For an organisation today there is no longer a separate strategy for international markets as it is now an integral part of business operations. So, building an international digital marketing strategy is something that needs to be worked on from day one. But what is an international strategy? Why should you internationalise your website?
When talking about internationalisation we need to look at two inter-related topics of internationalisation and localisation. While the latter is about understanding and adapting to the target market, the former aids in achieving it through defined and streamlined processes. Both have to work in tandem to achieve a successful digital strategy. Apart from the basic objectives of expanding markets and increasing sales, there are also strategic advantages that come into play by taking this initiative early. From streamlining processes to “first mover advantages”, building a robust international digital strategy can definitely give you an edge over the competition.
12 countries, 100 % growth
The aim of this article is to lay out some basic guidelines that will aid in drawing up a plan to internationalise your website. We will demonstrate a case study of one of our clients where OMMAX built and supported the client in executing an international digital strategy. The success of this is evident from the fact that the client has expanded the portfolio to 12 countries and has achieved a digital lead CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of over 100% across the markets. Let’s dive into how OMMAX achieved these results for the client.
1. Internal analysis
It is crucial to understand the strengths and limitations before we venture out into the markets. A frequent tool used for this is the SWOT table.
- Strengths: What makes your organisation/product stand out from the competition?
- Weaknesses: What does your organisation need to work on?
- Opportunities: Is there any hidden untapped potential your organisation can target?
- Threats: What risks do you need to address concerning the market?
When performing the analysis for our client we identified that there was definitely an untapped potential of having an already established operational network that just needed a strategic digital marketing push.
2. Market analysis
This is a crucial step in building an international digital strategy because understanding the market environment and the competition is critical. From a strategic point of view, estimating the market growth, the current players, their digital presence and internal and external barriers to entry, are some of the important parameters to dive into. To better assess the competition, their digital strategy, competencies and best practices, the best step is to do a digital audit and build a strategy around the findings. Some important points to consider would be: content, technical specs, internal navigation, backlinks.
3. Keyword research (KWR)
Building content for an international digital strategy starts first with KWRs. To create effective landing pages we need to identify a strong KW portfolio that is also relevant to the products. The portfolio is a combination of short tail, long tail, branded, product- and service-oriented KWs. This forms the basis of the SEO/SEA strategy and hence is a crucial step. This was a challenge OMMAX faced with the client due to the international presence in multiple countries with different language requirements. Furthermore, because of the difference in the target segments, products and markets, the KW portfolio had to be modified accordingly. Using our in-house expertise around content building and digital strategy, an elaborate portfolio for each country was created. This was further expanded to creating an effective SEO and SEA strategy which clearly made a difference for our client as it gained in market share across the markets.
4. Content designing
With KWR done, the next step is to look how you are going to reach out to potential customers and convert them to sales. OMMAX helped the client in identifying “content blocks” and build a strategy around it. Cohorts of KWs were established and evaluated based on the search volume and the level of competition. These can roughly be split up into four blocks:
The challenge however, is that we cannot follow the practice of one size fits all as the search intent, product description and even the national environmental, political and social factors have to be considered when developing the perfect content strategy. Through in-depth analysis, OMMAX guided the client in localising the content and also keeping an internationalised website. Certain structural features, page and site architectures, were intentionally kept constant as this not only reduces the number of resources required from the client’s side but also gives a uniformity to the customer experience.
5. Technical stuff
Although boring, this forms the core of the website. When internationalising your website it is important to give special attention to technical parameters, such as hreflangs. You want the right content to rank for the right countries and hence maintaining these good practices is important. OMMAX has been delivering on this right from day one, as we not only built the strategy for the client but also aided them in optimising the technical parameters with a thorough website check-up. This is definitely not an extensive list to work with when building an international digital marketing strategy but can provide a good initial idea to build upon. Having worked on multiple international projects, we at OMMAX have developed an in-house expertise in the field and can definitely provide your organisation with market insights and strategies to grow your digital performance.