Coordinator: Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time all participants will be in a listen-only mode until the question-and-answer session. To ask a question at that time, please press star then 1.
Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. With that it is my pleasure to turn over today’s call to Ms. Roza Pace. You may begin.
Roza Pace: Thank you very much and hello, everyone. I’m Roza Pace and I’m Senior International Trade Specialist at the Trade Information Center. Kelly Holloway my colleague in the Trade Information Center will join us today to assist with the event.
The Trade Information Center is part of U.S. Commercial Service at the Department of Commerce. We are very pleased to continue today with our Basic Guide to Exporting Webinar series.
It is an 18-part series delivering information on some of the fundamentals of exporting to make sure that our exporters find the right markets, have the right export plan, do appropriate due diligence and make yourself visible to their clients and get paid.
I’d also like to welcome our presenters, all U.S. Commercial Service clients and now they’re Webinar participants in exporting community who are joining us today from all across the U.S. for today’s Webinar on using e-commerce and social media to increase your international sales.
We are very happy to note that we are having today a very diverse group of participants. This free Webinar today is one of the series and is brought to you as part of the National Export Initiative. Just a couple of brief housekeeping announcements before we get to the meat of the matter today.
You will see the URL on the welcome slide where you can find a schedule of our future Webinars. Please note that contact information will be provided at the end of the Webinar if you have additional questions after the event.
You’ll be able to hear the presentation via the telephone and view them simultaneously via your computer. If you are not hooked-up to both, please take a moment to do so. If you experience any technical difficulties, please press star 0 at any time during this presentation.
Also note that everyone will get a recording of today’s event. We’ll e-mail it out to you and you will have a copy of the slides which you can print off if you’d like and you will also have a copy of the audio recording.
After today’s presentation, the operator will come back on. You will announce yourself and she will have you in the order that you have asked to ask questions and we’ll be answering those questions and I hope some of our colleagues are on the lines as well so they could also help us and participate in the answer-question.
And if you don’t get your questions answered today or you are shy about speaking to national audience on the telephone, feel free to e-mail at any time after the presentation today and we will be very happy to answer your questions individually.
Our speakers will be available at the end of the presentation. The operator again as I say will put you in the queue to have your line taken off mute to ask your questions. You also will have the opportunity to type-in your questions on your computer.
Now I’d like to introduce our speakers. Today’s presenters will be Mr. Laszlo Horvath, President of Active Media and (Larry Smith), Director of Business Development in Zeons Global, Inc. We are very excited to have them with us today.
Between the two speakers, they will cover two separate but interrelated topics. Laszlo will talk about how to make your company more visible on the Web and (Larry) will talk about how you can become better connected with your clients who increasingly are moving towards mobile applications.
Laszlo in particular will focus today’s presentation on how you can increased understanding of your international customer by analyzing how they search your products and services, how many of them are looking for your solutions, and about your competitors, what your competitors are doing about it online.
He will also give you advice on how to attract international buyers to your Website and optimize search engines for the international market. Following Laszlo’s remarks, you will hear (Larry)’s presentation. Laszlo again as I say is the President of Active Media and his company motto is can you afford not to be found on the Web?
Laszlo’s mission is to help exporters to be present on top of the search engines. Laszlo without further ado I’d like to turn over the phone and looking forward to your presentation.
Laszlo Horvath: Roza, thank you so much for the introduction. Hello, everybody. It is my absolute delight to meet with an audience so diverse and exciting like today’s audience. We have manufacturers, we have service companies from all corners of the United States and the world and also agencies, governments that help them to export at different levels.
As Roza mentioned, our motto is can you afford not to be found? Well, that’s a rhetorical question because obviously when you have customers who are looking for your products and services, you simply have to engage with those customers; otherwise, two things can happen.
One, they connect with your competitors; two, you don’t book that revenue that you never knew you lost so this is a critical subject, finding those customers who are in the moment of their need, the highly motivated customers and use the search engines as your virtual sales force.
I’d like to introduce myself briefly. My name is Laszlo Horvath, President of Active Media. I am one of those old, online characters who started about 15 now it’s about 16 years ago when businesses like some of yours had to be convinced to build a Website because they didn’t need it.
They already had fax machines and telephones and physical addresses. Now after everyone built a Website comes the next question, okay, no one sees our Website. They thought that if they build a Website, the sales will come, traffic will come and after a few more years, it turns out that traffic became a key component to a success of a Website so that’s what we do.
Here is a sample of some of our clients. We take pride in delivering the highest possible dominant positions on the search engines results pages on our clients. You can see we have large and small banking and manufacturing, entertainment and consulting clients from all corners of the world so what is the subject of this quick discussion with the audience?
First of all, this is a huge topic, how to use the search engines which are the new operating system of the Internet because this is how people find information.
I’d like to submit to you as a student of the Internet universe that there will be some points that I am going to emphasize and I am going to rush through a couple of other slides to give you a flavor of where we believe in our 15 years practice the most important touch points are to capture an international audience.
