Digital Marketing Meeting

By Rebecca Brown

How to craft a digital marketing strategy for a small business in a new country

Every aspect of running a business changes when you decide to relocate or expand in a new country. Nowhere is this more evident and impactful than in marketing.

In this article, you will find some tips on how to craft a digital marketing strategy if you run a small business in a new country.

Keep in mind that this does not mean you will read about all the steps of crafting a marketing strategy. This article will focus on how doing digital marketing in a new country differs from doing it in your native country.

Acknowledge and study the culture

Marketing rests on culture. Sure, there are some universal truths and ideas that span cultures, but for the most part, marketing will be greatly influenced by the culture of a country or a part of the world.

Just take a look at these embarrassing examples of not being aware of the culture that you are marketing to.

If you wish to craft a digital marketing strategy for a small business in a new country, you need to acknowledge that this new country could have completely different cultural mores to those you are used to.

You also need to study the culture of this new country, keeping in mind even the most minuscule possible details. For example, colors have different meanings and associations in different cultures. Whereas red symbolizes good fortune, prosperity, and happiness in most Asian countries, in parts of Africa, it is associated with death.

The best way to study the culture of a new country is to immerse yourself in it – watch movies and TV shows from those countries. Find satellite TV channels and watch ordinary TV. Read books. Talk to people from there.

Not only will this give you a strong foundation that you can build the rest of your strategy on, but you might even stumble upon a few ideas for your campaigns.

Take extra time on market research

There is no marketing strategy without market research and when you are doing market research in a new country, you have to be extra careful and vigilant.

For instance, while you might know all about your competition in your own country, the new country where you will be marketing your business might have completely different competitors or they might be stronger than you expected in this new country.

Also, you might discover that certain product or service qualities are more (or less) valuable in this new country. Something that might have been your business’ selling point in one country might be inconsequential in the new one.

You might also discover that the demographics are completely different from what you are used to. For instance, while the majority of your users in your original country might be in the 18-24 age group, in the new country the users of similar products/services to yours may be between 35-50 years of age.

You can never know what you can expect in a new country market-wise, so do your homework very, very thoroughly. You will also take the same extra care when segmenting the market.

Finding the right channel

In order to maximize the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy, you will also need to know which channels are the best suited for your needs in this new country.

Different countries go for different social media platforms. For example, while in India less than 3% of people use Twitter, in the US this number grows to 15% and in the UK to over 30%, at least according to statcounter.

You have to keep in mind that the variations might even be more dramatic when certain market segments are in question (for example, educated professionals and such). Your social media marketing strategy will depend greatly on this.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the markets may also greatly differ in the type of device that is used to access the internet. For example, the percentage of people who predominantly access the web on their mobile devices is far greater in India and Asia in general than in Europe or North America.

Crafting the right message

All of your digital marketing strategy and tactics will be useless if you do not craft the right message. This is why the actual creative part of your digital marketing will have to be approached more carefully in the strategy for the new country. This is where the knowledge of culture will come in handy.

Digital marketing often depends on conveying exactly the right message in very limited content and the language barrier can be insurmountable here. This is why it is often the best idea to approach local professionals or agencies that can help you with this.

But, the issue of localization for the new market may be a consideration for some future articles on the subject.


About the author

I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.

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