3 Stepping Stones To Globalize Your B2B Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is a process of continual refinement -- try, measure, revise, repeat.    In North America, this process has been moving steadily from art to science.

But how do we adapt this process when your company wants to open the door to international searches?   At 100,000 feet, it looks similar -- but look closely and you'll see there are critical differences.

1) What region do you best target?
2) What internationalization is required?
3) What search engines do you target?

As for most B2B market research, Google is a great place to start answering these questions.   However, Google may not be your answer in some of the world's fast-changing markets.

Step 1. Try Google using regionally targeted measurement campaigns.  Your company may already have international infrastructure that dictates the regions you can go, but if not, devise a regional ad campaign to test where click traffic is present for your offer.   For B2B you can get a good feel using English language ads, but these results may not be indicative of CTR and conversion levels for your actual campaigns.   Don't be myopic about China  -- there are many regions in the world that may be relevant for you.  There are many thriving markets in Asia, Europe and South America and their priority will change over time.   

Once you have initial regional targets in your sites, you need to determine how to get a conversion rate that has the ROI you seek.  Two big factors in this are local language and medium.

Step 2. Try local languages at different conversion levels.   If your target region is primarily non-English, then you should assume that searchers in that region rely on their local language search engine.    Does this mean you need to translate your site into a local language?  Maybe not.  With B2B, many professionals conduct their business in English.  However, you need to try and measure.   There are four progressive levels where you must test local languages or English:  keyword, ad copy, landing page, full site.   Try local languages and see how far down the conversion funnel you need to go with local languages to reach your ROI goal.  Obviously, you will need to modify your processes to include language translation skills.

Step 3. Try regional search engines.   Google is not the only answer in international search markets.   In addition to Google and the Google Content Network, a number of regional search engines are growing very rapidly.   Each region has different cultures and your target market may be growing on a regional engine that understands their culture. (China) and (South Korea) are two strong examples.   According to comScore, these engines are in the top five of the world's search activity.   Once again, your processes may need to change -- the ad models and ranking criteria of regional engines are different than Google.   Additionally, running ads and viewing your ads will require local language skills.

The Internet has made the whole world smaller, and now you have the ability to reach out and conduct business internationally --regardless of the size of your company. But your search engine marketing skills need to be globalized to play the game



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