With 1.2 billion customers online around the world, there is a strong temptation to look outside the UK and make sales in new and growing markets. Achieve this by taking these five steps – which are all possible on a budget.
1. Market Research – check to see if you have existing international traffic coming to your site via Google Analytics. Research the markets more likely to buy your product or service through accessing country and industry reports, which you can find in the online international resource centres of banks. Alibaba.com has a wealth of information too.
Consider applying for the Export Market Research Scheme (EMRS) from UK Trade & Investment to source expert help in doing the research. What you’re looking for is data on customers, the country’s local laws/regulations/economy and intelligence on local competitors.
2. Make sales – start selling via powerful platform sites that attract international traffic and enable you to Go Global at speed. Etsy is a haven if you’re in the handmade business or consider eBay, Amazon, Elance, iStockphoto and iTunes as whether you’re selling fashion designs or technical apps, these sites will carry you into new territories. Sell via your own website by having e-commerce functionality which comes built in with templates sites such as Moonfruit and SupaDupa.me.
3. Promote – get yourself known and talked about in all the right places by reaching out to influential bloggers and news outlets that your customers visit. Follow journalists and build your own social media profile on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube to demonstrate your product and expertise to an international audience. Send releases, as you would in the UK, with strong imagery and a media hook that’s relevant to the journalist at the other end.
4. Sort the practicalities – deliver on time and on budget by making the most of international courier companies. There are a number from which to choose including DHL, UPS, FedEx etc.
Compare prices on sites such as parcel2go.com and complete the export documentation so there’s no risk of your product being held up at the other end.
Receive payment from customers in multiple territories through use of a payment gateway such as Skrill, Stripe or PayPal.
5. Go Local! – with sales increasing, consider localising your website with help from companies such as Lingo24.com who can put things in words and pictures that resonate more with the local market. Consider visiting the country with help from programmes such as the Tradeshow Access Programme and consider having a virtual office to give that local feel.
Taking these steps won’t break the bank but they will effectively position you in new markets and prepare you for going global!