This is sort of one of those tricky questions, how many computers are there and how many Webpages are out there? It’s a huge jungle out there. The estimates are ranging between 1 and 3 billions and the number of Webpages is simply when I finish this sentence, will be probably another 100,000 more.
The way to look at this is just to see that clouds out there. There’s a lot of discussion about cloud computing. You can look at this discussion as using the world’s most powerful computer systems, the world’s most powerful clouds to your marketing needs.
The key element, self-selected, motivated buyers find on their own terms their product and services. That creates an environment that leads to the most cost-effective marketing program known to any media which is digital marketing in general and search engine marketing in particular.
You don’t need to interrupt your potential customers with any kinds of sales message. They are going to contact you on their own terms and this is an illustration of a Website that is on the bottom of search engine results.
It looks like a Website but it’s not going to take you where you want to go with your business. It’s not going to bring in sales. Here is the online marketing pyramid. You will notice that there is no traditional media in that mix, even the lowest return potential in your digital marketing program delivers better results than any type of traditional media.
The foundation of your online marketing pyramid is search engine optimization. When you show up on top of a search engine’s results page, then Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo says that your company is the leader in that field.
Second one is social media presence when your customers are telling the world that your product is great and they had a tremendous experience with you and if your positive comments are a much higher number than the negative or neutral comments, you are a winner in the social media space.
(Max want his) pay-per-click ads, when people are looking at content that is related to your products and services, having these pay-per-click ads offering a call for action with a potential discount drive international customers to your Website.
Then comes behavioral targeting when people who are likely buyers are connected to a marketing program that delivers a strong sales message and last but not least, e-mail lists. This is our online marketing pyramid. Any of these elements perform better than any other traditional marketing program.
So why search? Simply because it is the most important activity online. Search is the Number 2 application right after using e-mail online although social media is taking over the e-mail on the top of that list so the second and third activity - search and research - is simply what people do online.
About 20%-25% of the searches are local-related and regardless of where your Website and where your business is located, the majority of visitors to your Website come from a country that’s other than yours.
And if you felt that all the information that you gather everyday is overwhelming, well there’s no reason to grieve about that because even today roughly 30% to 50% of the results are relevant to the searchers which means that you didn’t miss the boat.
The message simply is don’t just say what you want people to know about or to read about but make sure that when you say it, you include traffic, include findability in the message so letting people find what you have to say.
We call this the inward-looking approach versus the - we call this the outward-looking approach - versus the inward-looking approach when you are just focused on your mission and your product advantages versus how people search for you.
Why are we discussing this? Because your customer has changed. The search engines create an environment where the browsing as an activity online has disappeared. Your browser is taken over by the fast search box as high-speed Internet access became ubiquitous so having Websites that are invisible for the search engines means that you are denying access to your content.
One example of this is Chrome, Google’s browser which literally combines the browser bar with the search box, makes it much faster to find information so one buzzword that I’d like you to take with you after this presentation from me, the buzzword is SERP, Search Engines Results Pages.
This is the single-most important territory, the single-most important real estate in today’s digital marketing world the search engines results pages. They are your first touch point.
The search engines results pages are your most effective marketing channel because that’s where your customers are and that’s equally true for any of those diverse areas that this audience is working at from quality loudspeakers to power washers or local governments.
In any environment and any business that you represent, the key question is how to stand out globally in this very busy universe? These are three ways to stand out and dominate the search engines results pages: SEO, Search Engine Optimization; SEM, Search Engine Marketing; and Social Media Optimization, SOM.
These are the three channels that help you capture the international audience. You are not alone in this quest. There are thousands and thousands of companies that are dedicated to take advantage of the fact that online marketing expenditure is still lower than traditional media expenditure simply because of the inertia in the marketing industry.
And I’m not going to go into these details just a quick example that television and online roughly have the same significance in people’s live about 12 hours a day are spent on TV or online and the expenditure levels are still much lower online than in broadcast television. This is the growth in expenditure on the Internet per year between 2002 and 2010.
As you can see, the growth is much higher in the Internet industry and 87% of marketers today tell researchers that they want to increase their online presence in 2011 because they understood that it’s a huge force accelerator, increases the impact of other marketing programs as well if you are found in this economy.
And one note for exporters, there is no easier way to find international customers than doing the analysis of how those international buyers search for your products and services, how many of them are out there and what the competition does about this. This is called the keyword analysis which we affectionately in my business call mind-reading.
Reading the minds of your customers helps you tailor a message that captures their imagination. Now that was the introduction and here comes a little bit of a detailed presentation agenda about how to use your virtual global sales force.
We’ll talk very briefly about what is a search engine which sounds redundant but in my experience it’s always an interesting subject because most folks use it without knowing exactly what that is.
And then we’ll cover the three channels, SEO, pay-per-click and the social media optimization and last but not least we are going to talk a few words about global usage trends and we’ll show a brief case study if we have time for that.
So why are search engines so successful? Because this is our answer to a sensory overload, the thousands and thousands of marketing messages that we get. We live in the world of a digital tsunami. According to the SCS Institute, we carry the load that is four times larger in noise each day. It’s a scary number. Each day digital data, all the transactions worldwide quadruple.
