Reaching customers is one of the crucial steps in the export journey, giving you the potential to propel your sales revenue from international markets to another level. This section on reaching customers will give you a good grounding in things to think about when devising your international marketing and sales plan. Here are some tips to get you started:
What countries should I target?
The best approach is always to select just one or two target countries in which to do business and then to work out how best to market and sell to your customers in those countries. It’s not just about the nuts and bolts of communicating across cultures, it’s about making them aware you exist and then making it as easy as possible for them to do business with you.
Which sales channels should I use?
Traditional methods of selling internationally through agents and distributors are still a prime way of attracting new customers and getting your products and services well-known in a new country. Equally, finding well-matched stockists and retailers who would like to sell your products in another country can give you exposure to new customers, as can attending exhibitions and conferences abroad.
More and more, companies are realising the potential of reaching their customers directly online. Even companies selling services can use their website as a lead generation tool, and companies selling products can make healthy international sales through a well-designed e-commerce website. But, selling online doesn’t just mean having your own full e-commerce website – there are plenty of other ways to sell your products and services in other countries, many of which are low risk and allow you to test the water. You can add your products to an e-marketplace like Alibaba or Mercado Libre, or simply add a PayPal button to your webpages. For fast visibility in local search engines, add your products to a local agent or distributor’s website, set up a local social media presence or start an online advertising campaign.