After reaching the maximum growth point in the territory itself, internationalizing the company online has become one of the options to generate more returns and stand out from the competition.
The volatile market has made foreign corporate expansion a reality for companies seeking new clients, markets and technologies, and resources such as digital transformation and digital marketing are increasingly facilitating this process. In this article, you will learn the details about the relationship between the Internet environment and the expansion of companies beyond their physical borders through internationalization strategy.
The advantages of the Internationalization strategy
Thanks to digital internationalization, a company can significantly expand its geographic area of operation and acquire new clients, even with profiles and features different from those of its country of origin.
Any company can internationalize online, as long as it has a good level of strategic preparation and knowledge of the international scene. In fact, you have to be willing to face new challenges.
The process must be very well planned and have parameters that guide the execution of the project, but, in general, commercial opportunities abroad can provide great advantages for all types of business.
Among the main advantages of internationalizing a company over the Internet are:
- Access to new consumer markets;
- Access to new technologies;
- Increase in the network of contacts;
- More visibility;
- Wider credibility in international territories;
- Stand out from the competitors;
- Billing in foreign currency;
- Variety of providers;
- Independence of seasonal factors;
- Risk reduction due to the diversity of the market.
Create an eCommerce
Electronic commerce, eCommerce or virtual store is, perhaps, one of the most relevant channels for entrepreneurs who want to internationalize their business.
This sales system allows consumers to buy products from anywhere and at any time through the Internet.
Of course, before investing in this type of international trade, do a detailed analysis of the country, its culture, customs and economic situation, so that you do not risk in a doubtful market.
In addition, you must guarantee a physical and immediate inventory, and work with suppliers or logistical points to certify deliveries to your customers.
There are a wide variety of eCommerce platforms available in the market for you to choose the one that best suits your needs.
However, if you want to launch into a more consolidated – and cheaper – area, you can start your expansion through an international marketplace.
Possibly you already know some names like Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, etc. They are all popular platforms that attract traffic around the world and that you can use to reach a large number of people with less investment.
Marketplaces are recommended at the beginning of your expansion strategy, but keep in mind that e-commerce will allow you, later, to develop the reliability and authority of your brand, in addition to providing more independence for your own business.
Invest in international SEO
In a nutshell, international SEO encompasses optimization techniques for internationalizing a web page. Its objective is to make search engines recognize the countries and languages you want to reach, applying geolocation principles to attract traffic from these places.
This type of optimization requires special attention for two factors: the technical or programming part of the website and the content produced.
To create an internationalized website, you must perform the following tasks:
- Specify the country or region you want to reach with an internationally compatible URL structure (country targeting);
- Establish the segmentation of the language of your web page using language tags (segmentation by language);
- Implement the hreflang tags (programming resources that show the user a certain version of a page) according to the language or country with which you are going to communicate;
- Have the content of the website available in the language of the audience you want to reach.
This will give you the basis to configure your website, adapt to the target market and achieve a favorable position in the results of each specific territory.
Have an Inside Sales team
The Inside Sales or internal sales process includes a sales team that performs sales through resources that do not require a displacement, such as:
- Social networks,
- Online chat,
This format has been highly effective when the objective is to sell to other countries from a fixed location. In addition, it offers other advantages, such as low operating costs and better customer experience.
Work content marketing
Once you have your website adapted to international SEO best practices, it becomes essential to have a content strategy to attract clients.
To develop efficient content marketing, cultural differences must also be considered. In other words, the content that serves the public in your country will not always do the same in another.
The more targeted the content, the more personalized the experience of your potential foreign clients becomes and, as a consequence, the greater the possibility of conversion.
Another important element is related to the search of users. When choosing the keyword for your content, keep in mind that the behavior of these people may be completely different from that of your country (and it is precisely for this reason that literal translations of content are not recommended).
Search habits will always be different, from terms, used devices (smartphones, tablets, computers) and even search mechanisms (Google, Bing, Yahoo !, Ask …) – elements that can completely alter the positioning of your content.
Many companies, of the most diverse types and segments, make the same mistakes during internationalization. These failures can harm or even completely compromise the process, causing it, in the end, not to meet expectations. Here are the basic mistakes you should avoid when expanding your business.
Do not research the market
Much of the mistakes made in an internationalization process are related to the superfluous analysis of the market. In other words, companies invest their efforts in an expansion that is not sufficiently validated.
Before starting to other countries, it is extremely important to understand the aspects of international marketing, such as:
- Among others.
And of course, it is also essential to analyze which are your competitors in the country (if they exist), how they act and how they relate to the public.
This analysis can be done through reports, investigations, newspaper articles and other sources available in the country.
Keep in mind that only then can you make the best strategic decisions in the new market.
Ignore the regulations and laws of the country
Regulations and laws on the market in question are, perhaps, the most relevant factor in an internationalization strategy. Although the Internet is a global system, a trade must be legally adapted to the conditions of each country.
In the United States, for example, there is an ongoing discussion about the applicability of state taxes to e-commerce transactions. Already in some countries, certain products have specific laws for their commercialization, such as alcoholic beverages, which may have different minimum purchase ages depending on the country.
Thus, it is essential to study aspects such as:
- Tax payment;
- Price fixing;
- A requirement for service provision and product marketing;
- Account control;
- Investment and financing;
Do not incorporate an international culture in the company
In some cases, companies tend to expand to other countries without developing intercultural management, a key factor in scaling business beyond the border.
Fostering an international culture within the company helps to generate professional relationships based on respect for differences and opens space for strategic collaboration between all those who are part of the business.
In other words, when the organization has contact with other countries and cultures, it manages to understand and communicate effectively, eliminating barriers that could be detrimental at the time of expansion.
International culture can be implemented by hiring professionals of different nationalities and business alliances with foreign companies.
Internationalize without financial viability
It is true that to internationalize a company through the Internet, the level of investment is much lower than when carried out in a traditional way. However, this does not mean that financial resources are not necessary.
The decision to approach a new market requires an economic viability analysis to understand what resources you have and what you need for internationalization, for example, you may need to increase your staff, hire an e-commerce platform, pay regulation fees, licenses, among others.
This reflection will help you in planning the international strategy, allowing you to adjust your business to changes in processes, product adaptations and other challenges that arise during expansion, without taking economic risks and compromising your company.
With internationalization strategy, dedication and investment, internationalizing a company on the Internet becomes an easy course to travel and capable of opening many doors.
The effort to become a global organization will allow you to occupy excellent positions, both in the national and international markets, standing out against your competitors and significantly increasing your company’s income.
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