You’ve killed it in your home market. Now you’re ready to bust more borders and take advantage of the massive opportunities of global expansion. But before you start investing in global marketing, you need to do some critical thinking. (Gut feelings and instinct have no place here.) How do you evaluate your potential in new markets?
Here are some strategies to help you determine where your company should go next:
First, analyze your markets
- Do a cost benefit analysis. What is your expected revenue in each market? What is your anticipated spend for global marketing? Your sales team can help you with forecasted revenue, and your Language Services Provider (LSP) can help you with estimates of how much you’ll spend.
- Learn from your home-language website to determine top international markets—visitors from other countries may be your best tool for gleaning insights. Website analytics will show you where they come from, and which countries provide the highest conversion rates.
- Look to the culture. Research cultural aspects of each possible target market that could affect product takeoff. Certain products might not be acceptable or useful in other cultures, so you need to engage local research teams to provide market insights. Just because you want to enter markets all over the world doesn’t mean they will all receive you or your product with open arms.
- Here’s a good example: the birth control brand Mirena needed very different approaches per market. Studies showed that US women demand convenience, so their US tagline is ‘Keep life simple’. But in the Latin American market, freedom of choice is the biggest factor. The Spanish message is, ‘It’s your life. It’s your choice.’
Then, look at languages
- Snoop on competitors. See which languages they’re supporting online. They’ve done market research to choose those languages; leverage what they’ve done. If they don’t feature a language you’re considering, it may be a gap in their coverage—something that you can take advantage of. Don’t let them get ahead.
- Listen keenly. Use social media to monitor what your international customers are doing and what they want. Are they looking for in-language after-sales support? Are they posting and writing reviews in their own language? Be sure to hang out in the social media channels appropriate for their country or region (hint: it’s not Facebook everywhere).
- Prioritize. Once you decide which languages to target, choose just a few to start with. Work through localization for those languages, release that content to your new markets, and then measure the results. Iron out any kinks and go on from there. That first effort will give you insights for when you do the remainder. Succeed (or fail) in those initial markets and learn from your results.
- Consider comfort with English. Some populations (think Europe where lots of people are bilingual) might be just fine interacting in English. That means you can eliminate the need to translate content altogether, or put it as a lower priority. They still will prefer content in their own language, but business can be conducted in English.
- These tips are a good starting point for thinking about new markets. But it’s also a good idea to use other people’s wisdom… Always ask your vendor for advice: global digital marketing and localization companies think about these issues all day. They’re the best subject matter experts out there and should be an excellent resource for deciding what markets and languages you should invest in.
If you’ve experienced success in your home market, and want to grow your revenue further, then taking your product into new markets is a logical next step. These tips can help you break through fuzzy decision making and easily craft your plan to use language to dominate in new markets.
Check out our recent blog post: Smart Guide to Selecting Languages for Localization.