10 Key Steps to Taking Your Business Global With an International Company Website
Elements your company website should include to attract a completely new audience and engage them
You’ve been running your business successfully for a while now and you want something more. There are so many new markets waiting to be explored and so many new prospects waiting to be converted. Why not take your business to an international level?
Many businesses will not take this risk because they fear it’s too hard to succeed internationally so they will decide not to expand their business. Of course, a business owner has every right to turn down the idea of expansion of its own company, but you should never let fear be your reason for it. If you want to see your company growing and becoming successful in different countries, you should take your business global.
However, there are ways to do it right and once you decide to expand your business, make sure you start from your website. That’s the first place where your potential customers will look for information about your company and not having an international website will have a tremendously negative impact on your success.
To ensure you take your business globally the right way, we’re bringing you 10 keys steps you need to follow if you wish to see your company growing on the global scene, and they are all related to your website. So, let’s take a look at what elements should your company website include to attract a completely new audience and engage them on the level that suits them.
table of content
- Analyze the markets
- Analyze your website
- Translating your content
- Calculating buyer's costs and estimating shipping
- Purchasing a domain
- Optimizing your website
- Testing your speed
- Providing customer support
- Having social media accounts
- Asking for feedback
1. Analyze the market(s)
Before you start working on your international company website, you should analyse the market or markets you’re creating that website for. Is your target audience in that country the same as the target audience in your country? There is really a minimum chance that these audiences will be completely identical so it’s vital to find factors that differentiate them. That will help you create more precise messages and shape your marketing strategy in a way it fits them completely.
For instance, the target audience in your country can be women from 22 to 34 years, but in another country it can be women from 26 to 38. This makes a huge difference and knowing it ensures you are not wasting your money and time on a group of people that is not even interested in your products. Also, you should know who your competitors are on this new market, how people feel about them, what are their weak points, and so on. In other words, the same way you analysed the market in your country, you should do it for every other country you wish to be present in with your products.
2. Analyze your website
Now that you know what differentiates your potential customers in that country from the customers in your country, you should see what elements of your business displayed on your website you can keep. The messaging will probably have to change at least a bit as one message is rarely equally efficient in several countries. Also, analyze the images and other visual elements you’re using on your website to see if they should be replaced with a more adequate ones.
Some countries have very strong cultural differences when compared to others and not including it into your strategies will only harm your business success in that country. Go through each of the pages you have on your website and mark the parts that can stay the same and determine which ones need to change due to a particular reason.
3. Translating your content
If you’re expanding to a new country and want to engage your potential customers there, you will need to talk to them in their own language. Even though your company website might be in English language and your target audience in that country are highly educated individuals who speak English language very good, you should create a website in their language. You should do that for every country you expand to. If you’re afraid that the expenses will be too high, you can provide country-specific sites for the countries you are present in.
Some companies are even employing multi-lingual stuff because their web content changes too often to contact and pay for external translator every time. Other companies will strongly be against translating their website. There are even companies who’ve decided to translate only parts of their website and turn it into a landing page created specifically for that target audience. Whatever you choose, make sure it enhances your business results. Of course, you will base your decision on your budget but keep in mind that sometimes, investing a bit more money into translation can bring you an enormous increase in profit. Choose wisely!
4. Calculating buyer’s costs and estimating shipping
How much will your product cost in that particular country? It would be ideal if all products cost the same in all countries but due to various taxes and fees, the price of your product can vary from country to country. In case the price will vary significantly, make sure your potential customers know the reasons for it. Not communicating that information on time can have a huge impact on their purchasing decision which will lower your income in these countries.
Also, if your business has an e-commerce website, you will need to estimate the cost for shipping as shipping internationally will probably be much more expensive than domestic shipping. Here, you will need to take into consideration differences in currencies. To be more precise, you should do your best to calculate your product’s landed cost i.e. cost of the product when it arrives in the country with all taxes, fees and other elements. This can be very complex to estimate but should be done if you wish to take your business global in the best way possible.
