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If you want long term, sustainable international sales then yes – a localized website is the most cost effective means of establishing the visibility, reputation and trust you need for international sales. And localized does not just mean translated: localized means embedded in the local economy, making you a viable actor in that market. Trust is the first step in the buying process and a localized website gives you the visibility to build that local trust.
It is not so much the strategy that changes but the implementation. Each market is different and you have to connect with the local market to gain that trust and confidence necessary to convert leads into sales. Obvious differences are language and culture but there are digital differences as well. Globalization doesn’t mean homogenization – markets differ and if you care about your export sales, you adapt your strategy to what fits the local market best.
The short answer is language – but it goes deeper than that. Search engines try to localize their searches in each market: not only accounting for language but culture, internet habits and so on. So Google U.S. is different from Google UK although the language is similar. And in China, your company needs to focus on getting Baidu to rank you. So if search engines differ per market, optimization also differs.
The best distributors find you! So make sure you are easy to find and recognized as an expert in that local market. Localized websites do that for you. Create a Become a Distributor page and promote the page on social media forums from LinkedIn to relevant local B2B networks. Use digital marketing via your local website to find and engage local partners.
Good web agencies help create great content, user experience and technical expertise. But that expertise is usually limited to specific markets and technologies. International websites differ: from new content management systems (CMS) to build the sites on, local requirements for billing and payment or any number of factors. That’s when website localization experts come into play, combining know-how in content, local market and web technology.
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