Digital Marketing for export growth: more than just e-commerce

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There are different channels to reach international customers and, especially, international retailers. Some of these are on the web.

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In a recent article published in the newspaper Il Sole24Ore, “digital export” is defined as «the company’s use of e-commerce to sell its products abroad», but is this a good definition?

I would say it’s rather partial and limited.

A more accurate definition can be found in the latest “Osservatorio Export” conducted by the Polytechnic University of Milan, which divides digital export into two different types of channels for market entry.

●      Direct channel: digital export is managed by local company agents through the following channels of distribution:

 ○       corporate websites

○       retailers with a local domain extension

○       e-stores with a local domain extension

 ●      Indirect channel: digital export is managed by foreign company agents through the following channels of distributions:

 ○       international retailers;

○       international aggregators.

 This distinction is also shown in the volume of online exports of Italian consumer goods Made in Italy: the direct channel accounts for 25% of the total amount, while the indirect channel covers the remaining 75%.

Digital export cannot thus be limited to e-commerce.

There are different channels to reach international customers and, especially, international retailers. Some of these are on the web.

Social media, for example, are web channels that reduce cultural distance and allow a company to start the internationalization process without a large budget. They provide a large base of potential customers, who can be easily segmented thanks to the advertising tools provided by the social media sites. Facebook ADS, for example, offers a useful resource: a target audience, the part of the demographic which is the intended target of communication.

An audience can be created using the “saved audience” list, generated either from the information collected by Facebook or from data already available, such as:

●      newsletter and mailing list

●      website traffic, using a tracking pixel

●      list of users that have installed and/or used the company app

●      list of users that have watched video content or filled in lead generation forms

This is just a small example of the enormous potential offered by social network promotion tools, though, you need more than just advertising to keep your customers. Social media sites allow you to personalize and customize your message, giving your customers and products a voice. Actively monitoring the conversations on social media and directly addressing your customers, makes communicating with them easy and fast, increasing your chances of creating a relationship, making new connections and most importantly, doing business.

Newsletters and DEMs (Direct Email Marketing) are additional channels that, if properly used, help companies enter – or maintain their position – in the international market.

The differences between Newsletters and DEM are found in the frequency of the message, type of content and overall purpose of the message.

DEM is more similar to a limited promotion and only refers to specific services or to a fixed period of time. Newsletters are primarily a publishing tool that is sent periodically to keep customers up to date with the latest products and services.

In some cases, newsletters aim at turning prospective clients into clients, using calls-to-action or invitations to complete a contact form.

As with any other web marketing activity, efficiently using these tools is vital to providing an advantage for the company.

Since 2012, Weevo has been helping Italian companies enter international markets, with focused web strategies specifically created for their target audiences. Using social media campaigns and advertising, Weevo creates greater brand awareness and supports the internationalization process of companies online.

Original Italian article and sources here.

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Defined by Going Global UK: "LEADING EXPERT IN INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES". Among the 5 major Italian marketing influencers according to Digitalic. Coordinator of the Networking Club of Philip Kotler at the Italian Marketing Foundation. The only Italian who accomplished the MIT Digital Business Strategy Executive Program about Digital Transformation (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Co-founder of Weevo, co-publisher of Il Giornale delle PMI, author of "Strategie web per i mercati esteri", Hoepli 2016 (Digital Strategies for International Markets).

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