We all know that understanding your target audience is key to effective content marketing. So, when your potential customers live in another country, you don’t just have to get the language right, you also need to understand their customs, lifestyle and cultural influences. You have to understand how they perceive the world around them.
But, have you thought about how they perceive you? What do they think about your culture and your customs? We all look at the world through filters and your foreign audience will have a very different view of you from your local audience. Much of this may be based upon preconceived ideas and stereotypes about the country or city your business is located in. Andalusia, Stockholm or Paris, your location will certainly conjure up visions and emotions in your audience based on what they know or have heard about it.
Although you need to communicate to your market in a way that is familiar to them and resonates with them – in terms of language, style and tone – there is no reason not to use the cultural differences to your advantage. After all, different can also mean exotic and interesting. But it’s up to you to mark those differences in a way that makes you and your brand story even more enticing and attractive.
So, put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes and think about how they may see you. What are the perceptions and imagery that may come to their mind when they find out where you’re based. Remember, that you need to understand them in order to do this exercise. Someone from South America, for example, will have a very different perception of Spain than someone from Northern Europe.
Say the word ‘Spain’ and your audience will probably start dreaming of blue skies, beaches and a relaxed lifestyle. If you are talking to people from Northern countries, Spain is a place of sun-kissed Mediterranean beaches, associated with fun and holidays.
Or, perhaps your business is city-based. What imagery does your city conjure up? What do foreigners love about it? In the case of Barcelona, perhaps it’s the Modernista architecture, the beachside cafes and the cosmopolitan lifestyle. Mention Madrid and your audience is more likely to think about culture and a thriving nightlife. Think hard about what the perceptions are of your city. If your place is not well known, what might foreigners love to know about it? Perhaps its history or natural landscape. Think about what makes your place unique and attractive to people from other cultures.
What is your market particularly interested in? Design, restaurants, hiking? Which of these attributes does your region or city have? Perhaps you can awaken their curiosity by referring to common interests.
What are the stories associated with your location? Does it have any unique traditions that you can share? Perhaps a local festival that is particularly unique. Imagine how wonderful the Tomatina or castellers must seem to people from other cultures!
To a Spaniard, there’s nothing very glamorous about an olive. Yet, for someone from the UK they are a delicate embodiment of the Mediterranean climate. Does your service or product have any connotations that make it somehow special to people from abroad? Whether you are promoting courses, or selling fashion or bathroom fittings, think about how it may differ from products your potential customers may find at home. It could be Spanish design, artesanal products or local craftsmanship. Tell your audience about how the product is made or create videos of your product in the making. Let them into some local secrets.
Who is behind your business? Show your audience your human side and tell your brand story. How did your company start? Perhaps it was started as a family company many years ago. Then dig out some old photographs and show off your history. Or maybe your company is new and was started by a foreigner who fell in love with their new city and decided to stay. Another great story!
Whether they are aspirational, romantic or inspiring, stories about people make for compelling reading and will be a powerful way to show off your brand or company.
Make it happen!
Every brand has a story and a personality and yours does too. So, as you think about your international market, bear in mind the above and examine your place, product and people from their perspective. You may need to do some research into how familiar that market is with your place and product and you might even want to have some fun busting a few stereotypes. Don’t forget, when it comes to content, the more interesting the better.