International marketing

International Digital Marketing: Bridging Cultural and Geographical Gaps

International Digital Marketing: Bridging Cultural and Geographical Gaps
Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Merve Alsan
Reviewed by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Updated on
June 24, 2024

The shift from traditional marketing to digital has opened international markets, creating opportunities for any business to go global. Content marketing, social media, and paid ads enable brands to communicate directly with consumers anywhere in the world. And global feedback helps businesses to optimize products and attract a greater audience.

In this guide, we’ll provide insights for those starting an international digital marketing campaign. You’ll discover everything from best practices and winning strategies, to success stories and the tools needed to accelerate your expansion.

Getting Started with International Digital Marketing

Building an online global presence allows a brand to access new markets, stimulating growth and increasing revenue. Harvard Business School research found that small businesses saw a 5–10% revenue increase simply by adding a free listing to Yelp.

International marketing is important for any business looking to cement its reputation and ensure long-term sustainability. Here, we’ll detail the main considerations for any brand looking to make the leap overseas.

Know Your Market and Business Objectives

Conducting thorough market research will help identify destinations with the highest potential. Use data to analyze market size, growth trends, compliance, and legal requirements.

Before launching a campaign, it’s important to learn about cultural nuances, consumer behavior, and your main competition. Understanding these elements will make any marketing more effective.

Be sure to define your campaign's objectives from the start. Whether the aim is to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales, specific goals will guide your strategy in the right direction and help you evaluate performance.

Tools for Analyzing and Optimizing Your International Campaigns

Various digital tools can be used to optimize an international marketing campaign. Google Analytics and Search Console provide insights into traffic, conversions, geographical data, and user interaction. And Hotjar is an excellent complement for analyzing customer engagement.

Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs offer valuable Search Engine Optimization (SEO) data, including keyword research and competitor analysis. Moz Pro is useful for running site audits and checking backlink quality. And HubSpot’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system assists with lead nurturing across multiple channels.

HubSpot CRM platform

The Role of Digital Marketing Agencies

Digital marketing agencies bring expertise to businesses aiming to expand. They’re adept at market entry strategies, localization, and ensuring compliance. The best agencies provide tailored services, covering everything from ideation to execution and performance measurement.

When choosing an agency, find one with proven experience in your target region and sector. However, specialized knowledge often comes at a high cost, making it more suitable for larger businesses.

10 Key International Digital Marketing Strategies for Success

Numerous strategies are available that businesses of all sizes can implement. When planning your own path into international markets, prioritize the following steps.

1. Multilingual Website Localization

Multilingual website localization is arguably the most important facet of international digital marketing. Localization not only includes linguistic accuracy but also reflects your target audience's cultural nuances and preferences.

Consider design, images, colors, and the level of information offered. For example, German users prefer detail when presented with an advert, whereas Americans like a less-is-more approach. Display local currencies to simplify the shopping experience for customers. Firms with uniform prices across different locations risk limiting their profits.

In addition to adapting currency, multilingual website localization should include technical considerations, from adapting website design to accommodate language variations, to page speed, mobile responsiveness, and security.

Weglot solves the challenge of localizing digital content for overseas markets. The website translation platform simplifies translation and localization by translating entire websites in a single click. Expert translators can then work on-page to refine translations and reflect cultural preferences, improving the user experience.

French skincare brand Polaar used Weglot to translate its online store from French into English and German. Having previously struggled with manual processes, they needed a solution that suited their needs and budget.

When it came to selecting an app, Polaar had to check three boxes:

  • Easy installation.
  • Instant translation by machine.
  • Full editing control over these translations.

Thanks to Weglot’s quality translation, in 90% of cases, the machine translation met their requirements and didn’t need editing. Small manual edits made through Weglot’s Visual Editor covered the remaining 10%.

Polaar increase in visibility after adding Weglot to its website

The process significantly boosted Polaar’s visibility, traffic, and keyword ranking in English-speaking markets. Using Weglot also saved Polaar 100 hours of working time.

According to Sophie von Kirchmann, E-Store Manager at Polaar:

"Since adding Weglot to our site in February, US organic traffic has more than doubled."

2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Once your website is multilingual, it’s time to ensure that users can find it through search engines. International SEO involves local keyword research and optimizing content, meta tags, and URLs.

Implementing hreflang tags helps search engines understand your pages' language variations. Users then view the language version that relates to their location. Additionally, building quality backlinks from international websites can improve your domain authority and digital presence overseas.

Tools like Weglot simplify this process by following multilingual SEO best practices. These include translating metadata, language-specific URLs, and correctly implementing hreflang tags, removing the need for coding.

3. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Adapting SEM strategies in different regions is as necessary as SEO. Targeted paid search campaigns with localized keywords and ad copy can increase visibility and drive traffic. Ad extensions like sitelinks and callouts can further encourage user engagement.

Research and optimize ad targeting, bidding strategies, and ad creatives based on regional trends, seasonality, and cultural preferences. Such tactics help to align your paid campaigns with consumer behaviors, maximizing their impact.

Advanced paid advertising features like geo-targeting, language targeting, and audience segmentation can help marketers reach specific demographics.

4. Content Marketing

High-quality, relevant, and culturally sensitive content allows a brand to engage with consumers and offer solutions to pain points. Connecting across different cultures involves storytelling and creating user-generated content, promoting your brand as a go-to voice within your industry.

