Author: Catarina Esteves, Associate Director UK & EMEA
We know you have a great product, but if you are not communicating your messaging correctly and addressing the right audiences, then that’s all you’re going to have - a great product.
What we mean to say is, when it comes to expanding your business (or starting any business for that matter) the way you communicate your product is as important as the features and tech it boasts.
So to help along in your expansion journey, we’ve collated below 4 communication tips you may want to consider when targeting and growing your business to other markets.
1. Know your audience
This first tip is nothing new and is applicable to all kinds of businesses, from start-ups to mature companies. After all, if you don’t know your audience or the people your product was designed for, then it’ll be very difficult to tailor your message so they understand the problem you are trying to solve for them.
If you want to internationalise your business and start selling in a foreign market then you have specific elements of your audience you may need to consider:
Language - what language do they speak? Do they have a good understanding of English or do you need to think about having your marketing materials and website translated into the local language?
Note: don’t underestimate the importance of hiring a proper translator or better yet, consulting a native language speaker. Each language will have unique quirks that are important to take into account so your message is relatable locally.
Culture and business etiquette - culture and business etiquette influence how potential partners will perceive you so it’s good to have an understanding of local costumes so you avoid coming off as rude or arrogant.
You may also want to check for any local competition and how they adapt their messaging to local audiences; check if you see any common words being used and what ‘tone of voice’ they are using - do they use more formal or informal speech?
To help you define your audience and work through the points we have mentioned above, you can use frameworks such as the Empathy Map, a tool where you come up with personas representing your target audience and try to put yourself in their shoes, defining what they’re hearing, thinking, feeling and doing.
2. Focus on benefits, not on features
Our second tip is something that you’ve probably heard before, especially if you’ve attended any courses or webinars on sales and marketing, but it’s so important that we just had to include it in this list as well.
While we’re sure your solution has some great, innovative features, these usually don’t mean a lot to your target audience just by themselves. After all, people buy simple, easy to understand solutions to their problems, and a list of technical acronyms and industry-specific jargon just doesn’t cut through.
This is even more important when you’re expanding your business to new markets, since customers probably don’t speak your native language and their English may be far from fluent.
Instead, you should focus on ‘re-wording’ those features in benefits that can be easily comprehended and perceived by the customer. Check some examples below on how you can transform a feature into a benefit:
Feature: Our software can identify traffic from seven different sources.
Benefit: Identify where visitors to your website are coming from.
Feature: Seven megabyte-per-second download speed.
Benefit: Download files quickly and easily.
Feature: On-call software experts.
Benefit: Instant access to expertise.
(You can check these and more examples here)
By using benefits to describe your product as opposed to features, you’re putting yourself in customers’ shoes, sounding empathetic and thus a lot more trustworthy and relatable.
You’re also directly addressing a crucial question all customers will be asking themselves before buying your product - ‘What’s in it for me?’ Therefore increasing the likelihood of a sale.
3. Use a clear, concise message
Similar to the point above where we mentioned you should focus your messaging on benefits instead of product features, you should also avoid using too many technical terms and industry-specific jargon, since these may not be used and mean the same thing in the new markets you are targeting and want to expand to.
Choose instead a clear and concise message that will be easily understood by all, with clearly written benefits and a simple way to convey how you are the solution to your customers’ problems.
This is even more crucial if:
1) You are not 100% familiar with the foreign market you are expanding to.
2) Your target audience is not particularly tech savvy and therefore may not understand the vocabulary you’re using - which goes back to the first point of this blog about the importance of knowing your audience and understanding whom you are speaking to.
4. Keep reviewing and adapting your messaging
Your messaging and your communications strategy is never really finalised, so keep reviewing the way you’re addressing your customers; understand what’s working, what’s not working and what you need to change to improve conversion and grow your client base.
You may also notice that a message that worked really well in the past is no longer driving results, this is only natural. After all, people’s preferences change and new companies enter the market all the time, so it’s key to keep your content and wording fresh to stay relevant in an ever-changing market.
So there you go, these are our 4 main tips for you to effectively communicate your product to international audiences - did they help?
We certainly hope so, but we also understand that some of these are easier said than done - taking all of this into account can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out and your team does not have this expertise yet.
If this is your case, we recommend you check our Expansion Advisory service here, where we help companies take the first steps in a new market, supporting them in the tailoring of their messaging to new audiences, reviewing their collateral material for biggest impact, testing and validating of their product in a sample market with real customers and partners.
We’re also available to answer any questions and assist you if you would like to request a personalised consultation. Contact us here.
About the author
Catarina Esteves leads on all things Marketing at United Channels and is our in-house expert on communications, social media, story-telling for compelling sales pitches and business strategy.