Marketing for Local vs. Global Audiences: What You Need to Know

Living in an era where you can order practically anything you want from the comfort of your home is fantastic. And that home can be virtually anywhere in the world. So for eCommerce merchants, marketing for local vs. global audiences and understanding each strategy's pros and cons is a must.

Let’s dive into what local vs. global marketing means and how you can incorporate either tactic into your campaigns.

What is global marketing for eCommerce?

Global marketing is generalized and intended for your target audience no matter where they’re located. An example of global marketing would be your website homepage. In most instances, websites and global marketing materials are written in English since it’s the world’s most common language for trade and commerce.

Generally speaking, global marketing tactics are good for increasing your brand awareness and driving sales to large audiences. eCommerce merchants who don’t speak English as a first language often need help translating their marketing messages for an international audience.

What is eCommerce local marketing?

Local eCommerce marketing takes a more focused approach to targeting and messaging than global marketing tactics. Also, the audience targeted by a local campaign is much smaller. How small, though, depends on the campaign itself and the brand’s goals.

An example of a localized marketing campaign would be a sales email sent to people in southern France from an Australian eCommerce brand. Although the brand would craft most of its marketing messages in English, the email would be drafted in French.

So for maximum results and conversions, a local marketing campaign would need to be written in the target audience’s language. The material would also have to consider local customs and cultural norms.

Local marketing campaigns are much more involved and complex than global marketing. On the surface, the content of a global vs. local marketing campaign may look the same. But the devil is in the details, the details of which are tailored to the target area’s cultural norms and sensitivities.

In most cases, it’s critical for eCommerce merchants to use marketers fluent in the target area’s native language and conventions for localized campaigns.

Marketing for local vs. global audiences: Statistics

Many factors will weigh on your decision to craft a local or global marketing campaign. But it’s a good idea to look at the current research and statistics on this topic:

  • Seventy-two percent of customers prefer to purchase from websites written in their native language
  • English language websites only reach about 25 percent of global customers
  • Fifty-six percent of consumers say local content is more important than price

Ultimately, companies who engage in localized marketing campaigns can make up to 1.5 times more profits than companies that don’t.

While global marketing has its place, it’s essential to consider when your brand would benefit more from investing in local marketing.

When should you use a local vs. global marketing campaign?

Choosing between a local or global marketing campaign boils down to which type of content would most attract the audience you want to target.

Local content marketing

If you want to drive increased brand awareness and sales to a specific audience in a particular location, then it goes without saying that you’ll want to launch a local marketing campaign.

However, you’ll also need to maintain an online presence geared toward a global audience. It’s also important to understand that reshaping global content into local content can be labor-intensive and costly.

Choosing global content

Global content is the way to go if you want to engage an international audience. Generally speaking, global content will be understood by the majority of your audience and should be location-independent.

The good news for eCommerce startups is that global content for marketing is less expensive to create than local content. The problem with international content is that it’s often generic, bordering on the bland.

You may have trouble attracting and connecting with a more granular target audience. If you only invest in generic global content, you’ll miss out on sales and a growing audience base.

Similarities between global and local marketing

There are many similarities between global and local marketing strategies. For example, if your eCommerce brand is already seeing success with PPC ads, you shouldn’t have to change your tactics too much to target a more local audience or vice versa.

The bottom line is that if you’re generating a decent cash flow with local sales and marketing methods, your system is already working to a certain degree. You may be able to slightly tweak these campaigns for a global audience without destroying the magic behind their success.

To target a broader audience, you don’t need to change the strategy behind the campaign. Usually, a few changes to the language and culture references will work. However, buyer sentiments may vary from country to country, and you’ll need to account for that, too.

No matter what, stick to what works if you’re seeing good results with your local or global marketing campaigns. With just a few modifications, you can scale down to a local audience or scale up to a wider one.

Why local marketing conversion rates beat global campaigns

Localized marketing campaigns typically outperform global campaigns because they’re far more targeted to the audience in question. Search engine algorithms also help promote local marketing campaigns, mainly PPC ads.

Displaying a compelling PPC text ad to someone online encourages them to click on your website. But if the landing page on your website isn’t tailored to the target audience, you’ll end up with increased website traffic that isn’t qualified to make a purchase.

Lots of clicks and no sales is a recipe for disaster and will burn through your ad spend without much to show for it. Localizing your ads and landing pages to the target audience will drive not only more clicks but also more conversions. You’ll protect your ad spend while driving increased sales through localized marketing tactics.

Localized marketing tips

Setting up a localized marketing campaign is similar to any other marketing campaign your eCommerce brand will launch. The difference comes from the resources you’ll need to launch and execute the campaign for maximum ROI.

Here are our top tips for localized marketing:

#1. Research your local target market

Where your potential customer lives isn’t critical with most global marketing campaigns. But for local marketing, these campaigns are far more targeted and require you to decide where exactly you will launch the campaign.

So, research your target audience and which products they’re most likely to buy. Some products will perform better in specific locations. Identify where there’s a market need for your brand offerings and go from there.  

#2. Understand your target market

Many years ago, the company KFC decided to expand operations to China. But, unfortunately, the US-based company’s slogan, finger-lickin' good, was mistranslated to eat your fingers off. Although the company had some egg on its face from this blunder, it still managed to become one of the top restaurants in China today.

Failing to account for the cultural norms in your target market could have disastrous consequences. So be sure to invest in understanding your target market and the appropriate translations. All it takes is one poorly-worded Tweet to completely ruin a brand’s image.

#3. Outsource

There’s only so much research you can do internally. In most cases, you’ll want to outsource certain tasks related to the execution of your campaign to professionals familiar with your target market.

This usually means hiring a native speaker to craft your marketing messages. Partnering with a localization expert ensures that your campaigns won’t miss the mark with your audience and the meaning isn’t lost in translation.

#4. Use local SEO

The algorithms are your friend. The right keywords can help push your content to the top of the search engine results page (SERPs). When crafting a local marketing campaign, research and use local SEO. Incorporating local keywords into your content ensures that your ads appear for local searchers in your target market.

Include your location in your:

  • Hashtags
  • Location tab
  • Captions

Also, add your business to local listing directories. Yelp, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, and FourSquare are good starting points. Also, ensure your website is mobile-friendly since most people now shop on mobile devices.

Marketing for local vs. Global audiences: Key takeaways

With the proper research, planning, and investing, you can easily take your eCommerce brand from global to local and vice versa. If you’ve already got global content performing well, then it’s a good idea to explore how you can tweak it for a more local audience.

Ready to get started? Lingble is your localization partner for ensuring that your message is understood and resonates with your target audience — no matter where they are.