Economic volatility over the past few years led companies to adopt risk-averse strategies as they looked to keep costs low and protect their assets.
Such reticence became the ‘new normal’ and growth and expansion plans were put on the back-burner (or shelved completely) as companies opted to keep new projects to a strict minimum.
But things are changing. Slowly, firms are switching from hibernation strategies to growth strategies, looking to tap into new markets, bring in new customers, develop new products and enjoy increased sales.
New research from Royal Mail, for example, shows that UK online retailers who export are planning to increase international sales in 2014.
Going global but thinking local is a well-worn phrase, but what does it really mean? How best to do it? The economy might be improving, but how can you make sure your international expansion plan is a success?
Here we detail the Royal Mail study and talk about some of the tactics you should think about to support plans for global growth plans.
- 59% of the online retailers polled by Royal Mail are targeting international sales growth this year and the same number believe sales will increase in 2014
- 68% will target new international markets
- While established English-speaking nations remain the strongest regions for potential growth, Russia, China (the second-most-popular target), Canada and European countries are in the mix too
Plans of action
- 32% will look to develop a website with the domain address of the country they are targeting
- Four in ten will target improved online search activities
- 21% are planning to roll-out targeted direct mail campaigns to win new business
Translated website content, social media and email marketing
Effective marketing campaigns are crucial to the success of any international expansion initiative. And your strategy must be multilingual. If you think English-only content will work, you’d be wrong. In order to communicate with people (and win them as customers), it’s vital you speak to them in their language.
Online retailers can make sure they reach the right customers by offering translated website content.
Translate your key landing pages into the different languages of your target countries
Introduce yourself and your brand to new customers via effective email marketing
Read up on social media trends around the world and tailor your social strategies for each country
International SEO is vital. Remember that 70% of search is not in English, so think about the best ways to optimise your content so it’ll perform well.
- Develop a formal SEO strategy – identify your target markets
- Offer localised webpages – Google doesn’t like duplication so don’t just translate content verbatim
- Work on generating more inbound links from target countries
Start to develop content campaigns
After your initial launch in a new country, start thinking about developing content campaigns to build your brand presence and consumer trust.
- Target Brazil by running a content project that involves the 2014 Football World Cup
- Run a blogging competition in one of your target countries – if you’re a fashion retailer why not give a prize for the best blog written by one of your Chinese customers?
- Offer sophisticated content to meet growth areas in your target regions – if cloud computing is the next big thing in Russia, how about a white paper pitched at IT heads?