International Marketing: How to Increase Visibility in Other Markets
Deploying your company to new global markets requires a lot of adaptations for a small company, both from an organisational and a logistical point of view. But the question of marketing is just as crucial in this reflection because a coherent strategy will undoubtedly guarantee the success of the company in these new markets. Which digital strategies should be favoured for international marketing? Are there topics to focus on to ensure visibility? We bring you some elements of the answer in this article.
When we talk about web marketing, we immediately feel that we can reach many markets and any target in the world. And this statement is right: the web offers tremendous opportunities for your business anywhere in the world. It is still necessary to adapt its existing strategy to be able to reach these users in different markets.
Start with the URL
Generally, the first thought that one has when deciding to embark on an international marketing strategy is that of dedicated content and especially the provision of its texts in a new language or even several. But there is also the question of the URL: this is the first step to consider for genuinely international SEO. The URL has a significant impact indeed in the way the search engine robots will identify you, and they can thus be determined your visibility on the Internet. And to adapt its URL to broader markets, there are several possibilities:
– Use a ccTLD
A ccTLD is defined as a Country Code Top-Level Domain and is the appropriate suffix that is appended to the end of a URL such as ‘.ca’ or ‘.org’, for example
– Use a subdomain
The subdomain is placed before the URL. For example, in the case of a site dedicated to the United States: us.exemple.com. However, using a subdomain does not guarantee that it will have the same authority on search engines as the base URL.
– Use a subdirectory
Another possibility is to use a subdirectory, in this case, separated from a bar in the URL like all other directories: example.com/us, in which case the content will remain on the parent site. However, this can be a hindrance to navigation in the case where the users favour purely local companies
– Use a general domain with language settings
In this case, we will insert parameters to its URL in order to adapt the content automatically to the detection of the visitor’s location. The domain does not change, but the language information is added later. This option is very relevant for using dynamic content on its pages
– Use a different domain
You can also use a completely different domain for its international version. This will, of course, require buying a new upstream domain, but it is a strategy that can be interesting to adapt to the closest to international users.
There is not necessarily an ideal solution in the choice of a URL strategy, each possibility having advantages and disadvantages and the answer will depend mainly on your objectives, your sector of activity and your final users. The infographic below, provided by Moz schematises the main differences between these solutions:
Establish an international content strategy
Once you have decided on your URL strategy, it will obviously be necessary to propose adapted content, and there are some questions: what languages for my content? What topics to discuss? What are the differences with my current content? Etc. But to answer these questions objectively, there is only one real solution: to conduct an international market study to understand its users better. Like any marketing strategy, a global marketing strategy starts irremediably through upstream research on the needs and problems of its potential customers and especially in the countries concerned by the new ambitions of the company.
This market research will obviously have to take into account your objectives and the stakes of your company in order not to lose you unnecessarily in inefficient documentary research. It is essential at this stage to analyse the sound characteristics of each targeted country by possibly creating new personas in order to adapt its strategy to the needs of its international clients.
In addition, this study will lay the foundations for your internationally dedicated content: your sales pitches, your blog articles and even your publications on social networks must also be adapted to your new markets. The best practice here is, if possible, to create a team dedicated to the implementation of this specific content, with collaborators who will become real experts in the country in question. Note that it will be better, particularly for the smooth running of this study, to adapt not only the chosen methodology but also the language used for the questionnaires according to the country of destination, in order to have the least biased results possible.
Finally, and for your content, remember that translation is a painstaking and sometimes complicated job, and unfortunately too many companies tend to rush this crucial part. Indeed, if your content is difficult to understand for your international users, it will ultimately not really be useful. Not to mention that it could have a more significant influence on the engagement of your visitors if it resonated as a natural content in its language of destination. It is, therefore, better to plan several re-readings and verifications before publication, if possible by people whose mother tongue is used.
Be present on the appropriate search engine
But being visible on the international web also requires being visible on the right search engines. Indeed, if Google is the first global search engine, it is not necessarily present in an equivalent way depending on the countries on which we want to position. In China, for example, Google is entirely absent of the digital scene, giving way to local players, especially Baidu, the first Chinese engine and the third most popular engine on a global scale.
It is therefore essential for a company wishing to position itself in international markets to know the most influential search engines in the countries concerned. The map below shows some examples to show you the diversity of the leading players in some parts of the world.
Be careful, the procedures for submitting websites to these search engines can be very different from those you know with Google for example. Do not hesitate to get help from professionals in these areas, because these subtleties can quickly become particularly technical; it is better to put all the chances on your side from the start.
International SEO tips
International SEO comes very close to what is usually called local SEO because ultimately the same rules and principles apply here. Among other things, offer Internet users a digital presence in their country through some SEO tips to know.
For example, if you have a business in Melbourne, Australia you will undoubtedly want SEO specialists or an SEO company based in Melbourne to define a new SEO strategy with the right keywords that you will have drawn from your preliminary market research. Of course, it will be necessary to identify the most valuable words and expressions but also those who represent the most natural way of expressing themselves in the chosen language. It can also be to boost its local presence through visibility on search engines made possible by a physical address in the destination country.
In addition, an external link strategy will also be advantageous, especially if you succeed in establishing partnerships with authority sites in the countries you target or with popular blogs, for example.
Leverage international sales platforms
But your site is not the only lever you can leverage to increase your global presence. Another good tip for positioning yourself quickly in new markets is to offer your products on local or international online sales platforms. Of course, the example of Amazon is the first that comes first, but many platforms can be a considerable asset for a small business to establish a new reputation and break into a new market. Here again, do not hesitate to do your research in order to detect the best platforms on which to develop your presence and those which will offer you the maximum of opportunities.
What about my app?
The mobile web market is always expanding, and you can adapt your media, even internationally. Indeed, beyond your website, you can also opt for a reflection on the adaptation of your mobile application, if you already have one or even if you plan the development in the near future.
Of course, mobile applications evolve in a context entirely different from that of websites, whether technically of course, but also from a marketing point of view. It is a separate market with its own constraints and opportunities. The infographic below accompanies you in this process to give your international application visibility quickly.
International social networks
Social networks are an essential part of a coherent web marketing strategy: they allow to be closer to the Internet while enjoying considerable visibility. As with search engine efforts, you will need to find the right social networks to establish an active international presence as part of your international marketing. Indeed, even if Facebook and Twitter have global visibility, some countries may have specific social networks with more significant influence. This is the case for example of Mixi in Japan or WeChat or QZone in China.
Note that for your social content strategy to be effective, it will not be enough to find the right platform to translate your regular publications and publish them together simply. Social networks are great tools for connecting with your users, interacting with them, and finding compelling and engaging messages. This will, therefore, require specific efforts to adapt to these particular users, at least if you want to get a real ROI in terms of recognition and brand awareness.
Attention to the specific rules and regulations in force
Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the complexity that may surround some international regulations related to the publication of content on the web. It is essential to check that you meet these requirements and regulations, the rules in force and even the moral criteria specific to each country and culture you want to touch. This is, of course, true for the content that you publish on your site or on other platforms, but also for the content that you send by e-mail in the context of e-mailing campaigns for example.
International marketing will, therefore, require a significant effort in terms of research and adaptation, including your content, and this is the most relevant and consistent way possible for your destination countries. Nevertheless, these efforts will be far from futile as commercial opportunities can be substantial globally for a small business.