The international export market is getting crowded these days, as ecommerce tools make it easy to communicate and do business with consumers anywhere in the world. Just like in domestic marketing, content writing can be a powerful communication and sales tool — with low startup costs and a favorable ROI — but certain considerations should be taken when you take your marketing goes global, or even across state lines.
The potential rewards of tapping foreign markets are high, but effectively executing an international marketing campaign forces your company to become a branding-chameleon.
Speak the language, and speak it well!
The language barrier is the most glaring obstacle when it comes to online communication, for obviously reasons. But despite the ease and availability of online translation tools, simply translating your entire site to another language is hardly a solution.
Content writing strategy hinges on effective communication, and as we all know, communication is about so much more than using the correct words. Each language and each culture has their own way of expressing ideas. At its worst, grossly mistranslated advertising can have the opposite intended effect, inspiring ridicule by native speakers. One doesn’t have to look far to find entire websites dedicated to unintentional comedy found in poorly translate English.
Don’t let your brand become a punch line; invest in a native speaker to consult on your content writing. This is easier now than ever before, as marketing firms such as Iffel International have connections to professional translators in various languages. It’s more of an investment than a copy/paste in Google Translate, but protecting your messaging is worth it.
Assimilate your branding.
With the language barrier behind you, your job is far from over. If you’re considering expansion to an international market, then you hopefully already have a clear picture of your core brand identity. But remember, brand identity is all about how your business’s name, logo, communication style, and message are interpreted by the consumer. Even if your website is in their language, cultural differences can have a dramatic effect on how your advertising efforts are received.
A misstep here can mean your message falls on deaf ears, or in the worst case scenario, is somehow perceived as offensive or insensitive. Once again, investing time and energy in researching your target market goes a long way. Iffel employs experts who can wordsmith your messaging and test reactions based on local language and culture to ensure effectiveness and help avoid communication snafus.
On a practical level, this also means monitoring trends in local social media to get a lay of the land and increase effectiveness of postings, as well as conducting keyword research in the native tongue to boost the SEO strength of content marketing.
Apply the export approach at home.
From our experience selling products all over the globe, we’ve realized that marketing within the United States shares much in common with international trade. Each state has variations in terms of cultural, social and economic values. And larger states such as California and Texas often have the same level of variation within their own borders.
Larger brands already know this, and vary their advertising strategies significantly from state to state. For example, movie studios often cut a variety of different trailers for a big budget film — focusing more or less on action, humor, drama, etc. — and broadcast different versions of the trailer in different parts of the country.
Thanks to the easy availability of demographic data, even small-to-medium enterprises can apply the same philosophy when selling across state lines. At Iffel, we call this our “50 states, 50 countries strategy.” We research advertising, social media, and SEO trends from state to state, and tweak our strategy accordingly.
The key to content marketing is targeting ideas and concepts that are present in the culture and the zeitgeist, making it easy to connect with consumers that may be interested in your goods and services. When you sell internationally, the culture and zeitgeist change along with the language, and your marketing strategy should follow suit.
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