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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How an Organization Can Use the Internet To Sky Rocket International Sales




A few days back, I talked with a US based company with branches in Africa. They wanted me to write sales letters that would help increase the income of their subsidiaries.

The request was based on the desire to see an increase in target buyers from the African market-a fast growing e-commerce enclaves. 
One way they felt they would be able to get into the target market was through internet advertisement. In our discussion, I explained to them that it requires more than ads to increase their sales.

Why Not Just Ads?

Though ads is most often adopted by large companies through the use of Facebook and Google, however for International companies to increase sales in their local subsidiaries,  other marketing strategies should be implemented.

Hence the Reason why website localization is important.

What is Website Localization?


According to Wikipedia, "Website localization is the process of adapting an existing website to local language and culture in the target market. It is the process of adapting a website into a different linguistic and cultural context— involving much more than the simple translation of text.

This modification process must reflect specific language and cultural preferences in the content, images and overall design and requirements of the site – all while maintaining the integrity of the website."

Website localization is an awesome strategy as such websites help buyers or consumers feel at home while purchasing product or services.

Where full localization is not possible website domestication should be implemented-

What do I mean By Website Domestication?


Website domestication is a situation where an organization sets up a website in the intended country-however, the website interface may or may not be the same as that of the parent company. The domain extension or TLD- Top-Level-Domain should however be that of the country where the website is to be domesticated.

For example: The International Website for Goal.com is www.goal.com while that of the Nigerian  counterpart is www.goal.com.ng.

Perhaps if you are skeptical of the advantages of website localization, here is a research into the benefit that accrues from localization:

56.2 percent of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. (Common Sense Advisory, Can't Read, Won't Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites, 2006)

Having spoken about domestication and website localization below are other steps than should be used to to improve sales in local subsidiaries.

1. Engage in Transcreation





Wondering what this heck of a word is? Read on!

David Ogilvy, the 20th century advertising executive widely hailed as 'The Father of Advertising', famously stated:

“I don't know the rules of grammar... If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.” Source

This quote essentially captures the importance of Localization.

For some people, this question  may arise : "What if the country is also an English speaking country?"

Let’s say we are comparing Nigeria to that of the USA.

In the above situation, I still insist that localization is important as a Nigerian can easily relate to a Nigerian colloquial expression compared to that written in American English.

One brand that has successfully deployed this strategy, not necessarily in website adaptation but in advert construction is Coca-Cola.

To make you understand better, I will share a story.

Coke returned to India in 1993- 15 years after being booted out by the then Socialist company.

 And this made them loose a lot of ground.

 Having failed in trying to capture the Indian market they devised a beautiful strategy that helped them increase their market share.

According to Manjeet Kripalani

"In 2002, after years of lackluster ad campaigns, Gupta's team settled on an advertising strategy that caught the imagination of Indians. Breaking with Coke tradition, he hired a celebrity spokesman, Bollywood movie star Amir Khan. The campaign equates Coke with "thanda," the Hindi word for "cold," a commonly used term for a generic soft drink. "Coke had to break a lot of its rules for India," recalls Ashok Jain, the former head of Cadbury Schweppes PLC in India, who quit Schweppes after Coke bought it in 1999."

Fast forward to 2013 and we have Coca-Cola on top of the game

Take Away: Transcreation increase Engagement-

Case Study: How Pepe Jeans grew international influence, engagement through Facebook


Other Advantages of Domesticating a Website include Resolving:

-Country & language conflict- since people even within the same country may have different language

-Dates & times conflict- Displaying dates and times in the preferred local formats is also recommended as it avoids confusion and allows for an improved user experience-this is usually difficult to achieve when the website of communication is a foreign website.

2. Establish a Blog

A blog is an important way for an organization to increase sales, reason being that it gives you the room to:

- Show your expertise-when organization blogs, clients and customers perceive them to be experts especially when they are able to answer questions in a timely manner.

- Builds Closer Connection-By personalizing your blog post you have a huge chance of developing deep connections with your customers. This goes a long way in reducing advert cost as this customer essentially become brand ambassadors. An example of an company that has effectively deployed this strategy is Buffer

- Answer FAQ- through blogging you can effectively solve peoples problem just by a simple click. This helps reduce the cost you would have to spend employing Virtual Assistants (VA). This is an especially useful strategy for new businesses on small budget.

