In many ways the internet has made it easier than ever to take your business global and crack international markets. It’s a tempting proposition too, promising huge rewards if you can tap into fresh audiences and create brand presence.
Global marketing is no fairytale, though. It’s a high-reward, high-stakes game and getting it wrong can mean losing out big. So you need to be sure you’re in a good position to make it on the international stage and you’ll certainly want to avoid these common marketing mistakes.
Mistake #1: Scrimping on your market research
With every new market comes a fresh number of audiences and what they expect/need from you as a brand can vary a great deal. So start again with your market research and don’t make any assumptions. You also need to consider the laws, advertising rules and other regulations that come with each new country and any unique cultural expectations that with your new target audiences.
Mistake #2: Thinking a website means you’re ready to take on the world
Your website may connect you to a global audience in theory, but without localising it for international markets you run the risk of alienating your brand from potential customers. The design of your website, the themes of your content and the overall user experience that comes with it need to feel “native” to the users in each market.
You may have to rethink the layout of your site, the colours in your online branding and even the way you format dates, currencies and other small details – which gives you an idea of how thorough you need to be.
Mistake #3: Falling short with global customer care
No matter how many markets you approach you need to be sure you can take care of them all when it comes to customer service. Social media has become a great tool for helping brands address the ongoing needs of their customers in one place, but there are still challenges to think about.
For example, your customers in Germany aren’t going to want to see social content in Spanish. Also, look out for the most popular social media platforms in each region.
Mistake #4: Underestimating the cost of translation mistakes
Speaking your audience’s language is marketing 101, no matter what their native tongue. You won’t be taken seriously as a brand if you don’t bother to translate your content accurately for the people you’re reaching out to.
Translating mistakes aren’t just embarrassing; they can cause irreversible damage to the relationship between you and your international audiences – especially in those early days.
Mistake #5: Being reluctant to change
Of course you want to keep your brand identity and stay true to everything you represent. But you can’t afford to be stubborn when it comes to change. No matter where your business operates you have to keep up with user demands and make the necessary changes to stay competitive.
You can’t expect audiences to change for you, so if you’re not prepared to make the compromise, then you may need to reconsider your market choices.
Mistake #6: Taking on too many markets at once
The key here is to choose the right market(s) to move into first. For this you need to analyse the available markets, know how your brand fits in with each of them and choose the most promising option.
International marketing gets easier with every success and you’ll be in a much stronger position to expand into further markers after you crack that first one.
Mistake #7: Failing to adapt your content for new audiences
If you’re launching a product in a new market for the first time, you can’t rely on the same old marketing material you used on your own terrain. Those videos will need localising, translating and potentially subtitles or voice-overs to have the right impact.
The very concept of your marketing campaign for that product may need changing for different markets. Your challenge is finding the most cost-effective way to produce regular content for each audience, while still engaging them effectively.
So those are the seven marketing mistakes every business needs to avoid when going global. Cracking a new market is no easy feat, but if you focus on the small details that engage audiences in your target country, you have the foundations for international success.