As attractive as it sounds, “instant global sensation” is a contradiction in terms. Going global requires strategic moves, and those require research and forethought. Those sensations that are indeed instantaneous are usually one-hit wonders, and rare. In order to build a successful, sustainable global strategy, you need to take the time to address the things that slow global commerce down—and then be able to enjoy the speed with which you succeed after having those foundational pieces in place.
Advertising and selling internationally presents a complex series of legal and logistical considerations. You need consistent, sustained access to updated information for each country, so it’s worth seeking the advice of a lawyer who knows your target countries well. You should also subscribe to newsletters or blogs that offer updates on legislation in each country that could affect your bottom line. These updates keep you abreast of upcoming legislation that may affect the bottom line. From the type of product you carry to the way in which you advertise its uniqueness, countries may have laws that affect you. There may be rules for the time of day that an ad can be shown, for example, or special taxes that you have to pay in order to advertise there.
While Visa and Mastercard are good ideas in some countries, PayPal and Western Union are better for others. Compare rates and pay attention to the types of payment your target audience uses most. There are several online portals and physical locations (for places such as Western Union) where payments can be made as well as temporary contracts. The most economical portal for money transactions may also have restrictions on the amount of money being transferred. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with each country and its unique payment preference; it’ll pay in the long run.
You want to be careful with what and how you translate. If you don’t translate enough, users will get frustrated and leave your website. If you translate everything, but do so only with machine translation, you don’t get the benefit of localization, and may send an inaccurate message.
Before translating anything, make sure that the technology you use is smart enough to use analytics to tell you which pages to translate, that it operates within your workflow, and that it gives you the opportunity to have people vet each translation—whether through crowdsourced labor or by professional translators. Also, make sure that it stores all translations in a database comprised of millions of words, known as “translation memory.” Anywhere content, websites, docs, user groups or social media is stored, you can use the same translation database. You don’t need to re-translate as each entry becomes perpetually entered into memory for repeated use.
Once you have systems in place to address your legal, payment and translation needs, the world literally becomes your oyster. Taking the time to address these needs will pay dividends in the form of future success.