These are just a few benefit of Blogging-for a full dose check out: 51 Benefit of Blogging-

3. Ask Yourself Why Do I Need This


No doubt, it has become pertinent that a company should have a social media account-but of more importance is your reason for setting for one.

This point became clearer when I read  +Carol Lynn Rivera   post titled: E-commerce and the Death of Customer Service: How One Company Said No


According to Carolyn, the big question we should ask ourselves is why should I be doing it?

With the huge numbers of social networks coming on stream, many organization have gotten it all wrong by trying to be on all the social network.

You need to Ask the Question “Why”

Do I Need:

- A Facebook page
- A Google plus page or
- LinkedIn Page

Answering the above question gives you the requisite data to determine if you should go ahead to set them up. Apart from asking the above question, another important question you should ask is: “Do I have sufficient resources to effectively manage the various social platforms I intend to adopt?”

If the answer is in a negative, it is important you look at the best social network you can effectively deploy your resources.

The resource being mentioned here isn’t just constrained to financial resources. I am also talking about Human resources.

Human resource is important as it ensure that your financial resources are effectively managed. To site an example, I for one haven’t joined the Instagram craze, not because Instagram isn’t a veritable network for communicating my company’s benefit but because there are only 24hrs in a day.

Now, what I just suggested may go against conventional grain, but I believe that in social media, less is actually more

Less is more, because Less gives you room to:

1. produce quality content
2. Give out quantity
3. Build stronger relationship

4. Determine the Business Strategy To Adopt


In the beginning of this article, I mentioned that the E-commerce sector has witnessed positive growth. Though the growth has been positive, it doesn’t mean that every company engaging in sales should set up an e-commerce site.

The first thing organization should do is for them to determine their business strategy. The desire to maximize sales through new and existing sales channel should not be sacrificed on the altar of profit.

For example, an organization can decide that their aim is to:
1. Win repeat customers-through referrals
Or
2. To get as many customer as possible

For an organization, whose desire is to win referral and repeat customers, a great deal of personalization is needed. And in such a situation, setting up of a shopping cart shouldn’t be the primary aim.

Real Life Examples




+Marcus Sheridan  and his team at Riverpool spas  provides people with a great deal of detail about their product-in this case- fibre glass swimming pools. Various samples and how the installation is done are also provided. Instead of a shopping cart, phone and e-mail communication is preferred as this is to ensure they provide pools that fulfill the needs of the customer at the end of the transaction.

This way customers can be easily converted to a raving fan

n/b:A phone number-to develop a more personal line of communication is therefore desirable.


Another brilliant example is John Kenyon of ContemporaryFurniture.com who has refused to incorporate shopping carts to his site in order to prevent loosing that personalization he receives through the interaction that his organization makes with customers



If you decide to remove the shopping cart option, this will give you the opportunity to ask detailed question about your customers needs which a photo and product description will not be able to achieve.
This is not say the second option which is to obtain many customers as possible through basic use of simple product description and photos doesn’t have an advantage. As I said it depends on the goals of your organization.

The shopping cart option with just product description as can be seen on Jumia, is basically for those who need quantity customers as against quality customers.

The second option is usually better for organization who offers lots of option to people. For example Jumia offer items such as perfume, wigs, electronic. In short their target market is the mass market.

By focusing on the provision of the best of product description-alongside quality pictures, Jumia staffs are able to channel time that would have been used to talk to customers on other endeavour such as PPC advertising, Facebook marketing, search engine optimization and smooth delivery of product in a timely manner.

5. Institute Local SEO



I don’t know in-depth SEO techniques, but a little of this is sure to boost the SEO of your local business. The reason is because most of your competitors are not using this same simple but effective technique to boost their search engine result.

