How To Target A New International Audience
Ever thought your product might do well selling in another country?
You are not alone. Many clients of mine want to grow a product-based business globally, and the very first step to this growth plan is market research - we have to know exactly how you will attract and appeal to an international audience.
Targeting a fresh international audience, who may find your product range and brand appealing, takes both time and money. However, researching the customer needs in depth, checking demand potential country by country (or in the USA, state by state) - is a great way to start. It can help us begin to understand if this expansion plan might fly...
So, how do you learn about and target an international audience to support your business growth plans?
Researching your international market first is critical
I know, I know, - for most product entrepreneurs moving at a pace, the thought of slowing down and not just getting straight on with the job of selling ...and instead first researching your target international market - sounds so boring! But we must do this before committing investment - it's critical - why?, here's why...
Think of it this way - would you jump into any new relationship or contract without looking into it first? What about if you were to buy yourself an expensive piece of technology? .... you’d want to know how it works first before you spend the money.
You want to understand fully not only the risks but also the size of the prize! The benefits you could get and whether it is worth all the hassle. Or perhaps if there are easier / better options available.
Launching your services or products to an international audience is no different. It’s a very big deal to be ‘putting your business out there’ and offering your products to a new audience who don't yet know and love you.
Research and testing is key to its success.
Start with a simple test and check the stats
A great way to find out which countries you could target is by looking on your analytics. Look on google analytics to see which countries your organic Google search is already resonating with. Where are your existing site visitors coming from? Are there any trends from particular countries?
Write down the countries which are already visiting your website and then start to research them. By checking the stats, you have found a handy starting place for the countries and research.
Then we need to devise some simple tests to dip our toe in the water and see if there is interest. We can do this easily through social selling and some trial facebook ads for example, targeted to the specific country, in their native language.
Get a feel for the local culture. Visit if you can.
Find out what's trending in each country for your product / industry, and discover more broadly what the country’s inhabitants lifestyles are like, who the celebrities are, what their favourite things are, what their language - such as slang- is like and what their humour and cultural elements and characteristics are like.
What's the cultural heritage and where would your product fit in within the current competitor landscape? Do they like overseas brands and embrace a global world view or prefer local brands?
Without knowing all of this, you’d be clueless as to whether there is a demand for your product or services in the country, or how to market it.
Understanding the customer is key to opening up the opportunity
Understanding the customer and what content will appeal to them is vitally important. Just because your ad or the way of presenting your product works in your country of origin, doesn't mean that the brand will translate overseas.
You need to think deeply about the culture that they are from, and what their needs and demands are. How do they see the world and how will your brand fit in with that world view. You may find a gap in the market for international audiences, or you may find that the product or service would be useless to them.
Gather market research into the customer and develop some country specific customer avatar profiles to help you do this. Try to understand the needs and demands of the customers in each country you plan to reach out to. Figure out what they would find appealing; look at the competitors and how they target similar products to their audiences.
You could even try to encourage survey participation to help aid your research and check if demand is really there for your product.
Language / Translation Considerations
When targeting an international audience you need to consider language barriers. Do they speak the same language as you? Or do you need to figure out a system to help with natural language translation - translating robot speak is not going to cut it! You WILL need a native, natural language speaker to help you.
You should ensure that the countries you plan to launch to, will have access to your content in their spoken language. Both for website and this could also mean potentially creating multiple social channels in local language to help you truly connect with your audience. In general, if you are targeting an international audience, most places can speak two languages and the best language to use would be English but don't simply default to this. Understand how your customers want to be spoken to. If Spanish or Mandarin is the priority, go with that.
There are many online tools, guides and companies, which can help you to sort out the language barriers and help you to consider your options with translations and local language packaging when you come to that.
Measure and track where new visitors come from
It is not only important to measure and track where new visitors come from before you target a new country, but it's also vital that you are measuring and tracking once you start your market testing and international outreach campaigns too. We need to know that your efforts are not going to waste and we also want to discover any trends emerging from those new countries.
If you find that a certain country is regularly accessing your products or services, it could mean that you can focus more of your time and efforts on building positive business relationships with that specific location.
However, if you find that the opposite occurs, and you are wasting money promoting your products to certain countries but gaining no return, don't be afraid to end the test at that point, call it for lack of results and come back to it another day for further review.
By measuring and tracking where your new visitors are coming from, you can monitor your leads and sales and develop your marketing strategy accordingly.
Make It Happen In Your Business
Targeting an international audience is a great way to expand your product based business and to offer your products or services to a new market to drive fresh sales. But this growth strategy is not for the faint hearted.
It will take time, significant investment and testing before you will be ready to scale up and make it a profitable territory. Make sure you do the research before you invest your time and money into striving for global domination. Far better to move boldly and surely into one new international market and smash it, than to try to skim all of them and get no traction!
- Start with your google analytics - where are you organically gathering interest from in terms of website visitors and social referrals? Which countries have a close resonance with your product offer and are proving to show interest in your brand?
- Short-list your top 3 potential countries to expand into based on size of the prize (potential sales opportunity) and scale of risk associated with going after the opportunity.
- Begin your research process, to include looking at the competitor landscape and diving deeply into understanding the local customer in each country selected.
- Once you are satisfied you have got some rigour behind your research, that you fully understand the international country you are about to sell into, pick ONE country and set a budget for a pilot test. Don't try to target more than one new country at a time. Stay strategic and ensure your pilot test in that new country is set up for success.
- If you would like help with targeting a new international market and in creating your business growth plans, please schedule a free call with our team to discuss how we can help you grow your business faster than you are doing so now.
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