I hope you all are having a good start to the week! As promised in my previous blog post on how to implement an international market research, during this second blog post of the series “how to close deals with international clients” I’m going to talk about how to approach international clients.
Approaching international clients implies the adaptation of the marketing strategies that you are already using within your business and take steps to introduce your products and services to the new market that you want to target at. That is why I have decided to divide this blog posts in two parts: marketing for an international audiences and strategies to approach international clients. Let’s see how we can tackle this!
Marketing for international audiences
The first and most important thing that we need to take into consideration is that people all over the world have different needs. We cannot approach two different people in two different parts of the world in the same way, or maybe we could, but we’ll need to take some actions first.
We need to analyse the differences between the audiences that we are currently targeting and our prospective audiences abroad. Some of these differences can be: values, customs, languages (even regional languages within the same country) or currencies. And that is why it’s so important to implement an international market research first.
Within international marketing, we need to talk about two different concepts:
- Standardisation: manufacturing, marketing or conducting other processes in a standard way.
- Differentiation: manufacturing, marketing or conducting other processes making them different to appeal different markets.
It’s important to bear them in mind when choosing which strategy we need to use to approach international clients.
There three main marketing approaches that big multinational companies use to define their marketing strategies. These three approaches can also be applied to marketing for SMEs and entrepreneurs:
- Polycentrism. It’s about creating subsidiaries decentralised from the parent company in targeted markets. This is translated into creating different marketing materials for the different countries or regions that you want to target. This will depend on the concrete necessities of each audience. You will need to segment your different audiences and perform a market research for each of them in order to compare their necessities and how that is going to affect your products and services.
- Ethnocentrism. This approach consists of the standardisation of your marketing materials. The main aim of your marketing will be to attract as many potential clients as possible, without taking into account specific need of a concrete segment of your audience. However, your marketing material will need to be adapted to cover the new targeted audience.
- Geocentrism. This technique implies the standardisation of marketing material wherever possible by adapting these materials only where necessary. The objective of this technique is to approach as many international clients as possible by modifying your marketing materials as little as possible.
Strategies to approach international clients
Most of the strategies that I am going to include in this list can be applied to national clients too. However, they should be applied taking into account the international marketing research performed beforehand. Let’s see what actions we can take!
- Update your marketing materials for an international audience.
Localise the different elements of your brand to attract a new audience in different languages: slogans, mission statements, USPs, website, corporate name, etc. I already talked in this blog posts how important languages are for a business, but it’s even more important when your objective is to target a new audience coming from a different culture.
- Promote word of mouth.
If you want to introduce your services or products in a new country, you will have to make people talk about you. The opinion of satisfied clients is crucial and will encourage people from the same country to hire your services. In order to do so, you will have to offer something different and surprise your clients by tackling their needs. Focus on this in your market research!
- Offer value to attract people abroad.
If you want to attract people, you’ll have to offer something of quality to them first. You’ll need to evaluate what you’re offering already to your current audience, in order to know what’s the best method to approach your new potential audience.
For example, if you are blogging to provide content of quality to your audience, maybe you should consider to translate your best posts into the language of your new audience in order to attract their attention.
You could also offer samples of your products or services or even a contest targeted for your new audience. (I just conducted my first content on my Facebook page and it got great results!)
- Get involved in your targeted community and network.
You need to know what’s going on within the community that you want to approach. If you can’t assist any events taking place in this community, maybe you should consider outsourcing this task.
- Collaborate with other businesses in your targeted community.
A good way to end up with competition is to turn it into collaborations. I always think that businesses can add value to each other without competing to merely gain more clients.
For example, I am collaborating with a copywriting agency in the UK. Some of their clients need Spanish copies every now and then, and need a Spanish speaking copywriter, whereas some of my clients need English copies. It’s a good way of collaborating for the benefits of both businesses.
Making strategic connexions within your targeted community could be a good way to start introducing your services and products. As entrepreneurs, we should always be open to new opportunities.
- Localise your online platforms.
If you want to reach this new audience, you have to make sure that you can convey the same message across linguistic and culture barriers. If you’re already using an online platform (a website, online shop, forums, directories, etc.) to sell or promote your services, make sure that new potential clients are also able to use the same platform. The easier they can do so, the better for your business.
Now I want to hear from you! How do you approach international clients? Do you any other techniques? Leave a comment below!
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