Your startup has not only succeeded, but is thriving and booming with rapid success. People across the seas are sending in queries as to how they can get their hands on your product—or perhaps they should be! If you feel as though your company is ready to expand globally, there are a few considerations to keep in mind: How do you grow to appropriate scale? What about shipping? How do you connect to an audience abroad?
While this time is undeniably exciting, getting ahead of yourself could be dangerous. Too much growth in too little time can lead to unforeseen challenges, causing your success to slip and, in some cases, a company to collapse. Take a moment to pause and read through these helpful strategies for how to successfully market abroad and launch your global brand.
Know Thy Self
Before you can sail your company overseas, you need a definitive brand identity and a clear mission statement. Your domestic image should be firmly solidified with a consumer base who organically promotes your product or service. In the event of backlash entering into a new market, you’ll rely on the support of happy customers back home whose comments, ratings, and reviews can attest to the quality of your offering. When considering your brand identity, keep in mind the following:
- A clear, recognizable company logo and/or name. For your company to catch on, you’ll need an identifier that’s easy to spot and relate to.
- An unmet need. To set your brand apart, you have to market your product as a tool which can help consumers fulfill an unmet need. How is your business different—what new ability does it bring to the table? Selling something they “have to have” versus what they “want to have” can help outlast the storm of seasonal trends.
- A story or reason for why you do what you do. If you want people to get behind your brand, you’ll need a compelling narrative which explains how or why your company formed. Make your background story part of your identity and give your consumers a reason to believe in your product.
- An end goal. When thinking about who you are, consider where you’re going. Think about how you might grow or evolve, or if you plan to stick to one strong suit, how you’ll stay afloat against competition.
Understand Your Customers
Knowing your customer base is equally important as knowing yourself. This axiom applies both literally and metaphorically; if you’re entering a foreign market, the primary language might not be English. You’ll need to find a way to communicate using multilingual customer service and self-translating software.
Furthermore, you need to figuratively understand your customers by learning their culture and way of life. What are their buying habits? Which social media platform is most popular? Buying an ad on Facebook will be ineffective in a market which prioritizes Twitter. Comprehensive knowledge of your new target area will make your marketing efforts much more cost-effective.
Don’t Get Lost in Translation
A language barrier isn’t the only thing you need to worry about; any new country you choose to launch in will likely have a different set of laws and regulations by which businesses operate. Advertising, tax obligations, and intellectual property protection might present new hurdles you’ll need to creatively work around. Getting caught off guard could lead to fines, penalties, or worse, an overall shut down.
Make a thorough checklist for everything you’ll need to have in place before marketing to an overseas audience. To accommodate for increased demand, you’ll probably need to relocate to a larger facility. Whether it’s software or apparel, be prepared for expansion into a new location which is sizable enough to fulfill your new customers’ needs. If you’re thorough with your launch preparation and check all of your boxes, you’ll probably need the extra space.