How to Plan Your Digital Marketing Export Strategy

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Back to blog

Whether you're new to exporting or looking to grow your existing export footprint, proper planning is always essential for moving into new markets.


Exporting your products or services into new markets opens new revenue driving opportunities and helps to diversify risk. You may be completely new to export, or looking to grow your existing export footprint, but in either case it is important to ensure you plan your Digital Marketing export strategy carefully to ensure you are targeting the most optimal markets for your products or services and are using the best channels to reach your target market with the right proposition.

Through our relationship with Google, as a member of their Google International Growth Program, we can get unique insights into the current challenges businesses are facing with exporting, and which trends are relevant to each market and industry. By combining this with our own experience as an international marketing agency operating across 18 local territories, we believe we have a clear vision of how businesses can successfully expand into new markets without losing what makes them ‘them’.


The Export Landscape in 2021

Since we hit the milestone of over 50% of the world being able to access to the internet in 2018, cross border growth has been a frequently discussed topic. This is expected to grow by a further 20% by 2025 in tandem with time being spent online consistently increasing. This highlights the opportunity to reach a wider pool of potential customers more easily than ever before.

Nike embraced international expansion by setting a goal to reach 30% digital penetration by 2023, yet it is already anticipated that they could hit 50%. Naturally, with coronavirus restrictions easing offline may imminently start to play a bigger role again, but some purchase behaviours are likely to see online trade being their centre point. This is not just confined to retail: people have taken (and may continue to take) online routes to enjoy listening to and making music, taking exercise, eLearning, consuming news etc.

Consumers are more demanding, more curious, and more impatient than ever, which has driven the rise of the borderless consumer. Online we have access to information, reviews & prices from global brands to find the products that fit our needs - whether it’s price, quality, sustainability that we value most. The stimulus packages available during the pandemic have enabled people to maintain a level of disposable income to buy things they would like, but economic changes post lockdown may have a negative impact on this. Access to a greater choice of prices online, in a period were affordability will be key, could lead people to make their purchases from global brands.


81% of consumers want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them - as such, they expect immediate, personal, helpful assistance, at the right place at the right time. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. These are principles businesses need to bear in mind to achieve international success.

Replication of the domestic market launch and development strategy will not meet the aforementioned consumer requirements. Decisions need to be made quickly to expand through taking advantage of the growth in online consumers globally following the events of the past year. The road to making these work may be rocky at times, but with the right processes in place and the right partners to support you in following these processes, the journey to expansion will be smoother.


How to Determine your Target Export Markets

Plan by informing decisions you make using data on how and where to go to market your products and services. Support these decisions by making sure your operations enable your marketing activity, through allowing you to deeply understand cultural differences among countries. Connecting with your customers throughout the entire customer journey is essential. 


When planning entry into new markets, your Google Analytics audiences location and language reports are your first points of reference to determine where potential demand may sit. However, this data is influenced by the strength of the site’s organic rankings and isn’t necessarily a reflection of demand in markets you have identified as potential prospects.


Google’s suite of tools and resources can provide further data to verify which markets offer the highest level of demand for your products or services. Market Finder is a valuable reference point to understand more about the demographics of your target audience and the market operating environment. Google’s Shopping Insights support this data to determine how people are searching by clarifying channels and terminology used frequently and the user experience they expect as they move through the purchase funnel. Finally, layer over this seasonality insights from analysing Google Trends to inform budget phasing plans.


ClickThrough Marketing’s membership on the Google Growth Program provides access to Google’s Market Explorer Tool, which not only analyses the current search demand in markets you would like to target, but also looks at the cost of advertising and the recent growth in search demand for your products or services to recommend markets with the greatest opportunity.




Run a Market Exploratory Report


Our Market Exploratory Report utilises these resources, industry level data from Statista, and the following areas of analysis to carry out a full audit into markets identified as export opportunities to ensure they are the most optimal for your products or services.


