By Alison Freeman
The internet has helped small to medium sized businesses compete on the global stage. Once you own a website, you can be found pretty much anywhere in the world. It doesn’t mean you have to ship your products overseas, but if you are considering its implications, here are our top ten tips on marketing your business internationally.
1. Do your background research. If you have a website, your products can be found by anyone searching in most countries, worldwide. If there is an initial interest in your brand through your website you have a nice early indicator that there could be a demand overseas. If you decide you would like to progress to shipping your products overseas, check in advance to see that it meets all criteria of that country ie legal requirements, health and safety requirements etc and whether your brand name is suitable. The car maker Vauxhall, for example, had to rebrand the Vauxhall Nova when expanding into Spain, as ‘no va’ in Spanish, when translated, quite literally means ‘It doesn’t move’.
2. Treat each territory differently. If you have saturated the UK market or you believe there is a demand for your product in new territories, consider factors such as logistics, order fulfilment and customer service by territory. Search by individual country for any unique restrictions, licensing, or special provisions on the import of your goods.
3. Book a stand at an overseas exhibition. Get an authentic feel for the marketplace, by taking a stand at a trade show in your country of interest. Talk to other exhibitors, make new contacts and get your brand out there. It’s also a good opportunity to do some competitor research and analysis.
4. Adapt your SEO strategy. Speak to an experienced SEO marketing agency which has a previous track record in international SEO. There are specific technical processes that need to be completed in order for Google to show your website(s) to the correct geographical audience. Always use a specialist.
5. Collaborate with local partners. Collaborating with local distributors, licensees or agents can help you to get established in an overseas market, faster.
6. Check your prices. Pricing is more than just appreciating currency differences - you must research price levels in each new territory. Be aware that your overheads could be higher when you take into account the cost of freight, transport, packaging or an agent's commission and price up accordingly. After you've completed this process you should be able to see if you are competitive in that country.
7. Tailor your marketing media mix. The marketing channels you use will vary in each territory. In some cases, social media will be your strongest ally. In other locations, it could be national newspapers, magazines, TV or radio.
8. Familiarisation with the local culture. Review your tone of voice and communications to ensure that it is the best fit with the country you are exporting to.
9. Get sound advice. The Department for International Trade produces guides by industry sector on the key regulations which you will need to comply with as an exporter or importer and provides specially selected sources of further help and support.
10. Get the timing right. Think about seasonality. If you are in the clothing, footwear and fashion sector, look at which seasons fall when and which products might specifically flourish around summer holiday season, or Christmas etc. Consider holding on, if you have missed the moment, or speeding up to hit the mark.
SCS Marketing and PR, is an established digital marketing and PR agency, with expertise in building and marketing brands overseas. If you are considering your next step into the international business market, we would love to hear from you on tel.+44 (0) 1252 621293