How to Start Your International Journey - Part 2/2: Developing Your International Marketing Strategy
To unlock your full potential and drive successful internationalization of your business, learn the 6 steps that will help you spot the right opportunities and define a scalable global strategy that can be localized for each market.
In today’s post, let’s discuss the remaining 3 steps, focusing on developing and implementing your international marketing plan. If you missed the first steps, check out this post!
#4. Position Yourself
Investigate your competitors - look at both local and international players who are dominating the market. Can you see a gap for your business?
- Price competitiveness – review their pricing and whether you will need to adjust your price points to enter the market and offer a competitive proposition for your customers.
- Value proposition – identify their unique selling propositions, what they do well, what you can do better, and establish how you should position yourself as a result. In order to address a specific gap in the market, be prepared to make some slight adjustments to your service or product.
#5. Define Your Marketing Strategy
Just like in your current market(s), you will need to develop a full marketing strategy in the new market(s) in order to be successful. What is particularly important when going international? Here are a few tips to think about:
- Be patient, this is a long term game – no matter their size in their domestic market, newcomers generally do not see performance up to benchmark within the first year of entering a market. Performance improves and CPC drops as newcomers become established.
- Building your brand awareness in each new market is essential– ensuring your new audience knows your brand is a prerequisite for competitive performance, therefore make sure your marketing plan includes brand building activity, and adjust your KPI’s accordingly.
- Determine clear goals and KPI’s per market for the business and the teams involved – do not expect the same results as your existing market(s).
- Define and keep an eye on your purchasing funnel – especially if your international customers have different habits and expectations from your domestic customers. Post-launch, consider using web analytics solutions, such as Google Analytics, to analyze the data and conduct A/B testing.
- Consider the local digital ecosystem and how it may affect your strategy and marketing plan.
- Develop a clear mobile strategy, from marketing to user experience – mobile truly is the gateway to the internet for billions of citizens around the globe, even more so in developing countries. In fact, in some regions, mobile may be the only device your target customers will be using to find you, so it is important to get it right. Whether mobile is currently at the top of your business priorities in your domestic market or not, it is likely to be one of the major drivers of your international success. Watch this video to get some tips on how to expand globally via mobile.
#6. Think Global, Act Local
Localization is critical when going international. To be truly successful, a global strategy should always follow a scalable yet customizable approach.
Localizing your business and your strategy means much more than translating your website into another language. Localization is about making your entire business more relevant to the local audience, across all touchpoints:
- Brand – brand name, logo, tagline, brand messaging and brand equity, etc.
- Communication on website and in marketing materials – language forms and dialects (eg. British English vs American English), grammar and spelling, tone of voice, use of puns, phrases and colloquialisms, local references, etc.
- Customer service – local phone number, local opening hours, local staff, etc.
- Marketing material – marketing assets, messaging, use of colors and numbers,
- Payment – prices in local currency clearly displayed, payment types supported, etc.
- Pre and post-sale content – product information and support documentation (eg. user instructions), shipping information, FAQ’s, terms and conditions, return policy, testimonials and reviews, etc.
- Products/services – type of product/service, local warehouse location for product returns, accessories (eg. different plugs), etc.
- Purchasing funnel – content management system, information fields, type of information requested, etc.
- User experience – website look and feel including colors, design density, imagery and videos, etc.
- Website domain – domain name, domain extension, etc.
However daunting it may seem, growing your business internationally is a very exciting journey. No matter the size of your business or industry, it is crucial that you begin by understanding the opportunity you are pursuing, and develop a full, scalable strategy accordingly. Watch this video if you would like to find out more best practices for expanding your business internationally!