What do I need to know when selling virtual products to the US market?

Question posted by Jackie Hutchings, on behalf of Zlimm123 in South Cerney

I am launching an online slimming solution in November. It is a year long programme and addresses the problem of yoyo dieting, ie emotional eating. Our biggest market is the US and we're keen to get feedback on (a) do we need to use a US national to record the downloadable audio files or would a British accent be better? And (b) should we find US copywriters to write our content? Thanks :-)

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Roger Frampton, on behalf of ExportAction in Clearwater, Florida, USA.

Hi Jackie
At ExportAction we would recommend using a US voiceover. We can also help you with original US copy, or Americanizing your own text. Visit www.exportaction.com and click on Americanization in the A-to-Z.
We would also recommend a guide for UK SMEs doing business in the USA which is shortly to be published. If you would like to email me, I'll be happy to send you a draft without charge or obligation.
Best of luck
PS You are entering a great market opportunity.

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Sue Marsden Gilpin, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment USA in United States.

Hi Jackie,

As Roger suggested, using a US voiceover and editing your marketing materials and website for US grammar, spelling, and nuances would be appropriate for a US audience. At UK Trade & Investment, we have a programme called Export Communications Review (ECR), where our colleagues provide UK companies with impartial and objective advice on language and cultural issues to help them improve their competitiveness in overseas markets. For more information, please visit: www.ukti.gov.uk/ecr or you can contact info@ukecr.co.uk / 08450 342 111.

If your website is a .co.uk, you might consdier creating a US one with a .com, and obtaining a US phone number that can redirect to your UK offices. For printed materials in the US, product literature is generally produced in 8.5-inch by 11-inch format. You should consider producing literature destined for the USA in this size, rather than A4, so it will fit into US files. If you're including measurements in your materials, you would also want to be sure to use imperial measurements (e.g. inches, pounds) rather than metric measurements (e.g. kilos, centimeters).

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Jackie Hutchings, on behalf of Zlimm123 in South Cerney.

Thanks Sue, all excellent advice. I'll contact ECR and start a conversation with them. Thanks again.

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Matthew Maginley, on behalf of Managed Media Services and Marketing in United States.

Dear Jackie,
Many Americans find an English accent quite attractive and attribute a higher value to something from Britain. But this isn't news to you is it?

A current successful ad campaign is by a car insurance company Geico which uses a talking gecko with an Australian/British accent. But I'll let the little guy speak for himself via YouTube http://youtu.be/acCfnwTpdxU

OF course car insurance and health an fitness are different markets with different end users. For example this is a 100% online weight loss program . It appeals to both men and women htttp://www.7minuteworkout.com This program is global and is a US/Canadian venture.

Here's my point:

All marketing focuses on getting customers. The two main questions are : What do you customers buy? And why are you unique? Is there something uniquely British to the product or weight loss process that would differentiate it to consumers? Has anyone recommended testing whether you need to use an American voice over ?

These are all branding questions and from my 10+ years at Ogilvy & Mather NY, we have learned that they are to be carefully considered.

Without research, marketers are guessing at these answers. An ad agency would recommend doing some testing first: focus groups, polling, or social media.

However, with that all said when you have your final answer if you do need "Americanization" Roger is on the right track and from what I can gather, between his suggestions, and what Sue has offered, you should be fine.

Good luck on your project. I am available to discuss and provide additional insight.

Respectfully submitted,
Matthew Maginley

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Graciela Carlyle, on behalf of GC Translations in WF4.

Hi Jackie,

I see this has been posted a couple of months ago but I just wanted to add that you shouldn't forget that the Spanish speaking community in the US is quite large and will probably be very interested in your products.

If you need any advice on the translation of any material into Spanish, I'll be happy to help.

Kindest regards,

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