Digital marketing refers to the promotion of products with the aid of digital technologies, primarily through the internet. It entails the production of digital marketing materials to be distributed across multiple online channels including email, websites, blogs, social media and games, as well as audio and video streaming. It is inherently already an international advertising strategy since there are hardly any restrictions in distributing digital marketing content to audiences worldwide.
Here are the important points every business owner or manager must be aware of in pursuing an international digital marketing campaign. While it is possible to immediately use online ads or social media to reach out to prospective customers in other countries, the results may not be optimized without taking into account the following points.
Finding the right methods to use
The first step is to choose the most appropriate digital marketing strategies for your needs. There are many ways to do international digital marketing, and each method’s effectiveness depends on what you are trying to achieve. However, there are methods that are considered fundamental, meaning they should always be employed regardless of the kind of business you are running. These are search engine optimization and social media marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must for all businesses that seek to establish an online presence. It’s not just about topping the rankings for search engine results. It’s essentially about putting up the right information about your business online to inform both search engines and human viewers about what you are offering. On the other hand, social media marketing is also considered fundamental, given the role it plays in the consumer market. Almost every potential customer has a social media account, so it makes to take advantage of it as a platform for delivering your marketing message.
Here are other digital marketing strategies and their applicability:
- Content marketing. This is about publishing content that promotes brand awareness and supports search engine optimization and social media marketing. The content can be articles, videos, memes or images that may be shared by Internet users to voluntarily or unwittingly publicize a product. This method is ideal for businesses that aim to build a positive reputation online. It takes time to get results out of it, though, so it is not applicable for those that seek quick outcomes and don’t have ample resources to sustain the production of high-quality content.
- Email marketing. This is the sending of marketing materials through email. Email marketing should only be used by those who have expertise and experience in doing it, as improper or ineffective use of email marketing is just a waste of resources. Worse, it can result in a brand or product getting associated with spam.
- Site, video and game advertising. These are the ads you see on web pages, blogs, video sharing sites like YouTube and games, including mobile apps. You need ample resources to support this type of digital marketing. It’s a safe advertising method for any kind of business but may not be cost-efficient.
- Paid reviews or articles and hiring influencers. These are aggressive digital marketing tactics. Often, they are used to introduce a brand or product when cheaper options such as social media and email marketing don’t seem to yield the desired outcomes. Businesses involved in consumer items are the most common users of these methods.
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Establishing the scope
Don’t try to reach all or too many international markets at the same time. Going international with your digital marketing campaign does not mean you have to simultaneously target all or most countries. Identify the top markets that will most likely give you the new customers you need, then focus your marketing on them. Realize that “targeting” numerous markets at the same time is going to be extremely costly and risky.
If you want your international digital marketing efforts to succeed, you can’t just throw out a one-size-fits-all campaign. Different countries or regions require different localization projects and teams. Likewise, they most likely need custom marketing strategies that appeal to different cultures. Digital marketing campaigns that work in Scandinavian countries, for example, are unlikely to work in China or Indonesia.
It is advisable to start small, then expand as you see fit. Carefully study your options to determine the next best moves for your product expansion. Let the success of your initial promotional campaigns guide you to the next countries or regions gradually. If your marketing efforts don’t seem to work in Asian markets, maybe you need to go elsewhere or focus your efforts in more receptive markets.
Developing flexibility and scalability
Develop an adaptable digital marketing strategy. The international market is never homogenous. That’s why you need to customize your approaches depending on the situation on the ground. Additionally, you have to make sure that your plans can agilely adapt to changes or unexpected developments. What do you do, for example, if the government (in the market you are targeting) releases a preliminary statement assailing the effectiveness of the main ingredient of the mosquito repellent solution you are marketing? You need to swiftly react by citing other authoritative research or advisories to counter the local government’s assertion.
Moreover, you need to make sure that your marketing plan can be easily scaled up or down depending on the conditions of the market. Avoid creating a plan that is too anchored on certain personalities, places, pop culture references or competing products. Make it easy to expand your plan by not necessitating major changes in your product pitch and the functions of the people involved in implementing the plan.
Emphasize customer connection. International digital marketing may sound like an enormous and generalized venture, but it is something that should be made as intimate as possible. The goal should always be to make customers feel special so that they feel compelled to buy a product or subscribe to a service.
Be responsive to customer inquiries. Address complaints or questions as soon as possible. If you are trying to attract new customers, don’t make them feel that they are taken for granted or just one of the many your business deals with impersonally. It helps to invest in a multilingual customer service team. Customers tend to buy something if it is pitched in their language. Prospective customers develop a positive first impression when their concerns are addressed in their mother tongue.
Monitoring and evaluating
Document the implementation of your international marketing plan and measure the performance. Always be updated with everything that is happening with the plan. Record the progress of the courses of action and assess if they have achieved what they were meant to achieve. Come up with performance metrics and evaluate whether or not the business is getting something out of the endeavor. The money spent on online ads, social media promotions and other forms of digital marketing should translate to something palpable. It could be in the form of increased brand awareness or a bump in sales.
A successful international digital marketing plan does not have to employ all digital marketing methods. What’s important is to develop an efficient strategy that gradually but effectively reaches international audiences, region by region or country by country. Elaborate monitoring of outcomes should also be undertaken to follow through with the programmed actions. You should also introduce changes whenever and wherever necessary.