Are you interested in joining the global marketplace? Great. Because an international marketing strategy is imperative for running a successful online business.
With the rise of globalization and the internet, running a worldwide online business has never been easier. There are so many opportunities for brands just waiting to be unlocked and monetized.
From easy access to global information to the boom in online marketplaces and social media to the vast choice of multinational payment gateways and delivery services available…it’s no wonder more and more major companies are going global. And those that do, seem to grow faster than those that don’t.
- East Asia now boasts 867 million internet users (a 12% increase from last year).
- Facebook processes 2 billion translations a day.
- From 2010 to 2012, English Facebook users grew by 69%, whereas Portuguese users increased by over a whopping 800%!
Food for thought, right?
What actually is international marketing? Before we dive into the details, we’ll define international business so that everyone’s on the same page.
International marketing is any commercial activity that promotes or facilitates the movement of goods, services, resources, people, or ideas, across national boundaries.
With all that in mind, let’s explore how you can enhance your international trade. Let’s dive in!
Why Should You Become a Global Company?
Just to reiterate, there are plenty of advantages to stepping onto the international business stage.
- You’ll extend your reach and unlock a potentially broader market
- International brands carry a prestige that provides a boost in reputation
- When you expand your business, you’re more likely to increase your market share
- You’re more likely to expand your professional network, which could open doors to new opportunities
…Just to name a few.
International Marketing: First Things First
Yes, it’s true that new brands that originate in a home country are often enthusiastically accepted by consumers in foreign markets, but that isn’t always a given. The last thing you want is to enter global markets on a whim.
With the rise of independent eCommerce stores and borderless marketplaces, it’s safe to say that competition has gotten rougher over the last decade.
The solution: A well-thought-out international business plan.
However, for many small and medium-sized organizations building an international marketing plan for the first time, find it a daunting task. This is especially true if you don’t have the expertise, resources, or budget to do the groundwork to launch and manage these kinds of marketing campaigns.
Where to Begin with International Marketing
Your starting point should be creating a multilingual website. It’s an essential part of any international strategy. However, manually translating your website can be both timely and costly.
That’s where an easy-to-use plugin like Weglot comes in handy.
With just a few clicks, Weglot makes translating your website a breeze. Its hybrid approach to automatic and human translation ensures you provide the best possible content to localized audiences. Plus, you can even invite team members and hire professional translators to assist you from inside your Weglot Dashboard. Handy, right?
Creating an International Business Strategy
Your ‘why’ for entering the international market will likely vary from other business owners. Consequently, no two global marketing strategies will ever be identical – each will boast its own approaches, goals, and launch plans.
For instance, one entrepreneur’s motivation might be to test the waters with a foreign distributor. Whereas for another, it could be simultaneously selling to different countries that all speak the same language.
That being said, here’s some general advice on the application of marketing principles you can use to form your international marketing plan…
Step 1 – Market Research
Gain a broad understanding of the local and cultural markets. This means clarifying your customers’ needs and consumer behavior so that you can tailor your global marketing strategy to suit them.
You’ll also want to identify any potential competition, both local and non-local. Evaluate what they’re doing well, and more importantly, areas where they’re lacking, so that you can capitalize on that.
It’s often the case that international markets have different buying habits, needs, demographics, preferences, and priorities than your home market. Therefore, tracking these differences is critical to identifying the best way of reaching your audience.
Step 2 – Define Your Local Presence
By ‘defining your local presence,’ we mean deciding the following:
- Whether you’re going to open a subsidiary or build local partnerships
- How you’ll handle product development
- What delivery strategies and companies you’ll employ
- Whether you’ll need to find and use local suppliers
…The list goes on.
At this stage, it’s also worth evaluating the status of both local online and offline infrastructure. That way, you can identify any potential pitfalls and plan for them in advance.
Step 3 – Customize Your International Marketing Mix
Having done some research, you may find you need to adapt your marketing activities. Most notably, your pricing, products, and promotions to better connect with the target market in the foreign country you’re selling to.
Take Dunkin Donuts as an example. They’re a hugely successful international brand that knows how to market themselves on a global scale. For instance, Dunkin Donuts UAE sells packaged coffee you can brew at home. This is very important in Arab culture, and as such, the company has successfully molded its product to suit local customs.
Another great example is McDonald’s. In France, kids don’t go to school on Wednesday, so McDonald’s decided to run an offer where kids get a free illustrated book with every Happy Meal you purchase every first Wednesday of the month. The books change every month and are carefully selected from the works of big French publishing houses.
As the above examples so adequately showcase, using local channels for marketing, communication, and adapting your content accordingly is imperative to any international marketing strategy – which brings us nicely to step four…
Step 4 – Invest in Content that Speaks to the Local Audience
Localization doesn’t just mean translation! Instead, it’s about creating content that’s relevant at a local level in their native language.
Translation is more than just text. Besides language, you should consider cultural values and aesthetics, political and cultural differences, local business practices, etc. Then, be sure to reflect that in your content.
Remember Weglot, we’ve already helped several global companies grow their brand beyond their national borders – Deliveroo, Microsoft, Bluetooth, just to name a few!
Weglot’s premium services are worth their gold weight when it comes to reaching new markets and connecting with local audiences. Namely, because you’ll enjoy:
- High-quality translations
- Inviting team members to collaborate with you inside your Weglot Dashboard
- The redirection feature that allows you to automatically display your pages in your audience’s language, based on their browser settings
…Just to name a few!
Step 5 – Review Your KPIs and Adjust Your International Marketing Strategy
Review your KPIs quarterly. This helps manage your expectations regarding how long it’ll take to reach your overarching business goals.
With these figures at the forefront of your mind, be proactive, and prepare a backup plan if things don’t go as planned. It’s not uncommon to hit a few hurdles when you first go international. You might struggle to brand yourself at the local level or communicate effectively with international customers – whatever your struggle is, don’t give up. Just look at the data, and allow that to fuel whatever steps you take next.
Are You Ready to Kickstart Your International Marketing Efforts?
In summary, your organization’s international marketing strategy needs synchronizing with your domestic marketing. Expanding internationally is a smart move for marketers and marketing managers looking to strengthen their business at its core.
Although developing an international marketing strategy may seem daunting, it’s easier than it appears with adequate preparation, a willingness to adapt, and the right tools.
If you want to establish yourself on the global market, take a leaf out of the like’s of Lego Ventures’ book, and give Weglot’s free trial a go.