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Breaking the International Markets

For many businesses operating in the UK many have aspirations of winning new customers in different languages and different markets.

However, I can imagine that despite the frontiers being broken down with the increasing use of internet, search engines, marketing abroad can be a very daunting process with no very obvious step forward. Some planning therefore is required as it all depends on the kind industry your business operates within and the very nature of the products and services you provide.  For example, if you’re business is able to deliver the goods or services online be it a viral game or professional services then there is no need to establish an office in the local country. 

For most aspiring businesses, a website written by a native level speaker in the target language would be a great starting point.  Despite the ever-improving Google translate, a mere free machine translation is unlikely to impress the prospective businesses you’re marketing to as many of the key messages will have no cultural meaning.  Using a native level speaker will not only ensure the web copy is grammatically correct to show your company is professional but also culturally persuasive by using local word play.

Other details to pay attention to will include being able to publish the content on a localised website domain.  For example .ru for the Russian Federation as your target quarry is more likely to trust a business with the local domain extension.   Using a generic extension such as a .com is usually a very bad idea as local businesses and people are less likely to trust that a dot com.  Your prospective clients may wonder whether your .com website applies to their nationality and is not just a search engine mistake – even if your business is a well known brand.

Being found by people in those countries is the next stage.  Buying Google Adwords with adverts written for the overseas audience can get your business seen within minutes.  Engaging in Search Reputation Management campaign is also likely to a matter of weeks or months depending on how competitive your industry is.  In both cases, a competent native level speaker who understands the culture will play a useful part as both campaigns involve content to persuade the audience.

Even if people do find you on the search engines thanks to your search campaign efforts will need a little more convincing.  It’s tough enough to be preferred over the competition in the UK so why should it be any different abroad?  You therefore also need to consider engaging in public relations as nothing is as convincing as editorial from news media covering your business in the country of your choice.  Getting coverage will not only convince prospective business clients to work with you but also will enhance your search reputation management efforts ensuring you appear against searches for what you do in the target language.  For example  your brand could be found against создание видео материалов в Британии  if you’re selling video production services to Russian firms wishing to local video crews in the UK that welcome Russian accounts.

Of course it’s all very well reaching people in those languages, but do you have the staff to communicate with them?  Businesses often forget that prospective enquirers that responded to a website written in another language don’t always speak English and expect to be greeted a friendly hello in their own language.  Having multilingual sales staff ensures all your marketing efforts are not wasted.

All these considerations require much preparation to ensure your international expansion efforts get off to a smooth and resounding start without getting lost in translation.