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The onset of the digital age has allowed an unprecedented globalization of the marketplace—but how many online businesses are actually taking advantage of these new selling opportunities?
True, the United States is one of the world’s largest markets for retail e-commerce sales, but it’s hardly alone. According to a recent eMarketer report, China’s retail e-commerce sales will reach nearly $2 trillion in 2019. That’s more than three times the sales revenue forecasted for the United States. Rounding out the top five are the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea.
Whether you’re selling a B2B service or an e-commerce product, there’s no denying that finding ways to appeal to these overseas markets can open up lucrative new opportunities for your business to thrive like never before. Here’s how to position yourself for maximum success abroad.
1. Learn About Your New Target Market
Before you consider targeting prospects from another country, you must do extensive research to ensure that your product or service will actually find a place in that market.
Localization efforts can be time-consuming and costly. Without gaining an understanding of your new target market in advance, these efforts could easily be squandered.
However, learning more about a particular country’s culture, economy and other attributes will help you fine-tune your strategy. As an example, business journalist Matt Palmquist notes, “Consumers in countries that rank high on individualism—societies such as the U.S. and Australia—are generally more interested in chasing the latest trend, than staying true to a particular brand.”
In contrast to this, “In collectivist countries such as Portugal, Mexico and Turkey, people tend to follow the wisdom of crowds and value a product or brand’s long-term reputation, rather than its novelty,” Palmquist adds.
These societal trends will have a direct impact on factors like rewards programs and return policies, as well as whether you should use additional channels to drive revenue. The more you learn about your target nation, the easier it’ll be to successfully adapt your marketing strategy.
2. Speak The Language
If you don’t offer any content in a person’s native language, why should you expect them to stick around on your website?
A Common Sense Advisory report found that 72% of global customers are more likely to complete a purchase when information is presented in their own language.
The more pages you can localize for your new markets, the better. Make it easy for customers to find their language with an easily accessible menu that’ll allow viewers toggle the language of their choice. You should also consider starting social media accounts that deliver content in the languages featured on your site.
Localizing your website content should be a top priority when trying to reach global prospects, but if you really want to make an impression, you (and your team) should try and develop at least a fundamental understanding of language for yourselves.
This is especially valuable in a B2B selling context, when what starts as an online inquiry can quickly lead to emails, phone calls and in-person meetings. The ability to speak your prospect’s language will streamline communications and help your team make a much more positive impression.
One great tool for fostering a language learning environment, especially in the workplace is mondlyWORKS. With 33 languages available, this app is designed to help business professionals practice conversations with a gamified learning experience that you and employees can use.
These kinds of tools are a smart business investment that’ll ensure your team is ready to handle phone and email inquiries with foreign prospects—plus they’ll be able to learn a new language as part of their job.
Plus, learning a new language has been linked to improved memory and concentration, which can provide performance benefits across other business tasks as well.
3. Plan For New Payment Systems And Logistics
Getting global buyers to engage with your website content is the first hurdle.
After successfully communicating the benefits of your product with localized content (and your own language abilities), you don’t want something as simple as an unrelatable checkout process to lose you sales.
Preferred online payment systems can vary widely from country to country. While paying via credit or debit cards is one of the most popular online payment methods in many countries, different processing systems may be required to handle foreign credit cards.
Some countries also have payment options that are virtually unknown to consumers in the U.S. If you’re expanding your business to these new locations, you’ll want to at least consider giving shoppers the ability to use these payment methods that are more friendly to their lifestyles.
For example, the Chinese payment system Alipay is a popular eWallet with over one billion users. Its frequent usage by Chinese tourists has recently led many European vendors to start accepting Alipay payments.
In Japan, many online customers complete their transactions at konbinis—convenience stores—where they can pay in cash for something they already ordered online.
Accounting for new payment options, as well as the different logistical concerns of delivering your product or service to a global shopper in a familiar way, will give them much more confidence in completing their purchase. A more convenient, streamlined experience catered to the needs of each target audience will make it that much easier to close the sale.
Expanding your online marketing efforts to reach a global audience isn’t necessarily an easy task.
However, it could prove to be a crucial step in your efforts to scale your business and make a more significant impact on the marketplace.
As you give your global prospects the attention and personalized marketing efforts they expect, they’ll be more likely to choose your product or service.
July 3, 2019 at 06:26PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs