So, you have a growing business, and you want it to scale? Maybe you even want to go global with your brand but don’t know-how. The good news is that globalization of business is easy when done right. This article will cover ten steps that will help your business expand its market share worldwide by quickly establishing a solid online presence in multiple countries. In addition, these steps will teach you how to continue marketing your brand locally so the transition from regional success to international market domination won’t be as painful as it may seem at first glance.
1. Prepare for Localization
The first thing you need to do before attempting the globalization of your business is prepare all the content for localization. The more prepared you are, the less work you will need to do later.
It is essential to translate your brand name, slogan, and all the content visible to international customers. Suppose you can’t do this independently, several freelance services such as Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer. You can also hire an agency specialized in localization, while I’m sure they’ll overestimate the initial quote. But if you choose this option, make sure it isn’t a one-person show but a company that can delegate tasks across multiple departments (such as marketing and translation).
The main idea behind localization is that people don’t like companies that appear foreign to them. When browsing products online, customers want everything to feel as natural to them as possible, including the language of the content and product origin.
2. Register Your Domain Names Globally
The next step is registering the domains relevant to each of the markets you want to target with your business. There are two options here: ccTLD (country code top-level domain) or gTLDs (generic top-level domains). For example, if you plan to sell your products in France, United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain, it would be wise to register .fr for France, .uk, .de, and .es for the UK, Germany, and Spain (if these gTLDs are available). In simple terms – use the native country-code extension for each of the markets you plan on entering.
It’s also a good practice to create a subdomain for each region you want to target (for example, .com, .co. the UK, or .es). This will help Google see your website as more relevant and trustworthy for those regions and raise its rankings in local search results
3. Setup Social Media Accounts with Native Country Name
After your brand name is localized and domains are appropriately registered, head over to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular services that allow users to create pages or profiles for free. Setup separate pages/profiles for every region where you want to target your business with the appropriate local extensions, so they appear natural and trustworthy
4. Setup Multiple Payment Gateways
Even though PayPal is available in many countries, it’s still wise to use the services that are native to each of the regions you want to enter. For example, if you’re selling products in France and Germany (and will be adding more countries later), it would make sense for you to sign up with 2Checkout, Paymill, or CashOnDelivery. If some of these options don’t work for some reason, Google Wallet has also started offering international payments recently, so this solution might be the most cost-efficient one yet.
5. Setup Multilingual Customer Support Through a Local Phone Number
This option doesn’t need an explanation as it’s pretty straightforward – find a company that offers phone numbers localized on a country level. By doing this, your customers will feel that they’re dealing with a local business, which makes it easier for them to trust you. I know that the rates might be slightly higher than using Google Voice, but this is an option worth considering (and testing).
Companies such as CallFish offer affordable international phone numbers starting at $2/month and allow you to choose phone number extensions localized to specific countries. They also provide additional features we’ll talk about in further steps.
6. Setup Localized Payment Methods Through PayPal and Google Wallet
If your target audience trusts these services and they happen not to support your market yet, this might be a good idea until those services catch up with the times. The sooner those two come with localization support, the better.
7. Integrate Google Analytics with Two-Factor Authentication
This is a smart move if you want to stay on top of your website traffic and prevent future damages from anyone trying to hack into your profile. It’s possible to integrate Google Analytics with 2FA through Authy. This way, even though someone might gain access to your email credentials, they won’t be able to set up a new 2FA code without having access to your cell phone for second-factor authentication.
They can’t gain access unless you give it or find another way in which I know from experience is not an easy thing these days. Just make sure that you keep all devices clean of malware at all times.
8. Setup a Separate IP Address for Each Region
It’s a good practice to keep your IP addresses separated from each other. That means that you’ll need a different IP address for every website localization you set up.
There are companies out there that can help you maintain many dedicated servers at once – I know OVH is one of them, their prices start at about $40/month if using CentOS 7 Linux distro (with automated server backups). They also offer free DDoS protection, which is always something worth having when hosting websites with traffic coming from worldwide.
9. Setup an SSL certificate for Every Local Domain
If your audience trusts buying online securely, you need to abide by their demands. It’s essential to make sure that they see an SSL padlock in their browser when they access any of your localized websites. The SSL certificate should be issued for each domain you are targeting. It’s also important to understand that even though you might have one root domain name (such as monikawebsite.com) – the SSL needs to be issued for every internationalized sub-domain (for example, shop.website.com, blog.website.com, etc.).
10. Keep Up with Local SEO Standards
It’s important to understand that none of the internationalization steps will matter if your targeted regions don’t know about your business. It would be best to make sure that Google indexes all of your international domains so people can find them in local search results. You can easily do this by using Google’s Webmaster Tool and adding international versions of your website one by one.
To Sum It Up
To start scaling your business globally, you will need the following:
- Hire a virtual assistant to help with local SEO tasks from time to time.
- Be patient and keep working on growing your online presence in each localized market.
- Prepare your ecommerce warehouse for scaling internationally. Use a company that is a sales, fulfillment and shipping solution that will make your life easier. You don’t have to do anything other than focus on what’s important: scaling up!
- If you want to take it slow and you don’t have enough resources at hand, there is no other option than to start with small market niches. The competition won’t be as fierce and before moving onto anything else, make sure to get some in those smaller regions because that’s where you can get the most exposure.
All in all, there are different ways to tackle this issue, but it’s usually good to find out what works best for your business model.