The internet’s global reach has made it easier than ever for small businesses to promote their products and services to potential customers around the world. However, simply creating a website does not necessarily guarantee you success abroad. You’ll need to ramp up your online marketing efforts to target an international audience. Not only must this segment be able to find your website, but you need to be able to follow up with them and still provide a high level of customer service from the opposite side of the globe. The following are five ways to help cultivate an international client base for your online business.
1. Use Social Media to Expand Reach
One of the best ways to market your business around the world is to establish a solid social media presence. If you’re already seeing a high volume of international visitors, you’ll want to branch out on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. On Facebook you have the option of creating one brand page, or individual ones for each country. YouTube is another top option for reaching out to an international audience, allowing you to communicate through a visual medium. You can always add subtitles to your videos to reach an even wider audience.
2. Take Note of Cultural Differences
As you translate your site into other languages to reach a broader audience, you’ll also want to go a little bit deeper to think about how you can appeal to other cultures. Visit websites from your target countries and think about how your own country’s cultural preferences might differ among different regions and social groups. This can help you localise and provide a more user-friendly experience for your audience abroad.
3. Provide Customer Support
Although leaving blog comments and emailing with international contacts is a good way to show what your business is all about, sometimes you’ll also need to engage in a real-time, spoken conversation. However, making daily overseas phone calls can really add up. You’ll want to shop around to find the best rates, even if you only make a few phone calls a month. One option is to choose an option like these free SIM cards with Lebara, which offer low per-minute rates. You can top these up in advance to stay within your business’s budget. Another option aside from making low cost calls with providers like Lebara is to use Voice over Internet Protocol services like Skype. These allow you to teleconference with multiple contacts over the computer, and calls are free if your contact uses the same network.
4. Offer Currency Conversion
If you’re selling products abroad and offer international shipping, it’s helpful to allow your users to convert prices into their own currency. Providing these tools directly on your website will make it far easier for customers to feel secure about making a purchase. It’s also helpful to be up front about any customs charges that international shoppers might be on the hook for.
5. Research the Local Competition
Just as it’s helpful to try and learn a bit more about cultural norms and business practices in foreign countries, it’s also a good idea to look directly at your competition in foreign markets. This can help guide you towards choosing a more effective pricing structure and product line in the country of interest.
These five tips can help you grow your business exponentially. By optimising your website for a foreign audience, reaching out via multiple online channels and taking cultural differences into account, you can expand the reach of your business.