Do you want to grow your business?
Then expand internationally.
It’s that simple.
However, easier said than done. It’s not exactly an easy process. International expansion is something you should do strategically and with careful consideration, as entering new markets can be complex and present unique challenges.
This week’s article will give you some key strategies and considerations for businesses looking to expand their online presence beyond their original country.
From understanding cultural differences to navigating international regulations, we will provide actionable insights to help you successfully navigate the complexities of marketing abroad.
How to expand online businesses internationally? Everything you need to do:
Expanding your online business internationally requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account various factors, including cultural differences, market research, localisation, and compliance with international regulations. Here are some key steps to consider:
Conduct market research
The best way to start expanding internationally is with some solid research into the local market.
Understand what your product or service actually means for the locals. Sometimes, you may realise your product would actually fail to launch successfully in some countries.
For example, Starbucks can’t successfully launch in Italy because of the Italian’s fondness for espressos and general disdain for other coffee products.
One of the key factors to consider when researching a new market is the level of competition. Are there already established players in the market offering similar products or services? If so, how can you differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition?
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors can help you position your business more effectively in the new market.
Pricing is also another must – points of similar products in the new market? What is the buying power of the average target buyer in that country?
Everything has a price, and that number you put on your product is often the make or break factor in successfully expanding abroad – and unfortunately, you won’t be able to price your product correctly without some solid research beforehand.
Recommended read: How to create your buyer persona in digital marketing
Adapt your marketing strategy
One of the most critical factors in expanding your online business internationally is adapting your marketing strategy to the local market.
- Localising your website with a local SEO strategy
- Social media
- Language changes
- Adapting your imagery to reflect cultural differences
- Adopting local payment options. For example, Bizum is extremely popular in Spain, while the average UK citizen has never even heard of this app at all. Other countries, such as Thailand, prefer cash altogether.
Address language barriers
Language barriers can be a significant obstacle when expanding your online business internationally.
To address this, you can translate your website into the local language or hire a professional translator.
However, it’s important to note that translation alone may not be sufficient, as cultural differences and international SEO considerations can also affect the brand perception.
Ensure compliance with local regulations
Local regulations are a bit of a pain, but you need to follow them.
Things such as data protection laws and product safety standards MUST be included in your marketing strategy in order to avoid legal issues and maintain customer trust.
One interesting and less conventional approach to expanding your online business internationally is to consider partnering with a local influencer or celebrity.
This can help increase brand awareness and credibility in the local market, as well as provide valuable insights into consumer behaviour and preferences. However, it’s important to ensure that the influencer marketing campaign you decide to launch aligns with your brand values and messaging.
What are the ways for a firm to expand its services internationally?
Expanding services internationally can be a challenging process that requires careful planning and execution. Here are some ways that a firm can expand its services internationally:
Exportation: this involves selling directly to customers in foreign markets. This can be done through direct exporting, where you handle all aspects of sales and distribution, or through a third-party (or intermediary) service like Amazon to handle distributors.
Licensing: This involves granting a foreign firm the right to produce and sell the firm’s products or services in a foreign market. Although this is an effective way to expand quickly and with minimal investment, it’s a risky option that requires some careful negotiation to avoid future legal troubles.
Franchising: This involves granting a foreign firm the right to use the firm’s business model, trademarks, and operating procedures to operate its own business in a foreign market. McDonald’s is a prime example of this. Despite this is normally less risky than licensing, it requires the selection and training of franchisees.
Joint ventures: Partner with a local firm in a foreign market and develop a new business there. This allows you to take advantage of an already existing business model located in your designated country, but it requires careful selection and comes with the risks of not selecting the right partner for your business.
Direct investment: Direct investment involves establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary or acquiring an existing business in a foreign market. This can effectively gain full control over operations and maximise profits, but it requires significant investment and a deep understanding of the local market and regulations.
It’s important to note that the best approach for a firm to expand its services internationally will depend on various factors, including the nature of the services, the target market, and the firm’s resources and capabilities. A careful assessment of these factors, along with a well-executed strategy, can help a firm successfully expand its services internationally.
Best quick hack you need to put into practice to expand your online business
Another quick hack that is less known is to leverage localisation to improve your online presence in international markets.
