12 essential components of a successful global marketing strategy
Launching a global marketing strategy isn’t easy, and launching a successful global marketing strategy is even harder. We’ve worked on enough of them now that we’ve seen both success and failure, and we’ve also been able to identify some of the commonalities.
Running a successful marketing campaign is all about getting the components of a marketing strategy in place so that you’re able to take a holistic approach, reaching people at every step of the marketing funnel.
The marketing funnel is a concept that marketers use to portray the buying journey from the top of the funnel, when someone has only just heard of the brand, through to the middle of the funnel and down to the bottom, where they make a purchase and hopefully become a brand advocate.
It’s a useful model for looking at the different elements of marketing strategy, and so in today’s post, we’re going to look at twelve essential components of a successful global marketing strategy, starting at the top of the funnel and working our way down. Let’s get started.
Top of the Funnel
1. Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of ensuring that search engines are able to easily crawl your website and to understand what’s on there. There are many elements to a successful SEO strategy, including using accurate meta tags and meta titles and ensuring that your website is regularly updated with fresh content.
Search engines work on a citation system, which essentially means that when a high profile website links to yours, they pass on part of their authority to you. That’s why many SEO specialists work on link building campaigns where they aim to generate as many inbound links as possible. This is a valid strategy when done well, but it’s important to ensure relevance and not to just create as many inbound links as possible.
For global marketing: Get to know which search engines are most commonly used in the different regions that you operate in and develop local SEO campaigns for each different region. You should also carry out keyword research for each different country to account for linguistic differences, and consider translating your content into different languages.
2. Content marketing
This builds on to the last point, because content marketing involves the creation of fresh content, which can feed into your SEO campaigns. There are all sorts of different kinds of content, from blog posts and social media updates to videos, white papers, webinars, downloadable e-books and more.
Content marketing is such a valuable part of the top of the funnel because it allows you to reach people who are searching for solutions to their pain points. Your company can offer up a certain amount of value for free and then direct people to make a purchase if they need further assistance.
For global marketing: Don’t make the mistake of assuming that one piece of content will serve every single market. Consider developing alternate versions of written material that’s tailored to the different target markets and be sure to check whether the pain points are different in different countries.
Branding is something that underpins everything that you do, and it covers everything from the logo and the colours that you use to the way that you speak to people, the look and feel of your physical products and packaging and even the way that you sign off your emails.
The companies that excel at branding tend to work with specialist branding agencies and to develop assets like visual guidelines and tone of voice documents. These ensure that even after you stop working with your branding agency, your internal staff or any future agencies will be able to ensure that your branding remains consistent.
For global marketing: Your branding should remain consistent across different markets, but be sure to do your research to look into the subtle nuances between different cultures. For example, the colour red represents luck and prosperity in China, but in other countries it represents danger.
4. Amazon marketing
Amazon marketing isn’t for everyone, but if you have physical products that are for sale and which you’re selling via Amazon, it can make a lot of sense. The challenge is that Amazon marketing is also a dedicated skill that requires specific experience on the platform, which is why it makes sense to work with a specialist agency.
Given that Amazon is essentially a massive search engine, albeit one that’s built around an ecommerce store, you might not be surprised to learn that many of the same techniques apply. Amazon marketing mostly comes down to keyword research, product listing optimisation and running pay per click advertisements through Amazon’s self-service platform.
For global marketing: Remember that Amazon runs different stores in different regions. Always link people to the correct Amazon store for their region. If you’re running Amazon ads, bear in mind that you’ll need to create different campaigns for each different region and that keywords which work well in one region might not work as well in another.
Middle of the Funnel
5. Pay-per-click (PPC)
Pay-per-click is a type of advertising in which the advertisers only pay each time someone clicks on their link. There are different types of PPC advertising, but the one that most people think of is the PPC ads that Google and other search engines offer up to people.
These typically work on a self-service model, allowing marketers to set up their own advertisements and to monitor the results and make changes on the fly. Companies can select the keywords that they want to target so that they serve ads at people in the middle of the funnel with the goal of turning them into a lead or a paying customer.
For global marketing: As mentioned under search engine optimisation and Amazon marketing, you’ll find that people use different search engines in different markets and that you’ll want to tailor your keywords and campaigns to each market. You may also want to use foreign language PPC ads and to link those to landing pages that use the same language. Finally, it’s a good idea to split your ad spend by country and then by region and to look out for certain places where your ads are resonating the most.
6. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is interesting because it can help your brand to engage with people at every stage of the marketing funnel. But it’s at the middle of the funnel that it becomes the most useful, because it allows you to maintain a conversation with people who know of your company but are yet to make a purchase.
In contrast to PPC advertising, in which you can expect to start seeing results as soon as you hit the go button, social media marketing can take a long time to start showing results. You should think of it as an ongoing investment in your marketing and brand awareness, rather than as something that will provide direct sales.
