In the era of globalisation and technology developments, a growing number of businesses decide to approach international markets. Today, internationalisation isn’t just for the big and rich anymore; nowadays, with help of the technology, even locally based SMEs can trade, target foreign consumers and grow internationally.

Nevertheless, it is much easier said than done. In order to successfully approach international markets, a number of steps must be taken. There is also a large number of factors, which can directly or indirectly affect your campaign. We’ve prepared a list of 5, which you simply must take into the account in order to increase your chances for an effective and successful international expansion.

Speak their language and translate your material

According to a recent survey, over 90% of customers feel more inclined to purchasing if information about a product or service is available to them in their native language. Approaching international customers via a website would be perhaps the main and key method of going global for majority of locally based SMEs whose budgets are limited. It is simply essential that your business website is professionally translated into the native language of your target market. It’s important to remember that in many cases your website will be the very first point of contact between you and the customer. Making sure that it comes across professionally and therefore is available in the customer’s native language is crucial for maintaining your company’s positive image and brand.

Furthermore, in addition to translating your website, if you are physically present in the market, ensure that any other marketing material, such as leaflets, brochures or proposals are also carefully translated. This will allow you to penetrate the market more productively and therefore approach a greater number of potential clients.

There are number of different ways in which you can translate your material, whether it’s the website itself or other documents – from using free online tools to working with professional translation agencies. Nonetheless, while free online tools are great for private use, for example, understanding your friends and family, working with a company offering professional translations is now the standard approach within a business environment. Luke Edwards, who runs a small consultancy firm based in London, says that translating his company’s business material before expanding abroad helped him with the move considerably. “Being able to approach our target market fully in its native language, was a true game changer for us. As a London based agency, we were lucky enough to be able to work with some of the most talented translators and agencies in the industry, and we certainly see the difference this had made to our business.” For a much more detailed information about what translation services are and what a London translation agency can offer visit this website. You can also read about professional translations here.

Translate your legal documents

Translating your legal documents may perhaps be just as important as translating your marketing material and website. Whether it’s contracts, terms & conditions or warranties, translating them accurately can save your business from legal disputes in the future. This will consequently allow your business to maintain a professional and customer-friendly image within the new market.

Localise your approach

In marketing, there are two main ways of approaching international markets: One for all or a localised approach. One for all, where the same strategy and material is used across all markets, although much cheaper and easier to complete, is nowadays generally considered as an outdated method.

The localised approach is now considered the more professional approach which can increase your chances of success. Whether it’s your content, marketing material or in some cases even the product/services you offer, consider adjusting and tweaking them so that they are most appropriate for the market you are targeting.  Nestle can be a great example of how it approaches its target specifically with local values in mind – you can read more about their case by clicking here.

Multilingual search

As previously mentioned, your website may be the first point of contact between your business and the consumer, nevertheless, consumers must be able to find your website in the first place. Ensuring that your content is accurately and reliably translated will increase your chances of being visible through search engines such as Google. Consequently, by doing this, you will be able not only to approach new customers, but will also allow your potential customers who are already looking for your services to find you.

Understand the culture

Culture differs from country to country and even from region to region. Unfortunately, a number of business owners seem to forget this when approaching international markets. Cultural, social, political or even religious factors can strongly affect your internationalisation and determine how successful your business will be abroad. Taking into account these factors and localising your approach, making sure that your material as well as services and products is socially appropriate is extremely significant. Tesco, the UK based giant is just the perfect example (read more) of how two different cultures, although seemingly alike, can influence internationalisation when choosing the potential market goes wrong.

As you can see, going global with your business is definitely easier said than done. There are many different factors which must be taken into consideration when deciding on the new, international target market. From getting to know your potential clients, translating your material and speaking their language to ensuring a localising approach and tweaking your services to each market, the list goes on. Choosing the right market for your international expansion can also be a very difficult decision and much more complicated than it appears at first sight, and Tesco’s UK expansion to the US is a great example of this. Nevertheless, if correctly prepared, internationalisation can be extremely rewarding, especially for locally based SMEs.