So as an illustration this is how your customers feel. That’s the key to success of the search engines because if you add some more load of information, that’s not going to help your business to sell the products but when this person is actually looking for a solution, maybe a trolley to carry all that data garbage, then you have a chance to interact and win his or her business.
In a way you can look at search engine optimization as a way to get rid of all that redundant noise and in a crystal clear format engage your customers and this is the evolution of our industry, the acceleration is really scary.
If you look at these killer applications, one was AOL. That’s where I started in 1995. It took 15 years to reach close to 300 million users and the key to success was to create a high-speed environment in the low-connectivity connection space so it was a virtual high-speed environment.
Then Google came and took them 10 years to reach 350 million users. Essentially they created the first social media program as well because that’s one of the success factors of search engine visibility that the users own the answers since they typed-in a specific question.
And that’s why Googles and Bings and Yahoos and Baidus and all the other search engines endorsements means an undisputed third-party valuation. It must be true because it’s on top of the search engines and look at Facebook.
In five years they reached 500 million users. Today now they have about 600 million and it’s really effortless. You don’t have to worry about spending time writing an e-mail. You’re always on and you’re always connected so there was an acceleration in our industry.
And, you know, the saying that you know our century we are very lucky because in this hundred years that we live in, more is going to happen with mankind and technology than in the past 100,000 years and it sounds like an exaggeration.
But if you look at the accelerating timeline, they might be right so the consequences, traditional marketing is outdated because it happens on the terms of the marketers and they want to interrupt you with a direct message versus the broadcast, the reverse broadcast model where they customers initiate the contact.
And we live in the age of personalization. We might call it post-advertising because the attention is so fragmented that people have no time to do a huge amount of traditional media consumption and they do video gaming, they do online activities on their own terms and that’s key to success if you ride that wave together with your customers.
Some real-time data from last year, social media expenditure is about close to $2 billion in 2010. Online sales are about $40 billion-plus industry and online ad expenditure is about $26 billion so this is not a baby industry anymore and we are just at the very beginning of another growth curve right here in the social media online sales and online ad spending arena.
So you are already global because the majority of your visitors are online. Message Number 3, if you don’t have an international program on your Website, it means that you send away the majority of the visitors coming to your Website.
So in order to maximize your search dominance, you do need to look at the international opportunities. Roughly about 800 million-plus people are online. This is the number of searches per years, about 61 billion searches per month and that’s growing.
By the way, folks who are addicted to social media platforms, they use more searches than those who are not on social media so the world is really at your fingertips.
And doing a global program on the search engines essentially using the Internet what it was invented for, the Internet is nothing else but a connectivity channel to connect anybody, anywhere and these are the languages just on Google that you can capture.
Now think about all these markets where you can be virtually local in Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, you name it. You can be as local as the store next door to those international customers.
Here is the rush to get online. These are the latest numbers that I can actually trust roughly. Asia is the largest chunk of online users. There is Europe and here is the Americas, North America and Latin America.
And here is essentially the same data by percentages, roughly about 40% of the Internet users are in Asia, about 25-26 are in North and South America - the Americas - and about a quarter of the users are in Europe, a little more and the rest is a smaller percentage.
And this is another interesting number, the penetration of Internet access. North America is the highest. The numbers are a little bit skewed because often times you see different usage patterns in Europe than in North America for example because people use the Internet at work or at academic institutions.
Here the number is essentially much higher because these are just the home users versus the Internet café users and also the mobile users are not included so these numbers are much higher. That’s particularly true in Africa which has a very low home usage percentage, about 5% but with the mobile platforms it’s a much higher number.
So you essentially can capture the majority of users on any continent and here is just the reach of one network - paid advertising content network - about close to 600 million people just on Google’s network and 92% of Latin America, 88% of the users in Asia/Pacific and 91% of Europe can be reached so here comes some details about these three channels.
As I am rushing into the finish of the presentation, what is a search engine? Essentially it’s a database where all the information is found by a crawler, put into an index which is a hierarchy of results and the algorithm determines who is Number 1 and who is 2,000,736.
This is the single-most important slide of the presentation. The organic or natural results are the crown jewels. This is where you get the third-party validation. This is where your undisputed leadership lies.
And these are the pay-per-click programs where you can supplement your digital leadership by offering a special deal where you drive customers who are bargain hunters and there could be bargain hunters in the B-to-B field as well.
They don’t want free shipping. What they want is a free case study or some perceived value-added service. Search engine optimization, we are just going to run through these benefits and please do let me know if you have questions about this.
It’s essentially presenting your case to the search engine spiders so you get a dominant placement at the end of the process. Essentially he has three relevant points. One is the mind reading, when you really understand your customer, how they search for your products and services, how many of them are out there and what the competition does about this.
After you know this, you essentially have raw data for a digital marketing plan. You know what the market wants from you. You know the size of the market and you know the competitive landscape.
After that you are ready to modify or build your Website that’s Phase 2 the page level deliverable when your Website becomes an extension of the search, of the search engine’s results pages.
