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Expand Global Markets

'Going global' has a big sound to it.  'Global marketing;'  'global search engines;' 'global marketing agency;'- none of those sound remotely small do they?  Strangely the same applies to 'global problems and challenges' these are not small either.  So the team at WebCertain have put together the following checklist to help in your global quest.

The idea behind the checklist for your global marketing project is just to help you consider all the angles - you would be well advised to seek advice early in your planning and research phase:

  • Research
  • Language
  • Localisation aspects
  • Currency
  • Methods of payment
  • Distances
  • Internet penetration
  • Product market
  • Distribution channels
  • Back-up and support
  • Time zones

Research

Think how much time you need to spend on research - then double it - then double it again.  You need lots of knowledge for a global marketing or a global SEO project.  Don't skimp at this stage.  Fortunately, there are lots of resources to help you in this:

  • Statistics sites such as Multilingual Search
  • Your future competitors' web sites
  • Google alerts to track relevant themes that bring you up to date
  • Search engines
  • Search queries entered into search engines by potential customers are revealing
  • Activity on your own web site - even though you have localised it yet
  • Government resources in the target country and at home

Language

There is plenty of advice available in terms of languages - including on this website.  But take a good look at this because it's not always as obvious as it seems.  Correctly translating your site is important - but you need to be careful that you do not translate things that would still appear in English.  Or that you're sensitive to local cultural issues and don't use Brazilian Portuguese in Portugal for instance.

Localisation aspects

Here's our definition of 'localisation':  "Those parts of a web site that the translator didn't get to because it wasn't their job - but which make you look silly."  Here's some examples:

  • Addresses - their style and having the correct addresses in all the right places
  • Currency changes and price adjustments
  • Tax issues
  • Error messages
  • 404 'Page not found' pages
  • URLs
  • Colour selections

There are some great resources on the web to help you with specific localisation issues and we'd particularly recommend the global and internationalisation section of the W3C and LISA - the localisation standards association.

Currency

Pretty obvious - but pretty crucial.

Methods of payment

Will your target customers be prepared to use credit cards?  Would they prefer to pay by direct debit or invoice?  How much will it cost you to get money out of the country?  What about when you have to pay compensation or refunds to your customers?

Distances

How far is it from A to B?  This is a particular problem if you live in a small country like the UK - or a large country like the US?  You tend to judge distances differently.  For instance, France looks like it might be something similar to the length of the UK - and indeed it's not that far different - but the land area in France is 3 times larger than the UK.  Recently a Chinese member of our team was asked "Where are you from in China?", the answer was "Near to Beijing".  "How far from Beijing?" "Oh only 7 hours by train," came the reply.  It sounds obvious - but distances are often misjudged.

Internet penetration

Not every country has the same infrastructure to access the internet.  In Thailand, for instance, the mobile phone network is often the best way to get online - so your traditional web site may not be appropriate for that market place.  The presence of broadband is another question.  High broadband access tends to be associated with higher levels of e-commerce.

Product market

Teaching our grandmother to suck eggs here - but is there a hole in the market or a market in the hole.  In other words, is the gap in the market that you've spotted real - or do they just not see a need for your product at all.  Few people buy rust protection for cars in warmer countries for instance.  So there's a gap in the market - but actually no market at all.

Distribution channels

How are you going to ensure that your product arrives safely with your consumer and who are you going to involve in the support and installation process.  If you're product is to be downloaded from the internet - check there is no local blocking of that likely in your target country.  If it's to be delivered by post, check that the postal system is effective (there are some countries where mail order doesn't traditionally work well - because the post doesn't always get to them).

Back-up and support

Who is going to answer the phone if there are problems?  Do they need local knowledge, local language skills or both? 

Time zones

Can you manage the activity from a centre far away if the people you need to speak to are never in their office when you are?  Do you support agencies need to be located in a nearer time zone to you so you can manage the whole project more safely from headquarters?

Best of luck from us to you!

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