Thursday, November 21, 2013

Internationalise your online business

You are a (small) retailer, and you want to expand your online business abroad. But how to start? In a series of blog posts, I will try to find some answers at questions like this. However every retailer has it's own current situation and a "one answer fits all" is impossible: If you do not have enormous budgets, for developing new websites and hiring international e-commerce experts, you can do things yourself.
In my opinion a localized site and localised promotions are absolutely the ideal situation. There are to many differences in culture, legal and commerce, to just copy paste your website.

First make sure you have (or find someone who has) e-commerce or website experience in your home country. It will give you many insights that will help you make you succesfull abroad. It is not of any use to sent traffic to your website, if the website is not delivering what you want it to deliver (orders, leads, brand value etc).
If your current website is not performing, do not start expanding abroad, first get experience in optimizing your current website.

The 11 C internationalisation framework

Newman and Lake developed the "11 C's of Internationalization" a framework that will help people to review the opportunities and challenges for specific markets.
  1. Country
There are many potential countries you might want to expand to. But which country is a good choice? If you do not have any idea yet, try to do online research.
A few links to help you out:

Google Trends. Google Trends is a free tool that will help you to identify "trends". Type in some "keywords" that are relevant to your products or services in a local language and see the popularity of these products in a time frame. 
Google Consumer Barometer. Google's consumer Barometer gives you free market research data, about products and services, all around the globe. 
Google's Global Market Finder. Google's Global Market finder helps you finding popular keywords all around the globe. But be aware. This tool is made for selling adwords advertisement, use it for analysis only if you do not have Adwords Experience. Auto translating, (that is available in the tool) is often not correct.
DHL Global Connectedness Index. DHL's global connectedness index, is released every year and will help you analysing the e-commerce maturity and possibilities of nations.
ICT Facts and Figures 2013. What is the internet penetration in area's around the world? How many people use mobile internet? Find answers to these questions and more in the ICT Facts and Figures report.
Asia Digital Marketing Report. Planning to expand to Asia? Read this interesting Asia Digital Marketing Report.

More C's after the break!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

International e-business and online marketing channels: some quick thoughts

Today, I am in the mood for writing something. Just a quick blog post today about international e-business. A few things to take into account when practicing international e-commerce.
  • Email marketing
E-mail marketing is an excellent channel to use for generating traffic to your website. A lot of people often forget about "deliverability". Deliverability means the percentage of the e-mails you sent out, that arrives at the subscribers. I won't go into details now. But if you go abroad with your email marketing campaigns, make sure you focus at deliverability.

If your  e-mail does not arrive at many people of your database, you lose a lot of money! Make sure your e-mail service provider can help you with e-mail deliverability in the countries you are active.
  • Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing can be a good alternative source for traffic and sales.
At this moment there are no global affiliate marketing agency's. Note that the affiliate marketing matureness can differ enormously per country and per branch. Make sure you investigate this before you sign a contract. Maybe small local affiliate marketing agency's have better publishers then the big agency, you already are in contact with.
  • Search Engine Optimization
Coming from Western Europe or the USA, people often think, Google is the only search engine that really matters. This is not true. Several local (and international) search engines, you might have never heard of, are very important if you look at it from an international perspective. Think of "Baidu" in China, "Seznam" in the Czech Republic or "Yandex" in Russia. Make sure you follow their guidelines and do research in the possibilities.
  • Search Engine Advertising
The same that goes for Search Engine Optimization, as written above, is also valid for search engine advertising. There are many different options to advertise at international and local search engines. Also keywords that you advertise at, might be a lot cheaper or more expensive in another country even with the same search engine. The same word you advertise at in Google Germany, might be 50% cheaper in Sweden.
  • Social Media Marketing
There are many social media networks, besides Facebook. Investigate the usage of the social networks in the countries you focus at, but also study the culture of these users. Especially in social media, cultural differences and cultural dilemma's appear in the open. Be prepared.

Global penetration of social media networks in 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Presentation "Dutch Export Event 2013" : international digital online strategy

Below the presentation, I gave at the Dutch Export event 2013.
The topic was international online marketing and the differences between countries and how to setup an international digital online strategy.
Thank you Fenedex for organising this very interesting day!

Dutch Version:

English version:

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