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.

Supercharge marketing and draw German visitors your way

My recent project was the translation of a flyer for a local tourist bureau. It was an abstract of the county with essential info “on a glance” for individual travelers and groups, for travel agencies and business travelers. What was so special about?

By itself or on top of other international business outreach, such a flyer is an effective step to initiate outreach activity and communication with foreign tourists, travel agencies and international (local) companies.

The multi-purpose of a beautifully designed, written and translated flyer is countless.

Here are just a view ideas on its multi-use:

  • post it on your website for your foreign website visitors to get an individualized Welcome in their language
  • post it to Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. to show your openness to other cultures
  • send the flyer per email as outreach to foreign language tourist bureaus
  • send the flyer within the response email to received inquiries from visitors of that language (hint: even when they inquire in your language)
  • print flyer and hang it up in the local tourism office or other bureaus/convention centers/chambers of commerce for foreign by-passers
  • send the flyer to international companies who meet with international clients and associations

…get creative and write further ideas in the comments below

 

What is the essential info that best presents your region, county, city, etc. at a glance?

There are view elements that just sums it up far and wide:

  • a simplified (illustrated) map of the city/region/county/state…
  • a few key info of that city, region, etc. – a paragraph fast to read and crap attention
  • a bullet point list of the attractions close by and further away
  • graphics of local photographer(s) with credits
  • a contact person, title, address, website, phone number
  • social media info
  • a list of annual special events
  • a table with neighboring cities and areas, the distances and the driving times

and finally: A call to action – request a kit, a brochure, etc. and a #hashtag for social networks buzz

 

A graphically attractive flyer with useful info is not only business-friendly, it also is cost and time efficient because you can use it year after year after year.

In your favorite graphics tool, such as In-Design, Publisher or Canva (even the comprehensive free version is sufficient), create a template that integrates all your brand elements. After the initial flyer is completed with all info and graphics, in the following year, you only need to update specific info such as events, possibly attractions and graphic artists and such.

Translators are using tools to be efficient with their translation. If you are working with the same translator or agency, you might get fee reductions due to existing translations and recycling of previous translations (more about in a next blog post where I elaborate on the human species “translators” and how to work with them).

It is one step, maybe the first, maybe the only step to reaching out to foreign tourists in their language and make them feel welcome! Imagine the ripples this one gesture can make.

With that, go create this one or two page flyer of your region or property and we can help you translate it into German language.

As always, leave us questions in the comments or join our newly formed FREE Facebook group “Int’l Business Communication Q&A” to get answers to them.

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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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Branding a City for International Tourism?

“Internationalization and branding of a tourism city” was the theme of the International Tourism City Forum 2010 which was held in Sofitel Hangzhou, China. 18 countries from around the world where represented at this forum. This conference was sponsored by the International Tourism Marketing Association (ITMA).

ITMA started in Beijing in March 2007 and since then has built a professional international level marketing service. With that they help tourism businesses with marketing planning, image building, tourism promotion, festivals and celebrations, etc. ITMA created and is involved in yearly major international conferences.

The important trend for world tourism development is internationally convergence and integration. International marketing has become an important way for tourism destination. Language becomes the first obstacles when it comes to international tourism marketing and internet becomes the best tool to depend on. How to use internet to spread image and information for tourism destination? How to use multilingual platform to inform the target tourists’ countries?” (read more… )

ITMA owns now a multilingual international website, www.itmacom.com, which offers content in Chinese, English, Korean, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Arabic and Spanish.

Excited, I went to the website and clicked on all the pages in different languages. Well, it seems to be a work in process, as I couldn’t access any foreign language info except for some English. I was very fascinated by the global multilingual vision I read on ITMA’s info website, yet really disappointed in seeing the poor integration upon reviewing the website. This is a really good example that it is important that you do what you promise to your website visitors. You don’t have to integrate your whole vision at once, you can start with an i.e. one page summary in the foreign language, or translate the most important pages and inform your visitors when clickable content leads to non native pages. You show respect this way, and don’t lose your credibility. I will revisit ITMA’s website in few months, maybe.

“Feast in the Mountains” – Whistler’s Unique Celebration

This time being in Beautiful British Columbia, I passed Vancouver and continued driving Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway, up to Whistler, the Host Mountain Resort of the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. Filled with utmost curiosity I was off to an event in Whistler’s Rebagliati Park where I would participate in celebrating the “connection between farm and fork” with a Feast in the Mountains!

In this inaugural year of Feast in the Mountains the Chefs represent Whistler’s brightest culinary talents and some of the finest BC beverages.fairmont2

With the wine glass and a menu received at the entrance, I walked from booth to booth various times, tastingglassesnapkins beautiful arranged tidbits of food in the order they appealed to my palate (and personal sense of menu order). While taking my time, I ventured to the quieter booths of the producers of that bounty. “Amongst the beauty of these mountains lie fertile lands that have long produced food for this valley and beyond. Upon that land a small number of committed farmers toil without glamour or acclaim to ensure the integrity of our food chain. This event is inspired by them – their commitment in the face of great challenges, their passion for the land that sustains us”, writes Astrid Cameron, Co-founder/Co-producer of Feast in the Mountains.playerschophouse

Furthermore, several organizations were represented; I encourage you to check them out:

Slow Food, an international organization that was founded in 1986 as a response to the standardizing effects of fast food and the fast life. It supports good, clean and fair food. Ocean Wise, Canada’s leading sustainable seafood restaurant program, Green Table, a network of sustainable foodservice and their suppliers in the greater Vancouver, BC area (although foodservices from elsewhere are welcome), and Farm Folk/City Folk, an organization that connects farm and city and that focuses on cultivating a local, sustainable food system.

I really liked the relaxed atmosphere full of laughter that comes along naturally with good quality food and drink (especially in an outside setting). Yes, it was a great feast in the mountains – and also a conscious one that celebrated the whole food chain and gives dining out again a meaning of true hospitality.

Find all pictures taken at this event at our flickr site

feastseating

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

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