Tips to Court Cross-Border Business

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Contributed by Angela Fabunan

Angela Fabunan writes about business and finance. He works for Tomedes Ltd, a language translation company that helps businesses break into new markets.

Whether you’re seeking to pivot your operations because of the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic or it’s simply time to expand, embracing cross-border business can be an exciting opportunity! That said, it’s not a task that can be done overnight.

You’ll need to customize your marketing approach, find a professional translation company, and update your online presence.

Start with Market Research

Before translate your website, conduct market research. Look into what products are trending in the new marketplace. Look for unmet demand, and use this to estimate potential demand for your products.

In addition, research your competitors in the new market. What are they offering? How do they target customers? Where do consumers go to learn about their products? How do consumers buy their products? How do your competitors turn their customers into evangelists?

Don’t assume a new market will react the same as the market where you currently sell your products. Customers in different countries can have different pain points, preferences, and priorities.

Scope Out Your Translation Needs

Before you start translating company materials, scope out what you need to achieve. Your cross-border marketing plan should show :

  • which products and services you plan to sell
  • the countries where you plan to sell them
  • languages needed to accommodate international audiences
  • marketing channels
  • the content and marketing collateral you plan to translate (rather than rewrite or redesign)
  • the content you plan to develop from scratch (for example, new product packaging designed for a new market, or a dedicated Twitter account for a new region)

Your website, email marketing and social media campaigns are likely to be more important than any hard copy documents. Digital marketing is simply a faster way to reach people, and you can see results much faster.

For most websites, a language selection icon at the top is an easy way to allow users to select their preferred country and language. Another option is to have country code top-level domains for each country where you operate.

Find the Right Translation Company

Translators deliver different levels of service. For informal translation tasks, individual freelance translators can suffice. Ideally, seek people who have knowledge of experience in your industry so that they’ll be familiar with industry specific vocabulary.

For projects that involve legal documents, instructions, or other important documents, you need to hire a company that you can hold accountable.

A good translator will be sensitive to cultural preference in imagery as well as formatting for dates, addresses, prices, and measurements. Ask the translation company you’re interviewing how they can help you with these concerns.

Popular Platforms for Translation Services

  • Proz: Proz is a job platform with a category for translators.
  • Tomedes: Tomedes is an ISO-certified translation company and a member of the American Translators Association (ATA).
  • Institute of Translation and Interpreting: ITI is a UK-based organization of interpreters and translators.
  • Translation Jobs and Translators: This Facebook group has over 60,000 members. It’s a popular destination for companies and translators to meet.
  • Upwork: Upwork is the biggest online jobs platform. You can post a job and wait for freelancers to apply, or you can request certain freelancers apply to your job.

Keep Optimizing Your International Marketing

Chances are your niche is crowded and competitive. To be successful in a new country, you’ll need to outshine local competitors and other international brands.

Commit to understanding the audiences you’re targeting. Monitor the latest news in the areas you’re targeting. Familiarize yourself with the economic, political and wider cultural context of each country.

Keep up with market shifts. Stay in touch with your translation team, bearing in mind that the audience they translate for can change over time. What was once trendy can change in years or even weeks.

Hone in on what works. Minimize or eliminate what doesn’t. In addition to studying your numbers, undertake qualitative market research to understand why certain marketing activities are more successful than others.

A Final Word

Oxford Economics and Western Union project that the value of cross-border trade will rise from 6.1 trillion in 2019 to 8.0 trillion by 2025. That’s 31% growth in just six years!

You cannot just rely on your traditional market and watch your competitors reap the benefits of going international.

There are huge opportunities ahead. It’s time to get started on your market research, scope out your international marketing plan, and find a translation company to partner with. It’s going to be an exciting journey for businesses who get their international marketing right.

Who Do You Know?

Most likely you know someone who could apply this information right now to grow their career or business. If you do, help them out. Share this article with them today on LinkedIn in a private message or public post.


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