How to launch your international sales with a small budget

How to increase your international sales with a small budget

If you have a product or a service that you would like to sell in other countries as well to consumers, there are a few options. If the product is easy to sell, to pack and to deliver, you could choose Amazon to be your online partner. With a product in one (or all) of the 11 Amazon networks, you can reach out to hundreds of million potential consumers. If you make your product available in the Alibaba en Aliexpres online shops, you have the potential global market covered. All you need now is that people will start to search for your product. Or get informed that your product is really important to have and can range from the famous finger spinner, a wireless phone charger up to an inflatable hammock. To promote your product and to generate traffic to online shops, you can choose to advertise online using SEA (Search Engine Advertising).

Retailers will demand serious marketing support

If your product must be in a physical store to feel it and test it, you’d be better of with a local distributor that can knock on shopping doors, to get some shelf and floor space at retailers. This approach will need of course strong local marketing support regarding POS materials, advertising and online testimonials. You know the drill: ‘In the shops now, this new product is hot and can be bought at…followed by the names of your retail partners. Retailers will demand some serious marketing support before they make the decision to put your product in their shops. You have to place ads in their paper door to door leaflet, make some radio commercials, some tv commercials or you pay 30% of their running tv commercial. It’s all about the money that you can spend BEFORE you sell anything. But that’s the risk of entrepreneurship.

Europe is a booming market

So far, the above goes for your local market. If you are going internationally with your sales, you need translators and people to check the translations if the commercial message and your marketing promise are still powerful enough. The most interesting part of the world to sell to might be Europe. With a population of 400+ million people and an above average coverage of fast Internet access, Europe is a booming market. Online sales in 2016 went through the 1 billion euros roof, and the best is yet to come with faster Internet, smarter phones and a growing number of people that discover the beauty of online shopping.

Create awareness online

But what if your product if a bit more complicated than a finger spinner? Maybe you want to sell a new boat design to watersport lovers, or a super flexible technical up to date maintenance service for trailers across Europe, or advanced software for architects, developers, and builders that is a hit in the US, but not yet in Europe? To find specific new customers in other countries, you need an international sales strategy. If you have the money, you hire local salespeople and an office for them to work in. It can take maybe a year of spreading the news that you have arrived in that country, making an appointment, visiting prospects and trying to get new local clients. Creating new sales in new territories is a long-term effort that needs dedication and discipline. It also takes a long-term budget in the traditional way to make things happen. And don’t forget that service is your best marketing weapon, so before you sell something, you must have a good service support in place. This part can be outsourced with a local partner, giving your business instantly a local flavor.

If you have the ambition to sell internationally, and you need local presence, you can do it the smart way.

Content driven online strategy

Sales and service people are easy to find and easy to hire. But the start-up process of promoting your services and creating awareness on a local language level need an online content marketing strategy. A content driven online strategy is by far the most efficient way to generate specific leads from specific customers. If you have the right content online in the local language, new customers will find you through Google. You can place Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter messages and Instagram ads, but nothing beats organic search in Google. ‘Be found when somebody searches for your service’ is the key to effective content marketing. Of course, this needs a set-up with local websites hosted on the country domain. If you aim for the German market, open up a website on a local domain; ending with .de. Local hosting might look like a small detail for your content marketing strategy, but it is essential for having success. Any search request in the German Google will firstly bring up German websites, despite your German language version on a dot com hosted site. This Google strategy to get the best results on a local level is called ‘Trumping’; putting your country first in line of other results.

Be found by new customers

Next step is to create content that is in line with demands in Google. Are people searching for new innovative boat design? Use those keywords in your stories. Put great images in your content and make it easy for people to share these on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. And more people search in Google Images to see the products straight sway, so don’t forget to tag your pictures.

The above is the set-up you need for every country you like to sell your services to. If you believe in your product, but you are unable to invest upfront hundreds of thousands of dollars in local sales teams, the described method is your small budget key to success. We know the saying ‘If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’ but actually, you can get a lot of expertise for a relatively small budget. For the price of one employee, you hire a full team that works dedicated to your brand and stays up to date on your local market. This team has seasoned journalists, art directors, SEO experts and your local contact. This contact person will talk to your sales people, your marketing managers and your board of directors to get the best input and convert this into content that will make a difference. A difference in your Google ranking and a difference in leads through your local website.

Interested? Contact Ab Kuijer for more details and a tailor-made solution on WhatsAb +33770186203. Or visit www.imfs.nl

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