3 Common Online Marketing Mistakes Global Brands Make
Global brands have unique considerations concerning the way we speak to our international customers. While there are literally hundreds of considerations, I've elaborated on what I consider to be the top 3 below. I chose these because they are the right combination of important and attainable in the early stages of global internet marketing.
One Size Fits All
Most of us tend to take our blazing internet speeds for granted. In fact, if you're in the business of creating content, it's likely that you're in the top 1% of global internet users in terms of speed. This means that while you may view a 10M internet connection as slow, most of the world would see this speed as incredible and unattainable. You need to take this into consideration when creating content.
Unless your target market is exclusively in Russia, Romania, and Nordic countries, you should be taking a hard look at your images, pages, included files, etc. Speed test your content at <5M speeds. Especially in countries such as China--where speeds vary greatly--reset your expectations of internet speeds to be more "Sino-centric." In fact, in a recent study, China was found to be 91st in global internet speed comparisons.
Location Location Location
Once you have a handle on what you're sharing, you need to consider where you are sharing it. Where is your international content being hosted? If it's hosted here in the States, you should consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN) with geo-specific features. The goal should be to distribute your content from within the nearest logical geography. In the case of EMEIA regions, anywhere is fine--so long as the performance is good. When targeting APAC regions (understanding we have special considerations for China listed below), we like hosting in Hong Kong, but there are many good options.
In China, you'll need to work with a CDN provider that is literally located within China (no, Hong Kong is not close enough). Again, in this case, China introduces additional requirements, as a proper ICP may be needed for optimal performance. Before you ask, no, ICP has nothing to do with secret juggalo culture, it's a license available to a content provider in China. Securing an ICP can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. Consult with your CDN provider for assistance in this area; typically, they are well-versed in ICP procurement. If they are not, you may want to ask around about other CDN providers for China. How does your site perform from within China? Find out here.
Here are a few more China considerations:
- Analytics. Most Google links, for example, are blocked within China.
- Location within a country. Yes, there is more China to the west of Shanghai, though it's often not taken into consideration when speed testing.
- Encoding. Typically, content should be encoded in simplified Chinese.
Consider social elements as well when marketing to international customers. Not every culture has the same feelings towards internet transactions or mobile payments. There is a large disparity between countries in this area and it should be taken into consideration. Notice the 68% difference between Indonesia and Germany regarding the sentiment towards mobile payments. Many countries throughout the world are still wary of internet transactions (consider this chart of mobile payment system wariness). Special care should be taken to ensure the security and privacy provisions and assurances that are in-place for these cultures.
It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
You need the will to see it through. Your international counterparts may not have the wherewithal to carry it through on their own, so you need to be the strength for everyone.
Finally, you need to "get your woo on." Your international and stateside partners will need some convincing with respect to the critical nature of a well-crafted global program. You need to be part analyst, part carnival barker and part camp counselor (bring on the S'mores!).