And the third and simply the most important component is the link popularity building and that subject alone of how to put your Website in the larger context of the Internet deserves a multi-day discussion and I’m more than happy to talk about those technical details one-on-one or in the Q&A session.
That’s the area where you essentially beat your competitors, all things equal so if the pricing is the same and the quality of your product is the same, the link popularity building is going to create the gift that keeps on giving.
Here is typical results experience and now comes the description in the presentation of the pay-per-click advertisements where you buy clicks, you pay every time someone clicks on these ads. You don’t pay when they just review it but they don’t click and here are the advantages of doing pay-per-click advertising though most of the pay-per-click users use Google.
The majority of them also uses Yahoo so 60% use Yahoo, 95% use Google and there was also a significant audience for other search engines. It depends on which market you are targeting. Some search engines are dominant. The exceptions - the three notable exceptions - where Google is not dominant is China where Baidu is the big player.
Russia where Google doesn’t really have a huge market share and the Czech Republic. The rest of the world is dominated by Google and it’s about 70% in the United States and 15% is Bing and 15% is Yahoo. This is another laundry list of comparisons of how search engine optimization compares to a pay-per-click program, advantages and disadvantages.
I like these laundry lists because you can use them as checkmarks and search engine optimization comes hand-in-hand with social media optimization when the positive comments come up on top of the results pages and we’ll talk more about this during (Larry)’s presentation and here is a quick key study of how to use search engine optimization creatively.
One of our clients is a hotel chain, Magical Cusco Tours and they wanted to stand out - they understood so their - they understood the advantage of standing out in the social media space so their instructions for us was Laszlo, make us stand out in relevant results pages.
So we created a program. We essentially created a search engine optimization program for them when they received 300-plus top level placements and also an ongoing pay-per-click program for special deals in traveling to Cusco. They also created a solution where they realized that people are searching for two completely different products that they did not offer.
One was spiritual tours to go to the Inca tour and meditate. The other one was culinary tours that became the most profitable ventures for them. The strength of networks, when you work with partner companies, the effect of search engine optimization increases.
This is called the ecosystem, the digital ecosystem so when you have partners and you create a link program between those partners, the effects of search engine optimization multiple and this is a disruptive technology when a smaller company can become a significant international player and last message here is control your digital footprint.
Control your search engine organic results, create a pay-per-click program and create a dominant search engine and social media optimization program because there are three options there.
Either you control your digital footprint, what people think about you and what people say about you in addition to how your message shows up on the search engines results pages, that’s the best case scenario.
Second scenario is kiosks. It goes just chaotically whichever information the spiders find relevant will come up on top and the third one is when your digital space is controlled by a competitor, that’s the least favorable option.
And thank you so much for your time. I apologize for rushing through this presentation but I am delighted to answer during the Q&A or after that and I hand it over to the social media expert, (Larry).
Rosa Pace: Okay, (Larry), before you speak, thank you, Laszlo for a wonderful presentation, informative and hopefully folks will find some useful ideas and thank you for the opportunity for companies to follow-up with you with their questions and please also understand that we like to remind you that during this presentation, you are able to type your questions by clicking on Q&A tab at the top of the presentation and let me briefly introduce (Larry).
(Larry Smith) as I say is our next presenter. We are very excited to have (Larry) to talk about shifting consumer B-to-B approach towards e-commerce (stat upon) the evolution of international business, marketing and sales, talk a bit about value of social media strategy to your international business and other topics. (Larry), the floor is yours.
(Larry Smith): Thank you, Roza, I appreciate it. Good afternoon, everyone, and we’re very honored to be part of this Webinar. Welcome to Zeons Global’s international business social media overview. A breakthrough in export marketing and sales that helped you engage new international customers in markets with products and services.
During this brief presentation, I’ll explain how social media can help your company create, expand and engage new market overseas, increasing profitability and improve brand awareness.
First let me go over the agenda which is obviously an introduction to the corporate overview; social media defined; the evolution of business, marketing and sales; past present and future trends and challenges; capitalizing on exports with social media; summary of benefits; and then lastly how you can contact us.
I’d appreciate it if we could keep all questions and answers to the end but there is a chat window and my colleague (Adam King) will be happy to answer any questions you have in the chat window.
Many U.S. companies struggle when it comes to expanding internationally. It’s a challenge to enter foreign markets, launch new products or simply cater to foreign requests. Firms that don’t do well overseas typically don’t have a clearly articulated or developed strategy, a database of customers or prospects, multi-lingual staff and literally no brand awareness in the target market.
Whatever your situation, it’s difficult to get enough traction with decision-makers overseas. Many firms try to develop an export department internally but it just failed to produce the desired results.
With little to no export department when a firm gets busy, pipeline activity slows, leads get dropped or allowed to get cold and the firm experiences the all-too-recognizable revenue roller coaster which deters them from focusing on developing and nurturing the lucrative markets overseas.
