How to successfully market your small business abroad

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

The time has come. You have finally decided to go international with your small business. But now you have one vital question to answer. How do I successfully market my business abroad?

The answer isn’t difficult, but it does take some thinking about. When you do business with customers overseas, you will have to tailor your approach to marketing to them.

So, where do you start?

Make sure there is a market for what you’re selling

Your product might sell well in your home country but will it be of interest to people abroad? And if you think it will be of interest, consider the companies who could already be marketing what you’re selling. It would be pointless to release your product into an oversaturated marketplace. Commit to research by checking out the needs of your target demographic and by scoping out your competition. This is something you would do anyway when marketing locally, so it makes sense to replicate your usual research when looking at other countries.

Localize your website

It might be that the website you already have up and running will suffice but it might need a few tweaks for your global audience. On the other hand, it could be worth creating a new website that can be targeted at the country you are making inroads in. This is especially true when you are trying to reach a non-English speaking country. Be mindful, however. Not everything should be copied word for word when translating your web copy. Certain words will have different meanings abroad so outsource to a translation service. It is important to get this right, as you don’t want to offend or confuse people with your website marketing.

Be mindful of keywords

Your small business SEO strategy will likely be a big part of your marketing in your home country and the same will apply when marketing overseas. However, as we suggested above, you do need to careful with wording. For your target audience to find your website and social media channels, you should follow these multilingual SEO best practices. Outsource to a professional if you need the extra support, and if you do, make sure it is somebody with knowledge of the country you are trying to reach.

Target the appropriate social media platforms

Facebook is popular in most countries but did you know that WeChat is one of the leading social media platforms in China? So never assume you know what a country’s inhabitants will be glued to on a day-by-day basis as they might focus on one social media site over another. This is something you will need to research when planning your social media marketing. For a better ROI, focus on the more popular social media sites before trying to have a presence on all of them. Use this world map of social networks for general insight into social media usage around the world.

Make contacts abroad

Consider all the different ways you might market your business and seek help from the targeted country. From marketing agencies to YouTube influencers, source the people who will successfully market your product for you. While you could still hire people from your home country, you will benefit from the specialized insights that your international support can offer you.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be successful abroad, especially if you have already found success at home. However, you should follow each of the steps we recommended, as by doing so, you will improve your marketing when trying to reach a global demographic.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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