“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Smart Marketing for Exporters: Growing Opportunities in Asia
Exporting is a tough game for any business. Yet technology has allowed small business to scale up their marketing like never before. If you can do it locally, or nationally, there is no reason why any SME cannot develop a successful strategy for an online marketing campaign for their exports.
This is not about having a website that outlines your product or service or online shopping that allows people to buy from all over the world, but a dedicated and targeted campaign where your products or services gain additional exposure and demand.
Understand what your distributor is doing
If your business already exports, and it is a physical product, then the first step is to understand what your distributor is doing, if anything. Too many companies don't take control of the sales and marketing due to the belief that a distributor knows their market the best.
In general, distributors are in the business of distribution and not so good at marketing. By working in conjunction with a distributor and taking the initiative on the marketing, a company stands a better chance of managing and building the brand while gaining valuable understanding of the sales and marketing channels of a particular country.
New countries to consider exporting to
For those companies new to exporting, it may be an idea to consider those countries that have adequate infrastructure in place that allows mobile and/or online marketing. For example, South Korea has nearly 40 million online users as of June 2010 out of a total population of 48.7 million people, which translates to a penetration rate of 80.9%1 with the highest percentage of connections at high broadband speeds with an average connection speed of 15 Mbps - 10x the global average.
Furthermore, Korea has a very active, youth driven consumption culture that are frighteningly proficient in utilising online video, social media, gaming and web-connected mobile devices to get what they want.
Both factors provide opportunities for a variety of content to be developed to a range of demographics. And if that wasn't enough, South Korea has the second highest volume of home shopping sales outside of the US.
In a country like India, with a population of 1.2 billion people, Internet penetration percentage is very low at around 8.5%, but that equates to around 100 million active Internet users. In an interesting trend, existing mobile operators are expanding into rural India, opening up new demographic of consumers.
Although many rural Indians are poor, one metric to consider is to work on the sales goal of $1.00 per person per year. This metric can also be applied to many other Asian countries.
Closer to home, Malaysian broadband is about to get cheaper. Although Internet usage was relatively low in comparison to neighbouring countries due to the high cost, the government has passed its target of 50% by lowering the cost, which has equated to 58.8% penetration or 17 million users.
In an interesting development, Malaysia's largest Telco has just launched their Web TV initiative known as Hypp.TV in a very big way with 30 channels. Their list will feature some first-in-Malaysia content, such as Luxe TV and Wedding TV.
Your export strategy: Online sales and marketing techniques
When considering using online sales and marketing techniques as part of your export strategy, the following is worth considering:
- Connect with your audience in their own language. Translation costs are relatively inexpensive and increases the number of people who may buy your product or service.
- Use local services where possible. In markets such as South Korea, local search engines and the local equivalent of YouTube (Pandora) are used more frequently.
- Pick your demographic followed by the choice of marketing option or vice-versa.
Although many Asian countries have had an export model of development, the current economic crisis has changed this forever. The growing number of middle class consumers, cheaper technology and increasing world trade has created a multitude of opportunities.
You might be interested in this upcoming event...
NEW: Social Media for Small Business Webinar Series
Practical ways to use social media to grow your business
Online Webinars - Starting 28 May 2013
NEW webinar series: designed to dispel the myths about social media and arm small business owners with skills and know-how to make social media a powerful force for business development and bottom line results.
Experts will present practical ways to use social media to:
- Build brand awareness for your organisation
- Network and make connections all over the world
- Build your personal profile and position you as a credible authority
- Drive traffic to your website, blog or social networks
- Convert social media followers to leads and leads to customers
- Grow you reach with suppliers, staff, resources, alliances, sponsors