Before coming to WebiMax, I gained insight into international business by working professionally in both Japan and Taiwan. I have since found those experiences to be extremely useful in working with people in a number of other countries in Asia and Europe.
Many companies that have enjoyed success domestically eventually make the decision to expand their market overseas. While becoming an international brand presents many lucrative opportunities, it also presents a number of new challenges, including developing an effective digital marketing strategy.
Successful digital marketing on the international stage requires familiarity of the culture, language, laws and demographics of the foreign country you intend to do business in.
Cultural Competency - (Language & Style)
Creating a new version of your website that caters to the cultural market you are attempting to enter is a great place to begin your international digital marketing strategy. This will require more than just a basic language translation, as there are many English words which do not have perfect translations into all foreign languages. Furthermore, some countries may have multiple ways of referring to the same item, so it is important to find the most commonly accepted terms or phrases when translating.
An extremely important aspect of converting your website for a foreign market is the style in which you design it. We take a number of cultural matters for granted when designing websites and developing marketing strategies for our own culture, and this can present a challenge. For example, what's popular among young men and women in America is not guaranteed to be popular among the same demographic in China or Italy. When first entering into a new culture, it is vital to develop a cross-cultural competency in order to grasp the barriers awaiting you and your business.
It is recommended that you hire a company that is experienced in marketing overseas, or someone with ties to the local area to proof and examine both the language and the style of your website before publishing it.
In America we enjoy a great deal of freedom regarding laws and regulations for products and advertising. In many other countries you will need to submit your product for approval by local authorities in order to begin selling there. Many foreign countries have strict regulations on social media tactics that would be considered common in America. For example, if you host a contest in Taiwan your grand prize cannot be greater than 120 times the basic monthly wages set by the Council of Labor Affairs.
Foreign law as it pertains to the business of selling & marketing, as well as how the money is handled afterward are two points of mandatory learning for businesses looking to avoid what could be costly legal mistakes later on.
Localization in Search and Social
In America, popular search engines like Google have highlighted the growing demand for localization in marketing. This phenomenon is just as strong in overseas markets. Social media platforms have a strong local influence on search engines.
Many of your social media profiles and posts will show up in search results, as such, it is essential that you create new social media profiles using the language of the locations you are expanding to. You don't want your Japanese or Russian customers coming to an English Facebook page. Businesses should utilize Facebook’s multi-page feature to avoid confusing or annoying potential customers.
Don’t accept sweeping generalizations about any foreign culture and the demographic you are targeting. There are a lot of cultural nuances that can only be gained from spending time in that culture, which is why I am once again heading to China tomorrow.