Localisation involves adapting your website and marketing materials to meet the unique linguistic and cultural needs of your target market. This includes translating your website and marketing materials into the local language, using appropriate cultural references and imagery, and ensuring your content is optimised for local search engines.
Recommended read: Setting up your website’s multilingual SEO: What you should be doing
For example, if you are targeting the Spanish market, you could translate your website into Spanish, use appropriate Spanish cultural references and imagery, and optimise your content for local Spanish search engines. This can help to improve your online visibility and appeal to local customers.
High-performance pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can also be localised to improve their effectiveness in international markets. By targeting local keywords and using appropriate ad copy and landing pages, you can improve your click-through rates and conversion rates in your target market. This can help to maximise the digital ROI of your PPC campaigns and drive more sales in international markets.
3 successful marketing examples used for some companies that worked
#1 McDonald’s (US)
One of the key marketing strategies that McDonald’s used to expand its business globally was to adapt its menu to local tastes and preferences. For example, in India, McDonald’s offers a range of vegetarian options, while in Japan, it offers a range of seafood-based items.
Another strategy that McDonald’s used was to localise its advertising campaigns. McDonald’s created unique advertising campaigns that resonated with the local culture and values in each country it operated in. For example, in India, McDonald’s launched an advertising campaign that emphasised family values and the importance of spending time with loved ones.
In addition to these strategies, the fast food giant also leveraged its global brand recognition and reputation for quality and consistency to build a loyal customer base in new markets. By combining these marketing strategies, McDonald’s successfully exported its business to countries around the world, becoming one of the most successful global brands of all time.
#2 Airbnb (US)
Airbnb decided to localise its platform and services to meet the unique needs and preferences of each market it entered. This included translating its platform into multiple languages, offering localised payment options, and tailoring its search algorithms to prioritise listings that were most relevant to local users.
Another strategy that Airbnb used was to partner with local businesses, influencers, and tourism boards to promote its services and reach new customers. For example, in Japan, they partnered with local travel agencies and hotels to offer travellers unique cultural experiences and personalised recommendations for their trips.
In addition to these strategies, Airbnb also used targeted advertising campaigns to reach new customers in each market it entered. By combining these marketing strategies, they successfully exported its business to countries around the world, becoming one of the most successful sharing accommodation platforms of all time.
#3 Lush (UK)
The company’s marketing strategy focused on promoting its ethical and sustainable production practices, as well as its commitment to using natural and vegan ingredients.
To expand its business globally, Lush identified markets where there was a growing demand for eco-friendly and ethical beauty products, such as the United States, Japan, and Australia.
The company developed localised marketing campaigns and strategies to appeal to consumers in each of these markets.
For example, in the United States, Lush partnered with environmental organizations and non-profits to promote their brand and products as part of a larger movement towards sustainability. In Japan, the company developed unique packaging and product lines specifically tailored to Japanese consumers. In Australia, they leveraged social media and influencer marketing to reach a younger, eco-conscious demographic.
Lush also utilised their physical retail stores as a key marketing tool, creating immersive and engaging in-store experiences that encouraged customers to learn about their products and values. They also used their stores as a platform to promote their ethical and sustainable production practices, such as using recycled materials and reducing packaging waste.
1) Expanding an online business internationally requires careful planning and execution, and there are several ways to do it, including exporting, licensing, franchising, joint ventures, and direct investment.
2) Influencer marketing can be a quick and effective way to expand your online business by partnering with social media influencers who have a large following in your target market to promote your products or services.
3) Localisation is a less-known but highly effective quick hack to improve your online presence in international markets. Adapting your website and marketing materials to meet the unique linguistic and cultural needs of your target market can help to improve your online visibility and appeal to local customers.
4) High-performance PPC campaigns can also be localised to improve their effectiveness in international markets. By targeting local keywords and using appropriate ad copy and landing pages, you can improve your click-through rates and conversion rates in your target market.
In conclusion, international segmentation is a crucial component of any successful international marketing strategy. By hiring an experienced international marketing agency, businesses can benefit from a tailored approach to target specific markets, as well as the latest tools and techniques to improve their online visibility and drive traffic to their websites. Get in touch today!