By Ashley Williamson
Most businesses these days don’t even have a physical brick-and-mortar store. They operate instead completely as an ecommerce enterprise and cater to a global audience as opposed to a local demographic.
For the most part, this is a good thing because it means not having to limit your outreach according to a geographical location. However, a global audience can also create complications. Issues like time differences, language barrier, customs and international shipping policies all factor into the equation.
Effective Global Communication is the Key
It can be difficult to establish a message, voice, and branding technique that resonates universally with audiences in different corners of the globe. The key is to diversify your marketing and implement multiple approaches. The following are popular communication methods recognized around the world.
Facebook is popular in just about every country where an Internet connection is widely available. The same goes for other top social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Pinterest, in particular, is an especially valuable network for connecting with an international audience. Even if you provide services to non-English speaking countries, images and photos make up a universal language that everyone understands. A picture is truly worth a thousand words regardless of what one’s native tongue is.
Virtual Phone Numbers
Long distance calling is expensive and can be cost-prohibitive when reaching out to foreign consumers. This is why most businesses are opting for a virtual phone number. A virtual number basically allows calls to be routed to the user’s actual number in order to avoid long-distance fees. Vonage is an example of a company that provides virtual phone numbers for a reasonable and affordable monthly charge.
Video Sharing Sites
Like social media, practically any country with national Internet access also has access to YouTube and other video sharing sites. Business videos are an excellent way to introduce your company, products, and services to a global audience. Subtitles can also be included to cater to an overseas audience. There are free translation services online that transcribe your script into the desired language. You can also make the video more interactive by having annotations appear on-screen to provide viewers with small descriptions or additional links.
There are still occasions that warrant a face-to-face meeting, especially when it comes to investors, partners and VIP clients. For the most part, however, you can save on the expenses by communicating through Skype or a similar system. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, while Skype to mobile or landline phone calls are available through low-cost monthly plans. Video conferencing is an effective way for conducting interviews, presentations or seminars on a group or one-on-one basis.
91% of the world’s population owns a cell phone. Mobile technology is becoming a norm even in underdeveloped nations. It makes sense then to communicate with your audience through a means that nine out of every 10 people on Earth have access to.
Use text messaging to send quick updates or include a special offer, such as a discount code or free shipping. The latter will especially be beneficial for international customers since there are additional fees associated with overseas shipping. Most SMS marketing services provide bulk and international texting services. While the cost may be a little higher, it is still affordable especially if the package can be purchased monthly at a flat rate.
Tailor Your Voice to a Global Audience
Having a large and global audience means having to take on multiple voices to appeal to different audiences. You can’t also just rely on one or two primary communication methods. You have to get comfortable with all the various ways in which consumers residing in a different continent can be reached. Remember that people from different places have different cultures, traditions, and observe different holidays, so customizing your message to suit a specific demographic is the key to successful, global brand development.
Businesses that know how to maintain a global audience have a far greater outreach than any local business could ever dream of achieving. This means having hundreds to thousands of customers for a steady and ongoing revenue stream.