5 Tips for Launching your Website in a Different Country

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Your small business is about to go global. First of all, congratulations are in order because eight out of ten SMEs fail to survive year one. The fact you’re ready to expand your operations is a sign of the company’s success. Secondly, it’s time to prepare for lots of hard work.

To gain traction in foreign markets, it’s essential to take care of the small things. Take your website as an example. It might appear to cover all the bases yet there are little features which will stop it from ranking highly in foreign countries. Incredibly, these can make or break your success.

An eCommerce site, or even a standard one, is a fantastic way to boost sales and traffic and raise awareness of the brand, so it needs to be on point. Below are the five tips we think are essential to your mission. Here’s how to launch a website overseas.


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1. Expand Your URL

At the moment, the business’ domain name is www.xyz.co.uk because this is the suffix for the United Kingdom. As long as searchers type this into Google or any other engine, it will pop up and they can access it as usual. The problem with global sales is the fact people are lazy. Americans or Australians will assume it ends “.com” or “.au” and go about their business as usual.

If your company doesn’t own this URL addresses, the hard work from your marketing effort will go down the drain. Even worse, another website will pick up the traffic and run with it. One of the first things a business has to do is to think of as many domain names as possible and snap up right away to avoid confusion.

Once you have them, it’s easy to redirect traffic to your main homepage. There are plenty of name registers on the market – all you need to do is type in your preferred URLs and check out the price.

2. Start A Marketing Campaign

For all intents and purposes, the company is starting from square one again. The work you did to get the business off the ground doesn’t mean anything in China or Russia or anywhere else. People there may have heard of you but you’re not a big deal, which is why marketing is crucial. The site needs to raise awareness if it’s going to boost its levels of traffic.

Local knowledge is always a bonus as it will help to avoid bad PR. Puma recently put a flag of the UAE on a shoe and received a backlash in said country. With a local, overseas marketer, they could have avoided this incident altogether. SEO-wise, it’s about researching the words and phrases that are popular in the region and incorporating them into your strategy.

Last but not least, never assume social media platforms are as trendy as back home. Sure, Twitter has millions of users around the world yet the majority of them are in the West. China uses Weibo and Renren, while 100 million active users prefer VKontakte in Russia. Using these accounts in those areas is more likely to get results.

3. Localise Your Content

The English language isn’t equal around the world. The Aussies have the most similar grammar to the British, but there are differences in slang. In the US meanwhile, their spelling isn’t the same as in the UK. It might seem like a small thing yet changing an “s” to a “z” makes all the difference. For Americans, the fact it’s relatable makes them invest more in the content. The same goes for everyone from a different country.

Of course, you need to speak in their language to connect with them properly. However, don’t use Google Translate to flip the text or else it will be riddled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Instead, hire a copywriter who speaks the language fluently and ask them to make the relevant changes. Make sure there are recognisable icons on your website so they can switch from English to their language with ease. Typically, the flag of their nation is the best option.

One more thing to remember is the base level of English. If you persist with your mother tongue, try and keep it as basic as possible so that it’s inclusive. Simplified English makes the content easier to follow, reducing your bounce rate.

4. Make Shipping Contacts

As soon as foreign customers come onboard, the company is going to have to scale its delivery processes. Delivering to shoppers in the UK is tough enough. International postage and packaging add another level of complexity. The shipping company will dictate your offerings. For example, if it’s too expensive to ship to Africa, there is no point in promising a three day turn around to Cape Town.

And that’s another consideration: overpromising. It’s tempting to say “we’ll deliver it by” yet it’s a surefire way to get into trouble. If there are glitches, the parcel will get held up and it will reflect poorly on the firm. Regardless of what the shipping company tells you, always leave a day or two for unforeseen circumstances.

You should research important expenses such as taxes, tariffs and landing costs before committing. These can bump up the rate and make shipping abroad unrealistic.

5. Provide 24-Hour Assistance

Customers will call at all hours of the day, especially if there is a time zone in between the two countries. Did you know that 70% of people refuse to leave a message when they encounter an answering machine service? That’s seven out of ten people willing to bounce because they can’t speak to an advisor right now.

A receptionist or call answering service in another country then is essential. At Virtual Receptionist London, we have packages in three countries with over 5,000 customers. After all, if one person calls our customers, we know we have to pick up to avoid losing a lead.

Always try and provide a service in their language if possible, and don’t forget to use social media to your benefit.

Hopefully these tips will help you with your conquest for world domination. Remember, before doing anything make sure that you do as much research as possible and gather as much info about the legal requirements, taxes and internet related regulations.

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