That’s where we come in, Zeons Global. Zeon’s Global is a multinational company which assists and facilitates the export of U.S.-manufactured goods into emerging international markets in Latin America, Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.
Zeons Global is an integrated company characterized by substantial inter-group and inter-sector cooperation in research manufacturing and marketing of products incorporating similar component materials manufactured at common internal sources.
Zeons Global is a U.S. conglomerate with businesses categorized into agriculture, asset acquisitions, consumer goods, export and export management and training, media consulting, power fuel and Zeons Global is renown both globally and locally.
Zeons Global has a physical footprint in 27 countries servicing more than 455,000 customers serviced by eight business groups. Zeons Global has been evolving to become the United States’ largest, most diversified public company.
Our decades of success and strong reputation provide from our proven ability to provide high-level professional solutions and consumer products coupled with outstanding consumer service that deliver results. Within this century, Zeons Global has built this foundation on the export of Made in USA goods and services.
Social media: what is it? Who is it for? Why care? Is it about everything people have said about social media? Social media is just basic communication like what you do every day. Executives and probably most social media experts often focus too much on a challenge.
Facebook, Twitters, forums, blogs, Podcasts, pictures and videos are just channels, a bridge to communicate with targeted audiences. The thing about these channels is languages. They can be mastered easily but content and value of the conversation is all that matters.
(Seth Gody) said on his blog, “It’s a process, not an event.” In business, companies should invest in social media for quick results. It’s a process to build relationships with potential customers and maintain good relationships with existing customers.
Most brands and many agencies focus way too much on social media topics such as launching a Facebook page, Twitter, creating apps and trying to create viral videos. Some might get lucky and create (both) but it’s very risky to be focused on tactics. Tactics should come last, after building a solid foundation of brand image, personality and engagement online.
Why invest in social media if it’s just a process while there are other medias like TV ads, magazine ads and online ads that shows quicker impact? There are tons of reasons for it but the biggest reason would be can you afford not to?
In business, social media shouldn’t play the role in direct selling. It should instead influence viral conversations, build brand awareness, improve customer service and engage your target as a friend. Think about it.
When making purchase decisions, would you trust a friend or an advertisement? With regards to the images in this particular slide in the lower left-hand corner, you see four distinct differences. (Barry Gillis) who we all know as a great survival expert says if you brain works, you can survive almost anything.
We all sure know MacGyver. All he needed was a pen and a paper clip to make anything work. Albert Einstein said the only source of knowledge is experience and what about those guys on the Apollo mission who started out with the right stuff and thought it was a journey and it became an adventure?
When you take all these plus by sharing it instantly around the world multiplying it with people, you get the social technology based upon what we have today in the Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and others.
Let’s talk about the big picture. Why do you want to go international? Over 23 trade agreements have been created to decrease America’s trade deficit. These trade agreements, NAFTA, CAFTA and WTO to name a few have lowered many trade restrictions for U.S. products giving U.S. exporters an unprecedented level of access to many international markets.
These reductions have helped all U.S. businesses. In the top there you see the world. All we see is potential. Ninety-five percent of the world’s population and two-thirds of total world’s purchasing power are located outside the United States. Imagine the potential as the worlds becomes more integrated and develops similar like product.
Next one. Sorry about this. Okay. Sorry about that. The economic growth. Consumer preferences shaped primarily by incomes, changing lifestyles and evolving cultural preferences largely determine the items available in stores in different markets.
As you see there to the right, it’s an engagement life-cycle of economic shifts, social technologies and globalization which affects it all and the association there is that if you’re a small business and dealt with quickly enough, you run the risk of a threat of not being able to react as you move forward.
To generate straight interest with potential export markets, you need to first determine what messages and products will resonate and then articulate those messages and products and their value.
By creating relationships with Tweets, Facebook updates, LinkedIn connections and custom e-mails, all of these collectively build an initial relationship with the target market and audience creating positive brand experiences which becomes potential sources of revenue.
Most prospects are not ready to buy right away and sophisticated overseas buyers will only engage your products when they see the benefits of doing so and when they are good and ready. Using social media will allow you to nurture and enhance the relationship with specific messages delivered for its different types of customers that is right for them.
If you look at the bar graph of the world Internet penetration, you will immediately notice that the emerging regional markets depict greater opportunities in developing, nurturing and engaging international customers with social media tools as a cost-effective and important source of product and service development.
Now look at the time spent on Facebook versus Google. Mind you this is just representative of Americans online. You can ascertain it from the phenomenal growth of social media as a palatable medium to engage future customers, clients and partners that is a viable medium to access new customers and markets if done correctly.
And in the world Internet penetration rate, you will see as Laszlo already mentioned how basically Asia and Africa are so far behind North America, Oceana and Europe as a very good opportunity to start going internationally.
Past, present and future trends, the value of social media strategy for your international business. How did we do business in the past? Well, we all did mailings or phone calls and things. How do we it today? E-mail lists. Some of us are still doing phone calls and even mailings.
What is the future? Well, the future is that social media. If we utilize the social media tools to harvest international customers, you really need to have a mindset in place that is not a magical solution that will produce immediate results.
