As we at Zoek continue to expand our reach across the continents, we thought it would be useful to offer a heartfelt welcome to our new international clients. We also figured it might be helpful to put together a “quick tips” article to help you get started on an international digital marketing strategy, whether you’re an American company looking across the oceans or a European company looking to South America (or any other combination of countries—you get the idea!).
1. Know Your Market
Before you jump in head first, it’s important to understand that people perceive things differently depending on where they’re from. For example, the way people are motivated to buy products varies across cultures—Americans are often directly told to buy things because it will make their lives easier or better, while the Japanese prefer more “soft sell” techniques and methods of communication that focus on the group—family, etc.
2. SEO Expertise
This being said, no matter where your market is, you still need to utilize your SEO expertise. SEO does not change across cultures—only very slightly across search engines, as the search engines use different algorithms. It is best to know which search engine is the most popular in your market and then tailor your SEO strategy accordingly. While Google is the top choice in many countries, it isn’t safe to assume that it’s #1 everywhere. For example, China uses Baidu and Shenma, and Yahoo! Is still popular in Japan.
3. Reach Out to Influencers
While American media and culture is found worldwide, there are obviously influencers native to their own countries. Find out who influencers are in your market and see how they present brands to their customers. Chances are, you’ll get a good idea of how their followers interact with and respond to their posts.
Additionally, hiring an influencer is an option for some people—it can be very costly, so it isn’t always feasible for smaller companies. However, it’s worth it to see who is who, and perhaps you’ll find someone willing to work with you. Some people will trade an honest product review for a free product, while others want hefty fees for their services.
These are just a few quick tips, so this list is by no means exhaustive. It should help you get an idea of some of the main concepts to focus on when breaking into an international market.
What do you think? Are there any other great tips you’d like to share?