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

Question

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 🙂

Answer

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
Roger
PS You are entering a great market opportunity.

Answer

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).

Answer

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

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