It is a prolonged effort to solidify your brand presence. Businesses open to its customers and partners and stakeholders, social media technology is about the ability to connect with them for a collaborative action in a scalable and cost-effective manner.
By collaborating with the consumer, you create your business outfit with them, an outfit they buy into. This often means cheaper and more effective service, products and communications as well as deeper consumer loyalty.
Integrated international business development social media campaigns are designed to break through directly to the consumer and create conversations that are valuable to them. The multi-phased approach to social media not only creates qualified prospects and nurtured relationships but it builds brand preference.
By including value and thought leadership in all communication, not only do potential prospects know who you are but they can articulate what you can do for them.
As your communications are sustained over time, prospective clients won’t forget you. Indeed, they will remember you at the elusive time of need and you will have top-of-mind awareness that firms covet. Now top-of-mind awareness is great but it’s great when customers want to work with you.
Monetizing social media. As international business development in social media focuses on communicating and developing your value and the prospect of generation and nurturing process, prospects will not only remember you but they’ll look forward to doing business with you.
Now with regards to social media monetarizing, so how do you monetize this media for your business? Well, you set clear business goals. Social media itself is not a strategy. It is a set of tools that help support a business strategy. Before investing resources into social media, decide what you plan to achieve.
Ask yourself why your site exists. Do you sell online? Do you encourage store visits? Your social media should do the same and it should be measurable. It’s not enough to focus on number of site visits, fans or followers. Create paths of continuous participation. Keep visitors engaged.
Don’t stop the point of direction. For example, if a customer writes a review for a product on your site, send him a follow-up e-mail encouraging them to answer other consumers’ questions about that product.
Upload your own product photos or write a product story. These interactions will also encourage other consumers to participate. Engage everyone, not just contributors. Your visitors, customers, experts and (imports) are the only ones who contribute and have benefit from your community.
Engage employees by inviting them to answer visitor or customer questions. Have a spokesperson for a celebrity endorser contribute a story about how they interact with your product. Give suppliers and manufacturers access to your community so they can share their product expertise.
Make your efforts contextually relevant. Everything a consumer sees should contribute to his or her goals for the interaction. In other words, if people generally come to your site to buy something, well online interactions should help them toward that goal.
The community should exist to support consumers. As a brand, you can’t dictate what a consumer buys but you can give them superior access to information that will help them evaluate the products. The brand no longer dictates what a customer buys. It’s the experience that we have in your valuation process.
Consumers get recommendations from friends, analyze peer reviews, and evaluate alternatives. Help them do this in your community. Drive revenue not just with metrics. A recent survey of CMOs showed that 81% of CMOs expect to link their annual revenues directly to their social media investment in 2010.
Metric sales conversions, revenue and average order value, figures that track directly to the bottom line are replacing metrics such as site traffic or page views. You can also use your online community to improve customer support while decreasing customers’ costs.
Summary of benefits. Getting a social media program is an exciting opportunity and a chance to dramatically change the way you connect with consumers. It is a tool that allows you to tap into conversations for more about how your brand is perceived, promote your product/service in new ways and ultimately grow your business.
Often the things you learn a social media can inform your more traditional marketing efforts as you engage directly with your audience and learn more about what makes them tick. Social media while trendy is a fully mainstream communications tool.
Properly prepare your social media strategy including goals and measurement to ensure you get the most out of your program. Taking a simple four-step approach to prepare for the launch of a successful social media program can ensure that you set-up to interact in social media venues before you get started.
This approach includes identifying your goals, finding your audience, setting your key performance indicators, scheduling a resource management. Program building gives you a chance to focus your efforts and to determine what kind of manpower you will be needing to support efforts.
You will also set-up your criteria for success in advance by creating a set of metrics. This will take some of the uncertainty out of your social media program enabling you to know when you are doing things right and when adjustments need to be made.
Our 10-step approach to a successful social media program is: listen to and observe what the target audience is doing in social media; create a solid object that is relevant to the brand of genuine interest; segment the target into tribes, give them something they can join; allow them to engage via their preferred platform of choice, create multiple interfaces to your community; make the experience better when shared; optimize your content for sharing, particularly via newsfeeds and Twitter; use pay for media to get the ball rolling; take advantage of extreme targeting by social networks; make sure you have the resources to manage your community management and refresh the content; and lastly track the results and optimize where necessary.
Enable, inspire, influence and engage. If you are a manufacturer of building materials, industry machinery, automotive aftermarket accessories and vehicles, vitamins or supplements, food products, apparel, aerospace, consumer goods or agricultural products seeing to expand internationally and don’t have the relationships or know-how in place and are looking to implement a proven system instead of developing something internally, you don’t have to go it alone.
Zeons Global international business development will be right here for you. The benefits are extensive. All we see is growth potential. Exports growing three times faster sales here in the U.S. of the world’s population and two-thirds of the total world purchasing power are located outside the U.S.
Deepen relationships; by engaging the prospect you are deepening your relationship with them and building an affinity for your brand. Having your prospects participate in a process will create a value-added relationship that will translate into future sales dollars.
