If you’re running a travel business, you know how important it is to get customers from around the world. Whether you’re a tour guide or a hotel owner, you’ve made connections all around the city you’re based in, getting to know fellow entrepreneurs who can send customers your way. When it comes to social media, you use all the right hashtags and have connected with all the right Instagram influencers. For the most part, you’ve done pretty well for yourself, especially with Americans and English tourists.
You’re on their radar anytime they’re in town for a visit, so you’ve thought about reaching a broader, international audience. And you aren’t exactly sure how. Luckily, there are some great strategies you can use to reach customers all over, and here’s how.
Research your customer base
All business leaders have to research their customer base. Whether they’re an entrepreneur like Brian Magierski or a startup lawyer like Aaron Kelly, they’re always learning more about their customers to write effective blog posts and price their services right. It’s likely you’ve already done this with the customers you currently have, but now that you’re broadening your customer base, you need to learn more about the new people who’ll be staying at your hotel or drinking at your expat-friendly pub.
65 percent of companies exceeding their lead and revenue goals have updated personas in the last six months, which means that you should always be refining your customer personsas. If you need to, hire a team who understands the cultures you’re reaching out to, whether that’s East Asia or South America. It’ll help you ask the right questions that you haven’t even thought of in your surveys. And don’t forget to hire a translator, too!
Revamp your social media efforts
Once you’ve researched your new customer bases, you’ll know where they’re spending most of their time. For example, Facebook is banned in China. So even though Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users in late 2017, it’s not going to do you any good to post there if you want to attract Chinese tourists. Instead, you can use the Facebook page you currently have as a model for the Chinese version of this social media platform, which you can learn more about here.
Additionally, researching your customer base will help you understand what the look should be for your brand. To understand this, take a look at what companies are already doing. On Instagram, for example, brands have different Instagram accounts for different customer bases, often distinguished with an added ‘UK’ or ‘USA.’ The styles of their ads are different, the fonts vary, and the languages do too, based on what country they’re working with. To learn more about how it works and see if it’s worth creating several accounts, check out this article.
Finally, think about whether the information on your website and social media accounts is accessible to everyone. Sure, email works globally — but a phone number? Not necessarily. Consider switching to What’s App so you can answer queries from any country, and using AI-powered chatbots to answer questions sent to you at any time from anywhere in the world.
Work in other languages
Working in other languages is probably one of the most difficult elements of attracting international customers. It’s a headache to translate everything even if you are bilingual, and you might even have to hire an editor. Luckily, however, there are some great strategies you can use which can cut down your time, especially when it comes to your business’s blog.
Suzanne Sacca, a former content manager, explains that you can always use the Weglot Translation plugin, which “automatically creates the international drop-down option at the top of your site, letting visitors know where to access the translated version. It’s SEO compatible. It provides translations into more than 60 languages. And you can also use the premium service if you want to procure personalized translations from Weglot. Another great premium option is WPML, which offers a similar service.”
After Chinese, English, and Spanish are the most-spoken languages in the world, so you’ll do well if your content is available in these languages.
Be culturally aware
Finally, don’t forget to be culturally aware of what your audience expects. You don’t want to end up creating an offensive Instagram campaign that’ll alienate the customers you’ve spent so much time researching! There are some pretty scary results you can end up with you aren’t careful, including a viral backlash. It’s worth reaching out to a local beforehand to make sure everything works.
In 2017, the number of social network users in the world was 2.46 billion, so be culturally aware before you post.
By using these strategies, you’ll attract international customers to your travel business. What other strategies do you use to attract customers to your business?