Building an International Digital Marketing Strategy

Picture of Deborah Janz

The importance of adjusting your digital marketing strategy for international reach cannot be emphasized enough.

Search engine query results differ greatly depending on where the searcher is located. Googling “weight loss solutions” in Dallas will produce different search results than Googling the same term from Seattle. And if you are targeting an audience in an completely different country, even more complexities arise.

The point? How you market in a single geography is not how you market internationally.

Whereas local based marketing mostly involves optimizing your Google My Business listing and leveraging the fact that Google displays search results relative to a user’s location. If someone is searching for your product or service outside of your local area and they don’t know your organization’s name, you’re not going to show up in search results. 

This article provides a few simple international digital marketing strategies to attract the right prospects from around the world, or at least not in your immediate vicinity.

Tip 1: Know who you’re speaking to

Search engine query results differ greatly depending on where you're located.

Depending on what region you're targeting, you need to take language and, at times, which search engine is most popular in that location into consideration. In China, for example, Google is banned and Baidu owns 82% of digital search. And if you’re selling products online in Asia, you will want to take a look at in addition and Amazon. 

Build a detailed persona that fleshes out demographics, needs, and pain points of your target audience and then personalize language on ads, landing pages, and blogs to meet those needs.

Tip 2: Conduct location based research

When you’re doing your research for non-local target audiences, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). 

With a VPN, you can trick search engines into believing you are anywhere in the world. By using this tactic, you can put yourself in your buyer's shoes as you explore the competition and your own standing in search results. 

This research will also provide intelligence on what to include in your campaign language as you observe popular search terms, which websites are ranking and the types of content they are producing.

Tip 3: Cultural considerations

It's of the utmost importance to speak with existing customers or potential buyers when developing your international marketing strategy. Through these conversations, you'll discover how your prospective customers perform their search queries and make buying decisions. 

Even among English speaking countries, the same word can have many meanings. Take the word “knickers”, for instance, a pair of short pants in North America, but an undergarment in the UK. 

We also recommend considering which devices people are using to make their searches: iPads, computers, iPhones, etc. Your campaign strategy will need to adapt to the most popular devices used by your customers. 

Tip 4: Posting and targeting

Your ad targeting should change depending on audience, location, and cultural considerations. But don’t forget about time zones! 

High visibility times differ depending on location. What's popular in North America, may be drastically different than in Europe or Asia. 

We recommend conducting split tests to discover what will be most beneficial for your service. Once you have all your assets set up, watch your analytics like a hawk. See where most of your traffic is coming from and which regions have the highest engagement with your content. Make adjustments accordingly.

How to win at international digital marketing

As mentioned earlier, you can do well marketing locally with a well developed Google My Business page and geo targeting ads. 

But when it comes to developing an international marketing strategy, it can be a little more complex. 

By implementing the simple steps above, you'll be on the right track. If you need help, IMPACT has a workshop where you can learn how to put together an international digital marketing strategy. 

In our Marketing Action Plan workshop, we provide the necessary tools for strategy development. We will also help to ramp up your current efforts with your existing team and resources. 

Find out more by clicking the button below!

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Deborah Janz

Deborah is a true leader. Not only has she jumped through legal and regulatory hoops to launch a multi-million dollar US-based business in Canada, she also wears multiple hats at IMPACT. She's the researcher and strategist. She a learner and adopter of innovative practices. She's a speaker, consultant, and trainer. She's also building a dynamic team of experts through an awesome workplace culture. Prior to launching IMPACT, she was in the trenches of sales and marketing in the tourism industry. A globe-trotter by nature, her boots-on-the-ground approach to exploring new opportunities internationally is why IMPACT is successful. She's adventurous, hungry to travel the world, and is always willing to try different foods - bugs are not out of the question. When not working away to make IMPACT the best it can be, you can find Deborah climbing mountains, diving in clear waters, or mentoring female business owners.