Expats love the Internet and especially social media – it’s how they communicate with their loved ones at home, or connect with like-minded people who speak the same language and who face the same challenges abroad.
When expats first arrive abroad they usually don’t have any brand loyalties. Either they buy the first product they see, ask colleagues for recommendations, or they research options online. This means online marketing, in particular content marketing, is an essential way of reaching expats.
A few decades ago, the massive majority of countries had a pretty limited amount of non-nationals resident. Out of those, many were long-term residents, so for the purposes of marketing were ‘assimilated’ and homogenous with the rest of the population. With the exception of very specific products, such as long-distance calling or flights, foreign residents were treated the same by marketeers; sliced and diced by age, gender, income, interests and other very standard demographics. This is no longer a wise strategy. Why?
Working out the effectiveness of marketing activity is a tough challenge. The increase in the number of devices a user might have over the last few years has made this even harder.
In the past, a user may have used a PC at work and at home. In many cases, people might do their research or encounter potential providers at work and then complete an enquiry or purchase at home. Today, many individuals at least have a smartphone, if not also a tablet or another device they use. Tracking the multiple touch-points of a campaign and arriving at any conclusions about attribution is a hard problem.
Having thrown themselves into a new situation, expats are naturally on the lookout for information which can aid them in their foreign life. This demand helps to fuel strong expat communities within which information is shared and people are generally keen to help each other.
Starting afresh in new surroundings takes away opportunities for brand loyalty, which means as a marketer, if you manage to get one expat onside you’ve got the potential to get many more as a direct result. Because of this, expat communities provide a unique opportunity for expat marketers.
When establishing a website directed at expats, your target market won’t always be English speaking or even monolingual. In the current Internet age it is easy to forget that only 56% of global website content is in English. By effectively utilising multilingual search engine optimisation (SEO), your website can achieve greater visibility, thus driving more traffic to your site.
As unemployment levels in Spain are nearing 25% while Germany desperately needs to fill worker shortages, timing couldn’t be better for recruiting company dameJOB to fill this gap.
Expat Marketing spoke to Marta Epelde, a Spanish expat living in Munich who has recently set up an online recruiting company. The company acts as a go between, linking the demand from the job-seeking unemployed Spanish with the German demand for employees.
According to data from Google and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), housing searches on Google.com grew 253% in the last four years. NAR reports 90% of home-buyers used the Internet to search for their next property.
It wouldn’t be surprising to find the majority of soon-to-be expats make similar property searches for their new home abroad. Making your real estate site stand out among the hundreds on the web can be a challenge, one that major estate agents can spend millions solving. The question is, is it worth all the effort, not to mention the money?
Viral marketing offers many advantages to companies who have a clear objective and simple product, by using online methods to target expats.
Many expats around the world are known as ‘netizens,’ or citizens of the Internet, an ever growing community of regular Internet users.
Two of the most notable recent examples of viral marketing are that of Red Bull and the Stratosphere stunt, involving millions of dollars, NASA and a live video feed; and the Christmas advertising campaign from John Lewis, who are well known amongst expats, due to their ability to deliver their products to over 30 countries worldwide.
In a community where topics such as self breast exams are taboo, marketing healthcare to expat women can prove to be quite a challenge. Yet because of her passion and experience, long term expat, Cynthia Beermann, has become very successful at it.
Cynthia Beermann started working with The City Hospital in Dubai as a marketing communications specialist during the hospital’s launch four years ago. Her job title includes a number of things, she said, but in general, can be summed up by saying she works with the public.
Companies who are targeting an international, expatriate market this Christmas will be facing additional challenges attracting and capturing their audience. