When you’re taking the leap to expand your business into new markets, it can be a challenging, busy and exciting time. However, while you’re doing the heavy lifting of negotiating deals and securing financing, it’s important to not overlook your most important tool for connecting with your new market – your website.

Maintaining a website is important for any business in any market. It’s particularly important when you’re selling your products to people who are unfamiliar with your business – your website is the how you educate your new market about who you are, what you’re about, and why they should do business with you. Always remember; first impressions are important!

As your business grows – no matter which method you choose for selling overseas – your website should adapt to your changing markets. Here are three website tips to help you make the most of your online efforts while you’re breaking into a new market.

Share your story

While most business websites have an “About” page, it needs to feature more than just basic information.  Sharing your journey as a business helps to build trust with customers who are hearing about you for the first time. Not only will this give your business credibility, it gives your website visitors a chance to relate to who you are and why you started your business. Having an authentic story can be what sets your business apart in your customers’ minds.

Leverage your Canadian brand

Around the world, the Canadian brand is recognized as an exporting advantage. When positioning your business and products on your website, whether it’s through the written word or visuals, you can demonstrate that you’re proudly Canadian and use our nation’s strong reputation on the global stage to your advantage.

Another way to demonstrate your Canadian pride is to host your website on a .CA domain name. Only businesses with a Canadian connection can get a .CA domain name, making it an automatic identifier to website visitors that your website, and business, is proudly Canadian.

As your business expands, you may want to consider registering other domain names to protect your brand. You can easily redirect these domain names to your main website.

Know your market and cater to it

When it comes to the strategies you use to sell and market your product, what’s worked in the past may not translate well to a different market. Conducting market research is essential to understanding where your audience is online. Depending on your findings, you will have a few key decisions to make for your website: 

  • Determine if you need to translate your web content to the local language. This can require significant, ongoing resources which could be crucial to reaching your new market.
  • Evaluate the e-commerce options that are available in the country. Not every platform is available everywhere, and certain regions have options that are more widely accepted.
  • Consider which social media platforms and search engines are used in the country, and develop a strategy that will help drive more traffic to your website. What you are used to in Canada may not reflect the reality in your new market. Regional differences, particularly on social media, can make or break your business.

When setting objectives and key performance indicators for your website, Google Analytics is your friend. In Google Analytics you are easily able to track things like the geographic breakdown and language of your website visitors. Tracking this data can help inform the decisions you make to optimize the success of your website.

When your business is expanding, the advantage of the brand awareness that you may have in the current markets that you serve doesn’t yet exist in the new markets you’re targeting – you have a lot of work to do to ensure you’re a viable competitor, and your website can help you with that. A strategic plan for your website can help you gain awareness and credibility in new markets and give you a competitive edge.