Localizing content into multiple languages improves international search visibility, broadening your reach. Multimedia formats like videos, images, infographics, and podcasts are particularly effective in capturing the attention of a wider audience. A study found that most people remember 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. More users are likely to engage with and share visual content.

Weglot can be used to translate media text, videos, or PDFs. To learn more, watch the tutorial on how to change a media file on a translated page.

How to add media translation using Weglot

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media strategies should be tailored to regional preferences. Identify the most popular platforms and research successful content. Look for opportunities and potential gaps in the market.

For example, Mr Beast – who has over 130 million subscribers worldwide – dubbed his most popular YouTube videos into 11 languages in order to reach a larger audience. YouTube found that the multi-language dubbed videos saw over 15% of their watch time coming from views in the video's non-primary language.

In just one month, Mr Beast uploaded one English-spoken video and received 36 million views. In the same month, his Spanish-dubbed videos received 11 million views each.

This strategy capitalized on YouTube's status as the second-most visited website in the world, having an average of 33 billion monthly visits. Only Google receives more hits! The right social media approach can be instrumental in opening up new markets.

6. Online Reviews and Reputation Management

Amongst its many uses, the internet is a forum for consumers to share their experiences and influence a brand's reputation.

Encouraging customers to leave reviews on international platforms can enhance credibility and trustworthiness. In particular, location-specific reviews will yield positive benefits. Research indicates that a one-star increase on Yelp is associated with a 5.4% increase in revenue. Therefore, online reviews from different countries serve as social proof on a global scale, influencing others’ spending habits.

Monitoring and responding to customer feedback helps your brand maintain a positive online reputation. Incorporating testimonials and reviews into marketing campaigns can further influence purchasing decisions.

7. Influencer and Affiliate Marketing

Identifying and collaborating with local influencers, networks, and publishers further complements social media marketing. Providing affiliates with localized marketing materials, tracking links, and incentives can increase conversions in specific regions.

You can use social media search features, like niche-specific hashtags, to find suitable influencers. Or platforms like Upfluence, which recommends influencers by analyzing their social reach data.

8. Email Marketing

Personalized email campaigns are another effective tool in international digital marketing. By segmenting email lists according to language, location, and preferences, brands can deliver relevant content to their subscribers. Localizing email campaigns with translated subject lines, email copy, and call-to-action buttons improves open rates and engagement.

Automating email workflows and drip campaigns allows for efficient lead nurturing, onboarding new customers, and re-engaging inactive subscribers. This is particularly useful when working across different time zones.

Mailchimp is a valuable tool for email segmentation. The software attempts to detect a customer’s browser language when they subscribe, update their profile, or click links in your emails.

Mailchimp email marketing platform

9. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation software manages repetitive tasks like customer segmentation and campaign scheduling across diverse markets. These tools use behavior-based triggers and personalized messaging to deliver timely and relevant content to international customers.

For example, automated marketing campaigns can be triggered to coincide with cultural holidays in specific countries. This strategic use of automation ensures that marketing campaigns are both efficient and culturally attuned.

10. Local Links and Press

Building relationships with local media outlets and bloggers can boost press coverage and build backlinks for your website. Participating in local events, sponsorships, and community initiatives increases visibility and credibility.

Monitoring local news and trending topics will help identify opportunities for PR campaigns. Capitalizing on timely media coverage is a great way to generate brand buzz and earn new customers.

Netflix: An International Success Story

Netflix's presence in over 190 countries with 260 million paid subscribers demonstrates its international success. To get there, the brand used strategic digital marketing, including targeted ads, social media, innovative content, and email campaigns. But the secret of its appeal lies in effective localization.

 Netflix’s Squid Game

Netflix tailors viewing experiences and recommendations to suit the preferences of international audiences, ensuring its content meets different cultural needs. Netflix captures diverse interests by investing in local content, such as the South Korean hit Squid Game.

A further emphasis on localization through dubbing and subtitling ensures its content is accessible to multiple audiences. As of April 2023, Squid Game was the most popular non-English show on Netflix.

Weglot: Effective Localization for Digital Content

Weglot’s translation and localization software

Translating website content across multiple languages can be complex and time-consuming. Weglot provides the solution for effective localization, addressing the key challenges found by automating translations and organizing projects.

Weglot handles translations in 110+ languages, saving significant time and resources. Continuous translation ensures your multilingual pages are updated whenever fresh content is added to your core site, keeping everything relevant. The platform also allows professional translators to manually refine words in line with local preferences.

Additionally, Weglot improves SEO for international websites. The tool translates metadata and implements hreflang tagging, matching different language versions of your site to a user’s location. Through Weglot, you also get automatically created language subdomains or subdirectories for your multilingual content, making it easy for foreign search engines to index your content.

What’s more, a no-code install and simple interface mean that anyone can manage a translation project.

Take Your Next Steps in International Digital Marketing

Any brand looking to expand its reach needs a proactive approach. Businesses that stay competitive globally embrace continuous learning and adapt to the latest practices in real time. The right tactics can unlock significant opportunities for growth and build a global brand presence.

Utilizing website translation tools like Weglot simplifies the localization process, enabling you to manage and automate translations across multiple languages. Combining these 10 international strategies with Weglot’s provides a solid foundation for any brand looking to grow.

Take the next step in international digital marketing by trying Weglot on your website for free!

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