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Optimising your Marketing Strategy for a Foreign Audience

Sam Allen

The international market represents one of the most rewarding, but also challenging opportunities for business growth. The promise of international marketing is matched by the uncertainties and risks that come with it. Businesses with the right approach often succeed in seizing foreign markets, but success is not a given. How can you improve your chances of success? Here are some practices and strategies to consider.

Check for Cross-Cultural Compatibility

Your marketing presence is friendly to global audiences when you have international versions of content and promotional material. In one example, your website can have a plugin that allows it to be translated across several different languages. This presents you with a major advantage against competitors. The next step is making an effort to understand other cultures and norms abroad.

Before going into a particular region, look into articles, books, and guides about specific local customs and differences in social behavior. Doing more research can only help you better prepare yourself for conducting business in another country as well as running marketing campaigns targeting them. Of course, do not be too assumptive and make generalisations about a culture based on your readings. Think about the norms you grew up with and have become used to, and then create additional distinctions between different age groups, genders, and socioeconomic groups. By learning what to expect from other cultures, you can make better sense of the market you are dealing with.

Become Aware of Regional Laws

Marketing to an international audience means coming across laws that are different to what you are used to. This includes different advertising regulations. In some countries, advertising is subject to varying approval processes; this includes commercials for certain industries such as health, food, and legal services. The U.S. may have more relaxed laws regarding comparative advertising. Some countries, however, may treat advertising that contains the terms “best” or “better than” with greater strictness and regulations. In those countries, this type of advertising may be considered misleading or false, as advertising must represent some verified facts before being distributed.

In addition to differences in advertising regulations, selling products to international audiences may be subject to different product laws. This includes selling products containing certain chemicals, performance and safety features, packing designs, and sizes of materials. Be sure to take note of these laws, especially when your business involves selling products with potential chemicals or materials that may fall under regulation in other countries.

Modify Your Search Engine Marketing strategy

You may be used to optimising your products or services for Google users, but in other countries, other search engines may reign supreme. Non-English speaking countries especially have different search engines that command a larger market share than Google. By marketing to a local audience, it is a good idea to present your content in the local lingo. Simple translation is only half of the job; understanding the context that your words have in different cultures is essential. Be sure to localise your product and its message for every market you plan to tackle.

Global search engine marketing is also about working with local speakers to determine the most valuable keywords relevant to your business and offerings. When users search for terms online, they are not looking up simple words, but concepts or answers to the questions they are asking. This means every keyword has a cultural context. Make an effort to research these with the locals before rolling out your local SEM campaign.

Localise the Design of Your Website

One of the first instances where customers will come across your business is through your website. Having an optimised design for your website is going to be necessary if you want to sustain the attention of local customers. There are numerous factors at play, including colours, currency, text, and loading speed.

The meanings and perceptions of colours and other symbols are going to be significant in various countries. The colour white, for example, is associated with marriage in the Americas, but in China, it is a colour of mourning. In addition to colours, consider whether any logos or graphics being used have an acceptable, positive meaning in the region you are promoting your business in.

Understand Currency Conversion

If your business operates in the e-commerce realm and you offer international shipping, set up a system to allow users to convert the prices into their currency of choice. You can also set up the conversion process to be as simple as possible, avoiding any confusing steps. This can also help contribute to generating business, as you can reduce the chances of having customers cancel their orders over frustrations about the currency conversion process.

Mix Various Languages Into Your Social Media Strategy

By serving multiple markets, your online presence is going to be visible to various international visitors. Research some methods into adapting your social media presence to be as friendly to a global audience as possible. You can create brand pages on Facebook and have them optimised towards specific visitors and regions. In addition, having multiple pages makes it easier for you or your staff to localise each one. With this system, you can have multiple pages which are optimised for certain markets and regional audiences.

Marketing to an international audience offers numerous opportunities, but the rewards are best accessible when you understand the different norms and contexts prevalent in other cultures. By doing your research, following up on it, and making the appropriate adjustments to your marketing campaign, you can benefit from these opportunities. Attaining international success further helps elevate yourself from competitors in your industry.