Effective Online Marketing Internationally
This is a guest blog post written by the President of CloudBurst Consulting, Adrian Tennant. Adrian is an Internet marketing speaker with 13 years of online marketing under his belt.
One of my biggest pieces of advice to businesses today, especially those in travel/tourism, is to consider international opportunities. How do you best reach foreign visitors?
In 12 years, the web has transformed into a multi-lingual content environment. In 1996, 75% of the content on the web was written in English; today it's more like 25%, or to put it another way: 75% of the content is in a language other than English. In the Internet World stats report for last year, 81% of the world's Internet users are located outside of North America. So how do you tap into this potential market?
To attract users from outside the U.S., your website must be visible on local search engines. Many international users speak English as a second language but perform searches in their native languages on local search engines. Fortunately, completely translating your entire website into several different languages isn't always necessary. What is important is that you have at least one page translated, or better yet, have a new page written specifically for this purpose by a local expert. That page must also have the meta tags in the top of the page (which are invisible to users) and the keyword phrases properly translated. This way your site can appear in German, French, Mexican and Japanese search engines - or whichever geographic locations you are targeting.
For the U.K. it's a slightly different approach, but the same issues apply - they use Google.co.uk, which is not the same as Google.com. And no one in the U.K. takes a vacation, they go on "holiday" - so there's still a translation issue! I recommend that whenever possible, a micro-site is hosted in the U.K. if you're targeting that audience; similarly, a micro-site for the French market is most effective if hosted in France.
Hopefully this provides you with a clearer picture of what is needed to start bringing international visitors to your website
I (Pete) have zero experience with online marketing outside of the US. I'd be interested in hearing from some other people who do. At HubSpot, we generate a lot of inquiries from UK and Australia businesses, mostly because Website Grader, our free SEO tool, is an international success.