Five Steps to Entering New Markets Online


Expanding into uncharted territory without understanding the local culture or its language is where brands stumble. The solution, according to Chris Nicholls of Search Laboratory, is to combine cultural awareness with a data-driven strategy.

Implementing a data-driven strategy is key to growing in global markets. Getting to know your new target market and its nuances is essential for effective expansion – maximizing your performance and visibility in new regions.

Before you start trading in a new market, you really need to understand that market. What are the visible gaps for your brand? What level of competition should we expect? How does your target audience in this market compare to your current customer? This preview will take the guesswork out of your expansion.

Identify the best market for your business

Market Explorer is an analytical tool that combines both Google and third-party data to reveal relative opportunities in various international markets based on industry demand, trends, and competition.

Explore Dashboard data reveals demand for individual products and growth in category interest, showing year-over-year trends in demand, as well as category costs per click across marketplaces . From there, you can use this data to start answering the essential questions: How much should I invest to get returns? What level of income can I expect?

At Search Laboratory, we take it a step further by taking a snapshot of your own current impressions using Google Ads. You are then able to calculate the total size of your home market and replicate it in all available markets, uncovering the demand for your product from a global perspective.

This can be further developed by incorporating additional data inputs known to your home market such as your click-through rate, website conversion rate, or average order value to help project investment and sales costs. acquisition, revenue and return on investment (ROI).

The last step is to start visualizing these opportunities by comparing the available markets. By taking the top 10 markets, you can estimate an opportunity forecast and how much you will need to invest.

The interactive nature of Market Explorer leaves room for experimentation, allowing you to tweak filters and regions to uncover opportunities and insight into the market best suited to your business. This information is ideal for steering your strategy in the right direction when planning your expansion.

Recognize your competition

Using competitive data in your target market will allow you to make informed and profitable decisions about your expansion.

The information gathered from your competitors will help establish an authentic presence, essential to the success of multilingual campaigns. Replicating Anglophone strategies globally can get lost in translation and not resonate with your target region.

Asking questions and immersing yourself in the local culture will naturally encourage a localized presence in your target market. The thoughtful process of getting to know your audience builds trust and reliability around your brand while avoiding entering a market with little demand for your business.

Localization rather than translation

Localization is fundamental to an effective international strategy. Each degree of localization has the potential to have a significant impact on how your brand will be perceived. Along with acknowledging the nuances of your chosen language, it’s important to consider how that translates into images, customer service, and payment methods.

If a customer cannot access their preferred payment method, trust and purchase intent are easily damaged. For example, in Japan, it was revealed that 73.7% of people would leave an online store if their preferred payment method was unavailable.

A well-translated (or localized) website connects with your audience on a personal and relatable level – building loyalty, encouraging repeat customers and increasing ROI.

Optimize technical URLs and site structures

Your brand’s physical presence is arguably more important than any message or strategy. Customers want to feel safe and relaxed on your site, which is why adapting your website to multiple languages ​​is essential when going global.

The three main structure options for a domain (using a French website as an example) are:

  • ccTLD (country code top level domain) – for example
  • Subfolder – e.g.
  • Subdomain – for example

Understanding how each structure works is key to deciding what will work best for your business.

For example, ccTLD is clear and concise, although it requires one site per region and therefore would not be ideal if you want to target more than 10 countries. Subfolders benefit from an umbrella site, although they often encounter navigation difficulties. Subdomains allow you to maintain “.com” across all sites, although they require maintenance when managing multiple regions.

Go beyond Google

Search engine market shares vary widely across the world. Despite Google’s dominance, there are many regions where alternative search engines hold significant dominance in particular areas of the market.

Market shares fluctuate wildly between devices, locations and browsers. For example, Bing covers 36.96% of US console searchers. If your target audience favored console users, optimizing for Bing is a strong Google rival.

With this information, you will be able to make informed, data-driven decisions about your strategy. Google has a 95.45% market share in India, which makes it difficult to optimize elsewhere if you are targeting this region. Similarly, in the Chinese and Russian markets, Baidu covers 82.47% of the search engine market in China and Yandex holds 60.07% in Russia.

For help entering new international markets, contact Research Laboratory.

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