One of the major news stories in 2015 was the visits of Chinese and Indian prime ministers to the US, and specifically, to Silicon Valley. What was all the fuss about? Last September, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s short stay in Seattle– China is Washington’s state biggest export market – concluded with the eight annual US-China Internet Industry Forum. Some of tech industry’s most powerful names like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Microsoft’s Satya were present at the forum and took the opportunity to evangelize their best products to their Chinese counterparts.
China’s E-commerce market alone was worth $2 Trillion in 2014 while the Indian one is projected to reach a $20 billion evaluation by the beginning of this year. Reaching out to an international audience is now more important than ever. And while international reach is usually associated with big businesses and corporations, small businesses as well should look into exploring international markets when struggling with local demand.
Teamgate, as a European CRM with an expanding list of worldwide clients, knows first-hand the journey it takes to go global. How do you make sure your online business can well-accommodate these potential customers? Here are few tips:
It’s important that the language you use for website or email marketing copy is clear and straightforward; this is a good practice not just for the sake of an international audience but for English native speakers as well.
Supportive Design and Code
Supportive website design serves to ensure that your website can support text in any writing system without any glitches or glaring faults. Make sure to also verify that your website’s forms or those of third parties (like Wufoo and Google Docs) can support text inputs of all languages and check whether things like address forms can accommodate foreign ones. There is nothing more frustrating for international customers than not being able to sign up or finish an order simply because web forms do not recognize non-USA based addresses.
Your international audience will likely be familiar with English but some customers will rather read your website in their native language. Although machine translation is undergoing some transformative advances, it remains incomparable to the quality provided by good human localization/translation. Make sure to pick a good company or contractor who’s familiar with the linguistic nuances of a language if your aim is to target specific countries rather than speakers of a particular tongue. Not all French speakers, for example, are expected to be fluent with Quebecois, Cameroonian French etc.
Knowing Your Audience
When thinking internationally, remember to act locally as well. Countries like China, India and Nigeria have an incredible linguistic, ethnic and socio-economic diversity that can make any attempt to approach them in a monolithic way ineffective.
For example, if your services target 20 year old developers in China, a campaign more specific to this audience would prove more effective than one casting the net on 667 million Chinese Internet users.
Remember, foreign cyberspaces can be as foreign as the countries. Websites like Reddit and Facebook are popular worldwide but make sure to look for their country-specific equivalent for any targeted marketing campaign.
Being Aware of the Cultural Nuances and Sensibilities
Blizzard and their flagship online multiplayer game World Of Warcraft found this out the hard way. The game was taken down for few weeks in 2009 due to its depiction of human bones –traditionally sacred in Chinese culture– until the local authorities edited what was conceived as inappropriate content.
A little bit of research or consulting with those familiar with the culture can save you the hassle of dealing with “bureaucratic” downtimes and even potential censorship. Remember, countries have their own country-specific internet regulations.
Working With Natives
A person native to your target country can help you either establish a physical presence or consult with you on good business practices you might not be aware of. They can take care of localized social media and content, customer support and even assist you in other business processes.
How Teamgate can help:
Take advantage of Teamgate’s segmentation to organize customers based on their preferred language their countries of residence or even time-zones. Adding customer tags is a matter of few clicks only:
Segmenting your international customers will help you:
- Find the most optimal time to send emails or schedule phone calls. Time-zones can be pretty disorienting.
- Target customers during events specific to their countries (similar to Google’s popular Doodles).
- Sprinkle your emails with greetings in their language of preference to show them you care.
- Why not have Email copy completely written in their language.
- Adjust pricing model to fit with the countries’ economic situations.
Start your Teamgate Free Trial today and find out for yourself!