Businesses have long known that when it comes to the success of a website, the popular line from the film Field of Dreams—“If you build it, they will come”—doesn’t actually work. To achieve sustained domestic success, sites must be supported by cross-channel marketing, public relations, promotions and more.
But companies rarely embrace this best practice. Based on our experience, businesses can be quite reluctant to invest resources to support their international online endeavors. In some cases, this neglect can lead to global sites underperforming from a sales or marketing perspective … which may eventually lead to the deactivation of the site.
That’s often a very costly mistake, and one that could be avoided altogether with thoughtful, ongoing—and generally inexpensive—in-market promotion and consumer engagement.
Let’s explore some smart ways your organization can support its global websites, and accelerate growth in new markets.
Powerful Tactics for Global Customers
While trying to uncover the best strategies to support your company's global websites, we recommend taking stock in practices where your marketing teams already excel. For instance: since your internal marketing team is likely already running digital advertisements, sending emails and newsletters, and supporting customers in other ways in your primary market, a treasure trove of promotional content already exists to repurpose for global markets.
This content should be translated, and localized-using regionally- or culturally-relevant verbiage and imagery if appropriate-to resonate within these markets. Engage the assistance of global marketing specialists or consultants as needed.
Email Resonates In Global Markets, Too: For instance, one of MotionPoint’s fashion e-retailers sends out translated emails twice monthly. This content promotes popular and relevant products in the global markets they serve. This tactic works; website traffic increases by up to 10% on days when these emails are distributed.
Location, Location, Location: But companies can smartly engage global customers in other, less obvious, ways. We’ve used technologies to determine the global location of a website visitor in an effort to offer them the most relevant offers or products for our clients. We operate a Spanish-language website for one of our telecom customers. When Latin American residents visit this site, it prominently displays a relevant “International Calling Plan” promotion. This promo doesn’t display for domestic visitors.
Doing so boosted the visibility of the company's International Calling website section by 850%. It also generated an increase of 117% in revenue, when compared to visits that didn't detect the visitor's location.
Supercharging Local Outreach: Another client, this one a power-tools manufacturer, wanted to increase its customer email database. We helped the company deploy an on-site campaign for its translated global websites. The campaign prompted international visitors to “Enter to Win” a power saw by providing an email address. The results were incredible. Over 700% more customers registered with their email addresses than average, increasing the goal’s conversion rate by over 500%.
Get Social: It’s not enough to be “fluent” in a market’s local language. Your expanding company should also be fluent in how a market’s consumers communicate online. Become savvy in the locally-preferred social networks, and invest resources to connect with them there. This paid off for another one of our telecom clients. The company scored major “cool points” by operating attentive social media channels that actually listened to—and responded to—Spanish-speaking customers in their language of choice.
Operate a Local Blog: Another MotionPoint e-retailer does an excellent job of curating blog posts that are most relevant to their various global markets. In fact, the company goes above and beyond by excluding posts on some websites when it’s likely the customers there might not recognize a celebrity, or take umbrage with a particular fashion style or practice.
The effort required to scale and maintain these local blogs can be high. But this company believes the payoffs are worth the resources. These blog posts reel in about 1% of their total global traffic, which leads to conversions. As an added bonus, these posts recruit potential customers hearing about the retailer for the first time-or continually attract existing customers that become more and more aware of the company's fashion influence with each visit.
Transmit Trust Signals
Customer-engagement tactics do a fine job of boosting brand visibility within a new global market, and driving consumer traffic to localized websites. But once customers are there, how can a site (and the company it supports) ensure those shoppers can trust it, and transact on it without worry? Whether inspiring trust through incentives or fact-based messaging (such as "The UK's #1 Electronics Store"), brands should leverage their existing reputation to win new customers. Trust is a key ingredient to a long-term relationship. If the market doesn't believe in the quality of your company's products or services, you'll be facing an uphill battle.
Instilling trust by experimenting with offers such as free shipping or no-hassle returns is a simple way to begin exploring what drives the best response from your target market.
Another example of winning the hearts of customers is by understanding their expectations. For instance, did you know that posting special on-site verbiage called an “impressum” is an essential trust signal for German customers? Companies based beyond Germany’s borders need not include this content on their German sites, but German users expect it—and often lose trust when they don’t see it.
An easy way for global e-commerce sites to inspire further consumer trust is to clearly display that they accept local payment methods. We’ve found that conversions and revenue skyrockets when local consumers can easily see that they can use their preferred payment method at checkout.
Finally, a security-minded website migration from http:// to https:// may not be enough for global shoppers to feel like they’re transacting in a secure environment. This is because there are local security companies that are recognized by market. Leveraging these, and promoting them on your localized site, should help remove any fear from local shoppers.
There are many ways a global brand can conquer a local market, thanks to localized websites—and savvy promotional support. Would you like to learn additional marketing tactics that resonate in global markets? Contact us. We’ll help you identify compelling ways to serve more customers, worldwide.