You’ve sucessfully founded your startup and after passing some initial hurdles you finally feel like you’re hitting your stride. Now you want to increase your market share, exposure, and customer base.
As a startup based in Europe, you immediately start looking to the rest of Europe – and beyond. As you begin this process, don’t forget about a tool that you’re probably already using to directly reach your customers. A tool whose demise has been predicted many times over the years. I’m talking about your old friend: email!
Email is a cost-effective instrument that allows you to do more than evangelize your product in new markets, and communicate with new and prospective customers.
Email marketing is a valuable strategy for every stage of international market expansion: identifying and generating leads; drawing leads through the sales funnel; communicating effortlessly with diverse groups of customers; and gathering information about your newly conquered markets.
Using professional email marketing software, you can use your email campaigns to both introduce your products to new markets, and learn even more about your target audience. Follow these steps to learn how.
Step 1 – Create Great Content
You’re probably already creating a lot of good content in your home market. As part of your international expansion plan, consider creating content related to your product and/or product branch that’s specifically tailored for the new market.
I’m not talking about merely translating your most recent whitepaper – I’m talking about developing quality content for a new market, a new set of stakeholders.
The exact type of content that you create will vary depending on you, your product, and the market. Generally speaking, the content that works best for B2B companies are e-books, case studies and whitepapers.
For B2C, the content takes a slightly different form. Depending on your niche, consumers might not want to read a case study. Consider using customer stories, exclusive offers, or limited-time discounts.
As part of your content distribution strategy, you should require that people enter their information – names, email addresses, industry, etc. – in order to access your content. This will help you in the next step.
Since you’re new to the market, you’ll need to find partners to distribute your content for you. Look to industry magazines, journals, curated newsletters, or other mediums.
Step 2 – Set Up an Email Autoresponder
The people that download your content have entered their information, and have become hot leads. Now it’s time to turn those leads into customers.
An email autoresponder is a series of emails that are sent automatically based on your contacts’ particular traits, e.g. which content they downloaded, gender, location, etc.
Your exact strategy depends, once again, on your specific company and product. But here is a strategy that many successful marketers use to turn content-download leads into loyal customers:
- 1st Email – Welcome to the Family! – Show your lead that you care, and what it means to be part of your corporate family. Start with a small call to action, like whitelisting your address.
- 2nd – Benefit – Remind them the benefits of being your customer (even though they’re not one yet: they’ll get curious!).
- 3rd – Who We Are – Tell your story in a simple, easy, compelling form.
- 4th – Testimonial – Enough from us, hear what other people have to say!
- 5th – Success story – You’re expanding into international markets. This means you’ve got a good thing going. Don’t be afraid to brag a little!
- 6th – Register for our site – Want access to more great content? Sign up!
The exact order and length of your autoresponder campaign will vary. Make it as comprehensive as you want, but don’t forget: people want relevant content that speaks to their needs and interests.
This isn’t just about your amazing products. It’s about showing people how that product can work for them.
Step 3 – Design Your Customers’ Email Experience
Your emails are an extension of your brand. Make sure that all of your newsletters have a distinctive look, feel and design that your new customers will begin to recognize and appreciate.
Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how you can design newsletters that work for you.
Clear, Compelling Design – You’ve spent a lot of time designing your website and making it just so, right? If a newsletter is the first thing that potential customers are going to see, it also needs to be just so.
Your email marketing provider will have a number of newsletter templates for you to use (Newsletter2Go for example offers more than 50), but you should feel free to modify the design to make it look and feel exactly like you want.
Images are good, but not too many images. White space is also good, but you also don’t want your newsletter to look like a desert. And make sure that your most important content is “above the fold,” i.e. can be seen without scrolling down.
Content is king – but relevant content is the king of kings. To turn leads into sales, or curious onlookers into customers, you have to send newsletters that contain useful, interesting, and relevant content.
Once you’ve got customers in your email sales funnel, segment them based on key traits: age, location, gender, previous interactions with your newsletters.
You’ve acquired contacts from different sources, based on different content. Take these variations into consideration when you start with your follow-up emails.
Don’t throw all of your leads, from all of your sources, into the same mass-email bucket. Send similar case studies to what they’ve already read; related products to what they’ve bought; similar stories to what they’ve already enjoyed.
The more precisely targeted your newsletters can be, the more likely your contacts will find them relevant. Relevance means opens, clicks, and purchases.
And don’t forget your CTA!
Every newsletter should contain one clear CTA. Download your whitepaper now! Redeem Your Discount Today! Share This Video and Win!
In my experience, CTA’s embedded in buttons and/or images work much, much better than purely link-based CTAs.
Step 4 – Communicate, Learn
As your leads become customers, users, or dedicated followers, you’ll continue to communicate with them via email. The great part about professional newsletter software? This continual interaction generates data – and lots of it.
Your newsletter subscribers aren’t the only ones learning. When people open, click, and interact with your newsletters, you’re learning about them, too.
All of the opens, clicks, follows, and interactions will help you create detailed profiles of your subscribers: which groups like what kind of content; the best time to send newsletters; the most effective campaigns in different markets.
All of that information can be recycled not only into your next email campaign, but also into your core business.
Conclusion: International Email Marketing
Email marketing is extremely effective, not only as a basic communication tool for online businesses, but also as a valuable tool for international market expansion.
If you’re not sure how to set up your first email campaign, or are searching for a value-adding professional email marketing software, I’m happy to report that you need look no further.
Newsletter2Go offers powerful email marketing software, and they also publish a ton of useful whitepapers, how-to’s, and industry news. Register for free and start using email to expand internationally today!