International Search Engine Marketing – How to Do it Right!

Penetrating International MarketsI recently received an email from a search engine marketing (SEM) professional that may be of interest to our readers. So I am sharing with all:

“I enjoyed your article Going Global on a Shoestring and I have a question for you.

When running a PPC program in the Evaluation stage how would you suggest a company handle the following two elements.

No one at the company has a person who speaks the native language so how should they handle the contact form?

No one at the company speaks the native language nor do they have a local presence in that market so what should they use as the phone number on the website?

I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.”

The main purpose of the Going Global on a Shoestring paper is to allow companies with limited resources looking to establish themselves globally to prove the validity of their products or services in key international markets with a minimal upfront investment. With over 7000 known languages around the world, it is hard to set priorities — check out 50+ Fascinating Language Facts! For that, the paper recommends the use of localized keywords, landing pages and forms.

Once these keywords, landing pages and forms are professionally translated and published on the web, free machine translation tools, like Google Translate or Bing Translator, can be used to translate international requests arriving via the contact forms. Although these tools produce low quality translations unfit for professional publication, they are great for internal consumption needs to help understand how to take the next step with serious inquiries.

When professional responses to these inquiries are needed, this means that your efforts are showing promising signs. At this point, don’t hesitate to involve a professional translation service to perform the translation for you. If budgets are very strict still, you can use online professional translation services like CloudLingual, a fast low-cost online self-service human translation service.

To address the second question, if the products or services can be sold online, then the shopping cart used to handle the online transaction has to be globally enabled to deal with varying international address requirements, currencies, credit cards, and taxes. Your fulfillment company should also be able to handle international transactions by managing customs and duties when overseas shipments are required.

Regarding how to handle telephone numbers, consider the following:

  1. Start by including your local number (avoid toll free numbers) on your localized landing pages. Just make sure you use international notations which include the correct country code.
  2. If first impressions are important to you, some phone companies offer inexpensive virtual international numbers that can be setup to forward to your local number.
  3. When you start getting calls in languages that you cannot locally handle, embrace them, for you are on your way to become a global company! Consider at this point hiring an international call center to receive your incoming calls; many offer support in key commercial languages.

Keep in mind that the thrust of the paper is to minimize costs in the Evaluation stage. Once you start generating interest in your product, you need to make a decision of when to jump into the Validation stage for the most promising geographical markets.

Getting international leads and calls in foreign languages are a good problem to have! They are testament that your products may be ripe for global market consumption. Don’t face these opportunities unprepared. Request any of our free white papers today to help you make the best use of your international search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns:

  1. Going Global on a Shoestring?!
  2. Search Engine Geo-Optimization
  3. Does Your Product “Speak” Your Client’s Language?
  4. How to Plan and Budget for Localization Projects?