The Internet removes borders a little more every day and allows businesses of all sizes to reach international customers. A recent TextMaster study shows that companies with a strong digital presence set up abroad more quickly and generate 3 times more international sales. But then, why do some of them fail with their international marketing?

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1. Want to enter too many markets

One of the most common mistakes in international marketing is to think of the world as simply an extension of your home market. How long did it take you to analyze the profiles of your buyers, their habits, behaviors, needs and motivations? To develop internationally, it is for each of the markets to be conquered that you will have to make the same amount of effort. Among the criteria (and there are many), you must carefully assess whether potential customers will need your products and whether there are already players on the scene whose presence predates yours. Unless you have unlimited time and as many experts to analyze each market, focus on a few target markets to optimize your resources.

What solution to consider?

Instead of scattering yourself adapting and translating into 30 different languages, select only a few, but strive for excellence. Translate all your communications: web content, paper marketing documents, newsletters, not to mention customer service emails. You will have previously and thoroughly thought about the brand image that you want to give abroad. You will need to ensure that your translation team has a perfect understanding of your business in order to be able to effectively translate this brand image to the local audience.

2. Believe that English is universal

English is without a doubt one of the most used languages ​​online. However, this is not a quick fix for reaching customers around the world. A recent Common Sense Advisory study shows that only 60% of users shop in online stores in their native language and that 56% prefer sites in their own language and even boycott all sites in English.

What solution to consider?

It follows from the previous point: you have to know your market. If the majority of your potential customers are in Germany, forget English for good and translate to German first.

3. Having localized the language, but not the region

Many companies believe that translating their site into a language as widely spoken as English will open the doors to all countries that speak that language. This may be true for some sectors, but this theory has its limits. The British and the Americans each have their own vocabulary, their expressions, their slang. This applies to other languages ​​such as Spanish, French or German. And this is further accentuated when there are cultural differences that go far beyond linguistics, such as holidays, pop culture and other customs.

What solution to consider?

Adapt your content (not just the language) to a specific region, which comes to:

  • Translate content using local vocabulary and expressions;
  • Create promotions or content around local events or topics to follow (blog articles on the soccer world cup in England, but on the Super Bowl for the United States);
  • Adapt to the season (summer promotions for Australia, but winter sales in Canada);
  • Indicate in local equivalents telephone numbers, shipping options, currency, sizes and hours of operation.

4. Unsuitable SEO

Even if your website has the best SEO of your national market, it is absolutely not a guarantee of success abroad. Optimizing your site goes far beyond translating content or keywords verbatim. The most common mistake in SEO is to believe that people have the same search logic everywhere. “Marketing services” for example is perhaps a very popular phrase in the United States, but its equivalent in England could be “marketing agency”.

What solution to consider?

To understand how people will search and find your website, you need to look at local preferences. Tools like Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner or are ideal for finding the most relevant search terms. You can also see what your competitors are doing, through sites like Similar Web or SEMRush. Once established, this list of localized keywords will allow you to create web content as close as possible to what your customers are looking for.

5. Believe it is final

You analyzed the behavior of your local buyers, carefully located each part of your website and then … you left everything as is. Your website only offers your international customers out-of-stock products and a holiday promotion expired 4 months ago. Not only will you not win any customers, but it will seriously damage your credibility.

What solution to consider?

Think of your website as a living entity that needs constant attention. You can group the items that need an update by subject and by location. If for example you add a holiday promotion on your website, you must update (and translate) the image of the banner of the main site, its content, the general conditions, the text and the images of the newsletter, but also images from your social media.

Establishing and maintaining a web content calendar is another effective way to plan your translations in advance to avoid having your translators work in a rush and rush to locate a major campaign the day before it starts. .


You’ve invested a lot to fine tune your marketing in your national market to optimize your conversions. Simply translating your website and marketing materials into another language can certainly win you some customers, but in most cases you will be disappointed. To achieve the same level of success abroad, each international market requires adaptation and thoroughness.