years of work before your global marketing strategy bears fruit, as they are notoriously difficult to execute successfully. But any problems you have will be multiplied if you fail to connect with your audience effectively.
There are no two ways about it, taking your business marketing strategy international has a lot of associated risk. It is worth spending the extra time and money to prepare fully for the move. That means following all the advice given in this article – identify your target countries, adapt your content and services to the new markets, consider cultural differences, respond astutely to market research, and consider what platforms to use and how. Your pricing strategy or differentiation might not matter in a different society.
Above all, make sure that you create a comprehensive strategy based on all the information that you gather. With adequate preparation and a good deal of patience, your global expansion should yield positive results before too long.
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