6 Steps to finding the most profitable foreign market for your business

6 Steps to finding the most profitable foreign market for your business

You are already welcoming visitors, guests, and customers regularly on your website, your e-store, your hotel or restaurant, your brick & mortar business – and you see the potentials of getting a firm and foreseeable share of that foreign market business, more consistently. You are considering translating your website, your product pages, signage, brochures and providing customer service in a foreign language or two… Yet which languages and/or which markets should you target first? Where should you start your research on the most profitable foreign market for your business? How should you do it without knowing the language or that particular market or that country?

This article will give you points to consider when making this important decision of where to invest and start your Wanderlust. It’s a groundwork that will be the jump board to the next steps of that journey. And please let me have one request: Do not start with considering only hard numbers and stern facts, but also be guided by your inspiration and simple curiosity of the journey ahead. You aren’t in the planning stage yet, you are allowed to imagine “What if…” And imagine a closer contact with a culture that is foreign now, the various possibilities of traveling overseas, the discovery of a territory full of new potentials never pondered and lived before.

As I am a person believing there is great power and impact in using pen and paper, I also created a downloadable worksheet version of this article that you may print out for taking notes on your initial research. Get the Workbook.

 

1. Mine your business data

Start with your own properties. Analyze your own website’s traffic for country code top-level domains (i.e. .fr for France, .ru for Russia). These are the letters after the dot in any URL or email address, such as www.yoursite.de for a website/a business in Germany. Who is visiting your site from which country more frequently than others? Could there be a reason for that, such as international conventions, seasonal attractions, etc.?

If you have a brick & mortar business and international customers or guests are already on your doorsteps, which nationality are they, which country are they from? Go through your guest or customer database and compile that info.

 

2. Get the local facts

Is there a specific market or consumer group attracted to your unique location or facility? Germans for example love kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking, they love traveling with RVs and are interested in Native American Culture.

Your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor and Convention Center have facts and figures about international tourism and businesses in your region. Get those data and compile it.

 

3. Look at the world

Your website and its translation and adjustment for a local foreign market will most likely be your signage and storefront on the web and for an international audience. Comparing your company’s web traffic patterns, customer and guest data with global internet usage patterns can reveal hints on which market to approach first, in which language(s) to translate your website. Internet usage patterns show the way that the internet is used by the consumer to achieve certain goals.

 

4. Enjoy the Journey

Don’t ignore your preference. It’s easier to do business with a culture you definitely would want to know more about, and even might want to learn the language to some (or full) extent, an interest group or consumer market you feel attracted to or you know very well “locally” and you could educate and inform on a more global scale. It might well be, you will travel there to tighten business bonds. Why not make your business a good reason to approach also a personal Wanderlust that otherwise stays dormant and unrealized.

 

5. Calculate your Return on Investment

Going beyond your border is a significant investment. The best way to justify that investment into a new market is to weigh that investment against the potential returns. Starting out, there is not much data to make those calculations, yet you still should give it your best and realistic and “What if…” guess. Following are some questions that can help you with your calculations:

Does the market need your product or service?

Can that market afford your product or service?

How will they pay us (looking into local/global payment solutions)?

What could be the total revenue potential?

Can you deliver your product or service quickly and affordable?

Can you efficiently offer support for your product/service?

Are there liability and regulatory issues to navigate?

How much cost is involved in localizing your websites (or parts of it) and maintaining it?

 

6. Compiling your research data & putting it all together

Now, look at your research data. Can you see a pattern, are you gaining clarity which country or people would be your first foreign target market? Did you expect that or is it a surprise? Would you like to share your research data with us? You may leave a comment about your research experience as well.

Conclusion

Congratulations! Gathering data from your website statistics, your customer base, your local Chamber and tourist bureaus, observing world statistics and checking in with your own inspiration and curiosity for one or more specific cultures or countries can give you certainly a good insight on which language to translate your website and marketing material first. With working on all the points and compiling the info, you will be equipped to determinate one to three markets that come into closer consideration.

Are you inspired and interested to make some real plans and dive more into the depth of calculating your Return on Investment?

If yes, then the last questions will be your jump board to creating an international business strategy for your particular business. If the data and the last questions left you overwhelmed, then be assured that there are many ways to test the waters of a foreign market without losing an arm and a leg. It’s my goal with this website and my services to make international business approachable, manageable for you and fun to realize.

 

This article is also available as a Workbook with more hints on your research and room to write down your notes and results.

Recap your stats for designated actions

International Sales Tip of the DayIt’s the beginning of the year and, although you are in momentum and swing of following your international business strategy, it’s a good idea to review your website, marketing, and sales statistics and see if your strategy needs adjustment. Yes, it is most likely part of your processes anyway, yet when things work well and we see some daily sales and visitors, a detailed review might get a not so close look. Following are a few questions to ask yourself:

Are the foreign visitors of my website proportional still the same or do I get visitors from a market that I haven’t considered yet?
Is my landing/sales page for my freebie, products or newsletter still performing the same or should you test some changes in content/design?
How active are the people interacting with your activities on social media, or should you create a challenge, webinar or specific info to boost activity and sign-up?
What are developments in your targeted foreign market(s)?
Are there special events you should consider attending, sponsoring, speaking at?

Being specific even in times of good progression can result in small changes that can result in big shifts. Always find 1 to 5 adjustments to your strategy to guaranty growth.

Related post on the blog:
What is the most profitable foreign market for my business?

