8-step guide for web presence in export markets

8-step guide for web presence in export markets

How to create a visible and compelling web presence in export markets

Hello to all ambitious SMEs aspiring to make an international impact! I recently had the privilege of speaking at an Enterprise Ireland event focused on “Digital Marketing Strategies for International Markets.” The event was well attended, highlighting a keen interest in this crucial subject. Due to the interest in the topic, I’ve summarised the key points from my presentation into this high-level 8-step guide. Read on to discover a structured approach for establishing a strong web presence in your export markets.

Step 1: Understand Your Chosen Target Markets

Your first move is to deeply understand the market you’re venturing into. This involves not only identifying your target audience but also understanding the local business environment and cultural nuances. A comprehensive competitor analysis with special focus on your new export market competitors’ online presence is essential at this stage to gauge the market landscape, fully prepare for your competitors, and identify potential opportunities to outshine them.

Step 2: Assess Your Internal Readiness

Before diving in, take stock of your internal resources and capabilities with regard to the chosen export market. Is your brand known in this new market as it is in your home market? Probably not. Consider what resources you have at your disposal for sales, marketing, and servicing the export market. Assess if your routes to market are the same or differ in the export market and thus entail changes to your web presence abroad. The answers to these types of questions typically will have direct impact on your web presence in the export market. For example, if your brand is not known in the new market, extra effort is required for brand building, SEO, and marketing.

Step 3: Website Localisation and Marketing Strategy

A successful international foray requires a robust strategy and clear goals. When it comes to your website and digital marketing, strive for a balance between aligning with your home market website to keep things easy to manage and also adapting to the most important unique requirements of the export market to ensure your efforts are well-received in this different business and cultural environment.

Step 4: Detailed Website Localisation Planning

Planning is crucial and a key step for website localisation that will save you time, budget and frustration, if done properly. This is also the stage where you decide on the specifics of translation and, if applicable, select your translation provider. There are various approaches—Machine Translation (MT), Post-Editing Machine Translation (PEMT), human translation, SEO-optimised translation, and transcreation. Each has its pros and cons and is suitable in different situations, so choose wisely based on your goals and your resources.

Step 5: Implementation of Localised Website

The implementation phase comes with its set of challenges, such as technical issues, time constraints and delays, and the ripple effect the new market might have on your home website. Be prepared and plan for some iteration and flexibility in your approach. The ripple effect, in particular, is something I have seen in many projects – it’s a positive ripple, as it typically adds solid additional value to your home country site, but be aware that it might extend the timeline.

Step 6: Launch of Localised Website

Congratulations, you’re ready to launch! Your target audience can now check out a website localised for their needs and expectations. But remember, launching a website that is localised and SEO-optimised for the new export market is just half the journey. The real test begins when the site goes live and users start interacting with your site.

Step 7: Post-Launch Localisation and Marketing

Once the site is live for a couple of weeks, it’s time for a website and SEO audit to see what works and what needs further work. In addition, you should now decide and establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy and plan to meet these. Don’t forget, just as your home country website a website needs updates and active marketing.

Step 8: Measurement and Course Adjustment

Lastly, keep an eye on the metrics. This will help you understand what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to adjust your strategy and make data-driven decisions for sustainable growth and continued success in your chosen export market.

There you have it—an 8-step guide to get your started on developing a compelling and visible web presence in your chosen export markets. Each step is designed to build on the previous one, providing you with a roadmap to international digital marketing success. This article serves as a high-level overview, so should you wish to explore these strategies in greater depth and learn how Glocafy can help your business thrive abroad, I encourage you to reach out to us.

Susanne Dirks

Susanne Dirks is an internationalisation consultant, specialising in website localisation, international SEO and international digital marketing.