Pay-per-click or PPC is one of those tried-and-tested marketing strategies that can get fast results. However, two-thirds of international businesses are failing to take advantage of it, according to the World Federation of Advertisers. Is yours one of them?
Global marketing offers great opportunities to companies and entrepreneurs. The competition for keywords is lower, with numbers of potential customers increasing by the day. No nation wants to be left behind in the race to get connected. E-commerce is booming in some of the world’s most populated countries, including India, Russia, and Brazil.
As far as language use on the Internet goes, the days of English-language dominance are long gone. While Internet World Stats’ Top 10 Languages in the Internet shows Chinese to be fast gaining on English, the figures for growth over the last decade are even more interesting. Arabic has grown much faster than English between 2000 and 2011, with a 2,501.2 percent increase in use compared to 301.4 percent. Russian has also made impressive gains.
Semiocast’s statistics on social media usage by language (Twitter specifically) reveal a similar story: Brazil, Japan, and Indonesia are among the world’s most active nations—and their numbers are growing.
If you are looking to explore new markets, there has never been a better time. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind as you launch your global PPC campaign:
1. Research Your Keywords
No matter which part of the world you are marketing to, you need great keywords. What are you selling? It has to be clear to both humans (who may have limited or no English) and to those search engine bots.
Research is vital here. Know the correct translations for your product or service in whatever language you are dealing with. Also identify which keywords and phrases stay in English when used in foreign languages—technical terms in particular don’t always translate.
Watch out especially for ‘false friends’ here, for example ‘Gift’ when used in German actually means poison. Native speaker input will ensure your chosen keywords are not just correct, but also reflect the most current usage.
2. Identify the Key Search Engines
Google, Yahoo!, and Bing? Not necessarily. While these search engines are now geo-targeting their results in different countries in a bid to be ‘local’, other search engines still carry weight in their own regional territories.
If your potential customers in Japan are using Infoseek Japan, or the Hindi-speaking population you want to reach in India has a preference for Raftaar.in, you need to rank in those search results. Similarly, you can’t afford to ignore Baidu if you want to connect with China—it has by far the largest market share.
3. Stand Out (For the Right Reasons)
Even if the competition is less fierce in many regional markets, you still need to get the edge. Bland copy doesn’t cut it in any language. Give readers a reason to want to learn more about your product or company.
Professional copywriting services from native speakers can be well worth the investment here. This inside knowledge will also help you to make the most of what’s happening right now in your target country. Tie your PPC campaign to hot topics to stir up maximum interest.
Obviously, you want to grab attention in your overseas markets for the right reasons. Avoid offending foreign-language Internet users by being aware of their social and cultural values. For example, the informality that creates a friendly impression in the United States or Australia could get you off on the wrong foot in Korea, Japan, or the UAE.
4. Focus on Conversion
Getting overseas Web users to click is only part of the story. If you want customers rather than browsers, you need to focus on converting those clicks into sales.
What do your potential customers see when they click on a link? Make sure the landing page is in their language. Again, remember the culturally appropriate language and images. Once you’ve caught someone’s interest, the last thing you want them to do is hit the back button.
Also localize your content to make it as user-friendly as possible. If you are selling, then using your customers’ currency is a must. Consider what else needs to be local—business hours, holidays, and country dialing codes are just some examples. A site that’s relevant to your customer helps to inspire trust.
5. Monitor and Adapt
Finally, remember the time-worn formula: apply, rinse, and repeat. In PPC terms, this translates to putting your campaign into action, monitoring the results, and repeating what works. At the same time, be ready to ditch what doesn’t.
PPC can be a budget-friendly way of advertising internationally and discovering what’s effective for foreign-language markets. Use the data on click-through and conversion rates to inform your decisions, and with each PPC campaign, you should see better results.