These quick step as explain in Rice Media article will help Improve your Local SEO Strategy

i) Visit Google My Business- Google my business lets you claim your business on Google and not only that- you also have the ability to Start a conversation with people on your page. Conversation really helps build relationship that can convert visitors to buying customers. Other benefits include the ease of being found on Google search engine.

ii) Do Local Listing of Your Business:
you can do local listing of your business on Yelp, Yahoo and Bing. If you want to get a local directory for your own country you can just key in the tag “list your business+country”

While this may not give you an ultimate list, for my country-Nigeria, I was able to come up with Vconnect.com


iii) Ask Customers to Do a Review:
if you know you’ve provided useful service you should ask your helpful customers to do reviews for you. To facilitate the process and make it easier for them to accomplish, you can create a list of question for them to answer. You can even facilitate the process by providing them a list of sites where they can put up their answers. This way it is much easy to get your positive feedback up and running.

iv) Optimize Your Social Profile

Ensure you fill up the needed information on your social profile and make sure you use your keywords.

More info: Read Emma-Julie Fox article: How Businesses Can Optimize Their Social Media Profiles http://www.rightmixmarketing.com/social-media/how-businesses-can-optimize-their-social-media-profiles/
Bonus: Respond To negative reviews: responding to negative reviews can be a great way to turn an angry customer into a raving fan. However, this requires tact and discipline. It is important you stay positive when responding to a comment.

More Info: Handling Haters: How To Respond To Negative Online Reviews by Tim Devaney and Tom Stein


6. Let Your Staff Use The Internet To Promote the Organization.



Matt See; in a LinkedIn post titled: 4 Tips on How to Get Your Employees Involved in Your Social Media Plan, recommended that organizations do the following:

- Involve their Staffs in Setting up of a Social Media Account
- Give the Staffs A Bit of Freedom in Posting on Social Media
- Assign Responsibilities
- Draft a Policy

While there might be some fears pertaining to the above tips, there is need for organizations to understand that employees can help build a community of raving fans because of the personalization that employees introduce in sharing information.

One great example is NigerianInfo a Nigeria Radio station that allows its presenters utilize social media to build up its brand.





These go to show that organization can also allow sales professionals set up their own sites. One huge benefit according to +Don Purdum   of  Unveiltheweb is that sales professionals can provide valuable information that helps solve your prospects and customers problems. After all, that’s why your company exists.




7. Promote The Heck Out of Your Post:


According To +Ana Hoffman   of trafficgenerationcafe.com:

"Promoting your blog never ends – whether you are a blogging super-star or just started your first blog. You might as well learn how to promote your blog the right way – get maximum impact with minimum moves.”

This is definitely the truth for any business as lack of promotion will surely make you lose a lot of prospect that you would have gotten through relationship building. The question then may be; “how do I promote my business?

Not to fret- here are some nuggets I gleaned from her personal promotion techniques she’s adopted consistently over time.


And this doesn’t take much of her time as some of this step can be automated. However don’t forget that while automation of some aspect of your promotion process is good it’s still important you carve out time to engage with others in your niche as this will bring you the most benefit.

8. Adopt Blog Commenting


You heard me right, especially if you are an international company.

Wondering how?

You can simply deploy one of your social centric staff to do this on behalf of the company. It would be best if the individual use his or her personal account to do this because most people feel more connected to individuals than they would do to a company.

And not to forget don't go pretending to be another as this is something I am still try to come to terms with. For the first time in my life I got shocked knowing that some people use popular bloggers e-mail and social media id's when writing a comment. This I found by reading +Adrienne Smith  Post

And you know what?


These guys do something funny-they go ahead to add their link to their own website. I just have to say bad! bad!! bad!!! to this technique, because you could damage your company's reputation this way.

Wondering What Blog Commenting Strategy You should adopt? then check out:

How to Build Your Audience Through Blog Commenting


In Conclusion: To sky rocket International sales organization, you should do the following:     
                      
 - Engage in Transcreation
- Establish a Blog
- Ask Yourself Why Do I Need To Set Up This Social Media Account
- Determine the Business Strategy To Adopt
- Institute Local SEO
- Let Your Staff Use The Internet To Promote the Organization
- Promote The Heck Out of Your Post and
- Adopt Blog Commenting

This is by no means an exhaustive guide to getting your company to improve their sales

hence the need for you to share your input. So if you know of any other strategy apart from PPC, please endeavour to share them in the comment below.









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