5. Purchasing a domain
If you wish to be taken seriously by your potential customers in other countries, and we’re sure that you do, you will need to think about purchasing domain names for these countries. Domain names can contain a specific site created for that country or direct to pages on your website which are devoted to it. This is a method many international companies utilize but, unfortunately, it’s very expensive and complex to implement for small- and middle-sized businesses. However, there is a way to ensure you have your own domain that will ensure you don’t lose any of your potential customers in foreign countries. You can set up sub domains or sub folders within the main website domain of your company. The great thing about sub folders is that they also helps you with your ranking on search engines.
6. Optimizing your website
Your website should be optimized if you wish to attract the traffic from these foreign countries. Optimization is one of the biggest trends with marketers and you should definitely focus on it when taking your business global. With search engines and search ads, you can utilize various techniques to attract these visitors to your website. Above-mentioned domain names can help you significantly with your website optimization but also using keywords is other languages and geo-targeting to certain countries. Also, think about guest posting about your business on relevant platforms in these countries to promote your market entry as much as possible.
7. Testing the speed
Speed will be one of the determining factors for your new prospects and customers, but keep in mind that having more subdomains or a multilingual website might slow your entire website down. That’s why it’s vital that you test it. Start from your desktop computer to check how the website loads for your desktop users. Then, continue testing the speed with your mobile device. After all, the majority of today’s Internet users come from their smartphones. Your website should already be mobile-responsive and everything you decide to add on it, should be optimized for mobile as well.
As the connection speeds differs depending on the place you’re connecting from, you need to do everything to ensure your website is as fast as possible. Your images and other media should be optimized to enhance the loading and downloading time. The more graphics, images, scripts and embeds you have, the slower your website will load which will lead to visitors leaving your site before even seeing any vital information. To test your speed, you can even use some of the free online tools that will immediately tell you your score and some will even suggest what needs to be improved.
8. Providing customer support
Once your business is running in another country, you will need to think about the customer support you will provide to your customers there. Who will take care of these customers if they have any issues with your product or simply want to learn more about it? It’s vital that you have the appropriate staff and also strategy to ensure your target audience can communicate with your business in their own language.
Also, you should think about providing phone numbers and email addresses for that specific audience so they can easily get the information they need. Imagine if your potential customers are thrilled about your product but only need few simple information about it and you haven’t provided them with a communication channel. While you were analysing the new market, you should’ve discover their preferred communication channels which you will be using.
9. Having social media accounts
Having a website without the accompanying social networks is like having a product and not having a company. In today’s digital world, website and social media are becoming two sides of the same coin. Social media helps you attract more visitors to your website and close more deals but what to do when expanding to new markets? First, you should know which social media platforms are used by your target audience in different countries. Is it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or something completely else? Whatever the most popular platforms are, you should be active on them to interact and engage your customers.
10. Asking for feedback
Your first few months of entering a new market are crucial. The way your target audience sees your business and products will determine how successful your company will be in that country. You should interact with your customers and prospects from the start and show them their opinion is valuable to you. Ask them what they think about your campaigns, messaging, website, social media platforms, and so on. There is no better way to enhance your business results in that country than talking to your target audience. The sooner you understand which things work and which don’t, the easier it will be to shape your efforts to fit this audience’s needs.
- Analyze the new market to understand better who your target audience is.
- Determine which parts of your website could be used for the new market.
- Translate your content partially or completely depending on your needs, but also consider hiring multilingual staff.
- Calculate how much will the product cost in that country, with taxes and fees, and if you’re an e-commerce business, estimate the cost for shipping in that country as well.
- Consider purchasing a new domain name for that new market. The more cost-effective solution is to set up sub domains or sub folders within the main website domain.
- Focus on optimization and think about techniques such as geo-targeting and using keywords in other languages.
- Test your website speed and see how it performs on different devices on different locations.
- Provide customer support to your new target audience to allow them to have all essential information to make a purchase.
- Determine which social media accounts you will have for this new market and communicate actively on them.
- Ask for feedback from the moment you enter this new market to ensure all of your efforts are going in the right direction.
Joel Koh is the director of One X Tech's Technology Management & Digital Solutions practice. He leads the firm's Asia Pacific office efforts in continually evolving and growing new capabilities to serve clients in technology-led transformations.