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How to Launch, Market & Sell Your eCommerce Product Internationally

Launching in a new market requires brand and performance marketing. Written in partnership with Airwallex.

The biggest mistake businesses make when expanding overseas is launching the same promotional offers in a new market. 


The problem with that approach? Chances are, your brand has zero awareness in the new market you’re targeting. That means you need to market your brand and run ads to test products, offers, to ultimately drive sales. We’ve teamed up with the Airwallex team to present an in-depth guide for eCommerce store owners, to make your launch a success.


Brand Marketing

A company’s brand is its most important asset. In most cases, we’re left with vanity metrics like clicks, views, likes, and shares that don’t give you an accurate picture of how your brand is interacting with the world. 

Despite the vague nature of your company’s brand, there are things that you can control: 

  • Champions: people who advocate for your brand (influencers, customers, employees, partners, etc.
  • Brand assets: what your brand does and how this allows you to uniquely provide your promise to your customers. 
Leverage influencers and user-generated content for authentic messages and brand growth. The key is to curate a circle of influencers who align with your brand, and find ways to incentivize your customers to create content. 


Performance Marketing

Performance marketing is about maximizing ROI. As an advertiser, you only pay when a specific action is completed such as a sale, lead or click. 


Testing your products, offers, and messaging with paid ads is highly effective because you can easily see what works and what doesn’t. It’s almost an instant feedback loop that you can iterate on with long-term vision. 

The most effective paid channels include:

  • Social channels: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

  • PPC (pay-per-click) channels: Google, Bing


Identifying and Investing in the Right Channels for Your Audience Abroad

The key to winning with paid advertising channels is selling directly where your audience lives. 

Instagram is one of the most effective sales channels to leverage because:

  • It’s visual (brilliant for showcasing products).

  • Its users are engaged millennials (80% of users follow a brand)

  • Its users are making purchases (Instagram has the second-highest AOV of all social channels, following Pinterest)

  • It’s continually adding new features that are commerce friendly (Instagram live shopping, Facebook pay, and more).

Does that mean you should use Instagram to target your new market? Short answer: no. The right channel is the channel where your audience already lives. 


The question is: who are your customers and where do they spend their time online? 


Here are five steps to help you answer that question:

  1. Identify your ideal customer: create a user persona of your ideal customer profile (ICP). The clearer your ICP is, the easier it is to find people on social media in your target market. 
  2. Use Facebook Ads Manager to estimate the size of your audience in your target market.
  3. Survey your existing customer base - it’s likely that your ideal customer in your target market hangs out in the same places online. 
  4. Research online behaviour by finding studies and infographics that provide information on specific platforms or other countries. 
  5. Connect with your customers. 

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Why Brand Building is Critical When Expanding Internationally

Your brand = reputation. And reputation = trust. Remember how we mentioned that when expanding into a new market you have zero brand awareness? That also means you have zero trust. 


Building a reputation in a new market involves a first impression, which comes from the initial interactions someone has with your company, products, and services. 


The secret to building a brand internationally is doing your homework. One of the most crucial factors to consider is that your product marketing is aligned with cultural expectations and doesn’t insult anyone in different parts of the world. 

  • In Spain, when Coors Brewing Company translated its slogan “Turn it loose” into Spanish, it read as: “Suffer from diarrhea”. 

  • In Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan “finger-lickin’ good” came out as “Eat your fingers off”.

These initial impressions could make or break your brand in international markets so make sure you re-examine product names, packaging, slogans/promotions, your logo, and intellectual property. 


Applying a Data-driven Approach to Your International Marketing Strategy 


For your marketing strategy to be data-driven, you need to collect comprehensive data that allow you to make data-backed decisions. 


That means you need to test the language you use (copy), seasonal offers and product ranges, and pricing. 


With language, aside from ensuring that your copy is culturally sensitive to your target region, you also need to revise your product names. For example, if you’re selling homeware like “quilt covers”, you’d want to rename it to “doona cover” depending on the region. 


With seasonal products and ranges, you need to test different offers to find fitting customer demand. For example, you might offer an X% discount or $X off with $X minimum spend. Play around with different offers and discounts to see what works best for your customers.



Analyse Your Ad Performance to Learn Which Products, Offers, and Messages Resonate With Your New Market

Analysing your ad performance allows you to learn which products and offers perform best so that you can double down on them and keep doing more of what’s working. 


The question is: what should you be looking at when analyzing ad performance? 


The two metrics that will give you a solid grasp of performance are Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). 


While ROMI measures how much revenue a marketing campaign is generating compared to the total costs of running the campaign, ROAS measures the revenue a specific ad campaign generates compared to the costs of running said ads. 


Most eCommerce businesses should be looking for profitability on first purchase, with repeat purchases driving lifetime value. To determine profitability, test out multiple different offers with low-cost ads on advertising platforms like Instagram or Facebook. 


Remember - marketing is all about doing what’s already working. With that in mind, a great starting point is doing competitor research using the Facebook Ads library. While browsing your competitors' ads, ask yourself:

  • What are your competitors offering?

  • What are their advertising styles? Visual creative? Copy? 

  • What can you adapt to your ads while balancing your brand differentiation?

Accelerate your global expansion with an International eCommerce playbook

Airwallex built this free International eCommerce Playbook to unpack everything you need to know. From identifying your next market, validating customer demand, to scaling up your shipping and finance operations to grow your margins.


Garage Society members can also enjoy an exclusive perk with Airwallex to make your international payments as seamless as possible. Login to your Garage Commons perks page to see how you can get your first $100,00 of foreign exchange free.

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