The basic condition of being able to export is to be able to sell. Finding foreign customers and ensuring continuity in exports do not depend on coincidence, you need to create an effective, continuous and measurable foreign marketing strategy. In the last ten years, international marketing, export and import sales development activities have shifted significantly to digital platforms.
With the pandemic process, e-marketing has become the most important sales and marketing channel for exporters.
Our advice to companies is that they work with professional e-marketing and e-advertising companies within the scope of digital transformation, website and social media management, e-advertisement and marketing strategies, and at least get support to create a basic framework. On the other hand, conventional export development studies should not be neglected.
A. ACTIVE CUSTOMER SEARCH
1. Trade Fairs – Expositions
Fairs are physical places where goods and services are exhibited for commercial purposes, sellers and buyers come face to face and new business contacts are established during a certain period of time.
Advantages of Fairs
- Brings buyer and seller together
- Provides presentation of products
- Measures the buyer’s reaction
- Provides identification of potential customers
- Allows you to monitor the competition
- Provides the opportunity to see new developments in the sector
There are two types of participation in international fairs. These are individual participation and participation through fair organizers. In individual participations, all preparations, procedures and transportation are done by the participant company. In the participations within the organization, all procedures are carried out by the organizer company.
Although it progresses through digital fairs during the pandemic process, it is inevitable that it will regain its former importance after the pandemic.
2. International Business Trips
Again, with the organization of various businessmen’s associations and organizations, trips are made to target countries. In these trips, mutual meetings are held with the managers and businessmen of the chambers of commerce and profession in that country.
3. Individual International Travel
In addition to the above, an important activity you can do is to take your bag and go to target market visits and customer interviews. Of course, first of all, it would be appropriate to do preliminary research, identify the areas you need to visit, and make an appointment by correspondence with potential customers.
Visits made in this way will give you an advantage in terms of showing how much you care about your business and the company you are visiting.
4. Accessing Customs Data
Unlike traditional methods, the issue of being able to access customs data comes up. This means that we can access the records of the trades made by a country to a country, at the customs. When we export or import, we issue a certain declaration or a bill of lading (transport document). Some countries disclose the data realized at their customs with the intention of balancing their own imports, that is, with the intention of making imports cheaper.
America is one of the pioneer countries that started this practice. Years ago, if he normally buys a product for $100, when the buyer announces his company’s name to the world, offers from all over the world begin to pour in. Therefore, he starts to buy a product that he normally buys for $100 , much cheaper with alternative supply offers from many parts of the world.
This customs data, which he opened to balance his imports, also means a list of potential real buyers for us. Being able to see the list of companies that have made imports at customs and that have made the purchase officially creates an unprecedented power for us in competition. This issue is more or less known in our country and a few local companies are also working on this issue.
5. Trade Consultancy
One of the sources that can be applied to increase exports is the trade consultants representing our country abroad.
Contact information of the trade advisor operating in the selected target market is located on the official website of the Ministry of Economy for most countries.
By sending an e-mail to the trade consultant in the target market, the contact information of the importers and large wholesalers in the said market is requested and new customers can be obtained by contacting them.
B. PASIVE CUSTOMER SEARCH
Although the most effective method in customer search is to use the facilities that will allow you to meet directly with the customer, many information and communication channels have emerged, especially on the internet, with the technological development. It is seen that companies that use them intensively get positive results.
Before using such channels, examples of which we have given below, it is of great benefit to create a professional, efficient and interesting website that appropriately promotes your company and products. Because you do not have the opportunity to meet face to face, your website will be your showcase.
1. Open a Business Website
Our first advice to companies that want to export is to prepare a website that introduces their products and the company, with possible language options such as English, French, German, Russian, Arabic.
In the Site Content, detailed description of the products, images, packaging and packaging options, quality certificates and other certificates containing sectoral standards are useful for customers to find you and make a preliminary examination.
It is important to have contact information on your site, including active e-mail and telephone, with which overseas customers can communicate.
2. Social Media Channels
Open Social Media Channels: If you share regular and up-to-date content about your company and products, especially on social media channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, increase your availability on the internet, and if you carry out an effective e-marketing activity on these channels, it is likely that overseas potential customers can reach you.
Opening blog sites, bloggers who write about your industry and product groups, and cooperation with social media influencers will be beneficial in terms of increasing the popularity of your company’s social media channels.
LinkedIn is a social media channel, but it mainly caters to the business world. It is possible to directly communicate with purchasing managers and import managers by identifying companies that can be your potential customers via LinkedIn. If LinkedIn is used effectively, it is possible to reach potential buyers from all over the world and relevant managers of companies that import similar products.
3. Subscribe to B2B Websites
B2B is an abbreviation for Business to Business, which means business to company sales. These platforms have been used quite frequently by companies for the last ten years. The pandemic process has increased the demand for B2B platforms. AliBaba, Amazon, Global Sources, ECVV are the most used B2B sites around the world.
Having your corporate membership on these sites, updating your company and product information, and using the options offered by the sites such as marketing, advertising and highlighting will enable you to get feedback. In addition to these, it would be beneficial to open an account on your country’s most important B2B sites.
4. Use Google Ads, Budget for e-marketing
Google Ads, by associating users’ Google searches with the searched word, your company and products; It allows your company, website link to appear at the top of the search results on the Google search page.
You can target searches for your products in a specific country with AdWords, precisely by defining specific countries, specific sectors and importer profiles that are likely to search for your products. You should definitely use Google Ads and certain e-marketing strategies.
5. Digital Fairs
Sectoral scale fairs are platforms where buyers and sellers come together on a global scale. Although it progresses through digital fairs during the pandemic process, it is inevitable that it will regain its former importance after the pandemic.
We may write an article on Digital Fairs in the future to mention the importance of them in pandemic.
6. World Trade Center
The World Trade Center in Geneva sends market information according to each region, country, sector to those who want it, either for a fee or free of charge. For each product group, “Market News Service” (MNS) provides current prices of products, supply, demand and other economic information that may affect their situation in the market. Those who subscribe to MNS can receive this information by email, fax or written document.
The website of the World Trade Center is www.intracen.org. It has a branch in most countries.
7. Global Business Exchange (GBX)
You can participate in the Global Business Exchange (GBX) program developed by the World Chambers Network (WCN) by applying to ISO. www.worldchambers.com
Chambers of commerce – with a history of well over 400 years and represented in most countries – are trusted contact points and third parties in regional, national and international trade. Chambers represent the largest organized business group in the world with more than 12000 chamber offices worldwide, which have well over 40 million business members.