Nowadays, everyone can create an economic model, launch a website and start to sell all over the world. Thanks to WiFi, Australian people can connect with French people instantly. Emails, phones and social networks make it easier to be interconnected, everywhere, 24/7, 365 days a year.
When entrepreneurs, CEOs, and decision makers decide to leverage their business, they immediately perceive internationalization as a gold mine. For obvious reasons – with 4 billion people connected to the Internet, 3 billion social networkers and 5.1 billion phone users, the sky’s the limit.
But the successful development of a strategy locally does not necessarily mean it will be easy to implement the same strategy internationally, even digitally.
You will have to scale your international strategy the right way… Here’s how.
1. Analyze the reasons for success in your own country
It is vital to understand the reasons behind the success of a local initiative. Believe it or not, some decision-makers aren’t able to accurately identify the reasons behind the success of their local development. For this reason, they re-implement the same strategies according to their own vanity metrics in different contexts.
Digital tools can help you truly understand the roots of your success in your own country and these tools will help you establish metrics you can rely on.
SurveyMonkey, for example, is a great tool, which can enable you to ask the right questions, reach the right people, get meaningful insights, and make smarter decisions.
If you use WordPress as a CMS for your website, you can also use various plugins which will allow you to pose smart questions to your Internet users.
Do not hesitate to implement classical quantitative and qualitative studies. Focus groups can be a brilliant option which can make the difference; gather a representative sample of your consumers, record them, ask them plenty of relevant questions over several hours, let them speak, listen to their answers, observe their attitude, analyze how they speak – and work with talented specialists in order to understand why your consumers have bought what they’ve bought.
At the same time, it would be smart to work with talented anthropologists in order to accurately analyze your focus groups and understand what is happening.
When you ask people for their opinion, don’t lead them by presenting your own views and understanding. This creates a well-known cognitive bias, which makes your consumers’ opinions totally irrelevant.
Whichever tools you choose to use to monitor your success, make sure you understand why people are engaging so effectively with your products and services online.
2. Select the markets with a potential high market acceptance for your product
Once you understand why your products sold effectively on a local scale, you will be able to evaluate the reasons why people in other countries might also have an interest, i.e. your international appeal.
You should be aware that customers abroad may buy your products for totally different reasons to those in your local market.
There are several methods that can help you select the right countries when you expand internationally. You can, for example, simply launch a totally new website, conduct surveys through your new digital platform, and follow up on the results to see if there is a viable market acceptance or not.
Another option is to make use of well-established marketplaces in the first instance to test the credibility of your product on a new market. Creating a new website can be time-consuming. If you work with a team of web developers for your website, this also requires a big budget without knowing in advance the return on investment.
Using an existing, well-known marketplace to test the waters will help you anticipate the market acceptance, the success of your strategy and the return on investment for all your future actions. Etsy, for example, is a perfect digital platform for designers, high-quality manufacturers, and CEOs who sell cutting-edge products. Nowadays, Etsy markets millions of one-of-a-kind items created by business owners all over the world.
Do not hesitate to take benefit of the numerous studies which are supposed to help decision makers to understand the specificities of a country with which they are not familiar.
Various digital tools will give you very interesting indicators, such as those offered by Google:
- Google Public Data Explorer, which makes large datasets easy to explore;
- Think: Databoard for Research Insights, which will allow you to explore Google’s newest studies, data, and insights;
- Google Consumer Surveys, which offers businesses the ability to perform market research;
- Google Correlate, which proposes search patterns supposed to correspond with world trends;
- Google Trends, which is a snapshot in time of what people are searching for on Google;
- Doubleclick Insights, which offers market studies, case studies and various reports;
- Google Ngram Viewer, which is an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any set of comma-delimited search strings over time.
3. Work with adequate digital specialists
Understanding a country you don’t know can be tricky. So, don’t hesitate to be picky. When selecting the digital specialists who will help you to understand, target and conquer new markets, you should keep in mind that, although seemingly simple, this decision has the potential to have a huge impact on the success of your internationalization strategy.
If you choose the wrong specialists, you will get the wrong results.
Digital marketing is such a vast field that you will get tons of different opinions.
For example, if you work with ten digital specialists on the French market, you will receive ten different answers to all your questions.
You might think that one of the ten is right – but you must try to establish which one.
Mathematically speaking, if you respect the law of probabilities, the highest probability is that all ten of the digital specialists … are wrong.
So, go with your gut instinct.
If you choose wrongly, the likelihood is you will receive no reimbursement, restitution or compensation for the work you have put in.
The best specialists will give the best results.
This is a simple fact.
Digital tools will enable you to find the best digital professionals.
Upwork is, for example, a great digital platform that will help you find talented freelancers when you set up your operational action plan.
Concerning the strategy, don’t hesitate to view the LinkedIn profiles of digital specialists to find key information about them, such as their educational background, their achievements, client testimonials, articles they’ve published, etc.
The websites of Jeff Bullas, Copyblogger, SEMrush, Webmarketing & Co’m in France, and others, can be read prior to selection as a reference. These sites are leaders in the digital world featuring relevant, targeted articles.
Be professional by filtering through the masses of information, selecting the right people, and building a competent task force.
The best teams get the best results.
Now, you can implement your strategy.
In the end, you are the only one who can make the right decisions for your project.
And nobody else.
Post scriptum: if digital specialists want to interfere in your project without your authorization, it is simply unacceptable.
Guest author: Jerome Perrin is the founder of J4JAY Studio Web, in France. He helps CEOs, business owners, and decision makers to leverage their businesses on the French market through cutting-edge digital marketing strategies. Find him on Twitter. Or connect via LinkedIn.