If you managed to develop your business and market share in 2018, you are probably asking yourself how to keep the momentum going in 2019.
CEOs, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers propose various strategies when they elaborate their yearly action plan: product diversification, investigation of new distribution channels, elaboration of innovative sales funnels, the creation of new markets through product development, etc.
One of them is internationalization.
The year 2018 has confirmed the supremacy of the social networks, which enable people to be internationally connected, whatever the country they live in. Nowadays, global interconnection leads to an instantaneous information flow, which is massive, upmost rapid, and international. And we all know how information can easily be transformed into sales, whatever their relevance.
The presence of a piece of information can lead to a deal – not its relevance.
Whatever the famous social network you analyze, you will have to recognize that the number of social networkers still impressively increases. Facebook for example recently passed the 2 billion subscribers mark.
The media often present the booming of the social networks as the reason for what is positive and what is negative in the evolution of our societies.
This is a shortcut.
Actually, social networks are only an element, among many others, which participates to the (r)evolution of our digital area: smartphones, personal computers, tablets, emails, text messages, comments on blog articles, news channels, magazines, radios, podcasts, the millions of websites, etc.
The proliferation of information, which are nowadays broadcasted via multiple channels within a few seconds, is changing our world.
All the new digital technologies made this process possible.
Not only the social networks.
Image Source: We Are Social
One of the positive aspects of this evolution is that you can now have access to an impressive amount of information, which can really help you make your business flourish. Data is the new gold mine that many companies try to exploit in order to develop their sales.
One of the negative aspects is that fake news is booming, which can lead to disastrous decisions for your activity.
If you manage to handle this properly, all this can help you to drastically develop your activity, whatever the country you live in, whatever the intentional markets you target.
This is the reason why knowing how to scale your digital marketing strategy on an international level can be a crucial strategic factor.
How to proceed?
1. Scaling is reshaping
It would be an error to copy and paste the strategy you successfully implemented in your local market in different international markets.
For obvious reasons: all markets are different.
Before starting to scale your strategy on an international level, you should:
- Understand the reasons for your success in your domestic market.
- Select the international markets with the highest market acceptance for your products.
- Work with the right people when you implement your strategy in non-domestic markets.
- Build a new strategy and action plan adapted to each market.
Many decision makers are not really aware of the true reasons of their success in their domestic market. By analyzing correctly these reasons, you will be able to establish the milestones of their future success in new non-domestic markets.
Furthermore, the reasons why you will succeed in new markets can be completely different than the reasons of your success in your local market. All this work shall help list the international markets with the highest market acceptance for the products and services you sell.
Knowing that for such a vast subject the answers will be totally different from a digital specialist to another, working with the right people will finally make the difference.
After completing these steps, you will certainly notice that you can not start scaling before reshaping your strategy and your action plan, in order to adapt them to the new markets you target.
There are plenty of digital tools, which enable decision makers to master all these tricky steps, such as SurveyMonkey, the Google tools, Upwork, LinkedIn, etc. Some of these tools are discussed in an article that I recently wrote here: How to Find Business in a New Country With Smart Digital Marketing.
2. Master past digital tactics which remain key
Anticipating the key tactics and trends, which are transforming our economies, is one of the key elements, which enables decision makers to win competitive advantage. When new tactics appear, the ones who stay passive by ignoring or underestimating them are left behind, while the active ones have a chance to take benefit from them. At the end, the ones who will win are those who implemented the best possible strategy in accordance with these key new tactics.
This simple fact shall not let people forget that some key tactics, which belong to the past, also belong to the future.
Which are the tactics, which remain internationally up to date, in most of the important markets?
SEO is one of them.
For many businesses, SEO is still the discipline which will enable you to perform outstandingly on the web. Knowing that more than 90% of internet searches start via a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo!, and knowing that there are more than 1.4 billion domain names on the net, your website will simply be invisible if you do not implement an efficient SEO action plan.
The world of search engines is a moving one. As such, the follow-up of new SEO tactics, SEO techniques, and SEO recommendations of top digital specialists will allow you to scale your digital marketing plan internationally. Working with a top digital specialist in a market you do not know will help you obtain the visibility that you wish for your brand.
This is the reason why blogging still remains a must. Because the publication of articles is the carburettor, which will make your SEO move forward.
Another key tactic that remains very efficient is retargeting. By placing visuals of your brand in front of Internet users who have visited your website in the past, you will increase the traffic of your website because an important percentage of them will click on your visual and finally land again on your website.
And it works very well – whatever the market.
3. Test out new tactics
Many tactics are presented in the millions of articles which are published every day. Being able to distinguish which tactics will be really established as serious ones is fundamental. Some years ago, many specialists described the emergence of 3D printing as the new technology, which would revolutionize our societies.
In the end, it was not the fact at all and many specialists were completely mistaken.
As already mentioned above, new digital technologies have intensified the information flow. Data is the new gold mine. By using data, you will be able to improve your decision-making. One of the consequences of this is the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), whose market is expected to reach $17 billion in 2020, versus $7.35 billion today. Let’s be clear: AI is a serious tactic.
Machines shall be able in the future to help humans to make smarter decisions, by analyzing millions of data points, which an average human brain cannot analyze so quickly and so easily. For obvious reasons, AI shall help you make better decisions when you target new local markets.
By using these new AI tools together with older tools such as the Google Search Console, SEMrush, MOZ or Jetpack if you use WordPress as a CMS for your website, you will discover a ton of information that may help you penetrate the local markets you target.
Another serious tactic is the development of chatbots technology. By implementing chatbots on your digital platform, you will be able to automate the answers to very simple questions. By doing this, you will optimize your sales funnel because your sales staff will be able to spend more time on the leads which present a real added value. By filtering leads, you will acquire a better knowledge of the consumers of the new markets you target.
The more your sales staff dedicate their time to intelligent questions, the less they will have to lose their time on questions which do not present any added value. And we all know that mastering the purchasing behavior of consumers in a non-domestic market is much more difficult than to master those of a domestic market.
For all these reasons, it is more important than ever to speak with human beings – and not with machines.
With human beings with strong values who perfectly know the local market you want to target, because they were born there, because the grew up there, because they worked there, etc.
The booming of information leads to the booming of data, which leads to the booming of algorithms. In the end, algorithms may take over control, as already noticed in the bank industry for many years. And we all know that a mass of algorithms, even if they seem to be coherent individually, can become incoherent when they are injected in the same basket – and how they can then create chaos.
Speak first with human beings in your local market and then look to optimize with technology.
Nowadays, it is very easy to work with the best experts, wherever they are. A platform such as Upwork allows you to detect within seconds which professionals are reliable: you can see how many times they have worked for other companies, how much money they have earned, and which testimonials they have received.
Don’t hesitate to use LinkedIn in order to distinguish the best specialists who may be able to help you to implement your strategy in a local market you do not know much about.
Because in these kinds of markets, it will be quasi-impossible to use your gut, your intuition, and your heart.
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.