The Untapped Online Market – Beyond Americas – The Forgotten 500 Million Prospects

As the internet economy is gravitating towards maturity and a global landscape, business owners have the opportunity to expand their customer base beyond the shores of America. The easy and democratic accessibility of portals, B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Customer) sites have made the consumers in Europe, Asia, Middle East and South America a potential goldmine for marketers. Realization of targeting the local populace has dawned upon every internet business owner worth their salt.

While Google is indisputably the grand daddy of search and sales, there are many major pockets of consumers who do not use Google as their primary search machine. This market dynamics has given rise to internet marketing strategies like Internationalization, Geo-Targeting and Localization – which is the collective exercise of making your business portal visible to the Non-English searching consumers. It would be a business folly to miss over half a billion potential online users if your online offers are only being seen by North American consumers.

The new science of search – beyond English…

Search Engines have assumed the role of traffic regulators in this frantic world of online persuasion. Every customer is being eyed by your competitor and that too right in your backyard. The game of keyword ranking has gone beyond being cut-throat and SEO specialist and search engine copywriters are having a field day trying to catapult the unknown products and services of their clients to the top of the search engine results. But, can we employ the same SEO strategy for North America and Asia? Will it yield the same ROI or sales conversion? Very pertinent questions…

At minimum, we should deal with the issues of language and characters. Your organization could very well have similar web sites written in different languages for their targeted country. Of course, only large firms with deep pockets can have 200 versions of their site using 200 languages! But what if you want to target the European market as your first overseas marketing region? Well, the fact is over 50% of online users in Europe are located in the three major countries of Germany, France and of course, the United Kingdom.

Last time I checked, our British friends can understand the English language! So to reach out to over half of Europe, we only have to deal with localization of our sites for German and French speakers. Yes, We know there are other languages used in Germany and France but then the business is conducted in German and French – so, we should be safe with our localization strategy in Europe.

The culture of search – culture of the land…

Well, the traditional marketers would join in the chorus that the cultural aspect does play a big role in the marketing strategies of large corporations. But, over the web, aren’t we supposed to be one well-knit democratic family of marketers and consumers? Nothing can be farther from truth. The cultural affinity of markets is being tapped by savvy marketers from ages. So, while an understanding of the cultural values and pitfalls are indispensable for an internet marketer, the cultural soft-spots should also be utilized with efficacy by the internet strategists.

A cultural homework is the need of the hour if your internet marketing activities are permeating into countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, France, Czech Republic or India. While a thumbs up sign might signal good luck charm for North Americans, it is also an insulting gesture in many other countries. One ignorant use of such gesture in your site’s pictures or videos and you are toast! So for SEO implementation, one must deal with content writing and multimedia objects that would enhance communications and conversion. And not the opposite!

Business beyond Google…

Google has transitioned from a searching mechanism to a fully established and operated ‘verb’ – even endorsed by major dictionaries like Webster and Oxford. The pervasiveness of Google as a business channel is indisputable, but is it the 사설토토 for internet marketers. Traveling halfway round the world might as well give us a fair idea about the internet consumer landscape – China, which has the largest number of net citizens is dominated by it’s local search engine, Baidu (with over 60% reach) – while Google captures 25% of the Chinese eyeballs.

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