  • Product insights – analysing legislation that could impact on product selection or adaptation of the product required to remain legally compliant
  • Pricing - competitor review and research into potential market expectations
  • Competition - level of saturation in the market

Customer experience and the consumer journey process also underpin the report. 56% (Metapack State of Ecommerce Delivery 2017) of consumers globally will abandon their cart if the delivery costs are too high. Additionally, expectations over delivery times increased over the pandemic. For example, since 2020 many US retailers have offered next day delivery and same day for groceries. Non-Amazon prime consumers are prepared to wait 3-4 days for free delivery.

67% of online shoppers abandon their cart if the preferred payment solution in their market is unavailable on site (Metapack State of Ecommerce Delivery 2017), to exemplify this; post purchase payment by invoice, PayPal, direct debit, and Sofort are the most frequently used payment types in Germany. Consumers may click away if these payment methods are not available. It’s important to be aware of, and try to offer, the preferred local market payment solutions, as this can be a barrier to conversion.


82% of shoppers are more likely to buy if the promotional material is in their own language (Adolfo_fdz. Export SVA for Agencies 2019). This emphasises the importance of localisation, which is about the adaptation of your source content to create an authentic, linguistic, visual, and interactive experience for your export market. This isn’t achieved through simply translating the text in your Marketing Communications and launching these in your export market – native speakers are key to achieving this authenticity.

Finally, we round off our analysis of each of these areas with performance forecasts to recommend budget to allocate to your export expansion plans and the potential return to expect.


How to Set Up Your Digital Marketing Export Activity

We advocate taking a test and learn approach to ensure you identify the most successful route to export. Firstly, we would carry out a thorough market audit to identify the most lucrative export opportunity, followed by the creation of a localised landing page to coupled with testing a variety of digital strategies to understand the market and what resonates well before investing in a full site localisation.

Our network of 32 in-market specialists in 18 markets are key to the success of our export strategies. They guide on cultural as well as linguistic localisation to ensure all digital assets we go to market with are aligned with the expectations of our target market. This is in addition to supporting on diagnosing performance trends and preparing for impacts on performance by providing the latest market insights that will underpin our strategy planning and optimisation decisions through helping us to understand and respond to the market operating environment. We layer into that agency and engine best practice and co-ordinate the strategy delivery across multiple markets.


Develop a Post Launch Strategy

Initially, taking a soft launch approach through direct response campaigns with your top product or service categories ensures you can evaluate the initial demand for your product or service. This should come before investing brand building budget in awareness channels to capture the attention of your target market segments with messaging tailored to the trending topics they are currently interested in. When preparing to launch into new markets, it’s recommendable to nurture relationships with influencers, who can later play a key part in your brand awareness activity.

Our in-market specialists inform the channels we include in our strategies to ensure market fit. We soft launch with a direct response channel e.g., AdWords, Bing etc. If the soft launch is successful, we target further marketplaces like Amazon, eBay etc. If the success of the rollout continues, we launch awareness campaigns on display and social media.




Expanding Your Export Footprint

Incrementally growing your export market coverage can be achieved through using low budget English language, globally targeted campaigns and carrying out regular GA data analysis to spot new opportunities, in addition to spotting a surge in demand from new markets using industry insights. Isolating budget to target the markets you have identified initially with English language campaigns can help to assess demand before fully localising.


Incremental Growth in Existing Markets

Working with Google on the International Growth Partner Program provides access to the Global Business Solutions Team, who have years of export experience to offer guidance on opportunities to optimise the on-site experience to more closely meet the needs of your target market and grow conversions. They will also make recommendations on meeting market requirements from a delivery process, payment solutions and localisation perspective. This supports the Digital Marketing strategies we have in place to facilitate incremental growth in existing export markets.

It is important to thoroughly understand the market operating environment and the requirements of your target market before commencing your export journey. This will facilitate the tailoring of your setup plan to your local market and your subsequent post launch strategy. In addition to your path to incremental growth, which can be enhanced through having the right partners in place to accelerate this.



Whether you are looking to export for the first time, expand your export footprint or grow incrementally in an export market, we will help you achieve those coveted local sales. Get in touch to discuss your options for exporting.

Get In Touch

Talk To Us About Accelerating your Digital Performance