How can we grow as a nation if we do not sell much to the rest of the world? This is the question I have put to institutions like the C.B.I and also The UKTI. This leads to much head scratching and mumbled responses that usually have, “we are trying to”, in them. No one seems to have much of an idea as to how small and medium sized companies can sell their products and services into emerging and growing market places around the world. Larger companies too seem to be fearful, or at best apprehensive, when it comes to expanding their brand into foreign lands. Utilising existing internet marketing and SEO strategies could well help many companies achieve the growth that is needed to help the UK economy begin to grow sufficiently. I do not claim it to be the only solution, merely a highly important part of the solution.
Let’s Look At Some Facts To Warm Us Up!
- China has nearly 600 million consumers, all looking to buy luxury and branded goods, as well as investment products and have nearly a billion people utilising the internet. Internet shopping, especially from mobile devices which service the poorer population, is growing massively year on year. China does utilise a different search engine platform (Baidu) to the rest of the world, and also utilise their own social media platforms. I will write more about this in my next post.
- India is more than doubling its 140 million internet users to over 300 million throughout 2013. Mobile internet again is very much the main access point for many of the poorer population; however, there are marked increases in the use of the internet for purchasing products that vary from items like make up, furniture or clothes, to entertainment products like music or films. Education products are incredibly popular, and websites need to be in English if they are to appeal to the growing online shopping population.
- Asia, in general, is growing at a frightening rate. Millions of people each year are finding themselves richer, and in demand of the sort of products that are taken for granted and easily accessible on and off line in the West and other more established economies. Vietnam and Singapore are also huge growth areas where the online world is now open to millions of new consumers.
- Africa looks to be the next “big thing” for anyone looking to predict where there will be a huge increase to internet access and a leap for the population into consumerism on and off line. There are currently over 160 million internet users in Africa, (about 7% of the population), with over 50 million Facebook users. Online shopping is slowly beginning to catch on and will continue to grow as money becomes more available to more people.
- Russia is thought to have about 100 million consumers within its economy. There are around 65 million internet users in Russia at the moment, and that figure grows quickly each year. Russia is also making huge attempts to open up its economy to allow trade to move more freely than it has been able to do for much of its History.
What Does This Mean??
Like it or not, the whole world is beginning to shop online. As many western nations have for years got used to optimising sites for consumer searches or purchasing media adverts or pay per click to gain traffic, so the rest of the world now is open to such marketing strategies. Wouldn’t it be great to keep running a business in the Midlands of the UK, yet sell your products or services Into India or Singapore? What about South America? The whole world, with the exception of China, use Google and the same social media platforms that we, as internet marketers and SEO Agencies, use every day to help our clients gain traffic and exposure online within our own country.
With the ability to deliver goods and products anywhere in the world that we have nowadays, together with services like Skype that allow us to communicate anywhere on the globe with ease, why are we not treating other countries’ market places as we would different parts of our own countries? Of course companies need to look at the markets they are trying to enter, and apply for any required licences, and check out things like import taxes and what sort of products may not be allowed to be imported. I would never recommend that a company just set a site up in Brazil and start trading blind. The fact is that the internet is a tool that countries, like the UK, have a lot of experience in successfully promoting companies onto.
Why not think a little outside of the box and extend those skills into other countries’ GROWING market places? The cost of trying your brand, product or services online first works out a lot cheaper in most cases to setting up offices and agencies yourself, and it is just as easy to network and find partners and distributors, should that be a requirement of your business, as it is in the UK itself.