Interested in expanding your market reach beyond your borders and into the thriving and vibrant American marketplace? With the internet and an expanded interest in culture and products from outside the U.S., there has, perhaps, never been a better time to reach out to the American marketplace.
But, while the market is thriving, breaking into the U.S. market can also be a challenge. Here are a few factors to consider before you launch your U.S. marketing and PR campaign.
1 – Understand Your Audience
While it’s a necessary step, it’s not enough to translate your website and marketing materials into English. An American audience can easily spot poorly or inarticulately translated language, and concepts or idioms that make sense in your country may not connect well or accurately with an American audience.
So, the first step in understanding your audience and making sure your offers and messages translate well is to expand your cross-cultural competency. This begins with recognizing the assumptions and biases you hold, so you can better understand and identify with those held by an American audience.
Research on this step must go beyond traditions and stereotypes. You need to dig deeper and see the line between fact and exaggeration in every stereotype. Otherwise you risk alienating or offending your American audience.
2 – Consider Regional Cultures and Laws
One of the biggest mistakes brands make when attempting to cross borders with their message is not accounting for regional differences. The United States is a large country and, though it bills itself as a “melting pot,” there are certain distinct (and often unwritten) differences in regional language, habits, and perspectives.
Laws also change when you cross state lines. Certain areas have specific restrictions on message content and product sales tactics that are not applicable other places. You don’t want to invest a significant amount of money in a campaign, only to have it blocked by regulators who do not approve of your message or methods.
While it’s true that the United States does have looser regulations on certain messages and marketing approaches than some other countries, it is more restrictive in other ways. These restrictions have influenced what the people in those areas understand or expect as acceptable and appropriate, whether or not they realize it. Plan accordingly.
3 – Perfect Your Local Messaging
You may want to reach large swaths of the American market, but take the time to localize your content and approaches. There can be a significant additional cost to creating new messages and market approaches for each targeted region, so weigh the costs, but this specified approach is often profitable enough to offset the additional investment.
Don’t just translate your keywords into the “English” equivalent. This mistake strips your message of all nuance and, in many cases, accurate usage. Instead, work with native speakers from those specific, targeted regions to develop keywords that are more likely to be used and properly understood by your target market.
4 – Adjust Your Front Facing Messaging
In addition to translating your messaging, consider the impact your brand’s colors, designs, and fonts will have on an American market. When it comes to colors and designs, U.S. consumers have specific tastes and expectations, and they will react accordingly.
That doesn’t mean you need to stick with red, white, and blue. While there is plenty of that, a lot of Americans gravitate toward different color schemes and visual images. The key step here is to research how certain colors and symbols are perceived by your target market and build your campaigns using that information.
Another facet to consider: the combination of text and graphics. Remember, what those images and words mean to you may not translate well or accurately for an American audience. Take the time to consider and research how any combination of images and phrases will be understood by your audience before you release your campaign.
This is especially true on social media where emotional reaction and instant connection are vital factors in the success of any PR or marketing campaign. American audiences on social media are not going to stop and take the time to try to understand what’s really meant by an ad or graphic. They will keep scrolling.
However, if you invest the time to learn what messages really connect and how to communicate them, you will set yourself up for success and earn your space in the booming American marketplace.
-Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5WPR.