Once you know how to export, the bigger question becomes, how do you sell to an international market? The Internet is the obvious way to reach a global market without needing millions in advertising budgets through traditional advertising. Our simple guide below explains the basics of getting your website online and key points to marketing.
The Big Idea
That idea that began in your head, you acted on, you’ve found a way to take it and turn it into a reality. Congratulations indeed, you are part of the minority. For many, taking the risk, working that hard, probably your current job in the day, then getting home and working another shift on your own company is too much for the majority. Putting up your own money to finance your new company, keeping the motivation and drive can be difficult but you’ve not given up, what you’ve achieved is admirable and you’ve proven yourself braver than most.
You’ve achieved so much, you’ve sourced or are manufacturing your products, importing them to your warehouse and now they’re selling. The next question now is, how to sell to more of your products and how to sell to a global market?
It’s Not Easy But You Already Know That
Selling is not rocket science, you have to sell your products at a higher price than you buy them. However, especially in this day and age where competition is fierce, it’s easier said than done. It’s not easy but you already know that coming this far. You’re obviously up for the challenge. Selling globally is something that we can all do these days thanks to the Internet. That idea of making money and taking orders while you sleep is reality.
Buy A Domain
A domain is where it all starts online – www.mysite.com. Registering one is easy enough, go over to Go Daddy, search for your name and register it. Two quick tips:
1. Registering a domain name with your main keyword in it can help with rankings. You can register two names, one being your company name and the other more keyword friendly. You can promote your company domain on business cards, letterheads etc. but promote the keyword rich one within Google and online.
Don’t overdo the keywords though, keep it simple and still has to look professional.
2. The longer you buy the domain for, it could help your ranking in Google. Google ranks websites on many hundreds of points so buying a domain for 10 years won’t get you to the top on it’s own but it’s something that Google does measure.
Google’s logic is simple, if you spend the money to register it for a long period of time, you plan on being around, opposed to someone who is taking it year by year.
Build Your Site
It’s obvious but the best thing you can do is build yourself a website. Years ago this used to be an expensive and time consuming project but now it’s really become much more simple. There are “open source” free website platforms out there, the most common being WordPress. You will need a little tech knowledge but there are so many free tutorials on Google for WordPress that at every step you’ll be able to fall back on some video help.
Magento is a second step up, more powerful as a ecommerce platform but you’ll need more tech knowledge.
Shopify is an option as somewhere you can setup shop quickly and easily but doesn’t give you all the control you may find you need.
WordPress may well be the best place to start. It used to be that you had to find a designer that would create your design then a coder to implement that design. Now you can simply go to a site like Template Monster and search for WordPress templates. Buy one, grab some hosting and install. That is a little tricky and will take some time but here’s a quick guide on how to start . Check out Woocommerce as this is what you’ll need to install to actually run the ecomm side of your site.
Keep It Simple
The temptation when building your shiny new website is to put everything you can think of in it. There’s literally thousands of free plugins and features you can add. Best advice, keep it simple. The advent of the internet has made us much less patient. If we can’t find what we’re looking for in a few seconds, we hit the back button and bounce off the site. The same will be true of your website; your competition is one click away. Keep things simple, clear, to the point and quick.
Search For It And Make It Snappy
Add a site search or a product search, especially if your site has many pages and/or products. Allow people to find what they want quickly. Quick being another key point for Google, as something else it looks for in the site speed. If your site take a long time to load, Google penalises you. “Long” on the internet is measured in seconds. So keep your site light and make sure it loads quickly, especially on mobile as I’m sure you know, most of us access the web through our mobiles more than desktop now.
Speak Their Language
If you want to be global with clients worldwide, you’re going to have to speak to them. Translations of the site will be needed. You can try and sell to Spain in English but your sales will inevitably be stronger if you sell in Spanish. You’ll also have to consider what you’ll do if you have a Spanish customer that has an issue and can only talk in Spanish, a problem if you only speak English.
Customer Service Is All That Matters
Lessons can and should be learned from Zappos. Zappos has sold a billion dollars worth of shoes so if there’s anyone to learn from, it’s these guys. Customer service wins loyalty. When we call a company, we want to speak to a human, we don’t want to dial more numbers to get there, we want a response quickly. If we have a problem or a complaint, make it right. The best way of keeping customers loyal is to deal with problems and issues, quickly and to fix the problem. We all understand that there are problems in life, it’s how you correct them that can make a disgruntled customer, a happy and forever loyal customer.
Make that happen. Have a read on Forbes about Zappos customer service.
Install Google Analytics on your site, it’s free. Setup goals and study the data. Without knowing what your audience is looking at on your site, what’s working, what’s not working, you won’t be able to progress. Analytics offers a wealth of information for you to study. Without using this, you’re blind.
Why No Traffic Jam?
After all this, you may find yourself wondering why you’re not getting any traffic or sales. Well, there’s around 645 million websites online today. How are people going to find yours if you don’t tell them about it? Means more work but we already know you’re not scared of that! Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking.
Getting a high ranking in Google is what we all want but it’s no easy task. It takes time and a lot of work. A quick way to Google is using Adwords. Pay to appear at the top of Google. Yes it means you have to find more funds but it’s a quick way to get off the ground. The other advantage is that it will give you an idea of traffic, whether your site is working well, if you have customers calling you you’ll understand their needs better.
WordPress is actually a blogging platform so use it. Create blogs that are interesting and relevant to people. I hope you are finding this blog useful and that you’re benefiting from the information. The next post I write, you will hopefully be interested in and continue to read. Over time, I hope you’ll become a loyal follower and share the information I’m writing about with others that will find it useful. The same applies to whatever you’re doing.
Don’t write blogs where you’re simply trying to get people to buy what you’re selling, drive people to your site with interesting and relevant content, then they may visit your site and look deeper, perhaps taking the plunge and buying something.
For example, if you sell cakes, don’t just try and sell your cakes on your blog. You can write recipes, make a few videos of how to make the best brownies at home, what are some of the best ingredients to use in cakes, what are your favorite cakes, whats the best cake tin…you get the idea. These subjects will be more interesting and if you post them out on social media, may get a lot more interest than, “Please Buy My Great Cakes”.
Once you’ve written those great blogs or created a few great videos, send them out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and all the networks. Use hashtags to gain more exposure.
The main thing to remember is not to get bored and give up. Blogging and gaining traffic takes time, you need to think of this as a 12 – 18 month project, it won’t happen over night. Be consistent and you’ll get there.
Take A Piggyback
Another idea is to use sites that allow you to sell but take a commission. This may not work for you if you’re working off tight commissions but in the long term it can still work, so consider it. Sites like Not On The High Street, Etsy and even Amazon and Ebay can really work to springboard some product awareness.
By adding your products to these, you’ll have to pay a commission on sales but you’re products may start to get exposure and any sales, means you’ll have the details of that customer to market to in future. Rather than looking at it as a commission on sales, you could look at it as paying to gain the customer.
Last point is to make sure you’re creating an email list of users. It’s an old form of marketing now but it’s still effective. Offer something for free on you’re site, a discount, an ebook, a free cake! Get the user to leave their email and you’ll be able to keep them up to date with new products, discounts and other exciting bits and pieces!
I hope this information helps get you off the ground towards finding your global market place and if it did, perhaps share it with others! (See what I did there?!)