Certainly we’ve all heard about the e-commerce companies that expanded into new markets and successfully increased sales, elevated brand awareness and continued to thrive. On the flip side, however, we also know a good many businesses that invested heavily in expanding their operations overseas or in new territories only to be forced to pull up stakes a short time later.
Along with navigating trade barriers and possessing a deep understanding of the competitive landscape, one of the most critical factors impacting the success of international expansion is local knowledge. More specifically, the kind of information that only a person in the country would know about the marketplace, the competition, the culture, and the nuances of doing business in certain regions.
For these reasons, the affiliate marketing channel can be the most cost effective way to expand into new areas.
If you’re considering expanding your reach or reigniting your presence beyond your home country, here are five reasons why you should enlist the help of affiliate marketing to enter a new region.
1. Local knowledge: Affiliates that are in the specific regions where you’re looking to expand offer a wealth of insider knowledge with regard to the culture, customer and prospect base, and competitive landscape.
2. Hyper local online traction: While we embrace the global economy, there has been an increased focus on engaging customers on a more local level. For example, technology
now enables advertisers to present a compelling offer on a mobile device to a customer when they’re within a three block radius of a store. And with the integration of online and offline becoming more common more affiliates will be engaged in campaigns that drive local in-store traffic. These capabilities allow us to reach customers with more compelling and targeted offers while also fostering stronger brand awareness and allegiance that comes from presenting the right offer at the right time through an affiliate.
3. SEO expertise: SEO can be a daunting task within one’s home country so adding the nuances of a foreign language can make it seem impossible. Many affiliates live and breathe SEO and are able to boost awareness of brands through their marketing efforts based on key terms. In some instances, their content shows up higher in search engine results than the brands themselves. Additionally, an affiliate’s understanding of local dialects and interests can further augment your SEO efforts. This expertise may not be immediately apparent to someone outside the region, or even the neighborhood for that matter.
4. Low overhead: With an Internet connection, affiliate marketers are ready to go to work for your brand. Many online brands are expanding overseas without any feet on the ground. In addition many are starting with their website in English. Some simple FAQs about shipping and return policies in the local language can go a long way.
5. Low risk: The pay-for-performance model enables advertisers to control their return on investment. Affiliates enable you to dip your toe in the water in new areas with very little risk since you are not paying for impressions or clicks. This is especially appealing to companies that are still uncertain about the feasibility of succeeding in a specific market. Just make sure to get your commission structure right by looking at competitor incentives and getting feedback from publishers.
While there are proven benefits to working with affiliates to enter new markets, there are also critical factors to consider before jumping on board with this business model. More specifically, you could manage the program yourself or you could align with a performance marketing network.
When considering the best approach to affiliate marketing for your business, keep in mind that it’s not a one-size fits-all strategy.
For example, when you join an established network, you have a trusted partner that can manage the entire process from vetting publishers, providing strategic search marketing counsel, tracking performance, and paying commissions.
However, depending on the size of your company, your products, and volume of online sales, you may want to consider managing the publishers directly but don’t underestimate the time it will take to optimize your program. Even for small programs a network is usually the best option when reporting and the payment of publishers is taken into consideration.
When you join a network in a new market you should still have the option to manage your own program to save money. Look for a network that lets you retain 100 percent control and transparency over your program and you’ll have the added assurance that comes from having a reputable network partner and sophisticated tools behind you.
If you’re considering expanding into new markets, performance marketing can be one of the most cost effective and efficient paths to success. Understanding of local tastes, sensibilities and marketing campaigns can be within your reach when you start build long-term profitable partnerships with your international affiliates.