by Christina Comben
If your business competes in a global market, with physical or online presence, then you should be thinking about localizing your marketing message. With so many industries hit by the global economic downturn, you’re operating in increasingly challenging and competitive times. The economy is leaving potential clients out of pocket and the emergence of more and more online competitors in your industry makes consumers harder to please, and the prospect of brand loyalty seem like the Holy Grail.
If you’re focusing on sustainable growth for your company and plan to be in it for the long haul, whether you sell software or FMCGs, you’ll need to step out of your comfort zone and learn to depend less on your traditional local customer base. Explore the possibility of expanding into new markets and widening your business’s allure to clients worldwide. Here are some ways that you can appeal to an international clientele:
Harness technology – The rise in online sites may bring competition, but it also provides you with the perfect platform to reach out to consumers in new markets, and there are plenty of ways to increase visibility for your company inexpensively online. While it can seem like a daunting task, there are several online tools to help your business reach and tailor your marketing message to appeal to an international clientele. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter let you to create several brand pages too, allowing for endless targeting possibilities. Your website is the first port of call between your customer and your company in most cases, so make sure that you make the right impression.
Make friends with Google – while this goes hand in hand with harnessing technology, search engine optimization (SEO) is a relatively easy way to get more visibility for your business online. Learn the right key words used by your customers so that your online marketing budget is spent wisely. If you’re a small hotel in Vermont appealing to visitors from the UK or Australia, know the local search terms used by those potential customers. For example, instead of “vacation”, in these countries, the word “holiday” is used, so trade in the phrase “vacations in Vermont” for “holidays in Vermont” for these markets. Also, while Google is considered universal, some local markets prefer local search engines and you need to find out what they are and use them to your advantage to attract a wider international customer base.
Get your site properly translated
A lazily translated version of your website will only serve to make your customers feel like second class citizens. If your site is full of errors, or only partially translated, you could end up using terms that are unappealing or offensive to foreign customers. If you don’t have the budget to translate and localize your website, then try embracing the benefits of online industry sites and listings that have prices displayed in local currencies and signs and colors modified for a local target market.
Universal pricing policy
We live in a transparent world, so rate parity is essential across all sites and countries. So if you offer your products and services through any third party distribution channels, be sure to make sure their prices are on the same page. There’s no better way to lose a customer than by making him feel he’s been cheated into paying a premium price.
Be as accessible as possible
Offer your customers as many ways as possible to pay for your services as possible. If you don’t currently accept certain credit or debit cards, then make sure you do. If you only work in American dollars, think about accepting foreign currency as well; at least the major currencies, such as the Euro, Yen and British pounds. Remember that there’s no more “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to international customers, so making them feel like you’re adjusting to their needs will give you a definite edge.
Christina Comben is an MBA qualified full time Copywriter and specialist in communications and marketing. She writes thoroughly researched, convincing content that increases conversion rates and enhances credibility, as well as advising clients on their marketing strategies.