Doing business internationally
Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.
Latest posts by Ryan Allis (see all)
- Creating Email Campaigns to Measure Your Website’s Performance - October 29, 2014
- Email Marketing Review - November 21, 2008
- Segmenting Email Campaigns: What Criteria Should You Use - November 18, 2008
There are a few main methods of scaling your business, including: investing more in online or offline advertising, franchising your company, opening up offices in other cities and countries, expanding your business into the international market.
With the advent of the Internet and email marketing, the markets of the world have become more accessible to business owners than ever previously imagined. People on another continent can literally view your web site, sign up for your email newsletter, or buy your product in a matter of seconds. This opens your company to seemingly endless possibilities about where you can do business. It can be a wonderful experience to know that your company’s marketing message is getting out to people across the world.
One suggestion for expanding your sales internationally is to learn how the customs systems of individual countries work. This can be especially important if you have to ship your products to customers overseas. Sometimes it can take several weeks for shipments to arrive in Canada sent via the U.S. Postal Service. In contrast, it can take only a matter of days to reach the other side of the world using FedEx or UPS.
As you begin to open up your sales channel to international markets, you will need to do research on the specific regulations and customs agencies of each country where you wish to expand. There are many strange regulations, tariffs, and taxes that you’ll encounter when doing business overseas. The hardest part is each country seems to have a different policy.
Depending on your type of product, you may need to develop product packaging and labeling in different languages. You may also want to establish distributorships with stores in the countries where your customers live, or hire local sales representatives that know an area to represent your company and products.
Regarding your email newsletters, suppose you begin to notice that a significant number of people from a particular country are signing up for your emails. If this is the case, you may want to consider hiring a professional translator to translate your messages and web site to the language of that country. In general, if you plan on doing a considerable amount of international business, you may consider translating your online marketing materials into the most widely spoken languages, like Spanish and French.
At iContact, we are currently doing business with customers in dozens of countries throughout the world. We also have the capability to distribute their email messages in almost any language they choose.
The more accessible your company is to your international customers, the higher the probability that your overall sales will increase. Thanks for reading, and I’ll return in a few days to share more online marketing and business advice.