Going Global: How Digital Marketers Can Ensure International Success

08/10/2016 11:52 am ET Updated Aug 11, 2017

The proliferation of digital technology has forever changed the way that brands and consumers interact with each other; thanks to mobile devices, opportunities for shopping are literally at people's fingertips at any given moment. Brands' storefronts are now their websites, and they can expect foot traffic 24/7.

Not only do brands see higher traffic than ever before, but they also see more diverse traffic, thanks to the Internet and the global accessibility it affords. Retail giants such as Amazon and Alibaba have steadily paved the way for other brands to develop global sales channels, and today's consumers now expect, and enjoy, a worldwide marketplace online.

Yet, if retailers' digital strategies aren't up-to-date, they may not be fully leveraging the benefits that the global economy offers. Read on for best practices that marketers can keep in mind to ensure international success.

Have a Global Mindset

It's essential that brands not only cater to local consumers, but also think more broadly in terms of their outreach and optimization strategies. As an example, consumers in Japan have been slow to adopt smartphones, so it would be natural for small Japanese companies to not yet recognize the necessity of mobile optimization. However, they could be losing out on potential business from other, more smartphone-savvy regions of the world by not having their websites and marketing messages optimized for the mobile customer experience. As a remedy, marketers can use platform-reporting tools to determine which devices consumers favor in different geographies to render their messages and strategize accordingly.

Employ Personalization

Furthermore, it's imperative that companies offer personalized messages to all customers -- a feat in itself when a customer base is localized, but an even greater challenge when customers come from every corner of the world. Marketers can use geolocation tools paired with dynamic content to send messages to recipients in their local languages, and promote local stores and events (as well as holidays and seasons) when possible. Additionally, email automation can ensure that contacts receive marketing messages at a time of day when they are most likely to be browsing their inboxes -- a literal difference of night and day between contacts in the United States and Australia.

Leverage Multiple Landing Pages

For brands that aren't able to optimize their entire website or email marketing campaigns for mobile usage, or fully integrate dynamic languages throughout, an alternate strategy is to create local landing pages for customers in different regions based on their IP addresses. Similar to email messages, these landing pages should be customized based on location and the preferences of those regions. For instance, Australia has very high smartphone adoption rates compared to the rest of the world, so Australian landing pages are likely best served with the mobile user in mind -- with a clear font, clean layout and large buttons. Ultimately, the goal is to make the purchase process as easy as possible for customers, and this can mean different things for different sets of people.

Overall, today's global market allows companies to be in business with customers all over the globe at every hour of the day. While the technology that enables this is mostly a benefit to brands, those marketers who aren't thinking globally can be missing out on big opportunities. By implementing the strategies above to cater to consumers on a global scale, brands will be set for international success.