Targeting Overseas Audiences

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June 5, 2024

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UK, Manchester

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Targeting Overseas Audiences

Dipping Your Toes in the International Waters

Ever thought your product might do well selling in another country? You’re not alone. Many of my clients want to grow their product-based businesses 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.

As one of my clients shared, “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.”

Unraveling the Mysteries of International Audiences

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.

Finding Your Starting Point

A great way to find out which countries you could target is by looking at your analytics. Check your Google Analytics to see which countries your organic 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’ve 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.

Uncovering Cultural Nuances

To appeal to an international audience, you need to 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 favorite things are, what their language – such as slang – is like, and what their humor 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 worldview, 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.

Bridging the Language Gap

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 worldview?

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.

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.

Measuring and Tracking for Success

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 in vain, 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.

Boldly Going Where Few Have Gone Before

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!

If you’re ready to take your business global, I’d be honored to chat with you about how MCR SEO can help you navigate the exciting and lucrative world of international expansion.

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