An International Business Blog To Discover New Markets

There are still many people who think a website alone opens their business up to global markets and brings in international sales.  Unfortunately this assumption often leads to disappointing results.  Part of the problem is in the different definitions we have for an “international business”. Let’s think about this first.

What does “international business” mean to you?

It is easy to dream of foreign currency appearing in your bank account.  But an international business has more to do about you than the money an international can bring you.  Selling to international clients impacts all aspects of your business.

  • You may need to adapt your products and services to different markets for optimum sales.
  • While maintaining a strong brand across all markets, you must also adapt your sales and marketing enough to make those sales possible.

You see, you will always need to adapt something, simply because people are different in different cultures.  They respond to different emotional hot buttons and different communication.

In amidst all of these adaptations, there is a balance to find within your own business.  This is also why it is important to know exactly what you need to do to get the international business you are looking for.

And this is exactly where international social media can play a very interesting role. It is a great opportunity to connect with your international markets.  This in turn leads us to the question of creating an international business blog.  The truth is, within an international social media plan a blog can be a great option for businesses hesitating to expand abroad.  An international business blog can serve as an international hub, or even a regional outpost, to learn more about how you need to adapt your business for more international sales.

International Business Blogs

Why should you consider creating an international business blog?  Of course, there are different reasons to creating an international blog and the decision depends on who you are and who you want to engage with.

The main reason why more and more businesses are creating buisness blogs today is because they now realize the value of having a blog to engage with their clients and other business connections in a more sociable environment.

But what about engaging with people in different countries?

In some cases, an international business blog can provide similar value: a sociable place to engage with people your business cares about and wants to build a relationship with.  But for in the world of international business, there are also other reasons why an international business blog can prove to be a valuable asset.

Let’s look at some of these reasons.

Why Create An International Business Blog

There are different ways to use an international business blog, but they probably have the most value for:

  • Businesses entering new markets
  • Businesses hesitating to go international
  • Businesses wondering whether there are international markets out there for the value they offer

These international business blogs are created with goals relating to international market research and international business intelligence.

Let’s be realistic.  You cannot expect to develop business with clients in different countries until you know them.  And how are you going to begin to get to know them?  International social media provides a way to engage in conversations and to connect with people without great investment. The dialogue and feedback through social media interaction can help you to improve your evaluation of the risks involved.  It can also help you discover business possibilities in different countries.

A good international business blog strategy can provide the framework to engage with your international markets and get the feedback you need.

International Market Research

You can use international social media not only to connect with people abroad, but also to actively and strategically look for the specific market information you need. You can use your blog to:

  • Get feedback about possible markets for your products & services
  • Get feedback from potential clients
  • Get feedback from your competitors’ clients
  • Look for international business partners
  • Create international business networks

This is only part of the work you need to do to develop an international business. To bring in international sales you will of course need more than the blog itself.  But do not underestimate the information you can obtain from an international business blog and some international social media marketing.  You can get the information you need to know to take your business global.

3 Ways To Use An International Blog

Here are 3 different ways to use an international business blog:

As a piece of  foreign real estate. A blog usually implies fresh content published regularly – all search engines love this.  Imagine a blog targeting one culture, with content written using the words used by the local people.  You can see how important this is to gaining online visibility in foreign markets.  By publishing culture specific content you can improve your search engines rankings for those markets.

As an international hub.  For some businesses it makes sense to have a separate international hub as a base for:

  • More targeted marketing campaigns
  • Research into different cultural regions
  • Learning more about their international markets

To engage with other social media.  Remember the primary outcome of social media is to build relationships of some kind. Although a blog is a social media platform you will get better results when you use it with a few other social media platforms.  The choice of which social media platforms to use depends on who you want to reach, how you want to engage with them and how they want to engage with you.

What are the limitations of international business blogging?

There are URL limitations.  It is best to use a country specific URL, for example for a French blog. The problem is that some countries do not allow you to have a country specific URL without a physical address in the country.  This is the most difficult scenario for creating an international business blog.  In this case your only option, without substantial investment, is to network from your current location and establish a business network with people located in your target country.  It takes work, but it is possible; especially if you combine online networking with offline networking.

There are language limitations. You will need local language assistance if you are targeting such countries. Before starting your own blog, you may find it useful to work together with someone locally, to do a bit of social monitoring and social networking without a blog platform.  This will give you insights into the best steps to take next.

There are also regions where social media is not as widely used for business.  And there are some social media platforms specfic to certain regions. Given the current evolution in social media, this should be re-evaluated regularly.

Where Cultural Differences Matter

Cultural differences always impact international business.  This is why you must first establish the extent of the communication challenges you will face blogging for business.

Language is always a challenge, even when you speak the same languge. It is easy to identify the cultures where language is a bigger issue than others.  But don’t automatically assume there is no way to get beyond this first language hurdle.  Research the local market carefully and as best you can.  Through networking with local people you may find a solution suitable for your business.

Cultural differences impact international business on many levels and they also influence how people use blogs. Even if you think language is not a big challenge, beware of the cultural differences that impact your particular business and social media.  Social media habits are different in different cultures.  People approach blogs differently too.  Spend at least a month or two simply looking and listening to what others do in the countries you want to reach.  You will be amazed at how much you can learn in a short time.

International Marketing Is Evolving

The environment for international marketing is changing. As you watch the number of non-English language websites and blogs grow, remember to look at the other factors.

  • Up until now, non-latin language companies have not been able to have a domain URL in their own language.  This is changing  and will open up international marketing possibilities for everyone.
  • Different cultures are learning from their current experience online and we will see different cultural approaches influencing online marketing.

It Is Still International Business

As companies learn to use international social media within their international business strategies, one thing is apparent.  You still need experience and practice to develop international business skills.  This is why it is a good idea to create a blog to use as an international business hub and to start building the international skills needed to successfully build a real international business.

After all, although connecting with some countries may currently have severe limitations, these limitations may not be so big in the future.  The people with international social media experience will find it easier to seize new opportunities for any new international market opportunities.

Today there are two real opportunities for companies willing to invest in an international business blog:

Non-native English speaking companies targeting English speaking countries.  There are some international markets that are easier to target today than others. These are a good investment. Non-native English speaking companies targeting English speaking countries should all have an international blog.  The investment in English language content is manageable when there are already English speaking international clients.

Companies ready to invest in international markets but not knowing where to start. A blog can used:

  • With social media engagement to get feedback and have better knowledge of the risk factors involved
  • To target a broad international audience to explore international business opportunities.
  • To lead to further development within or outside of a social media strategy.

For many businesses this can be an English language blog. Companies can also think of an international blog strategy in different steps: an English language blog first, targeting a broad international audience and then moving towards country and market specific blogs once they have the information they need.

Do you have any questions about how to connect with your international audience through social media?

Sign up for a brainstorming session for ideas on how you can improve your international social media tactics.

  Filed under: business blogs

Cindy King

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>