Latitude recently took on the not-so-daunting task of assisting one of our fashion retail clients in expanding into five new territories: USA, New Zealand, Australia, Malta and Gibraltar. The launches were highly successful and as a result, we’ve decided to share a few tips to anyone else thinking of attempting world domination.

1. Expect to Spend

If your brand has virtually no brand awareness in any of the new countries you’re looking to expand to, the strategy should be to use display advertising to raise brand awareness, as well as PPC to drive sales. You may think it goes without saying, but raising brand awareness in areas as large as the USA and Australia costs. A lot.

However, if you want to break into these areas, this is something you have to be prepared to do; you have to spend money to make money. It wasn’t cheap, but we displayed over 11 million impressions in the new territories, and saw a direct return from clicks through to the website, as well as the all-important conversions to completed sales.

We also saw direct visits to the client’s site double in one month and PPC brand searches more than double over the same period. Once you have built up this sort of awareness, you can expect to see Cost Per Acquisitions (CPAs) reduce, if somewhat slowly – which leads me on to my next point.

2. Slow and Steady is the Best Approach

When we proposed our strategy for our client, we forecasted for PPC as best we could without much data to go on and had expected the spend to be large. However, when we actually started out, we were careful to keep within a reasonable CPA target, and in order to do so, we had to dip our toe in the water and start off slow.

For example, one thing we hadn’t fully planned for was that conversion rates would be lower due to delivery costs. Unless your company has a physical store in your new territories, delivery costs to your new areas will be much higher, which will put some people off. This is something which is likely to cause CPA to be high initially, but over time, with careful optimisation, this can decrease as the brand builds up more customers, and importantly, returning customers.

3. Get your Analytics Right

As with any online marketing, you need to be able to test and analyse the results of what you are doing. The problem here is that when you market to different territories, you will probably use different domains. Your main site may be tracked up and ticking along perfectly, but this may not be the case for all of your other domains and profiles.

Ensuring that your tracking is set up correctly is vital when launching into new territories, as now more than ever optimisation is key and you can’t optimise without the right data.

4. Have a Website Tech Team Who Can Make Changes Quickly

Obviously, this is what every company wants when working internationally or just in one country, but for international campaigns specifically, having a team that can make changes quickly is invaluable. We wanted to be able to create offers specific to our client’s new regions, in their currency, in order to attract our new potential customers even further.

As suggested by Ian McCaig (founder at Qubit) in his Econsultancy blog on driving international sales; offering local currencies is one of the main things companies should focus on. It’s even better if you can display great offers on the homepage with images, all in local currencies.

5. Know (or Get to Know) Your New Market

Although we were only targeting English speaking countries, it’s important to remember that people in those countries speak differently, and have different names for different things. For example, in America what we call trousers, they call pants, and they would use the word ‘shirt’ where we might say ‘top’.

Apart from this, it is essential to run regular search query reports to get an idea of what your new market is searching for. We found that the majority of our US searches contained the terms “cute” and “boutique”, which are not words we would have included in our English campaigns. This sort of insight is exactly what you need to understand what you customers are looking for, and provide them with just that in your ads.