Sometimes businesses hold back their own expansion. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as complacency, fear, and lack of understanding of the possibilities.
If you’re trying to build a business case for going global, there are a number of tools that can help you construct a watertight case explaining why your business should expand overseas.
The most important thing to do first is to identify whether there is a market for your product or services overseas.
This helps identify the size of the opportunity your business is missing out on by not expanding abroad. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available – some of them free or low cost – to help you develop an understanding of your opportunities overseas.
One of the best free tools for exploring international possibilities is developed by Google.
This is Google’s Global Market Finder, an AdWords tool that helps you understand keyword performance around the world and understand audience search intent. The Global Market Finder helps you by translating your keywords into 56 languages, and lets you see the monthly search volumes for those keywords in particular locations.
It’s a tool that essentially uncovers what world market audiences are looking for at any particular time. If you’re already operating in certain world markets, it’s also a helpful tool for improving your search marketing strategy as it may help identify stronger keywords for your brand.
Global Web Index is a useful resource offering consumer insights presented in an actionable way.
You can access a brief free trial that lets you get to grips with the possibilities on offer. Start by identifying your audience based on several thousand data points about digital users worldwide. You can then understand their online behaviour and lifestyle, and see how this group compares to their peers. It will help you uncover elements such as their media consumption habits, wealth profile, what devices they own and their social media habits.
Global Web Index can help you segment your audience, allocate your marketing spend to reach them effectively, and find ways to engage with them based on their preferences and behaviour. Because the tool is available in 34 countries, broken down into several hundred regions, it’s a useful tool for global marketers trying to zone in on particular audiences and locations. It’s essentially a tool for making better marketing decisions based on firm data insights.
Digital marketing insights are also available from SEM Rush, which lets you understand the SEO and paid search advertising landscape for your industry. You can use this tool to compare domains and estimate keyword difficulty and get keyword rankings. It’s also helpful for scoping out the competition in a particular market, for example you can see what they are doing in terms of paid search or digital advertising.
Mapping the opportunities
A number of interactive map tools are also available to help you understand the international landscape of opportunity. One of these is Investment Map, a digest of foreign direct investment figures worldwide. It’s a good tool to help you identify where opportunities arise for investment overseas, identifying where significant investment flows occur between partner countries. There’s a certain time lag to data availability, but it’s still a useful guide to investment trends worldwide.
You can identify the ebb and flow of exports worldwide and get a picture of international demand using Trade Map, which is based on UN trade data. This tool also helps you uncover alternative and competitive markets for products. It also offers a directory of importing and exporting companies. There are some quirks to the data – for instance, China appears to export and import a lot of goods to itself, mainly because a lot of business flows through Hong Kong.
The Market Access Map is another tool offering insights into international trade by increasing the transparency of market access conditions worldwide. Use this tool to understand customs tariffs for your products in various locations worldwide.
It acts as a tool for importers (particularly SME’s) by providing information on trade remedies, rules and certificates of origin, and non-tariff measures, letting your business prioritise and understand export markets and help you prepare for market access negotiations. It also offers a feature that lets you simulate tariff reduction scenarios, and the site also provides various tools such as a trade competitiveness map. It’s based on data put together by the European Commission, DFID, ITC, and World Bank
Santander bank’s Trade Hub aims to help businesses identify where to trade, who with, how to connect with partners and how to establish themselves overseas. It does this by identifying the top international markets for your product, indicating where the demand is. It shows which markets are growing quickest, and shows how other British companies are performing in those markets.
Santander’s Portal offers a useful repository of contact details for importers and suppliers, helping you identify potential customers or suppliers. You can also find data about things such as regional trade shows and where to find tenders. Other features include an export calculator to help you understand export costs for particular markets taking into account tariffs and tax charges. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Santander’s Trade Hub is only made completely available to the bank’s customers but some aspects of it are available to those who don’t hold accounts with the bank.
There are other tools available for your specific industry, some at government level and others through the private sector providers such as lending banks or search engines. Although these tools may not be flawless, they help give an indication of your opportunities for expansion overseas. It’s well worth getting to grips with what’s available to help inform your overseas strategy.
International Business Case Builder
One of the many things to consider when expanding abroad is the language spoken in your target territory. You may also need to know about population, GDP, internet and smartphone penetration as well as information on popular search engines and social media channels in order to devise your go-to-market strategy.
We’ve built a tool, which we’ve called the International Business Case Builder, to help you with this. Feel free to give it a try and let us know what you think about it.