Welcome to the seventh extract in my series from my book ‘Grow Fast, Grow Global: 6 steps to unstoppable international growth in the digital age’. Here’s an extract from chapter two unearthing the digital sales techniques and channels that could help you grow.
The good news is I’m keeping things simple. There are, in fact, only five widely used international digital sales channels that enable you to reach new customers around the world. To be successful, you need to select the best combination for your own products and services and then make them visible so they are in front of all your prospective customers.
In this chapter, I’m going to introduce you to these five key international digital sales platforms, their main features and some of the pros and cons of each in order to help you make a decision about the best options for your business and where to spend your digital budget.
But, first of all, how do you make the right choice?
The $5,000 Question
I’m often asked the question: “If I have a budget of $5,000 to grow my business globally, where should I invest it?”
Traditionally, this amount would be spent on attending an exhibition or trade fair in another country. It is surprising how quickly things add up once you factor in the preparation, the cost of the stand, the travel and accommodation expenses, the cost of follow-up, as well as the opportunity cost of being out of your business for a week.
But what if you were to invest it in digital instead?
Although many businesses are excited by the concept, they just don’t know where to start. There are so many ways you could split the $5,000 budget, and so much hype and conflicting opinions about what is most important. Common battlegrounds include: investing in your website, posting on social media, listing on platforms such as Amazon, writing blogs or advertising on Facebook.
The ultimate question you need to ask is: which one will get you more online leads or sales?
Well, here is the answer.
There is a distinction between digital sales and digital marketing, with a lot of airtime dedicated to the latter, which often leaves the former forgotten. Having worked with literally hundreds of businesses in different sectors, I have seen time and time again there are two things you need to do. Your budget should ALWAYS be spent in this order as this system is fail-safe.
- You need to establish world-class digital sales platforms to allow you to earn revenue.
- You need to implement successful digital marketing campaigns to drive traffic to those digital sales platforms.
It may sound simple, but always get your digital sales platforms up to scratch before investing in digital marketing. There is no point paying for online advertising to send a lot of traffic to your website if, quite frankly, it is not really fit for purpose.
Digital sales platforms are online places where a customer is able to purchase or express an interest in your products or services,
whether you are selling to end customers or to other businesses. The needs of your business will be unique, but there are only really five popular digital sales channels to sell online to international customers that you can choose from:
- Through your own website
- Through an e-commerce website, taking payment online
- Through e-markets, like Amazon and eBay
- Through s-commerce or social commerce, like Facebook and Instagram
- Selling through local partners, such as agents, distributors, retailers or stockists online
If you’re selling products, it is no longer just about selling through your website. It is necessary for most companies to build more than one digital sales platform to create a fully effective balanced international digital strategy. This way you don’t put all your eggs in one basket and are not beholden to the algorithms of just one of the internet giants, who can alter the fortunes of your business overnight.
If you can’t wait and want to get your copy of Grow Fast, Grow Global to read at the weekend as paperback or Kindle, then buy online now.
To see more extracts in this series click here.