Even if your company is sustaining successful domestic operations, adapting to global challenges could be an issue. You want to successfully transition into foreign markets, but your marketing team may have no personal or professional experience or connections with said markets. Depending on how different the foreign market is from your current one, you could end up changing everything from the pricing to the functionality of your product or service. There are a lot of things to consider, but these tips will help you get started.

1. Study local laws. It is important to gain an understanding of regional laws and regulations. You want to know ahead of time what kind of legal issues you could run into. This includes whether your product can be sold in a particular region, and extends to considerations like safety, design, materials and chemicals used, etc. All of these factors play a part in how you will need to adjust your marketing message.

2. Understand cross-cultural competency. Understand the cultural barriers within which you and others in your business operate. Have a grasp of the cultural assumptions and biases that will help you identify cultural differences that might jeopardize business abroad. Think about how your country or region’s cultural norms differ among age groups, genders, geographical areas, etc., and then consider those differences among consumers in other cultures. Learning about and respecting other cultures will help you localize your brand’s message.

3. Utilize market research. Taking cross-cultural competency one step further, really get to know your target market within the foreign country. Without a clear understanding of how your foreign consumers live, work, play, and shop, you’re not in a solid position to market your products. Take the time to research not only the consumers, but your competition in the foreign market. Identify differences and opportunities to help you adjust your marketing strategy.

4. Develop International SEO. A proper SEO strategy is crucial for international marketing. Many of your customers might find your product or service through an online search, so this is worth developing a solid strategy. Identifying accurate keywords and geo-targeting are critical.

5. Focus on website design. It is important to put as much thought and effort into your international websites as it is your domestic sites. Remember to consider cultural implications of particular colors, responsive design, and e-commerce technologies. Utilizing a content management system (CMS) can help you keep all of your websites organized.

After you clearly understand the foreign market in which your company is emerging, you’ll want to apply your overall marketing strategy to create an international tactical plan, which we will cover in another post.

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