A Beginner’s Guide to Online Expansion
When we think of international business expansion, we think of physically moving to and operating from other countries. But these days, companies don’t need a physical presence in other countries to be a player in the market, and in fact, it’s not essential at all for a global business to take any of their operations abroad in order to go global – thanks to the internet.
We’re in the digital age, which comes with both challenges and opportunities for companies looking at how to start a business overseas. Here are some of the benefits, and the downsides, of using the internet to become an international business.
When it comes to expanding online, there are some basics your business will need to master pretty quickly – the fundamentals that will need to be consistent, and which will need expert knowledge, but shouldn’t take up too many resources. This includes having a good online presence, email marketing and SEO (search engine optimisation) and, if relevant and right for your company, PPC (pay per click) advertising.
But you shouldn’t rely too heavily on social media. Focus should be on your own platform, ultimately, so you don’t end up just getting engagement through social media pages.
It’s often difficult to build up engagement through social media, offline SEO (such as paid content on other websites) and email marketing. Consumers are very savvy online, and are inundated with brands’ messages and offers on their social media feeds and in their inboxes. This means the competition is high; you need to say something particularly eye-catching, original, useful or entertaining in order to stand out in a very saturated market.
Finding your audience
It’s particularly imperative you figure out who to target, and how to target them, online. It’s not as straightforward as offline, however if you find out the right data, you can figure out where best to target your messages online, down to the finest of details, such as when your target audience is most likely to be on social media, and which outlets they’re most likely to be on. The more specific you can get with your online audience, and how to best talk to them to get engagement in return, the better. When talking to your audience, you must also have strong and clear calls to action.
Just like offline, your brand is very important, and must be clear and consistent. This extends to everything, including branding: your tone of voice, where you advertise, the imagery you use – and this goes for onsite and offsite, on social media, for example. You might also want to consider having a regular blog, especially if the industry you operate in is quite niche.
It also involves optimisation and design. Another big job, but you must ensure your website, for computers, tablets and mobile, is in tip-top condition, optimised for speed and user experience. Research has found we’re likely to give up on a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
Also, you can have the most successful and popular social media sites on the entire internet, but if your website is poorly designed, it won’t make any difference to your business.
Measuring as you go
Measuring your online traffic can seem a daunting task, and in order to get insightful analysis on the data, it may be worth employing someone with specific expertise in how to monitor and grow your online audience in the right way.
Website traffic from cell phones and tablets increases every day. More and more consumers are using their mobile devices to research, browse, and even shop on the go – so the stakes have never been higher.
Galvin International is on hand to help at every stage of expanding into international market, including expert advice on expanding internationally. Get in touch with us to find out more.
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