Integration into the marketing mix; once you’ve properly defined your goals in levering social media to interact with your prospects, integrating these activities into your overall marketing fix is a sure-fire way to get measurable results for your marketing budget.
That’s what’s great about this meeting is you can create specific landing pages that draw traffic from these social media tools with direct marketing efforts to get a clearer picture of ROI.
Ready, aim, fire. Once you’ve mastered the art of communicating with your consumers, the social media launch in new products becomes a science. Build the brand.
As you build your relationship with new customers with incentives, recognition and programs, just any market share against the competition allows you to harvest opportunities in the marketplace for the longer term.
The relationships, prospects and revenues that we have developed for our clients speaks for themselves. We have developed thousands of new relationships, integrated millions of new dollars in revenue and have been able to penetrate anywhere between 10 to 50% of our clients’ target markets in over 27 different countries.
This is just representative of the types of companies we deal with. Every client is of course different. We look forward to speaking with you and learning about your goals, markets and needs.
Zeons Global benefits the U.S. companies that it represents through their established sales network abroad. Dealing with Zeons Global allows access to their existing network and resources to appoint distributors and dealers in select markets.
Zeons Global has the ability to handle all of the details of an export transaction. This includes the know-how to handle inquiries, prepare quotations, enter orders, handle shipping details, assist with country-specific obstacles and handle the international banking and payment details.
Zeons Global’s greatest asset is its strength of connection to the international firms they work with. We have the experience to select agents and distributors. Zeons Global can also manage the foreign distribution network through its visits to the markets they distribute into.
Traveling abroad for the first-hand experience also allows us to assess market conditions and sales opportunities. If you choose to work with Zeons Global, the advantages you will notice are quicker export sales.
Zeons Global has an established network of foreign agents and distributors. If your product is ready for a particular market, you will have the built-in distribution system. Normally we generate three to five deployments with decision-makers who are interested in building a relationship.
Fewer expenses; companies’ out-of-pocket expenses will be less as most of the labor expenses will only be realized upon successful appointment of a distributor and when the orders are placed.
Time; Zeons Global’s dedication to its international sales, relationships and customer service is a very important part of export sales. Zeons Global has the time and incentive to develop export business. Even with the appropriate financed resources, you may lack the time to focus on this because of other priorities.
Often this time is more appropriately spent on building domestic market and export details are overlooked. Learning from those with experience, a great way to learn about export transactions is by working with Zeons Global.
Use the opportunity to work together to learn how things are handled and thank you very much for the time allotted for this presentation and we hope you do more of this in the future.
Roza Pace: Thank you (Larry) for this presentation. A lot of useful information of how companies can use social media in their marketing strategy. Again we are approaching top of the hour. We have a few minutes for question and answer. We appreciate everyone staying online and I would like to turn over to operator to invite participants with any questions that they may have.
Coordinator: Just a reminder, to ask a question please press star then 1. Please be sure to unmute your phone and clearly record your name when prompted. Again that’s star then 1 and we will allow a few moments for any questions to come in.
Roza Pace: Now maybe since we are waiting for a question, perhaps my question is here at the Department of Commerce we receive a lot of inquiries on exporting from small and medium-sized companies that may be new to exporting or new to market and what kind of a budget or manpower a small company should consider to really engage in both sort of a Website part of the business, making it perfect and as well as the social media?
Either (Larry), or Laszlo, I’d love to hear your comments or, you know, answer to that.
Coordinator: Excuse me, (Elizabeth Donnelly), your line is open.
(Elizabeth Donnelly): Yes, I was just interested to hear some specifics on how customers can be reached outside the U.S. through social media or through SEO. I have a whole set of social media that I’ve been using for a long time but I lack of a lot of international customers. How can I reach to those and in an effective manner?
And in addition to that how do I search engine optimize for those international customers?
Laszlo Horvath: Is it okay if I start with the search engine optimization part and...
(Elizabeth Donnelly): Sure.
Laszlo Horvath: (Larry) can pitch in about social media. Well, the key is to understand how different international customers are looking for your products and services, Elizabeth, and it’s relatively easy to find out and tying back to Roza’s question, it’s not that cost-prohibitive because a simple analysis of the keyword space where your search engine optimization shop just like our logs-in to the log files of the search engines in the given region that you are looking at.
And we’ve done this in about 40 different languages on all continents and determined the number of search queries in your field that will be an indicator of your future success in your digital marketing effort in that particular language or languages or geographical areas.
And the competitive data, how many Webpages compete for that particular keyword phrase or keyword group will indicate how competitive this space is going to be for you.
After you determine that, then you create a digital marketing program to capture that type of an audience by creating quality content in a search engine optimized fashion and then you apply additional marketing tools based on the online marketing pyramid that was part of my presentation earlier.
So understanding your digital market space in that particular area that you are targeting is key so before you build a Website that is localized to that market, you need to know what those customers want from your company. Does that answer your question?
