No business starts with the plan to stay small. With the IMF predicting a global economic contraction of 2.7% over the next year, expansion into new markets may be one of the primary avenues for businesses to maintain profits and growth in 2023.
But international expansion can be an intimidating endeavour when you’re just starting out. We sat down with our Head of Paid Media, Cristiano Winckler, to pick his brain about what matters when it comes to campaigns crossing borders.
1. Not all English is created equal
Once you’ve conducted market research and considered likely regions for your products or services, it’s crucial to account for localisation, even if you’re moving into another English speaking country.
“Many people assume that what works in the USA will work in the UK or Australia, but that’s not always the case,” says Cristiano. Cultural nuances are an important consideration regardless of language.
And if you’re moving from an English-speaking home market, into a market that operates using another language, you must consider more than just a simple translation of assets.
“I prefer to use the term ‘localisation’ rather than ‘translation’,” says Cristiano. This is because crossing borders is about more than language barriers. Studies have shown that localising content for a specific market can increase traffic, conversions and sales by as much as 70%. Having staff on the ground, particularly support and sales staff, who understand the cultural norms of their societies, can move leads down the funnel faster and more efficiently in foreign markets.
2. Treat each campaign uniquely
As part of the localisation process, key to success is treating each country as its own campaign.
“It’s not just about copy, paste repeat,” says Cristiano. “You may find that while ABC performed well in the States, EFG performs better in the UK.” As such, each country’s campaign should have its own assets, goals, measurements and approach.
3. Check your tech
Using AI tools can take a lot of the heavy lifting out of creating individual campaigns for each country. “But,” warns Cristiano, “It’s critical to check whether the tools available in your home region offer the same level of service in your target region.”
This is an important consideration, particularly for ABM campaigns, where marketers rely on target audience data to garner effective outcomes.
Even platforms differ from place to place, with Facebook being entirely unavailable in China, while Yahoo might be a more powerful platform to use in Japan. Taking factors like tech and language preference into consideration can see conversions increase, as one study shows that localised mobile advertising increased conversion rates by 42% compared to its English counterpart.
4. Budget, plan, repeat
There is plenty of opportunity for those brands brave enough to tackle new frontiers. But for many, particularly when moving from a US market to the UK, or vice versa, the initial cost can be off-putting. Cristiano notes that “we’ve seen clients who’ve experienced a lift in new leads of up to 25% when expanding across borders, at an additonal cost of about 20%”
This cost decreases over time as the campaign becomes optimised and cost-per-clicks begin to drop. “Bear in mind that a target keyword in France may be cheaper than in America,” he adds.
Where to start? Find a partner that works with you
When all else fails, rely on the expertise offered by agencies like Somebody Digital, with representation on just about every continent (except Antarctica of course), along with years of experience providing expansion services and advice to businesses across the globe.