5 Tips for Marketing Online and Abroad

By Shelby Ballou

If you’re planning on growing your company and developing your brand, you may want to think about broadening your audience. Reaching out to an international audience can be an incredible way to gain new customers. In order to do this, however, it’s imperative that you have a detailed understanding of different cultures, laws, and behaviors.

Before implementing an international digital marketing strategy, consider the five tips below.

1. Learn About the Cultures You’re Targeting

Having your site translated into other languages is a huge marketing advantage, but it’s not enough. You also have to understand the cultures you’re targeting.

The first step is to recognize any cultural barriers you may face. Knowing these barriers will help you to break them down, which will ultimately cause your business to thrive.

If possible, spend time and learn from people who represent the audience you’re aiming to reach.

2. Understand Regional Laws

When marketing to an international audience, you need to be aware of regional regulations on products, advertising, and sales tactics.

In some areas of the world, advertising is subject to approval by various governing bodies. It’s important to consider product development laws regarding chemical makeup, safety, performance, and packaging designs. In addition, various sales promotion tactics – such as contests and sweepstakes – are regulated differently across borders.

Furthermore, competitive advertising can be a big no-no. In Germany, France, and Belgium, phrases like “best” and “better” are not welcome in the advertising world.

3. Localize Search Engine Marketing and Keywords

It’s important to know which search engines are used by the particular markets you’re targeting. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the three largest search engines in the United States, but they’re not as heavily used on a global scale. Research local search engines that are used by the countries you want to reach.

In addition, make sure your keywords are uniquely chosen for each market you’re targeting. It’s not enough to simply translate American keywords. You need to figure out native keywords that would be best associated with your website and brand.

4. Optimize Site Design

There are many things to consider when developing a global-friendly website.

The meaning of various colors and symbols vary by culture. You need to do extensive research and adapt your website accordingly. In addition, make sure any icons or logos on your website are acceptable and inoffensive.

If you’re an e-commerce business, it’s important to make sure your site offers currency conversion. Conversion can be extremely confusing (and sometimes frustrating) to the average consumer. Offering an easy conversion tool makes purchasing from your site much more simple.

Lastly, be conscious of your text usage. Minimize the use of text in graphics, because this text cannot be translated.

5. Adapt Social Media for Different Languages

While optimizing your website for international marketing is important, it’s also critical to adapt your social media pages.

On Facebook, you can create multiple regional pages that target different countries. On Twitter, you can create multiple accounts. This enable you to tweet in different languages. And on YouTube, you can add subtitles. This is a great way to broaden your audience.