If you’re running a business online, your customers can be anywhere. That opens up a world of possibilities (literally), but how do you tap into the market outside your hometown?
The big thing is, obviously, to do your research and figure out how you can add value to customers in the countries you want to target. But there are lots of little things you can do as well to make your business more accessible to customers around the world.
Offer Language Support
Okay, you may not have the budget to hire and supervise an army of translators, or create completely different versions of your site in German, Korean and Tagalog. But 42% of customers will only buy from sites in their native language. So how can you make it happen?
Plugins, my friend. Lingotek offers translation services, and Polylang allows users to toggle between different languages on your site. There’s a plugin for Straker now, too. If a global audience is a priority for you, consider getting at least your top five or 10 pages professionally translated.
Post at Weird Times
Ever post on Instagram in the middle of the night and get a bunch of random likes from foreign countries? There are definitely optimal times of day to post content on your site or social media—but that’s assuming that your audience is in the same time zone as you. Figure out the time difference in countries you’re interested in attracting and post content that would appeal to them when they are most active.
That doesn’t mean you need to be awake and posting 24 hours a day. Write your content during your regular waking hours, and schedule it to go out at the right times. Tools like Hootsuite and MailChimp can help.
Use the Right gTLD
Do you shop at sites that ended in .cn, .de or .es? Probably not—unless you live in China, Germany or Spain. You assume that these sites are catering to users in their home country.
While it’s a good idea to grab a domain with your country’s suffix, you may not want to use it as your default URL if you want to operate internationally. Instead, choose something that will be equally appealing in any country. Not sure where to start? .co is a great option, as is .io. Or, check out our huge list of available domains.
Mind Your Manners
You already know that you shouldn’t be a jerk online. But your content may be offensive to people in other countries, without you having any bad intentions at all. For example, a logo with a silly cow might make sense for your business in the United States—but good luck attracting traffic in India. Do a little research about cultural norms in the countries you’re targeting, and make sure you’re not pissing anybody off.
Appeal to Everyone
Do you talk a lot about cafés that are just down the street? Or local events? Or holidays that only exist in your country? Those topics are great, when you’re looking for a local audience. But nobody outside your city or country will care.
Whenever possible, make sure your site and social feeds offer insights and content that are evergreen: interesting and relevant anywhere, and any time of year.
So you just learned a crazy new word, and you’re stoked to show it off. First step: integrate in web copy. Right? Wrong.
Using complex vocabulary or local idioms makes your content super difficult to understand for people who don’t speak English as a first language. To make sure English-speakers everywhere will understand, keep it simple:
- Avoid idiomatic expressions
- Break up long sentences and paragraphs
- Use graphics to illustrate your points
These tactics will also help make your content clearer and more understandable for native speakers who are reading quickly/skimming (so… everyone on the internet).
Not sure if your content is difficult to read? Run it through the Hemingway App.
If you’re running a local business like a restaurant, it doesn’t really matter if your brand makes sense to people around the world. But if you’re selling software, writing, design—basically anything that can travel over the internet—you need to think about the rest of the world, too.
One of the best ways to reach a global audience is with a unique domain name that really stands out. And guess what? We have tons of them on sale!