 

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Just call me at this time, my time.

“So I message a millennial blogger I am working with. I ask her what her Skype is so we can chat and which time zone she is in. She says,’Hey I am in Cali, I have never heard of Tel Aviv and no idea where it is, so just call me at this time, my time.’ ” (Facebook post by Keren Brown)

With guests, customers and colleagues around the world, this answer is no longer acceptable. Yes, it can be challenging sometimes to coordinate meetings and communication with people on the other side of the globe but with a bit of geography and organization, you easily can get a hold of it.

What is a time zone? A time zone is a region where the same standard local time is used.
The local time within a time zone is the difference, the time offset, from the world’s time standard Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This offset is displayed as UTC- or UTC+ plus the number of hours and minutes.
Matters get a little complicated when we have to calculate in the Daylight Savings Time (DST) which is not applied at the same time (or not at all) in the various time zones.

The local time zone names are linked to a geographic landmark of the particular country or region and can be different in various regions of the same time zone. With that, different regions with the same UTC offset can have different names, such as Miami, Florida which is in Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Havana, Cuba, which is also UTC-5, with its local Cuba Standard Time (CST).
To make it more confusing, there are various identical abbreviations, such as IST – India Standard Time (UTC+5:30) vs. IST – Israel Standard Time (UTC+2).

There are also 25 military time zones, they are named after the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…), they are used in aviation, at sea, and in communication.

There are various websites that help you get a hold of this complex topic.
My favorite website is www.timeanddate.com, it has all you need to completely understand this system (I refrain from saying “understanding time”, that would be a different post, if you like) coordinate time differences for meetings and have fun with them.

Click the map to go to the interactive time zone map

Click the map to go to the interactive time zone map

Join in on refreshing or learning that foreign language

As my plans for spending two months of the Summer 2017 in my native Germany, my loved France, my married into Italy and my personal study Switzerland, I am starting to get nervous about my language skills.

There are no worries with German as I use it on a daily basis with my work, associates and colleagues, and my family. Although, I for sure will learn new lingo-slango in the streets and at events over there.

My fluent French after having lived there 6 years, on the other hand, didn’t have much practice lately. And I never learned Italian and would love to talk some more to my parents in law.

With that, I set up an account in Duolingo, a free language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app. I decided to integrate the refreshing of my French and the learning of Italian into my daily life, few minutes a day.

You plan to do business overseas? Or selling a digital product there? Why not getting started to learn some of that language. And especially if you have a profession that puts you on the forefront with communicating with European customers, guests, tourists. I wrote a post just about that.

If you like, join me on Duolingo, my username is KatrinRG. See you on the flip-side?

Q&A: What is the difference between Translation & Interpretation anyway?

Translation and Interpretation are often used interchangeable but they are not synonyms. A translation is a rendering of the meaning of a source language into a target language text versus interpretation is the facilitation of an oral or sign language communication between people of different languages.

 

Usually, for someone entering the field of Translation study, there is a moment where the educational path separates and the student makes a decision to become a translator or become an interpreter. Many decide to go with both branches, yet usually one dominates.

 

That is mostly due to the nature of the profession, the professional him/herself, the demographic circumstances and the personal life circumstances.

 

The work of a translator is rather introverted. One sits in front of a computer and types the translation, interrupted by intense searches online or within other references. The translator is a tedious type of person, very detail-oriented and picky to bring a word, phrase or whole text perfectly to the point. A translator’s work allows more time to consider the translation (well, except the deadline was “yesterday” but that’s for a different post).

 

An interpreter’s work, on the other hand, is more extroverted, always present with the surrounding and the people they interact, the colleagues, the clients, the environment. Time for research is tight; they should come prepared to the assignment. They, too, work with tools but have to be quick to decide and to interpret the communication in real-time. There is no room for errors, the result has to be correct but perfection is not the goal. Well, of course, it is, but if an interpreter doesn’t find the perfect word, he or she can render the meaning in describing it so the continuation of the conversation doesn’t get missed.

 

So, imagine your own business and when you have a sales conversation and how you are present and outward with your prospect versus writing a proposal where you have to form your sentences, collect the data and calculate with focus and fair estimation… you are going inward your mind, correct?

In both situations, you are utilizing different parts of your brain, and it takes some time to switch between both (aka receiving that sudden client call when focusing on your proposal), and often you tend to prefer one over the other. Or you enjoy switching between, like me.

 

Why then, is that clear differentiation between translation and interpretation so unknown and often confused by translation/interpretation consumers and everything is simply called translation? The field of Translation study comprises the systematic study of the theory, description and application of translation, interpretation and – nowadays with the web – localization. With that, when consumers are speaking about “Translation”, they speak about the language transformation in general. It’s when someone enters the trade; the distinctions become an important one.

 

“[T]ranslation… is in fact an art both estimable and very difficult, and therefore is not the labor and portion of common minds; [it] should be [practiced] by those who are themselves capable of being actors, when they see greater use in translating the works of others than in their own works, and hold higher than their own glory the service that they render their country.” Ignacy Krasicki

 

Conclusion

The conclusion is a hint: For some reason, those translation and interpretation professionals are very sensitive about that differentiation of Translation vs. Interpretation. With that, stand out in knowing the difference and using some trade lingo. 🙂

3 Strategic Tips to Translate Your Website and Make More Sales Overseas

December 13, 2018 - 12pm PST / 3pm EST

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