For global marketing: Social media marketing varies from country by country because different social networks are popular in different countries. For example, WeChat and Qzone are super popular in China, while LineMe has a strong market in Japan and Kakao and KakaoTalk are big in South Korea. Get to know which platforms people are using in your target market.
7. Email marketing
Email marketing is all about using email to engage with your customers and to encourage them to make or continue making purchases. It sits in the middle of the funnel because you need people to opt in to receive messages from you before you can start sending out your emails.
The good news is that email is an owned resource, rather than some space that you lease from a social networking site like Facebook. If Elon Musk buys Twitter tomorrow and shuts it down, you’ll lose all of your followers. If he buys Mailchimp and shuts that down, you can just take your list elsewhere.
For global marketing: For global email marketers, one of the most important steps to take is to segment your audiences by region and to develop different strategies for each segment. You can also carry out testing to see what kinds of subject lines work the best, and automation can help you to send out more targeted messaging at volume.
8. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is all about putting your audience to work for you and getting them to sell your products on your behalf. It typically works by providing people with a unique, trackable link that they can share around. If someone clicks that link and makes a purchase, the affiliate receives a monetary bonus.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t work for everyone, but if you already have a healthy community around your brand then the chances are that people are already singing your praises. Launching an affiliate marketing programme just allows you to formalise this and to ensure that you’re rewarding people for their dedication.
For global marketing: Global affiliate marketing can be a challenge to get right, especially in today’s day and age when people have connections all over the world. Localising all of your content for a Brazilian affiliate won’t work too well if they run a blog with an audience that’s mostly American. That’s why you’ll want to work more closely with your affiliates to make sure that you’re providing them with the assets they need.
Bottom of the Funnel
Remarketing is the art of running advertisements at people who’ve already expressed an interest in your company and its products with the hopes of encouraging them to make a purchase. It can be particularly effective if you use it to target people who added a product to their shopping cart and then never checked it out.
This falls closer to the bottom of the funnel than other types of advertising because it specifically allows you to target people who were a hair’s breadth away from becoming a customer. You can even use it to target people who’ve already made a purchase from you to encourage them to come back and make another.
For global marketing: Global remarketing is actually relatively simple, because you’ll already have all of the location data that you need from your tracking. Just make sure that you’re sending people to the right place, so if you’re using remarketing to send people to Amazon, make sure that you send people to the right version of Amazon for their country.
10. Customer relationship management (CRM)
CRM systems are essentially automated pieces of software that allow you to store vast amounts of data on potential customers. It can aggregate interactions from all sorts of different sources, ranging from user behaviour on your website to email marketing and social media interactions.
One of the great things about CRM software is that it allows you to personalise your marketing, altering what you show to people based upon what you know about them. For example, if you’re a food store and you know someone has bought a lot of vegan products, you can show vegan recipes instead of those involving animal products.
For global marketing: CRM software is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for developing a successful global marketing strategy because it allows you to create more tailored, personalised marketing. This means that as well as creating localised content for people based upon the country that they live in, you can also personalise it using any other information that you store on them.
11. Free trials/consultations
Free trials and consultations are a common strategy amongst B2B companies because it can help them to capture prospects’ data and to introduce them to the way that their company can help its clients.
When someone signs up for a free trial or consultation, it’s a sign that they’re inherently at the bottom of the funnel, because they’re interested enough in the company to give it a try. At the same time, it gives them a low risk way of experiencing your service without requiring them to sign a contract or commit to ongoing payments.
For global marketing: The main thing to remember about free trials and consultations for global marketing is that you need to account for international time zones. It’s no good offering people in Australia a free consultation if you’re only available when it’s the middle of the night for them. You’ll also want to use these initial calls with people to show that you understand their market.
12. Community building
Building a community is a great way of encouraging people to participate in discussions around your brand, and it also makes it easier for you to bring in new people. Because of this, it covers both the top of the funnel and the bottom.
But it’s the people at the bottom of the funnel who are most likely to join your community, because they’re the ones who are most heavily involved in your ecosystem. It falls to you to make sure that you tap into that by encouraging your biggest brand advocates to take part in your community to encourage those at the top of the funnel to filter down.
For global marketing: One of the most important things to think about when it comes to international community building is that you might want to have multiple communities on the same platform so that you can cater to different audiences. For example, if you’re using Facebook groups, you might want to have an English language group and a Spanish language group, or you might want discussion forums that are separated by country or even by region within that country.
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Now that you know a little bit more about the marketing funnel and the different techniques that you can put to work for you, it’s over to you to start implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy. Make sure that you do the strategic work up front so that you don’t waste your time doing something that won’t help you to achieve your goals.
Now that you’ve heard from us, we want to hear from you. How many of these components are you tapping into, and how are you using them strategically? As always, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can keep the discussion going.
Still need help creating and implementing a successful global marketing strategy? We can help! Get in touch with us today and we’ll help to hook you up with an agency that can help you to get the job done.