January 8, 2009
~By Grace Epperson
Chances are good if you’re reading this article, you already understand the value of globalizing your marketing efforts. The benefits are simple but powerful.
Whether it’s finding new customers for your products (those that are your homeruns or those that just need a new home) or experiencing higher response rates and less competition, going global is a sound way to diversify your customer base.
Marketing to multiple geographic areas helps protect you. A few months ago you may have wondered what you might need protection against. Today, it’s glaringly obvious – protect yourself from markets that may take a steep downturn due to economic, political or other environmental factors.
So what happens in times like today, when practically all the world’s markets are impacted?
The answer is still diversification.
Here are five quick tips to consider when it comes to diversifying your marketing. These are recurring themes for me, particularly these past few months, as we hunker down and wait for an economic upswing.
1. Target countries or regions with currencies stronger than your own.
Even as the values of currencies fall, it’s all relative if you find the exchange rates that work to your advantage. For instance, the British pound is currently one and a half times the value of the US dollar. Now, that seems to pale against six months ago, when it was two to one, but it’s respectable nonetheless. What does that mean for you?
Well, if you price and process your offers in local currency, it means you’ll get 50% more revenue for each product that you sell. In my experience, as long as the promotion is strong and the product is applicable, there’s no reason why you can’t sell a $39 product for £39 and benefit from the exchange.
2. Don’t forget your neighbor.
Depending on where you’re marketing, there is likely a neighboring country or two to consider. There are lots of economies of scale, including but not limited to, printing, fulfillment, call center services and marketing support. The US and Canada are a natural fit. Australia and New Zealand go hand in hand. The list goes on. This tip seems pretty obvious, but I’m always surprised by how many companies discount testing and expanding into a neighboring country.
3. Can’t develop new product? Develop strategic partnerships instead.
This is a big one. Perhaps your budget has been cut and you’re not able to develop that next hot new product. You may want to consider pursuing a joint venture with a partner who has a product that’s fresh to your list and a perfect fit. You can even go so far as to white label it as your own. It’s a win-win situation that maximizes opportunity and minimizes risk on both sides. The deal can work both ways too, as you can then promote your product to their list. With all factors being equal, you typically work out a 50/50 split of profits.
4. Stay in the mail.
Well, if at all possible, stay in the mail. Here are some tactics that may help.
- I’ve found that vendors, namely printers and mail shops, are hungry for business – a prime opportunity to really shop around, negotiate and lower your marketing costs.
- You may also want to approach those list owners with whom you have longstanding rental relationships to see if they are interested in net name arrangement. This way you only pay list rental on names that make it out of the merge. Or exchange – every list you don’t pay for could lower your costs dramatically.
- Mail more of your house names. They’re free to mail and generally very responsive. It may be smart to include more of them than you normally would, thereby subsidizing your prospecting in the short term.
- Overprint and do smaller mail drops. You’ll have better control without sacrificing the economy of printing in a larger volume.
Remember, your competitors may be taking this time to play it safe and regroup, so now may be the ideal time to stay in front of your prospects.
5. Focus on making a friend (not a sale).
Even if your offer has always been cash with order, if the response isn’t there, you may need to rethink your strategy. It may work out better for you to have 100,000 prospects versus 100 paid customers. Offers that I have seen work include:
- Offering something for free along with your paid product offer. In publishing, this works particularly well when you promote a paid subscription and/or allow prospects to sign up for a free e-mail newsletter.
- Delaying charging the customer during a free trial period where they can preview the product.
- Selling a high-priced product by breaking up the price into manageable payments that are automatically charged.
In all of these scenarios, even if you don’t make the sale up front, you’ve significantly increased the number of prospects – all of whom you can put through a rigorous backend marketing program focused on conversion.