Whether you’re the entrepreneur of your own small business or the marketing manager of a large corporation, you probably want to improve your online marketing strategy. If your company does business on a global scale, whether you’re in the .com or FMCG industry, then you may already have your website translated into several different languages and utilize the appropriate social media channels. You know the best times to post for increased engagement, have a Google Ad Words manager and maybe even employ the services of a swanky SEO agency. Great.
But have you gone one step further and taken the time to research clients in your local target markets? Are you confident that you have a pretty good idea about their likes, dislikes, cultural nuances and social taboos? Here are a few key points to keep in mind if you want to create a message that will resonate with all of your audiences and improve your global online marketing strategy:
KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS
OK, so maybe not everything, but don’t just assume that because your website is translated into Spanish, for example, that it will appeal to (or even be understood by) Spanish speakers around the world. With 21 Spanish speaking countries across the globe, before getting into the regional differences and variations inside each one, if you have just one version of your website for such an enormously varied and culturally different demographic, then clearly you’re missing out on a wealth of potential converts. Take time to explore as many sources of information about your global clients as you can. Meet them, if possible, and if not, then consult with local experts on the ground. A properly targeted message to the right people in their native language is guaranteed to increase your conversation rate.
LOCALIZE YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE
Localizing your marketing message in Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, or wherever your main client base is, is a powerful tool. But don’t forget about localizing the English version of your site too. After all, no two consumers are created equal and clients in the UK are not like clients in Canada; potential buyers in Australia aren’t in the same time zone – let alone season – as you, so different products, blog posts, trends, texts and messages need to be tailored to their individual needs as well.
Competing successfully in today’s challenging, evolving and increasingly global marketplace requires a lot more effort that it used to. If you can convince your customers that you’ve done the background research and know that a fanny pack in the US is nationally laughed at in the UK; that Canadians despise being compared to Americans, and that what’s considered the norm in Miami might be positively vulgar in New York, then you’re giving your clients another reason to pick you over the competition. You could even explore the possibility of getting endorsed by a local opinion shaper or celebrity, but be sure to do the background research so your company doesn’t get entangled in any unwanted scandals or become associated with extremist views.
LOCAL SEARCH TERMS AND ENGINES
Make sure that you or your SEO agency understands the different search terms and keywords used by your customers locally so that your online marketing budget is spent wisely. Remember that British people go on “holiday” not “vacation” and they drink “fizzy drinks” and not soda, or pop. Also, it’s worth taking into account that while Google is considered universal, some local markets prefer local search engines. Research what they are and make sure you use them.
THINK ABOUT HIRING A UX MANAGER
Once you’ve spent the time to research your audience and localize your website, the time has come to start testing. Find out what they respond to and what they don’t. You could think about hiring local UX (User Experience) consultants to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your site in each market, how it performs and how you can improve your CTAs and conversion rate. Knowing what you’re doing right – and wrong – is fundamental in improving your online marketing strategy. Sometimes simply changing the appearance of an online form or using different icons or images can have a huge effect on conversion and click rate.
BUILD LOCAL ALLIANCES
If your business is small or you’re not a known name in what you do, it’s not easy to get on the front cover of an influential magazine or newspaper, but start small and build alliances with local blogs that might interested your clients, or companies that complement – but not compete with – your product or service. Create articles that will bring value to their readers and approach them with your ideas. If it’s mutually beneficial, you could offer an exchange of services, links or logos. Not only will you be creating credibility for your local consumers, but you’ll be improving your SEO by building up links.
LOOK OUT FOR CHALLENGES AND THREATS
Remember studying PEST and SWOT analyses in Marketing 101? Ignore them when it comes to marketing your business online at your peril. Every business has its own fair share of challenges and threats, and you need to know what new technology means to you, or how changing legislation could affect your product. Don’t get so caught up in improving your online marketing strategy that you get blindsided by something you should have seen coming.