Tips to Court Cross-Border Business

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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.

Cross-border marketing can be a complex endeavor, requiring strategic planning and effective funnels to drive conversions. Suppose you’re looking for one effective way to do it. In that case, you might find this article on how to build a high-converting evergreen funnel helpful. It provides a comprehensive guide that covers various aspects of creating successful evergreen funnels, from setting up the initial landing page to nurturing leads and maximizing conversions.

Below, we outlined how you can start maximizing cross-border marketing.

Start with Market Research

Look for Unmet Demand

Before translating 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.

Research Your Competitors

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?

Examine how your competitors position themselves in the market and their consequent strategies. Look at their messaging, branding, advertising channels, and content marketing efforts. This analysis can provide insights into tactics you can leverage or areas where you can find gaps to exploit.

Also, industry events and conferences provide valuable networking opportunities and a chance to observe your competitors. Participate in them to watch firsthand their strategies, market positioning, and partnerships

Consider Cultural Differences in Marketing Strategies

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.

Additionally, marketing messages that are effective in one country may not be as effective in another due to differences in cultural norms and values. For instance, colors and symbols can have different meanings in different cultures, and certain marketing tactics that are acceptable in one country may be considered offensive in another.

The best solution is to work with a localization team that understands these cultural differences and can adapt your marketing strategies accordingly.

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 Solution

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Translation Solution

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.

When selecting a platform, it’s crucial to assess reputation, user reviews, pricing, quality control, and customer support. 

Take the time to compare the features and offerings of different platforms. It enables you to make an informed decision that best suits your requirements and aligns with your budgetary constraints. 

Remember, finding the right platform for your translation needs can contribute to the success of your cross-border marketing endeavors.

Use Technology to Streamline Translation Processes

In today’s globalized world, technology can be a valuable asset in streamlining your translation processes. There are various tools and software available that can help make the translation process faster and more efficient.

For instance, Translation Memory technology stores translated text in a database and can recall it when similar content needs to be translated, which can reduce costs and turnaround time.

In addition, Machine Translation technology can be used to quickly translate large amounts of content with some accuracy, although it should be reviewed and edited by human translators for quality assurance.

Localize Your Shopping Cart

Localizing your online shopping cart for your global audience is an essential aspect of cross-border business. Cart localization involves tailoring the shopping cart to match the shopping preferences of customers from different cultures, and it can have a significant impact on your global revenue. However, this process requires a thoughtful, consistent, and strategic approach to optimize the shopping experience for customers from different regions.

Use Local Payment Methods

Different countries prefer different payment methods, with some countries having local payment methods that account for up to 50% of online purchases. As such, it’s important to make sure that you offer local payment methods that are widely used in the countries where your customers are located. Ensure that payment logos are easy to spot and avoid hiding them in a drop-down menu.

Acomodate Cart Flow Country Preferences

To optimize your shopping cart for different countries, you need to analyze your traffic and determine your top markets. Split testing can help determine which cart flow best suits each geographic area and its customers. For example, users in the US prefer a short, one-step checkout experience, while some countries in Europe, like Germany and France, prefer reviewing their order before placing it.

Localize Content

Content localization involves translating the content to the local language and adapting it to the tone and voice for its regional audience. Localize prices, both in display and billing, and show the standard local taxes that apply. Tailor date and time, graphics, color, and formatting to your specific market as much as possible. Finally, optimize load time for each region. A global average will not help you. Therefore, test load times for each key region and work on optimization according to priorities.

A/B Test

A/B testing can help determine what’s working best in your top markets. Try testing cart flow in your top five markets, optimizing for each by geo-distribution, repeating the test weekly with variations. A/B test the payment method selector format, varying by drop-down menus, buttons, radio boxes, and placement. Offer the top payment methods for each region. Test different pre-selected payment methods, such as the one the shopper sees right away when they open the checkout page.

By localizing your shopping cart, you can optimize the shopping experience for your customers from different regions, ensuring a smooth and easy checkout process. This, in turn, can guarantee a significant increase in global revenue, as your customers are more likely to make a purchase and return for future sales.

Optimize Your Payment and Shipping Methods

Offering payment and shipping methods that are familiar and convenient for your target market can increase your chances of success in cross-border e-commerce. Different countries have different preferred payment methods, and some may not have access to certain payment systems. Similarly, shipping preferences can vary depending on the country, so it’s important to offer options that are suitable for each market. Partnering with local payment and shipping providers can help make the process smoother for both you and your customers.

Monitor Your Performance, and Make Changes as Needed

Measure Your Performance

Finally, it’s important to monitor and analyze performance metrics:

  • website traffic (organic, paid, social media, and referral)
  • email opt-in rate
  • sales conversion rate
  • average order value
  • customer acquisition cost
  • shopping cart abandonment rate
  • refund and return rate
  • churn rate
  • customer feedback
  • customer lifetime value
  • repeat customer rate
  • net promoter score
  • social media engagement

All this will help you understand how your store is performing in different markets. Use this information to make data-driven decisions to optimize your marketing strategies and improve your customer experience.

Outshine Local Competitors

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.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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