5 Reasons Why your Export Marketing Might be Failing

Remember last year when you first revealed your dreams of boosting overseas sales? You set yourself targets for sales that seemed pretty achievable and would be just the start of some impressive overseas sales figures in the years to come.

So twelve months on, the only question is where did it all go wrong?  Your exports aren’t anywhere near those targets you set yourself and that faith in your product is still intact.

So the big question is why is your export marketing failing?  Here are five reasons that may well be the answer.

1)    Failure to build an international corporate image
You want to increase sales to overseas customers but do they actually even know who you are? It’s important that you do all you can to educate overseas customers about your business. They have plenty of businesses in their own country they can do business with so you have to work on your publicity material to show them just why they should be choosing you. Have you even marketed your company to the local Chambers of Commerce for starters?

2)    Your online presence just isn’t good enough
You may think that you’ve got a perfectly good website that certainly seems to be increasing sales in the UK.  Well done on that but the website certainly isn’t doing the job overseas is it? Has it been translated into enough foreign languages? There’s no point having a great product if potential overseas customers can’t understand what it says.What about social media and the like? Are you really getting proper online exposure?

3)    Do your overseas clients perhaps feel you don’t care about them as much as you should?
That lack of a translated website, brochures, materials, etc could indicate that you don’t really care as much about your overseas customers as you do your home customers. Is there even a facility on your site to receive export enquiries? Can you even respond in their language? The more work you put in towards making overseas customers feeling cared for and welcome will bring dividends.

4)    Are you aiming your product at the right countries?
You’re used to dealing with the home market and doing a great job but when it comes to overseas trade there’s so many countries out there it’s not easy to work out just who’s best to aim your product at. You need to carry out as much research as you can to pinpoint the right countries for your products.  Look at export figures for other companies similar to yours, ask colleagues for advice and get online and find out as much as you can about the overseas market. Also keep an eye on who is actually contacting you from overseas, create a league table and put emphasis on those countries at the top.

5)     Is your face recognised in international circles?
How many times did you get on a plane and actually visit overseas countries trying to get business for your company? Get yourself well-known in overseas circles but whatever you do make sure that you do your homework beforehand. Learn about the culture and if you can learn the language or at least take a colleague with you who can speak the language. Find out about current market trends and do your best to follow them.


If you really want your  export marketing to work, you’ve got to work hard at it.  Target the right countries, show them you care about them and make sure your company has a corporate presence that you can build on. Then, with a spot of luck thrown in for good measure, you should start seeing those orders coming in.

Topics: Advertising, E-commerce, Export Planning, Getting Started, Localisation, Market Research, Promotion, Sales & Marketing, and Trade Fairs
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