Whether your business sells products, services or information, sells online, offline, or some combination, or sells through direct or indirect channels, the opportunity to greatly expand your revenue through global sales in greater now than in any time in history. One main reason is the surge in online marketing solutions that can help the business of any size achieve in months what before took years accomplish in international growth. Global emarketing has both tremendous potential as well as challenges unique to the global marketplace. Having knowledge of both the basics of exporting as well as global online marketing solutions will help to maximize your success and avoid costly mistakes.
Why Go Global?
• Significant Chances to Expand Revenue (95% of the world population resides outside of the US)
• Huge drop in US dollar has made global buyers eager to find deals from US businesses
• Companies with global presence are valued higher in the marketplace
• Compete with your foreign competitors already selling here
• Smooth out sales and business cycles by selling in multiple markets
• Diversify risk through sales to multiple markets
• New trade agreements drastically reduce tariffs in certain foreign markets
• Cost of online marketing globally has dramatically improved marketing ROI for any sized business, particularly the SME
Why Global Online Marketing?
There are many methods of traditional international marketing (trade shows, print advertising, government run international partner search programs, TV, radio, etc). Global emarketing however provides an opportunity to rapidly expand to new markets in a more cost effective manner by utilizing online marketing techniques ranging from online market research, search marketing (both SEO and PPC), global email marketing campaigns, and global Webinars to help both close the deal as well provide ongoing Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
In addition, the online population growth outside of the US continues to explode, and this high growth will continue for years into the future. Out of nearly 1.4 Billion online users worldwide, the US constitutes 215 Million of this number. With over 70% penetration in the US, the major growth will be in countries outside the US (source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm). As the percentage of global online penetration grows to match the US, billions will be added. This relates to hundreds of billions of dollars in purchasing power. Today’s numbers mark just the beginning of the global online presence.
Finally, while the rest of the world is still catching up in terms of online marketing and ecommerce (online credit cards acceptance in some countries is still a challenge) the gap has been dramatically reduced, especially in more developed markets of Europe, Asia and Oceania (primarily Australia and New Zealand). Other world markets are catching up as well in Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Africa. We have increased global sales by hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients by using just these techniques to drive business, and you may see similar results with your business.
Understanding the Export Process
The key to success with global emarketing is in understanding international marketing as well as internet marketing. If you are unfamiliar with how to sell in markets outside of your own, you will need to educate yourself on the basics of exporting. You can also get help with preparing your business for export from private consultants, who can often expedite your global market expansion due to their years of experience in working with companies with similar characteristics to yours in size or industry specialization. Some have a regional or country specialty as well, such as Europe or China. Ideally your consultant will also have knowledge of online marketing solutions as well.
There are a number of government sources that are available. I would recommend talking to your local international trade representative from the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (http://trade.gov/index.asp). They run a website that has information on exporting basics and local offices in your area (http://www.export.gov/).
I cannot stress the importance of preparation before you start, since selling globally requires specific knowledge regarding the need for any product modification, pricing, currency exchange rates, distribution channel development, legal agreements, payment collection, regulatory concerns, and more. You don’t want to spend much time and expense to market your electronic product to France just to find out that you don’t have the required regulatory CE mark, or that your product does not otherwise conform other market standards. Once the basics are understood however, you will be much better prepared to maximize your global growth potential, which is tremendous.
Global eMarketing Solutions
Once you are ready to test the waters of the global marketplace, you will have the benefit of multiple online solutions to help expedite the process. The challenge is in finding help if you want to outsource some of the global online marketing, and what solutions to use if you want to try some in-house.
Search engine marketing is best carried out by local partners, who understand the nuances of how to achieve success in their marketplace. Global SEO and SEM go far beyond simply translating your current web pages and meta tags into another language. There are different accents, symbols and alphabets, and the rules, regulations, and algorithms vary by market. The task can be daunting for those unfamiliar with the details involved in achieving high rankings in many global markets. Some US search companies have a global presence. If you want to go directly to the local source in a select foreign market, make sure you compare costs and quality of service before selecting a vendor. Price and quality can vary greatly. An experienced global emarketing consultant can also work with you to develop a plan of action.
Other online marketing solutions can be either done in-house if you have the resources, or outsourced if not. Global multilingual email campaigns are an excellent way to generate leads from your target markets. We have used Webinars very successfully to close deals with key distributors half way around the world. Both are highly effective and extremely cost effective as well. You will have your greatest success by integrating search marketing campaigns, email campaigns, and webinars to both generate qualified leads and close business.
What About Language Differences?
If your business doesn’t have multiple language skills in house, you can still succeed with global emarketing. When design your translated page or mini-site your prospects will land on when they click through your campaign ad, simple indicate at the bottom of the page that they will now be clicking through and entering an English language only website, and that all future correspondence will be in English. We have found that over 85% will click through, especially potential distributors who are well used to conversing in your language.
In summary, going global through online marketing has never been more lucrative, and the potential will only increase in the months ahead. Those with the knowledge of both export basics and online marketing basics will be best positioned to succeed. You may want to start by testing one or two markets, and expand when you gain more experience. The key is to start soon so you can take advantage of this fast growing opportunity.