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How online tools can support international business growth

Growing your business can be tricky at the best of times, let alone when you’re trying to do that across different time zones, continents and languages. 

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Whether B2B or B2C, there is a whole host of online tools and tricks available to help simplify how you reach out to, connect with and manage your international customer base. 

Below we share 11 things which could help your business grow across the globe:  

Voice over IP

Staying in touch with clients and customers internationally could prove extremely costly without a system in place. Numerous weekly catch up meetings will soon rack up a hefty bill. Investing in a Voice over IP (VoIP) system means all you can catch up over your internet connection, saving on costly phone bills.

Video conferencing

It’s unlikely you’ll have the time, energy or budget to fly across the world every time you need to meet with a client or discuss a new project. Video conferencing is a great virtual way of meeting ‘face-to-face’ with customers without the hassle. 

Cloud-based documents

Storing files and documents in the cloud makes it incredibly easy to work collaboratively with someone in another location. You can both be working from the same document and making simultaneous changes without having to send numerous or large files back and forth on email. Being in different offices (or parts of the world!) won’t hinder effective working. 

Social media scheduling

If you’re working across different time zones, you may need to consider using a scheduling tool to make sure you’re sending out social media posts that will appear in front of your different audiences at different times.

Email marketing

Another great way to reach your different audiences in a tailored way is through email marketing. You can segment your customer data list based on their location and then make sure the send time, content and products/services are tailored to each location’s needs. Automating your emails means they can be arriving in customers’ inboxes whilst you’re fast asleep! 

Website languages

Depending on the key locations you’re active in, you might want to consider providing your website in various languages to suit your audience. This could even benefit bilingual businesses in Wales who want to adopt and promote the Welsh language! 

Blogging 

Blogging is a great way for you to connect on a deeper level with your different markets. If there are particular trends across your different markets, you can tailor your content accordingly. To be successful internationally, it’s important that you recognise the different needs that your audience segments have and make sure you’re meeting them. 

Understand the nuances of your audience

As in the previous point, it’s very important to understand that your international audience will not all have the same needs, behaviours and culture. It’s important that you do your research to understand the language and phrases your audience is using, which may impact the keywords you use. Similarly, you should consider any unfortunate connotations of words you’re using so as not to cause a faux pas! 

Customer Relationship Management

Managing customers across a large scale could become easily confused and messy without a robust method of organisation. A CRM system could provide a simple but effective way of storing your data to keep on top of your growing customer relationships, whilst making sure you don’t miss out on sales opportunities. 

Project management tools

You’re likely to have a number of different campaigns happening at once across your different audiences so a project management tool is a must. This can help you to have a schedule and overview of the activity going on to make sure you don’t forget anything or drop the ball. 

Online payment

If people are using your website to buy products and services, you should make sure you’re meeting their needs and expectations. Customers expect to be able to use the method that easiest for them to pay (otherwise they may be put off). Make it simple to complete a transaction and be transparent about costs, especially if it includes international shipping. 

Our handy, free Software Directory gives some advice on the type of tools and software that you might want to consider. 

If you’re looking for more tailored advice to grow your business, register now for the free Superfast Business Wales service to access a 1:1 meeting with a Digital Business Adviser and a free action plan.