Five tips for expanding your business globally

Going global might seem like a daunting task for many retailers. Having a great product or service is a good start, but is not enough to compete on today’s international stage. What retailers often struggle with during their global efforts is turning their website visitors into regular customers. And what is to blame? Poor content and language skills, according to recent research we did at SDL.

Strong digital experiences can make all the difference in a consumer’s decision to buy; and these are fundamentally dependent on two factors: one, the content being relevant and two, it being in a language the consumer can understand. So, if you’re looking to take your business global, here are five steps you should consider taking:

1. Understand the market you want to enter

Have you done your research and explored the potential opportunities available? To ensure that your marketing efforts are successful, it’s crucial to understand the market you are entering. The opportunity for your products and services may be different overseas, requiring an entirely different go-to-market strategy, delivery method and aftercare support. Always talk to people in the market first to validate your assumptions about the nature of the market and its state of development.

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2. Ensure you’re talking the same language

Offering your website and social media content in various languages is a huge asset, as it enables you to reach a far greater audience. Our recent YouGov research revealed that poor use of language is proven to discourage people from buying online. A third of the respondents admitted they would be discouraged to make an online purchase if the retailer had poor language skills. While one in 10 consumers surveyed would abandon the purchase altogether due to poor language.

3. Localise your translated content

Though sharing many similarities, translation and localisation have a different output. International marketing requires an understanding of cultural dos and don’ts to get the desired impact in the different regions you are targeting. An ad campaign that is well received in Europe may not be successful or appropriate in Asia. The key word is ‘localisation’, not translation, which means making your product speak in an appropriate and culturally relevant way. Thorough research around culture, local features, similarities and differences will be crucial to your marketing success, keeping in mind that the aim is to be understood.

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4. Re-assess and tailor your marketing mix

Marketing is ever-changing and ever-adapting. With new channels entering the mix, it is essential that you identify those that are most appropriate to your audience. Some markets may prefer offline channels such as events or print material and others might be more exposed to mobile channels. For example, most countries in Africa skipped desktop computers altogether and went straight to mobile, so making sure your content is responsive and optimised for mobile when targeting an audience in Africa is crucial. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that what has been used in the past will work in new markets.

5. Build relationships before embarking on a marketing campaign

Entering foreign markets should be done step by step as it can be a daunting task. Try to build trusted relationships with potential clients and customers before fully launching in their market. In most cases, visits are essential to start building a trusted relationship and to completely understand what you are letting yourself into.

Ultimately, if you want to take your business global you need to influence consumer’s decision to buy. Doing so will require research into what opportunities are available and where, tailoring your content and channels to ensure different cultural expectations are met, and building relationships in target regions so you always launch in front of a receptive audience. 

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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