Entrepreneurship is a huge deal. Starting a company takes an immense amount of work, and business owners recognize the dedication it takes to grow and continue developing. Recent changes in global trade and technology have made it possible for business owners to expand beyond their homeland, and in the case of rapid business growth, maintaining an international image for your company is a big deal.
Websites, social media networks, international virtual phone numbers, and many other technological developments have made it much easier for businesses to expand globally. But in order to merge your business’s goal with the market’s demand in other countries, you have to start thinking like them. Despite your company’s origin, consumers must always feel heard, understood, and cared for. They must feel that you are offering a real solution for what they need.
Improving Your Company’s International Image
Before endeavoring to improve your company’s international image, make sure that you truly understand your customers’ needs. That involves a lot of detailed research on their problems and demand for solutions. Do analysis of both foreign and local competition to gain greater insights. Observe how connections are made, what channels for product distribution may be used, and how social networks are used in each country.
Here are some tips on how to improve your international image in a globally expanding world:
1. Translate your website
It may seem obvious but ensuring your website is translatable to the language of the country you are selling in is an absolute must.
Customers from other countries are going to be searching in their own native language (most of the time). Even in the case of a country who have many English speakers, translating your website to their native language can make the website feel more culturally considerate.
It is important that you translate everything. It is a very common mistake to translate only the part that talks about the products and services offered. If you want to give a good image, you have to change the language of all the parts of your site, including all the articles in your blog.
A great way to get a head start on translating is by using an automatic translator, however, be weary that many key words and phrases do not translate correctly. A good practice is to auto-translate a bulk of text and then verify it with a native speaker of the language. The can further aid in correcting verbiage to make sure it aligns with that country’s use of key phrases and words.
At the end of the day, keep the user in mind. When they visit your site, do they see a foreign company attempting to translate to their own native language? Or do they see your website as that of a locally-based company? The latter situation is what you are shooting for here.
2. Use social networks
Social media networks are sort of everything these days – especially for businesses. If you want to expand globally to other countries, there’s a few things you will have to consider regarding your social media accounts.
First of all, you have to decide which social networks you are going to use. Not all networks have the same popularity in every country, or they may not even exist, as is the case for Facebook in China. It should even be considered that not all social networks are used by the same type of companies, as it depends on where the target audience moves. For example, B2B companies (Business-to-business) have LinkedIn as a target network to connect with other professionals and companies. However, Instagram or Snapchat, for example, does not give them the possibility to reach their target quickly. Those networks would be better suited for the product industry for teenagers and young adults.
Once you have decided which social networks to use, you can start creating content. Avoid the approach of translating the same content. You’ll want it to be unique to each country you are advertising to, as the buying behavior and preferences of consumers in each country is different.
This is key difference between global and international marketing.
3. Get an international virtual number
An international virtual number is a telephone number with a prefix of the country you are going to. If you are physically in the UK, but want to trade in the US, you can get a virtual phone number for the US.
The customer from the US will call the number that is most familiar to him with the assumption that he is calling a company in his own country. In actuality, the call is being diverted to your call center service based out of the UK, which allows you to manage calls from all around the world in one central location.
In addition, these numbers have an advantage in being virtual, since you don’t have to contract them with a foreign telephone company, nor do you need additional cables or devices other than those you already have.
Having a local number generates confidence in your customers and improves your international company image. It makes customers more willing to call you to resolve their doubts, which can significantly improve your sales. Customers are more likely to decline calls from international numbers than local ones.
The afore mentioned three aspects are some of the most important key factors to give a good international company image. However, many organizations also make use of other approaches such as:
Changing Their Brand Name
This gives a more international and accessible image. If you can create a brand name that is pronounceable and familiar in their native language, it can help to appear more relevant to their country and culture. This approach obviously doesn’t work the best if your company already has a defined brand name.
Show Collaborations With Users in the Target Countries
It’s always important to take care of relationships and show more inclusion in different countries. If users see that your country is frequently interacting with others in their country, they are more inclined to trust you and engage with your brand.
Offer Personalized Attention
This strategy is closely related to carrying out customer service with different agents who speak different languages. An intelligent call center software will be able to distribute the calls to the agents that can satisfy the needs of the user in a more effective way.
While technology has made maintaining an international image significantly easier today, there’s no shortcuts to hard word, dedications, and intentionality.