If you are a small business owner, then one of your main aims is likely to be growing your business. There are two strategies for growing your business: either expand your product range or expand your customer base. While expanding the range of products or services you offer might seem like a logical progression, it can be very difficult to manage. Not only is expanding your product range a demanding strain on time and resources if it is not managed extremely well, but it can also lead to negative consequences. For example, if you do not manage your product expansion superbly, you risk damaging relationships with existing customers and diluting your precious brand image. On the other hand, expanding your customer base does not hold quite the same level of risk.
In the digitally connected world in which we live today, it has never been easier for a business to expand its customer base internationally. However, to ensure that your expansion is completed effectively, you will need to understand a little more about the best ways to manage this process.
The first step to taking your business global is to complete thorough research. This step is imperative as if you do not take the time to research a new market thoroughly, and you risk running into potentially very costly problems later down the line.
You should take the time to research your market to discover where the demand might be. Narrowing down the locations with the highest demands for products or services like yours will help you to localize your future marketing campaigns more effectively. Your market research should also include research about your global competitors. Researching your competition in different locations will help you learn more about which techniques are successful and fall short. This again will help you further refine your marketing strategy based on the demands of the localised target audience demographic.
You must consider both the level of demand in the market and the level of competition. Of course, with high demand, you should expect to find some level of competition. However, you must avoid going into an overly saturated market. Expanding into highly competitive local markets, you should expect a low return for high marketing spends.
Get the Formalities in Place
Every country has a different set of rules and regulations when it comes to international business. You must be prepared to complete a lot of paperwork before you begin operating in a new market. Setting up a system will help you to manage this paperwork and the formalities that come with global expansion. You might want to consider hiring a lawyer to advise you on your expansion process.
Create a Marketing Campaign
Once you have the legal side all sorted out, it is time to begin your marketing campaign. Your marketing campaign is one of your most important tasks when expanding your business globally. This is because your marketing campaign will ultimately be responsible for acquiring that critical international customer base. Some important points of focus for your international marketing campaign include:
Translate Your Content
There is absolutely no point trying to market a foreign target audience if all of your content is written in a language this audience is not familiar with. You cannot rely on a basic translation service like Google translate to make marketing copy. These services are famously inaccurate, which will likely irritate your target audience as your copy will be incoherent, giving off an impression of unprofessionalism. You need to use marketing translation services to ensure that all your marketing copy is as effective as possible.
Focus on Your Target Audience Demographics
You mustn’t try to use the same framework as before; just because a campaign has been successful with your national target audience, it does not necessarily follow that the same will be true globally. Instead, you need to research the habits and preferences of your target audience in the chosen location. For example, you might find out that in another country, your target audience uses a different social media sites or has different sharing preferences. This information can prove invaluable as it will help you more effectively manage your campaign.
Taking your business global is a hugely promising opportunity, potentially helping you hugely expand your customer base and brand awareness. However, you mustn’t become so eager that it makes you impatient. Taking your business global takes time; you will need to complete thorough research and planning stages to ensure the most effective expansion possible. However, if you are thoughtful and fastidious in the early stages, you will likely experience higher returns long term.