Are you interested in going international with your business? Perhaps you have already seen a fantastic level of success on a local or regional level and you are now ready to move further forward. It’s also possible that your company isn’t as successful as you’d hoped and you believe that you can elevate your brand by seeking out new target markets. Regardless of your reason, it’s important that you know how to break the international market. You need to avoid common mistakes and ensure that you take the right action.
So, let’s look at some of the factors and variables here as well as a few of the issues that you can run into if you’re not careful.
If you are going to expand on an international level, then you may need to think about logistics. This is going to be relevant if you are selling products rather than simply your services. You need to consider how you are going to get your products to consumers across the world. This will be most relevant for
The first is cost. It doesn’t matter what approach you take to handle deliveries to customers. You can choose first class post, you can hire a professional solution and outsource the issue or you can think about running the whole thing yourself. The only thing that matters is that it does fit into your costs.
You need to make sure that you’re not going to be making a loss due to the cost of delivering your products to an overseas consumer base. You might start at a loss to lower your price and build interest. But this is never going to be a sustainable model. At some point, you will have to increase your price. To do this, explore your budget carefully and make sure that the cost of deliveries does fit into your business model.
The other issue to consider is turn around. You need to think about how fast you’re going to bring products to your consumer base. The factor to be aware of here is that customers don’t want to be waiting around for a product to arrive. If you leave them waiting weeks or even months for a product, your business will die fast. You don’t have to do that if you choose the right delivery service and turnaround should be a top priority. It could even be a USP but again, it has to make sense with your business budget.
Quality of service is crucial to and you can’t risk being seen as delivering an inferior service compared to other options on the market. This is simply going to infuriate your consumer base and ensure that they avoid buying from you a second time. This is the absolute last issue you want because bad reviews spread like wildfire and will burn your brand to the ground.
Before you even thinking about selling to an international market, whether you’re offering a product or service, you do need to think about conducting some research. Again, you can run this discovery mission yourself. Or, alternatively, you can hire a marketing team to complete the work for you. There are quite a few marketing teams who will be able to fulfil this role and get the information you need to decide whether or not you want to move forward.
There are a few key questions to ask with discovery:
- Is there an audience for your product in the region?
- Does your product have to change?
- How do you market to them?
Assessing whether there is an audience for your product is about exploring the market and determining whether there are competitors who are already offering similar products. If there are, this is a good sign that there is a demand for your product but ideally, you want a hole in demand. Here, there will be proof that audiences in the region do want a product like yours, but there is no business that is currently offering it. That’s the real ticket and as long as you deliver a fantastic product, it’s essentially money in the bank.
If there is a target audience, you then need to think about whether your business model has to change. The classic example of this would be Mcdonalds. Mcdonalds is not the same in every country around the world, despite having an international brand. In some countries, you can buy curry in Mcdonalds because a cheeseburger simply would not appeal to the majority of consumers in that particular region. In the UK, the portion sizes are fifty percent smaller compared to the US. This is just a basic example of how businesses adapt based on the region or indeed the population that they are marketing towards.
You then need to look at marketing. Some aspects of marketing are obvious? Are you going to promote your product to a region where English is not the native language? If so, then you need to make sure that your materials are accessible. You may need to hire a video translation service to ensure that your marketing videos have subtitles. That’s a basic way to ensure that the base of consumers can understand your promotion and indeed connect to it.
Of course, you might also need to go deeper than this. You might need to ensure that your marketing materials are more diverse and better reflect the population that you are trying to connect with. You may even need to think about building entirely new landing pages for your business website, specifically for that target audience. This is going to be useful for SEO purposes as well and help you rank in specific regions around the world.
Once you have researched and understand your audience, you should find that marketing to them is a great deal easier. You will be able to determine what they want from your business and ensure that you deliver it to them. Once you do this, you will be able to build up your brand and ensure that you connect with a new base. Obviously, all traditional marketing tricks are going to be relevant here. You do need to think about engagement through social media. This is one of the best and easiest ways to ensure that you do create connections with a buying audience.
The business model
You need to think about whether you’re still going to run your business primarily from your current region. Or, are you going to set up branches in different locations and new regions around the world. Setting up branches is going to be a long and difficult process. You’re going to have to navigate international regulations and you’re going to have to think about how much money this is going to take. Only the largest businesses will be able to consider this option.
But there are benefits of setting up a home hub for your business in new locations. It certainly makes logistics easier and cheaper. You can build a stock of your products in that region and suddenly turnaround time is far more rapid and indeed cheaper. Again though, it’s not going to work for all businesses. Some companies will find it easier and more cost effective to sell from where they are.
There are lots of ways to do this. If you are running an ecommerce company, you might want to consider piggybacking off existing platforms like Amazon marketplace or eBay. Both do provide support for international trade and could be the easiest option to sell to other countries around the world.
Finally, you need to consider monetary transactions. When you start to sell to an international audience there a whole host of money issues that you need to be prepared for. Everything from exchange rates to secure problems could impact your business model. The trick here is making sure that you find a service that you can trust that will be able to handle these issues for you.
Ultimately, there are services online specifically for international monetary transactions. These are used by small and big businesses alike. Research these possibilities and find the one that can provide the right level of support that your company needs. Do this and you will be able to avoid running into any unnecessary losses as you expand your business to a great audience in different regions.
We hope this helps you understand some of the issues you need to think about if you are going to sell to an international audience. Do be aware that this is not every factor or variable that you need to consider. We’re really just scratching the service here and giving you a template that you can work with while you consider this option.
That said, marketing internationally is an attractive possibility and, if you are successful you can reach whole new incredible levels of profit. You just have to be willing and able to take a few risks and look towards the future possibilities as you potentially take a few hits.