How can I grow sales overseas?

You’ve done the hard work. You have established a base of operations in a new territory outside of Japan. 

Jumped through the legal hoops, imported your product, and set up the foundation of a distribution network. Some time has passed and yet sales are stagnant.

You know customers in the market would love your product, but for some reason you cannot get your message across. You can’t reach the right audience. It is time to change up your marketing tactics. Here’s how to tackle this problem and hit your growth targets.

Research your market

You need a deep understanding of your customers to succeed.
1 – Define your customer persona
customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer, based on market research and real data about existing customers. It includes specific details such as demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals, allowing you to understand and target your audience more effectively.
 
2 – Analyze local consumer behavior
Each market is unique. Learn about local tastes, preferences, and unmet needs. Using tools like consumer surveys and focus groups can provide valuable insights. By tailoring your products or services to meet local needs, you’ll be able to connect more deeply with consumers.
 
3 – Study your competitors
Analyzing competitors’ strategies can provide insights into what works in a particular market. On the other hand, you might see what efforts your competitors have made that are not generating results to learn what to avoid.

Adapt your approach

You must adapt to reach new audiences.
1 – Consider local culture
Every culture has its own nuances. Respecting local traditions, customs, and taboos will foster positive relationships with potential customers. Collaboration with local experts can provide invaluable insights on how you should adapt your branding and messaging.
 
2 – Revise your language
From advertising materials to product labels, making sure that your message is clear in the local language is critical. Professional translation services that understand colloquialisms and regional dialects can make your communications more effective. Do not put your trust in Google Translate, DeepL or ChatGPT!
 
3 – Modify your products or packaging
Sometimes, products need to be tweaked to align with local tastes and expectations. Packaging, in particular, is highly likely to require changes in design or size to appeal to local sensibilities. It is crucial to work with local marketing experts to ensure your products resonate with new audiences, particularly for consumer products where you want to stand out on the shelves.

Craft effective marketing strategies

Not all digital platforms were made equal.
1 – Get your product in front of the right audience
With your customer persona in place and your products adapted for local sensibilities, the final stage is to ensure your marketing materials resonate with local audiences. In the B2B space this could mean creating thought leadership and educational materials. For B2C it could be creating beautiful content with snappy copy. The best way to achieve this is to collaborate with marketing agencies that specialize in overseas markets to develop your campaign strategy.
 
2 – Compliment your adverts with organic and UGC content
To create a more authentic connection with your audience it is important to have a healthy mix of non-paid content and showcase genuine, unfiltered insights from real customers. This blend of content can foster trust and engagement, as consumers often perceive UGC as unbiased and credible, potentially enhancing both reach and conversion rates.
 
3 – Be on the right platforms
You don’t need Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok. You need focus. Tailoring your social media strategy to each market’s unique digital landscape and where your target audience is most likely to find you is essential. This includes utilizing platforms popular in the region and creating content that matches that platforms communication approach.

A fresh approach to market overseas

Growing sales outside of Japan is going to require more than just translating your domestic strategy. Japanese audiences have very different tastes and buying habits than those in other territories and your marketing efforts must reflect this to succeed.
 
Your product is valuable; allow us to help you build the right approach and propel it to the world.

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