International expansion is a huge revenue opportunity for any business and is especially attractive where growth in the domestic market is saturated or has otherwise stalled. But international success does not come without its challenges and relies heavily on how well you can adapt your products, services and messaging to suit the local audience.
A great example of a company that has successfully adapted their strategy is McDonald’s. They have managed to keep an iconic brand, while at the same time altering their offering in different countries; like selling beer in France and removing beef and pork from restaurants in India.
So how can you adapt your marketing strategy to attract international business?
Factors underpinning successful International marketing strategies
- Invest in research – You shouldn’t make assumptions about the market that you are trying to reach, they might think and act differently from your domestic market. Taking the time to invest in research will help you to understand the market better, for example, who are your local competitors and how do you compare? You can conduct research formally using an agency to run surveys, or if you are happy with a smaller sample you can speak directly to customers. Research is of vital importance to all International Marketing Strategies.
- Don’t ignore culture – Following on from the point above, it is essential that you don’t overlook cultural differences with your target market, even countries that speak that same language can be very different culturally.
- Get translation right – When you’re selling to the world, your website is your storefront and content is king. It is vital that you pay significant attention to detail to get translation right. Automated tools like Google Translate can help with this, but often miss the colloquialisms that make language sound natural and authentic. You should also consider simple things like how your brand name translates into another language.
- Respect Regulation – Laws around data protection and how you advertise and market to people are different in different jurisdictions. Don’t fall foul of the local law and get your business in trouble just as you are getting started. Seeking legal counsel from someone with knowledge of your specific target markets will be a big help.
- Technology – Different countries will have different levels of technological sophistication. This could mean slower internet speeds and lower quality phones. You may need to think about how you can serve a stripped down version of your site to these markets in order to keep a high level of customer experience.
Finding a partner to take you to the next level
Growing pains that come with expanding internationally are natural for any successful organisation. We have worked with many companies to develop and execute international marketing strategies that help achieve their business goals.
Our work has spanned everything from looking at local SEO factors to ensure that sites rank well in the target markets, through to working with native language translators to ensure that the messaging will resonate with the target audience.
If you’d like more information on how this could work for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.