Three Tips for Expanding Your Business Into New Markets
Expanding into new geographical markets is a big move. Opening to a new audience will involve spending a lot of money and a high level of risk. As a result, you need to ensure success will follow. With so many pitfalls, it is not an easy task.
Luckily, we are here to help. Below, we give three tips on expanding into new markets to help decide if it is the right move for your business.
Know Your Company Goals
Any company should have a powerful mission statement at its heart. Consumers are becoming more attuned to how businesses and providers they choose to use act. This can include everything from how they treat staff, to their social or environmental responsibilities. They want to know how and what you do, along with how you plan to do it.
If you don’t already have this mission in place, then get one. Not only does it give you a clear focus on how to operate, but it can give you a competitive edge over others. For example, you may have environmental practices competitors in your target areas don’t.
Once you have done this, decide why you want to expand. Is it as simple as opening up a new revenue stream or form of income? Do you want to build a long-term customer base in an area, or are you just testing out a product before a more vigorous launch?
Hard or Soft Approach?
There are two approaches to marketing yourself to new demographics. You can either go in with the hard approach, launching huge marketing campaigns and grabbing attention immediately. Other businesses may choose to go with trepidation, building up word of mouth and long-term customer relationships. This can be done through a slow drip of brand awareness. It allows you to test the market before making a full commitment.
Deciding on a tactic depends on your long-term goals. Of course, there are middle grounds available that use elements of both. A great example of this is Ontario online casinos which have opened up to the public. As major operators expand into the area, they are providing competitive offers to lure potential players away from the competition. With recurring bonuses, they also hold people for the long term. Tactics like this can be great if you find a lot of businesses are starting in a place at the same time.
Understand Your Customers
You won't be able to decide on the above points unless you first address your customers. Knowing everything about the people who use your product, from their age to their income, is vital. All this can help inform your marketing strategies, dictating everything from products to branding and the language you use. However, you also need to know about similar demographics in your new market and how they differ.
For example, a teen living in the US will have a very different outlook from one in Europe or Southeast Asia. You may spot a gap in the market that can fulfill a need. Sometimes, you may even see that your product isn’t needed in the proposed new market at all. While it will scupper your plans, it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
When you know your target market in your intended area, make sure it is them who gets the focus. Aiming for over one can spread the campaign too thin and may not end up attracting anyone. You may have to adapt your strategy slightly to cater to any geographical changes in the target market, but you should have experience with this already.
As important as knowing the potential demographic in the area is the competition. You don’t want to spend money on a launch to discover a glut of competition that has already got the loyalty of your target audience.
You may also want to look at a few different product markets in the region. For example, if you have three or four items you could sell, your initial one may not fill a consumer gap, and some others. Adjusting your plans accordingly could bring more success.
One way to get the upper hand on competitors is to get feedback from your current customers in existing regions. Ask them what they like about your company and what it provides that others do not. You can then use this as your unique selling point in the new market. Getting this feedback is easy to do by including sign-up forms in emails, on website pop-ups, or by asking them to fill out physical questionnaires.
Use SMART Targets
SMART targets are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound targets. By ensuring your goals fit these criteria, you will be sure of what you are trying to attain and have a designated time period in which to do it. You may also want to consider adding a budget to this as well. Expansion can quickly eat into the company bankroll, and you need to make sure every penny spent will be worth it in the long run.
By no means is this list comprehensive, but it is the first step. Expanding into new markets is not easy, but it is a huge additional source of income if done right, so it should be worth your time.