How does a small business with no physical products and little resource market yourself internationally?

Question posted by Andrew Japp, on behalf of Digital White in SW6

As a digital agency we already work in Norway, the US and Russia, those jobs came to us because of our expertise in Enterprise Apps and user experience. How can we reach out efficiently and effectively to generate more business, particularly in markets where we already have a client?

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Mike Hunter, on behalf of betterlanguages.com Ltd. in Nottingham.

Hi Andrew, we are a translation company, and have a similar experience with overseas markets. You have to overcome the basic objection that many businesses will prefer to buy locally. Where we have developed direct overseas sales ourselves it tends to be where we have specific niche expertise, for example we work a lot with retail packaging, so for us its likely to be easier to sell to an American retailer, than in other technical areas of translation. My advice would be to develop web content around the specific niches where you have core competence, and then localize the content for the specific target market. Its then a question of backing it with international SEO, Adwords etc. (remembering that Google isn't that big in Russia)! The only other word of caution is that a single customer may be a red herring, e.g. there may or may not be a larger market, it will need research. UKTI are a good route to find out some initial market info on a given country, and the CIA website is brilliant for basic country data.

Hope this helps

Regards

Mike Hunter
CEO
betterlanguages.com Ltd.

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Jonathan Harrison, on behalf of Baroni Limited in CR2.

It depends on what you are, and where you want to go. You need to do as you would any where when starting a marketing project and that is get to know and understand it. Do your home work about culture, language, market, opportunity, competition, entry levels, etc. The more time and money spent doing this the better - "Plan to succeed not to fail".
You then also need an entry strategy. That could be remote sales - i.e. done from here via web presence (you'll need to have pages for the target country reflecting their expectations, culture and language. Chinese love a busy front page with every product on it - the complete opposite to us) or more direct such as set up in the country you are targeting, or find a partner, JV, distributor, etc....

Using a local partner gives you access to a local network and cultural understanding an awareness that no expat could ever hope to achieve.

We assist businesses to develop in Asia and Middle East, so besides selling services to support organisations like yours, we are also doing the same thing. So we have built up a network of local, native businesses whom we have got to know and trust to be "us" in other markets. This is a similar option that you may want to consider. It stems from the proven outsourcing philosophy of "concentrate on your core, not your chore".

Hope this helps

Jonathan
CEO
Baroni (UKTI partner - UKAN)
jonathan.harrison@baroni-limited.com

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Samantha Rhodes, on behalf of Transfix in HD1.

Hi there

We can develop static webpages with the basic info about your business to bolt onto your existing website. These can be done in languages of your choice and as the text is kept to a minimum the price is very low.

This gives you a more global online presence. We also offer Export packages for clients taking the first steps into overseas markets. You can look at these on the services section of our store page. http://opentoexport.com/store/biz/transfix-global-ltd-527/s/exporter-package-1995/

Hope this helps and good luck!

Regards

Sam Rhodes
Transfix
sam@transfix-global.com

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Sarah Carroll, on behalf of Grow Global Limited in BN1.

Andrew -

If you're marketing to clients internationally, UKTI have a subsidised service called the Export Communications Review which can give you a tailored action plan on how to get your website visible in international search engines and hence increasing enquiries from overseas.

Find out more at: http://www.growglobal.com/ecr.

Good luck with exporting to markets overseas!
Sarah

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Jonathan Harrison, on behalf of Baroni Limited in CR2.

More importantly to UKTI, there are many private businesses out there who can help. On the UKTI website they have a B2B section which are UKTI approved private sector businesses.
Chamber will also have a directory.
Ask around
LinkedIn has 100s of International trade discussion groups much better developed but similar principle to open to export, where you can look/ask about....
Best wishes

Jonathan

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Nicola Bridgett, on behalf of UKTI London in SE1.

Hello Andrew, I would advise you to focus on your current clients. They may indicate that your company provides something of particular interest, which is difficult to find, within their market. I would research the markets to discover if your clients in Norway, Russia and the US are a one off. What other companies operate within their market place i.e. other customers for you? Ask them if they would recommend you to others within their supply chain - a recommendation is a powerful thing. Have you actually asked your overseas customer why they chose you over local providers?
As a company with limited resources you should focus on those markets where there is low hanging fruit and which you can travel to efficiently and effectively i.e. Norway is cheaper and quicker to get to than the USA. Would you like to discuss how UKTI can help with your market research? We have a programme which will provide you with access to a market research specialist for free and if you proceed can give you a grant to help with the costs. I would be happy to help you explore your options with leveraging your current client successes and what you should do next if these don't indicate a rich seam of other clients within that country.
I can also talk to you about optimising your marketing materials and your website to achieve maximum coverage within a chosen market for as little cost as possible.
Let me know - 07779 717283 Nicola Bridgett

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Andrew Japp, on behalf of Digital White in SW6.

Thank you to everyone who responded to this question. The advice and guidance is appreciated and has given us a few clear ideas on where we can leverage with minimal effort for maximum response.

Good site isn't it.

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