(Elizabeth Donnelly): Yes, it helps. Now when you talk about - I’m sorry, I got distracted with that call - but take to (unintelligible) what needs to be customized in a language that hosts the potential customer should be or keep it in English and it’s sufficient?
Laszlo Horvath: It’s a very good question. The answer is both. As you know, English is not one language. In our practice, English is one version is the North American version that we speak here. The other one is the U.K. English and then there is the Australian English and then there are all kinds of international English versions there as well that have to be taken into consideration.
So depending on your needs, you may consider a multi-language optimization in English and in addition to that, if you look at the size of your markets in different foreign areas, Spanish is a huge market online. China itself has over a hundred million online users.
There are huge markets in Europe. The EU is a fragmented marketplace that you can target using international English to a large extent with the exception of France where you need to do the French language optimization. Germany uses equally German and English. Spain has to be done in Spanish.
Italian if your market is appropriate for that market so depending on your priorities, start with multi-lingual English optimization, the different versions of the English language because that’s the easiest.
And after you have warmed-up to optimization in English, then you can enter one of the largest international markets and continue from there because search engines give an unfair competitive advantage to the local language sites if you have let’s say a targeted marketing program for Spain, if your Website is hosted in Spain and it’s in Spanish, you come up way ahead of competitors that have a generic site in English.
(Elizabeth Donnelly): Okay. Thank you.
Laszlo Horvath: My pleasure.
Coordinator: I show no other questions at this time.
Roza Pace: Okay, can you hear me, operator?
Coordinator: Yes, I can hear you.
Roza Pace: Yes, yes, hello. Yes, and a question that perhaps I have to either of the speakers is many of the listeners may be representatives of small and medium-sized companies and the question that I have, what would you recommend advice in terms of resources that they should spend on both social media as well as Website optimization?
Is this something that they should tackle by themselves in-house or should they consider external players to help them with or both or it depends and so any comments that you can have on that and especially it applies to international sales.
Like for instance, you know, you mentioned Chinese markets. You have a Baidu as opposed to Google. How do you make yourselves visible there in China? Do you use Baidu or what and so thank you.
(Larry Smith): Well, since you have asked the search engines Roza particularly in China, the search engine optimization process is when you target the Chinese market, we are targeting the Chinese Baidu search engine algorithm so it needs to be in Chinese so obviously if you want to serve that marketplace, you need someone in-house who is we call that the champion of that market.
And that particular person has to speak Chinese to understand the intricacies of that marketplace. Otherwise you are going to get a lot of disappointed potential customers coming to you and not getting the right quality answers.
Often times we get the question shall we use Google’s translator software? That’s a very good solution for short-term ad hoc immediate needs but please do not rely on technology alone without the human resources to target a significant market.
So the answer to the question is you need to allocate resources that are market-specific so if you are targeting let’s say Latin America, you need someone who is a foreign speaker in that marketplace.
And the resources that you have to allocate to this, a search engine optimization is not that expensive because essentially after you did a search engine optimization program, you just maintain your visibility so you don’t need to spend a lot of money.
Pay-per-click is a little bit more expensive and social media expenditure depends on the penetration of the social media space in that particular country. For example in Brazil, I can’t see a digital marketing program without the social media components since they are one of the leaders in social media visibility.
In other countries that are less advanced in that field, you may get by with an aggressive search engine optimization program followed by pay-per-click or social media, depending on your budget because in an ideal case scenario, if you are a small company you want to have a return on your investment that helps you finance future needs.
And that’s why if you apply the online marketing pyramid and start with the search engine optimization, you essentially get the lowest possible investment and you get the highest return for that and then you move on to the next level and then to the next level.
Roza Pace: Thank you very much, (Larry).
(Larry Smith): My pleasure.
Roza Pace: Now I just wanted in the meantime while we may wait for a couple additional questions just to let you know that Commerce-wide you could follow us using social media. There is a blog at the http://blog.trade.gov. You could follow us on Twitter. I will send you the links to that.
You could also - there’s an important, you know, aspect of selling online Internet using social media - that we could not find some information and hopefully is useful information on our expert.gov Website when you go to export.gov/sellingonline.
There are different things to think about. One thing that we were not discussing today, we assume that you do have a good Website, that it’s exciting and interesting because to optimize Website without good Website is not particularly necessarily helpful.
Again so you have to have your strategy and presence which is independent of the tactics as we were talking about too. Now don’t know if we have any other questions here. If you have any additional questions, feel free to call us and contact us and contact our speakers.
And we’ll send you e-mail with the presentations as well as with the recording of the presentation in case you have additional questions and here in a tick we can help you with not only this topic but if you have any questions related to any aspect of exporting all the way from how to find your agents, buyers, distributors, how what kind of expert documentation you need, you need to find out about a lot of export-related events and we do have a presence in every state here as well as in almost 80 different countries.
So we’re one big networking organization in addition to other sort of services that we can provide to exporting companies so if you just remember export.gov and 1-800-USA-TRADE, we’ll either have an answer for you or we’ll connect you with someone who does have an answer and thank you again to the speakers and to everyone who dialed-in. Thanks.
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