Once a business owner decides to move into international markets, he has much work to do. Where will he go first? What does the market research say about a target consumer audience in a chosen region or country? What laws and regulations will apply to your business? How will you get your website and other content translated into a foreign language?
All of this work will be in vain, though, if customers are not brought in. And bringing in customers only comes about through marketing. While all other factors in a foreign expansion are crucial, marketing is the most critical.
You have to have a new marketing plan for your new market. And here are seven tips to do just that.
- Rely On Your Market Research
If you have done your research right, you know that there is a market for your product or service where you plan to “set up shop.” You will know who your customer is and what that customer wants. You also know who your competition is. Once you know that competition, you will be able to identify how to differentiate yourself by providing more value in some way.
- Understanding the Culture
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you can’t market body wash in Muslim countries with visuals of women in their bathtubs. In the U.S., on the other hand, such visuals are completely fine.
Every culture has its norms, customs, and principles. If you violate those with your marketing tactics, you will offend. If you offend, your reputation in that market is ruined, and you might as well pack up and leave.
Also, consider your brand’s name. Will it be appropriate for your foreign audience? When Colgate marketed a toothpaste in France with the brand name “Cue,” it had obviously not done its homework. This is the name of an infamous pornographic magazine in that country.
It’s obvious that all business content will have to be translated into the language of your target audience. People are just more comfortable doing business in their native languages.
But a simple translation will not work. Would a German-speaking individual understand the American expression, “when pigs fly?” Of course not. All of your marketing content must be “localized.” That means the text will have to include modifying and/or changing expressions and phrases for local understanding. And, of course, visuals and multimedia must not offend. Machine translations cannot do this. You need to find an agency that has the best human translators – individuals who are fluent in your language but native to the target language.
One value you can offer is a lower introductory price than your competitors. Research the pricing of your competitors and beat that pricing. You can revisit what you charge down the road after you have a strong customer base.
- Use the Right Marketing Channels and Platforms
Again, this will take either some solid research or consultation with a marketer who is native to your target region/country. While Google and Facebook are both globally popular, this is not the case everywhere. You want to show up in the most popular search engines.
Likewise, you need to understand the most popular devices used in your target region. In developing countries, for example, people use their smartphones for everything, not PCs.
- Local Laws and Regulations
Are you familiar with GDPR? It stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and you cannot do Internet-based business in the European Union unless you comply with all of its provisions. This is just one example of governmental “rules” you must follow – every country in the world has them, from registration to taxes and fees, and more. Your marketing plan must provide for them all.
- Find a Local Partner
You need a native consultant who can help you navigate setting up and then marketing in a foreign environment. And your marketing plan and budget must include this element. Otherwise, you are bound to make mistakes that can be costly and result in failure.
You developed a marketing plan when you first launched your business in your own locale. It is no different once you choose to expand into any foreign market. These seven tips should help you develop one that will be effective and ensure success.
Author Bio: Christian Duke is a marketing researcher, writer, and consultant on all things business-related. He is a frequent contributor to business blogs and forums, as well as a presenter of valuable podcasts. In his spare time, Duke is an avid supporter and activist of environmental awareness and protection.