15 Feb 2016 12:04:51
In the past, a newly established business would have no choice but to cater to local clients until its resources and scale of operations enabled it to expand to the regional, national and international market. Today, any startup can offer their product or services to clients situated in different parts of the world through a combination of an informative website and an effective digital marketing strategy.
From just two internet users per 100 inhabitants in 2003, internet usage in Africa increased to 16 users per 100 inhabitants in 2013. In the Asia Pacific region, internet usage rose from nine per 100 inhabitants to 32 users per 100 inhabitants over the 10-year period. Despite this rise, only one out of three global citizens enjoys access to the internet today. You can imagine the immense opportunities that your brand will enjoy as internet connectivity expands to cover the entire world.
Establish an Online Presence
The first step towards establishing a digital presence is the creation of a website. Your website will serve as the digital face of your brand. A functional and stylish website will automatically make a good first impression on visitors located in different parts of the world. Unlike local customers who can form their assessments on the basis of personal visits, your international clientele will rely solely on your website to form their opinions about your brand. Furthermore, a website serves as a convenient source of information that can be accessed across different countries and time zones at the convenience of the visitor.
Unlike conventional marketing channels, digital marketing allows very little room for errors. An outdated website containing obsolete information can reflect very poorly on your business. Similarly, a lack of frequent updates to your website will be considered as a negative sign. Digital marketing is all about establishing and maintaining contact with the widest audience possible. This is best achieved through frequent updates that add value to the visitor’s experience.
Top Priority to Your Visitors
Search engine optimization is essential to ensure your website enjoys maximum visibility among its target audience. However, you cannot expect your visitors to adjust or accommodate just because you seek higher search engine rankings. All aspects and facets of your website must be designed and maintained to provide maximum satisfaction to your visitors.
Adopt a Goal-Oriented Approach
All branding activities, including establishing a digital presence, must be based on a goal-oriented strategy. What’s the basic purpose of your website? Is it restricted solely to providing information about your brand? Are you keen on using it as an e-commerce platform? Will your target audience be comfortable placing orders online? Is your website optimized for mobile viewing? Can it be viewed even by those without access to high-speed internet? These are just some of the questions you should consider when finalizing your digital marketing strategy.
Internationalize Your Website
Create multiple versions of your website in different languages to ensure maximum visibility among the global audience. This seemingly minor step will establish your credentials as a customer-friendly business. Avoid relying on machine translations when setting up multiple versions of your site. The services of an expert translator will help you use the nuances of the language to convey your message in an effective manner.
Offering content in multiple languages is merely the first step towards the internationalization of your website. The site’s design and appearance must be altered to minimize the impact of cultural differences. While the use of bright colors may be considered unprofessional in some cultures, other visitors may find it to be a sign of transparency, openness and the courage to be unconventional. Choosing the right colors and symbols, converting your prices into the local currency, and optimization of the site’s loading time will ensure your site makes a good impression on your target audience – irrespective of differences in culture and quality of technology.
Encourage Interaction and Exchange of Information
Every visitor to your website represents an opportunity to enhance your brand’s appeal irrespective of whether the visitor proceeds to do business with you. The era of passive websites has passed; include interactive components on your site. Make use of surveys, polls, a request to subscribe to your newsletter and even a questionnaire about the site’s quality to interact with your visitors. Such enthusiasm and energy will always make a good impression on your audience.
Pay Attention to Social Media
As of May 2014, four out of the top five countries with users on Facebook included India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico. In 2014, around 33 percent of Twitter’s users came from the Asia Pacific region. Around 58 percent of all Twitter users came from developing regions of the world. These figures clearly indicate that social media’s popularity is rapidly expanding beyond developed countries. An effective digital marketing strategy must exploit the fantastic advantages offered by social networks.
The most effective social media marketing technique is to focus on providing engaging and interesting content. It’s imperative that you focus beyond sales and numbers. Social media sites offer virtually unlimited opportunities to create brand awareness. Knowing your brand’s core appeal and focusing on your target audience will help increase brand recall. Once your target audience is satisfied with your brand’s credentials and authority, your business will automatically witness a steady and sustained increase in its pace of growth.
There are numerous examples of entrepreneurs trying to create a real connection with their social media audience and going beyond their business interests and use social media to promote their corporate social responsibility and philanthropic activities. Remember, even these activities will contribute to the overall reputation of the brand. Try to be innovative on social media and use all tools at your disposal, including podcasts, videos, infographics and humorous memes to convey your marketing message in a subtle manner.
The internet, if used effectively, can transform your business into a global brand in a very short period. However, you’ll have to identify and use the right techniques to cut through the clutter and create a good impression on your audience. Clear knowledge of your goals, an internationalized approach and emphasis on adding value through user engagement are key to a successful digital marketing strategy.