Most companies have heard about the practice of inbound marketing, but fewer know how to effectively implement it.
On the surface, the idea is simple: Great content generates Web traffic, and a proportion of that traffic will end up converting to leads. This is a relatively new concept for many businesses that are used to building a brand by simply pushing out products or services via more traditional methods rather than creating compelling content that pulls in customers.
Many B2B companies have started deploying inbound marketing strategies. At the core of those strategies is content marketing. Some 93% of B2B organizations are using some form of content marketing, but less than half (42%) say they're effective at it.
One can imagine that the numbers drop even lower if you take a global snapshot of inbound marketing strategies. It becomes more difficult to draw traffic to your site if you haven't created any compelling content in the target market's language. That makes sense: 75% of consumers prefer to purchase products in their native tongue, and 72% spend most or all of their time on websites that are in their native language.
Plus, a lot of inbound marketing is about getting referrals from Google and social media. So, for example, if you don't have a Twitter handle that speaks fluent Spanish and you haven't optimized for keywords in Mandarin, you're not going to attract those respective target markets with compelling content.
The good news is that it isn't all that hard to globalize your inbound marketing strategy. It's more a matter of localizing existing content than creating new content from the ground up.
Here's what you need.
1. A Website
Websites are the core of any inbound marketing strategy. If you're going global, you should create an intuitive and fully localized website for your target audience. That doesn't just mean translating the copy; it means carefully working to ensure that the branding and product messaging are synced up with local industry buzzwords, imagery, and cultural nuances of the local market.
A fun, casual tone might engage American consumers, for example, but Germans in the same industry might view it as unprofessional.
If you're going international, keep in mind that your website is often the front door to your brand. You have only a few minutes to make a good impression on prospects. By ensuring that imagery, colors, and language are all localized, you can ensure that visitors will stay engaged enough to look through the site's content.
2. A Global SEO Strategy
You might know that a prospective client is looking for a "cloud analytics platform." But what does that phrase look like in Spanish? How do French buyers type that phrase into Google?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental to building an inbound marketing strategy. And keywords are fundamental to SEO. To gain traction in a new market, companies need to build a localized website and think carefully about what keywords their prospective audience is using when searching for the product.
As you're translating all of your content, make sure that landing pages, product pages, and blog posts are optimized with the local keywords that can boost your rank in search engines.
3. Blog Posts, Landing Pages, E-books, and More
With a localized website and a global SEO strategy, the next step is to think about how to translate all the great content you've created for your native market. Maybe it doesn't make sense to translate every single blog post. It's up to the business to decide which posts will gain the most traction in a new country.
Once you have a set of blog posts ready for the new market, the next step is to come up with a publication and distribution strategy. Maybe you refresh a set of 10-20 blog posts and publish two a week for the next two months. Each time a blog post goes out, you could amplify it via your established social media channels or even use paid social promotions through LinkedIn and Twitter to reach your audience in different countries. Localizing your social media campaigns isn't so much about creating new social networking accounts, as it is about timing those messages correctly.
At the heart of these efforts should be an e-book or other piece of premium content. You don't have to create e-books specifically for a new country, either; instead, an inbound marketing team just has to be able to localize the images and language within the source file of the e-book.
Once leads download the e-book, you should place them into a country-specific email marketing flow—after thoroughly reviewing the legislation that affects email marketing campaigns in the native market.
4. Email, Lead Nurture, and Sales
Once you have traffic from your new market coming into the website and interacting with content, it's time to build a lead nurture funnel. Usually, that process will start with an email address obtained through premium content, a quote form, or a free trial.
From there, the inbound marketing team should create a lead nurture flow that continues to send relevant, localized content to the segment of the country in question. Once that email flow is in place, monitor the engagement from the leads accordingly. A local sales team could get in touch with anyone who seems interested in the product, or you could localize a series of sales emails to further entice prospective customers.
The truth is, a global inbound marketing strategy is actually very much a local one: By building a personal and relevant experience with great, localized content, you can show customers that your company is invested in them and your product is the right one for them.
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