This is an article ‘How startups can launch with an international state of mind’ by Marc Primo
For startups, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), looking to expand businesses across borders becomes the next logical next step once profits pour in. However, growing your business on a global scale is not as simple on paper. You'll need to consider and overcome a unique set of challenges while anticipating those ever-present loopholes, especially when navigating cultural nuances and dealing with international regulations and communication patterns. It would help if you always dealt with everything promptly and cost-effectively.
One word will always sprout when you plan to expand your business to other countries, and that is 'localization.' Your startup's entry into the global market depends on how efficiently you launch campaigns that localize your brand in various markets. And this goes beyond just translating your marketing materials for the local audiences. An effective localization plan depends on how it impacts the local market while you conserve your marketing resources in various strategies.
Here are three basic steps you can take before you draw up a global plan that yields fast results:
Know the local market
It's possible that not every market is a good fit for your item or brand, and locals might not find it appealing, or perhaps a rival has already been the top-of-mind choice for many over the years. You'll need to conduct thorough market research to ensure a good return on investment (ROI) when expanding across borders.
The way to do it is to go from broad strokes to a more detailed step-by-step on how you can penetrate the local marketing funnel based on the insights you have gathered. Ask critical questions such as how many of the current population will have a good use for your product or service or which federal guidelines you should know when selling such products or services. As you answer these questions, narrow your target market and address more precise market pain points and analytics.
Build a localized website for any region where most of your foreign website visitors come from and review their spend time on your website and purchasing behaviors. You can quickly pinpoint which countries have higher traffic on your website via tools like Google Analytics.
Other important questions you should ask about your local market are your buyer personas' purchasing power, demographics, location, and lifetime value. Once you identify these market factors, you are ready to plan your counter strategies against the competition.
Perform local market research
It's never wrong to peek at your competitors' websites and study how they reach the local markets. Are they translating content on their main website to local audiences or directing them to a separate landing page?
You can often find out what gaps you can fill or which untapped markets your competition is failing to reach and focus your sights on those. Of course, you should still try to get a slice of the tapped markets they can reach effectively via their digital and physical store channels. Try identifying which resources you can invest in to give you more leverage in customer satisfaction and reach, such as delivery or courier services, customer support, or brick-and-mortar stores location.
In conclusion, take into account the market's size, significant players, and any applicable laws and requirements while choosing the appropriate market – all while keeping a focused eye on your competition.
Localize your marketing strategies
After choosing your target markets and buyer personas, thanks to an extensive and thoughtful market review, the next step is to create a localization plan that prioritizes your communication strategies. As most know, startups usually struggle with limited funding, so language selection processes for marketing initiatives must be precise and backed by studies.
Naturally, the procedure will be more uncomplicated and straightforward if your target region speaks a common native language. But suppose the region has multiple dialects across the country. In that case, you should consider the essential factors before producing your marketing materials, including the amount of content for translation, hiring a local communication or content manager, and which formats can be the most effective in reaching and connecting to the target audiences.
Should budget constraints for your communication strategies become a hurdle, always go for English as your primary brand language. Even in nations that do not have it as their first language, English still has a high literacy level at 20.77% anywhere you want to perform marketing.
Still, localizing every customer touchpoint is a good idea if you have the time and budget since this end-to-end strategy reduces the possibility of a bad customer experience. Additionally, remember that you may have to translate some content into the local vernacular before going to market since some laws require it.
The trick is to be clear with the marketing materials you produce about your products and services, no matter which language you use. However, aside from using letters, numbers in the form of statistics also help confirm your claims and appeal to general audiences who are not yet familiar with your brand.
Evaluate your performance
Once you have launched your marketing and product campaigns, compute your ROI after evaluating your key performance indicators (KPIs). Consider your approach after gaining insights on essential adjustments, what tactics and strategies worked, or how you can improve your localization efforts.
A deeper dive into which marketing formats performed best allows you to adjust budgets for your subsequent campaigns or if there is a need to push more leads online through various other channels such as email marketing or eCommerce platforms.
If adjustments are too many to handle on your own, it might be best to hire a local marketing specialist to help you better understand your audience's behaviors and preferences. A global business expansion may appear too much to handle at first. Still, the process becomes easier once you collaborate with local individuals and groups for better localization. Local specialists can also help you monitor local political, economic, and cultural trends that can push your moment marketing initiatives to the forefront.
Knowing how to enrich your knowledge of the peculiarities of your local audiences, culture, and economy will help you sell and convert more for better business results.