Your business has done well in your native land. It is competitive, has a strong market base, and things are “cooking” along well. But you have reached a plateau and are ready to expand into new markets. That means moving into a global marketplace, and you are ready to do just that.
What You Can’t Do
Just jumping in with a translated website and some ads in the target language will mean utter failure, even if that target language group is within your own country. You have many more things to think about and do before you enter any foreign language market.
So, let’s take a look at what you must do if your expansion is to be successful.
While this is an exaggeration, a company that makes and sells women’s bikini bathing suits will have no market in Muslim countries. Cultural norms and principles will probably be the biggest factor in business success or failure in foreign expansion.
When you offered your product or service in your own country, you identified a need that your target customers had and demonstrated how you could meet that need. You presented what is known as a value proposition, and it worked.
And so it is with any foreign audience. Within their cultures and norms, they are still consumers and looking to have needs met. You must understand the cultures of the audiences you are considering and make certain that your product or service is a “fit” for that audience.
Regulations and Legalities
Any country into which a business expands, either online or on the ground, will be faced with local laws and regulations regarding doing business there. In China, for example, online e-commerce companies do face regulations, despite the greater flexibility that such businesses have.
It will be critical to explore all of the legal hurdles you may face. Perhaps the best way to do this is to consult with a business attorney in the target region/country, to ensure that you know what the rules are and that you will abide by them.
This is a key term that must be understood. Only about 25% of the world population speaks English fluently enough to do business in that language. It’s obvious, then, that all business content, documents, marketing materials, etc. must be translated into native languages.
But simply translating business content into a foreign language is risky business indeed. Many large corporations have discovered this over the years, as their marketing slogans, literally translated, mean something quite different in another language.
This is where localization comes in. Every word and sentence; every visual or piece of multimedia content must be appropriate for the language and culture for which it is intended. This is the job for professionals who are native to the language and the region/country. They know what a term or phrase means; they know what will be suitable for an audience to digest. It makes sense, then, to explore online translation services websites to ensure that they use native pros and human translation, not amateurs and machine translation technology.
Marketing to a Foreign Audience
Assuming that you have done the right market research and that you know you can be competitive with your product or service, how do you get the news out there to that audience?
There are a number of considerations. Here are just a few:
- What search engines are used by the local population, as they look for products or services?
- How do consumers in those regions or countries access the Internet? In most developing nations, infrastructure for PC use is simply not present. Consumers are on their mobile devices. All company content must be mobile-friendly in such environments.
- What are the keywords and keyword phrases that consumers in those locales use to search for the product or service you offer?
The Road to Success
Many companies have gone before you and have become highly successful with their moves into foreign markets. But they do so carefully, with research, use of local expertise, and with a detailed plan of action. If you do the same, you will achieve the same success.
Author Bio: Christian Duke is a researcher, writer, and consultant to businesses regarding their marketing efforts, at home and abroad. He is a frequent contributor to business blogs. In his spare time, Duke is an avid diver and ardent supporter of efforts to preserve ocean environments.