Going global can feel like a daunting venture for the inexperienced. Maybe you’ve heard the struggles of other sites second hand and have been afraid to take the leap – never fear! We have created a to-do checklist of the best tactics to consider before expanding into international markets. The fact is, your dream of going global can be a reality and the best way to start is by conducting some research on the shrewdest strategies for business owners. There are many avenues to confidently tap into regional markets, but each requires planning. Global or “cross-border” E-commerce is the future of sustainable online business, why not start your journey now?
1: DETERMINE YOUR TARGET CONSUMERS
Going global doesn’t necessarily mean you should translate your website into every local language you can find. Instead, determine which markets hold the greatest chance of bringing in significant financial returns to your business. Some products will be more relevant and popular in one region over another. One obvious example of regional dichotomy is the different online spending habits of city dwellers versus those living in rural areas. In these instances, the region you are marketing to plays a large role in the likelihood of individuals engaging in e-commerce. Generally, some international markets are more active and prosperous than others. For instance, Germany has braced itself against financial hardship and is experiencing steady economic growth. What’s more, German-speaking consumers participate in online retail more than those in many other countries. Therefore, targeting German audiences may be of greater reward than selecting regional markets at random.
2: RESEARCH SEO AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR EACH REGION
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to expanding your consumer base, as is the more recent advent of social media marketing. All of your content marketing should be dialled in to maximize the experience for your target audience. Although you may have pinpointed the ideal SEO keywords in your native language, going global necessitates that you conduct new keyword research specific to each new region. Keyword selection is pivotal as an SEO practice because it utilizes the common queries of native consumers as an opportunity to market your website. When venturing into a new territory, find out what your target consumer searches for and apply that information to determine which keywords best advertise your brand. As an example, if an American website is trying to market “bathroom” products, this keyword will undoubtedly be less popular in non-English and other English speaking markets like Canada and the UK. In this case, the translators would select more relevant keywords for these regions to increase the company’s potential of showing up on search engines and selling their products.
3: LOCALISE, LOCALISE, LOCALISE!
Successful translation isn’t just about transcribing one language to another, but about honing in on regionally specific dialects. By localising content to a unique location and target audience, your business will tailor the easiest access for native consumers. By establishing a well-rounded understanding of your audience’s culture, colloquialisms, and other common phrases, your website will be much more appealing to native consumers shopping outside of their country. Localising is often brought up solely regarding web copy, but it is equally important to localise audiovisual presentations, imagery, and even font/typeface. From a sales perspective, many of these details hold great importance in optimising your website for a global audience. Localising is easier said than done as it requires a comprehensive understanding of culture and syntax. In most cases, native translators make this process much more streamlined as they sustain a more in-depth comprehension of the language.
4: CONSIDER SHIPPING LIMITATIONS AND CURRENCY
One issue to consider when expanding into international markets is shipping limitations. Many regions have unique postal service schedules and local tariffs that can make things fairly confusing for the novice business owner. Since different cultures celebrate different holidays, these dates will also affect the timeline in which products are delivered. You also can’t forget how currency conversion plays into your business. Depending on which locations you choose to pursue, different criteria will apply to successfully carry out an online point of sale.
5: CREATE OPEN CHANNELS FOR CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
Especially when going global, effective communication is imperative to drawing in and maintaining international customers. Don’t fall subject to shirking on localised customer service. In order to prove that your website and services are worth it, customers need to feel comfortable with communicating questions and concerns with ease. Localising in this area is an extra step that, when taken, can be a decisive move ahead of the pack. Another way to allow for easier communication is to work with local partners who live in the target region. Even if you do not have access to native translation services in your home country, you may be able to establish a working relationship with individuals in new market territories.