In an effort to reach the largest number of consumers possible, many businesses make the decision to set up a multinational website.
But, while the reasons for doing so certainly make sense, there are a lot of issues that you can run into when attempting this.
For one, reaching a single demographic within a single country is difficult enough. Doing so across multiple demographics in multiple countries becomes even more of a challenge.
To give you a deeper look into some of the other problems you may be facing, here is a look at three reasons why your multinational website is failing.
Mistake #1 – Bad Marketing Because of Preconceptions
If you’re struggling to bring in visitors and sales to your multinational site, it’s almost certainly due, at least in part, to bad marketing.
One of the issues that many business owners get into when trying to market to different countries is that they market based on preconceptions about particular demographics within that country.
The problem, however, is that these preconceptions are often wrong.
Not only that, but they often shift the focus away from what the actual demand is for what you have to offer.
As Harvard Business Review contributor Eddie Yoon says:
“The bottom line is that a demographics-based view of culture is far less profitable than a demand-based view.”
Yoon points out some interesting marketing preconceptions that businesses often have.
In America, for example, suburban white men are responsible for consuming 80% of hip hop music. It’s generally perceived, however, that urban black men are the majority demographic in this space.
Another example Yoon provides is the fact that, contrary to what most would believe, the Hispanic population makes up just over 10% of salsa sales.
So, what does all this mean?
Well, it means that, in order to successfully market to different countries, you need to really understand who you’re marketing to and what they actually want.
Stop focusing on the preconceptions that you’ve created based on demographics and start focusing on where the demand is for what you have to offer.
After all, creating demand is infinitely more difficult than going out and finding where the demand is.
Mistake #2 – Inadequate Customer Service
One thing that doesn’t change much globally is the fact that a large majority of modern consumers believe strongly in the idea that all businesses should provide top notch customer service.
There’s almost no way around this. If you don’t provide customer service that is at least average, you’re going to have a tough time bringing in and retaining customers.
The problem, however, is that far too many businesses that make the leap to a multinational website have trouble providing even average customer service to multiple countries.
The solution? Well, the optimal solution would be to hire bilingual or multilingual employees.
While it may be difficult to find employees that are fluent in multiple languages, even having a solid understanding of other languages that you’re targeting would be hugely beneficial.
Mistake #3 – Difficulty Following Search Engine Guidelines
As Google’s support team points out:
“Expanding a website to cover multiple countries and/or languages can be challenging. Because you have multiple versions of your site, any issues will be multiplied…”
When it comes to marketing your website, there are very few strategies that don’t coincide in some way with SEO.
With this in mind, it’s absolutely imperative that you understand and follow Google’s guidelines for multinational websites.
If you don’t, you’re risking being penalized, which can significantly alter any future opportunities that you may have when it comes to guest posting, content marketing, etc.
While running a multinational website is a huge challenge, it’s possible when handled the right way.
By avoiding the mistakes listed above, and focusing on how you can reach the demographics where demand is already present, you can set yourself up for success in the future.
What is your website doing to reach more people in multiple countries? Share your thoughts and comments below.