Fuelled by the internet, globalisation of businesses is becoming more prominent. People can now purchase products from around the world, and explore a company’s entire offering with the click of a few buttons.
When your business has expanded globally, it makes content marketing a bit trickier. This article will explore tips for ensuring that your content marketing strategy reaches your international audience as effectively as possible.
This tip applies to your business offering too. You need to ensure that you fully understand the cultural differences between your country and the other countries you are operating in.
Something completely non-offensive in your country might be extremely sensitive in another. You need to do plenty of research around cultural differences and even consider hiring someone who has/does live there, or who understands the culture very well.
If in doubt, always err on the side of caution.
Minor mistakes that are considered offensive in countries you wish to sell to might completely sabotage your operation in that country. You will lose faith and trust, and it may be irreparable.
Take the Ford Pinto example back in the 70s. They struggled to appeal to the Brazilian market because the local translation of the word ‘pinto’ equates to male genitalia!
The easiest way to become an internet meme is to use Google Translate to convert your copy into another language. Please DO NOT DO THIS.
There are two ideal options if you need to turn your written content into another language.
First, you can look at a professional translation service. These services will employ people who are extremely fluent in both the source language and the language you want to convert to. This will ensure that the content is grammatically applicable to the new language and all nuances are considered.
Second, you can get fresh content written by a native speaker. You will need to find a writer who can understand your brief however, so this might be difficult.
If you value your international customers, there is nothing more important than giving off a professional look. If they know you are based in a country with a different language, using well-written local content can also help gain more respect as it’s clear you care about them and are not willing to cut corners.
This can be one of the trickiest parts of running a website targeted at multiple countries. I strongly suggest ensuring your developers understand how to optimise international websites, and if they don’t, reach out to a 3rd party.
The reason I can’t just list all of the things you need to do in this article is that it varies depending on the set up of your website.
Some international websites use a single .com domain, others use a subdomain or subsection to show different websites per country, and others just use different websites altogether.
If you haven’t branched internationally yet, you can explore every possibility and set up the site accordingly to avoid as many future issues as possible.
This is a very interesting optimisation and should be tested by all international sites using a single domain.
If you are using a .com domain you can change this setting in Search Console (the above image is from a .com.au site so not adjustable).
What this setting does is tell Google that you are targeting a specific country. It means that you are likely to rank higher in that specific country since Google now knows your site is more relevant to users in that location.
If you are using a .com domain and only target a single country, change this setting immediately.
So you might ask ‘I’m targeting multiple countries from my .com domain, what do I choose?’. This is where you need to experiment and it becomes very interesting.
First, you need to remember that by targeting a single country, you are sacrificing rankings in other countries. You won’t lose them completely but in Google’s eyes, you aren’t as relevant for those users.
So what do you do?
You need to ensure that you have some way of tracking the value of visitors who complete goals on your website. For the sake of simplicity, I will use an eCommerce example.
These are the details of the example:
Looking at these numbers, it’s clear that there is much more value with Australian sales. There is a higher conversion rate and a higher profit margin as shipping costs are lower.
You will need to know all of these details before doing any testing or what you learn won’t be conclusive.
Now you make the targeting switch to USA and the numbers change as following:
This clearly demonstrates that the keywords you are now ranking better for in the USA are going to lead to considerably more sales (we’re assuming traffic numbers stay the same).
So even though you are an Australian company, there is more sales opportunity in the USA.
For those doubting the effectiveness of this, the example is loosely based on one I have seen. Results WILL vary, so make sure you completely understand your existing data and monitor it very closely.
If you take just one thing away from this article, it should be to make sure you don’t just jump into the international market without doing your due diligence. Mistakes you make can have very harsh results, and are all completely avoidable.
If you already have an established international brand, the tips in this article still apply as they may present a great opportunity to improve your business and online presence internationally.