Written by Fiona Hepworth
Trading conditions in local markets are becoming tougher than ever. With the UK market becoming saturated, many companies are striving to make a name for themselves, and increase return, by testing the international waters. Taking a product or service overseas can be a risky business for retailers of all shapes and sizes, so, to help you along, we’ve compiled a shortlist of our top tips for taking your PPC campaigns international.
1. Know your audience
The biggest mistake any marketer can make when going international is presuming that what works well in one market will be directly transferable to another. It’s important to take cultural differences into account when marketing products and services overseas. For example, while Google is the most popular search engine in most western countries, in China, Baidu is the most used search engine. Furthermore, in America, Bing owns a far greater market share than it does in the UK. Failing to optimise your campaigns for each individual territory could mean a colossal loss in both traffic and return.
2. Ensure you have the right language capabilities
Don’t just rely on English to reach your customers. Even where the majority speak English as a second language, research shows that for the most part, web users prefer to browse in their mother tongue. A recent European Commission survey revealed that this figure was as high as 90% in Europe. It’s equally important to make sure you have synergy between your paid search advertising and your website. Advertising in one language and directing the traffic to a website written in another can be misleading, and can often be the cause of high bounce rates internationally.
3. Scrutinise your keyword lists
Don’t just directly translate your English search term lists into the target language. Careful research needs to be carried out in order to ensure you select the right keywords based on your target consumers’ search patterns and purchase behaviour.
4. Optimise your website
Some European countries such as France and Germany still offer cheques and/or cash on delivery as payment methods. Make sure your website is aligned with the needs of the target market and isn’t just a carbon copy of the English version. Do some research into how foreign markets like to buy online and amend your website to reflect these patterns. Even something as simple as word choice can make a website appear instantly more natural to the native. “Pants”, for example, is likely to sit far better with an American audience than “trousers”.
5. Give customers a reason to choose your brand over a local one
High delivery thresholds and complicated websites will simply put customers off. Why should they go to the effort (and risk) of purchasing a product from a largely unknown retailer – where shipping costs are higher and are likely to take far longer – when they could potentially buy the same product from a local retailer for half the price and receive it the next day? Free delivery incentives and product discounts will help to attract new customers by lowering some of this perceived risk.
Summit are online retail specialists working with the likes of Argos, Arcadia group and Hobbs to help them make more money online. If you have questions about this article or you’d like to know more about our paid search services please contact Dave Trolle, Head of Direct Response