Expansion to new markets is a natural way of business development. Cooperation with foreign contractors, besides benefits such as a new distribution channel, builds also the company’s prestige on the domestic market. However, you need to take into account a few issues before you decide to take a step forward. If well-thought, your strategy may get you some extra points at the very beginning.
Domain – what stands after dot matters
For search engine algorithms the domain, on which web works is not indifferent. Webs with national endings (ccTLD domains) are positioned higher in search results in a particular country, than those with other endings. For example, having a Polish domain ended with .pl you are not very likely to be high in search results of a person from Germany. If you plan to conquer German market, you’d better have a German domain .de or functional one (gTLD domain), such as .com or .org. It is also important from, let’s say, psychological point of view – it is easier for us to identify and remember web address with a familiar ending.
Wesley Johnston, professor of marketing and director of the Center for Business and Industrial Marketing at Georgia State University in Atlanta, lists the factors that can either make or break your business when you try to grow. Here are key questions to ask yourself:
– Will the product sell well in the targeted culture? Do market research.
– Is your target market familiar with your product or service? If not, be prepared to invest a lot of time and money in consumer education. On the other side, if you’re introducing something new, the product becomes a synonym of your brand.
– Do you feel comfortable in that country? Since you’ll probably have to live there temporarily to start your business work, you’ll need a basic knowledge of the language and culture.
Johnston says that if you’re not satisfied with answers you’ve got, you shouldn’t be worried. There’s no product or service that won’t work anywhere. Try to find another foreign market to enter.
Before you decide which market you’d like to enter, you need to know:
– if your potential customer exists – do a detailed market research. Your customer’s profile on a new market may be different than the profile of your current customers. You need to take these differences into account and adjust your product or service to the place you aim.
– the standards on the new market, meaning the law, constraints, creating marketing strategies, internal processes optimization. It is a good idea to cooperate with local experts in these fields.
– that it is easier to start expansion from markets, which are similar to your original market. Notice, that nobody says that everything will work exactly the same. The message is that it is easier to enter a market, which is close enough to what you’re already used to. Consider the tax law, economic conditions, cultural issues. In the country similar to yours it would be less complicated to evaluate how your business model works in the reality.
– if you need a warrant. Incompatible warrant law, long lasting bureaucratic processes, and high costs are a challenge for companies expanding into new markets. Be aware that warrant is not always necessary. Often good business plan is enough.
– that there are several strategies of entering new markets. It is possible to focus on export, find local distributor, open branch office or find a partner. Each of these strategies has it’s pros and cons.
It is kind of obvious, but same time it’s so essential that I cannot skip it. By the time you start to do anything towards a new market entrance, you need to gather a team of people, who speak English or the language is spoken in the aimed country. You need also web, papers, offer, agreements translated to languages, which will be understandable for people in that country. You need to make your office work in the office hours set in the country.
To roll out your company on the new market and gain trust among the people, who don’t know you, you need to show your current experience and value. In an ideal situation, you describe your successful cooperation with well known, international company and start to wait for people willing to talk to you. You don’t have such a company in your portfolio? Well, it’s not the end of the world. Describe what you’ve got, but do it well. Give your audience detailed data, gather testimonials from your customers, make an analysis of problems which you managed to solve. Winning trust is your goal, social proof is a good strategy to reach it.
Technological solutions are extremely important for small and medium companies, which don’t have a very stable position on the market and are constantly influenced by competitors, trends, and economic situation. According to Boston Consulting Group:
– companies investing in technology are growing faster than their competitors closed on innovative solutions,
– it is easier for companies, which invest in technologies to overcome barriers connected with expansion for new markets.
Use cold email
It’s an effective strategy to make the first contact with your target, which was created during the market analysis. Leads generated by cold emailing usually present various values. Not to lose time contacting people, who are not interested in cooperation, consider leads scoring. How to score leads you can learn here.
Be visible, start relations
– participate in conferences and events dedicated to your target.
– treat social media seriously, this is where your customers are. Share valuable information, guide users to your landing page.
– use your current contacts, I bet you have more than you assume.