Irrespective of your size or your particular offering, any business with aspirations of trading overseas must effectively increase awareness of their brand, products and services in this new market. In many cases, the success of such a venture is often reliant on the company’s ability to market their website effectively in multiple locations. However, this is often overlooked, resulting in underwhelming search engine visibility in each location.
Before making the decision to expand overseas, it is essential you have a good grasp of international online marketing best practice to give your business a firm footing in foreign search. So, without further ado, here are our three top online marketing tips for businesses expanding abroad.
Structuring your website
One of the quickest and most common methods of targeting a website at an international audience is to add country or language specific pages to your existing website. This, of course, is dependent on both the size and the primary purpose of your website. The most cost effective strategy is to produce a small number of localised pages and add them to your existing website. Alternatively, you could create an entire website for each market that features only localised content.
There are problems associated with localised content on a predominantly English website. You might create a great French landing page that initially attracts plenty of French visitors, but if the rest of the site is in English, this targeted offering will struggle to convert.
On the other hand, transcreating your entire website with localised content will be expensive and time consuming. However, when those leads do come, they’re much more likely to convert.
Improve your cross-cultural competency
With the overseas expansion opportunities provided by the web, the need for strong cross-cultural competency in today’s businesses is more important than ever before. Having a keen grasp of the cultural assumptions and biases you operate within and how they change as you expand overseas can help you identify differences that may jeopardise your success overseas.
To create a brand localised customers can relate to and do business with, consider the cultural norms in that country and how they might differ between different age groups, genders and geographical areas. The more you understand and respect a country’s culture, the easier it is to localise your business’ message.
Customise your search engine marketing tactics
Search engine visibility is reliant on the right mixture of keywords, localised content and targeting the most appropriate search engine for that particular market.
Targeting the right search engine – While Google rules the roost for the majority of English speaking customers, international use of search engines can vary considerably. Local markets are often best served by more niche search engines which do not serve up English-language content, so do your research and adhere to the best practice as prescribed by your target search engine.
Localising content – Don’t serve up second-rate content to your international customers and expect to be successful in your online marketing efforts overseas. A simple translation of English content is never enough. Whenever possible, you should localise your content, services and products to meet the needs of each market you serve. However, this approach can be costly, so weigh-up all your options before you commit.
Choosing your native keywords – The keywords that identify your products and services in English might not translate when operating abroad. Use the skill of a native search engine marketer to research the most commonly used keywords in your target language. Keywords are often influenced by culture and the idiosyncrasies of language, so a little research now can save you time and money further down the line.
What are your tips for marketing your online business internationally? Have you enjoyed success overseas? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.