How to localize your business for overseas markets

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Small and medium business owners know better than anyone how competitive a local business landscape can be. With the growth of software as a service (SaaS) and social media platforms dedicated to helping anyone set up their own company or start-up, many end up looking towards global expansion in order to enter new markets, attract a new audience, and grow their business.

However, expanding into an overseas market isn’t as easy as translating all of your product and services information, nor is it as straightforward as creating a new website with a local domain. Priming your business for global success takes a lot of planning, and a solid localization strategy is key to ensuring that your business can continue to grow, flourish, and succeed in a new market.

Here’s what you need to know about localizing your business.

What is localization in international marketing?

A localization strategy refers to a comprehensive plan that enables your business to better connect with consumers in a new market, while still accurately preserving and representing the meaning, intention, and goals of your brand. This encapsulates almost all parts of your business from social media marketing, to community engagement, to product design and development. With a localization strategy in hand, you can enable your brand, product, or service to stand out when entering a new international market.

Here are three tips for building a localization strategy that can help your business go global.

1. Personalisation is vital to localization

Creating a personalised experience for your intended consumers should be what drives your localization strategy. This means learning everything about your new overseas target market including their languages, cultures, social norms, shopping behaviours, and purchasing habits. 

By familiarizing yourself with the needs and wants of your potential customers, you can tailor aspects of your business and outreach strategies to better connect with them. Localization also means you can avoid embarrassing or potentially business- or reputation-ruining faux pas, such as using imagery, language, or terms that could be fine in your origin market but offensive or unsuitable in a different region.

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So what does a localization strategy focused on personalization look like in international business? It could mean anything from coming up with new product lines that cater to a unique customer need, modifying existing products to suit the customs of a region, or changing your marketing collateral to reflect local phrases and preferences. According to the Harvard Business Review, over 50% of consumers are willing to pay more if product information is conveyed in their own languages

Businesses who want to be proactive in gathering new leads in an international market can also look at international SEO to get a leg up on the competition. International SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website so that it can be easily found, accessed, and understood by users across global markets, countries, or languages. This expands your reach beyond your home country, enabling you to reach a much wider audience simultaneously.

In addition to pursuing an international SEO strategy, the technical aspects of your business should also be geared towards meeting the needs of your new audience. Factors such as smartphone usage, internet penetration, and local familiarity with specific e-payment platforms should all be considered when localizing your new websites. This enables you to enhance the online shopping experience and attract a new customer base.

2. Understand the local competition

While companies may venture into overseas expansion in order to avoid a competitive business landscape in their home country, it’s important to remember that you are entering a new market with new forms of local competition. Understanding the local competition and domestic situation is crucial to ensuring your business not only stands out but succeeds over time.

A good localization strategy is one that is multi-faceted and takes into account the unique characteristics of each overseas market. This means paying close attention to details in messaging, tone, language, taboos, domestic events or news, and even legal requirements. This process may even require a distinct pivot from the business offerings in your home country, but it pays off in the long run as your company will be able to distinguish itself from the competition.

When asking yourself “how do I localize my product?”, focus on identifying gaps in existing product or service providers, and see how your business can fulfill the needs of your intended audience. You should also do your research on the competition and on pricing in the new market, which will allow you to price your offerings competitively.

3. Partner with relevant local marketing and social media partners if needed

Marketing and social media are a key part of any business’ localization strategy. As you’ve already spent time and resources defining your brand voice, goals, and identity, you’ll want to ensure that your message can still be communicated clearly, even in an overseas market.

One of the best ways to ensure your message remains relevant and consistent is through partnering with reputable local media and marketing partners to craft a digital marketing strategy for your business. They will be able to provide input and feedback that takes the local culture into consideration in order to help you shape a brand voice that will better resonate with new audiences.

Working with local agencies will also give you better access to services such as translation, content optimization, and SEO optimization, which are all key to maximising the reach of your international business websites and domains.

Ensure success in a global market with DHL Express

Introducing your business to a new market may seem intimidating, but it is becoming increasingly common today. With the rise of e-commerce shopping platforms, it’s in fact easier than ever for businesses to expand and engage with a global audience and build their brand overseas.

On top of a comprehensive localization strategy, you’ll also need to take global logistics and shipping into account if you’re planning on moving into an overseas market and shipping from the Philippines. DHL Express is a trusted and reliable courier service that offers door-to-door delivery services for international shipments. Our international e-commerce services and customs clearance services can help you navigate your foray into international business.

Learn more by opening a DHL Express business account today. Planning to expand into overseas markets? Why not check out our international shipping guides, or find out how to start shipping internationally as an e-commerce business.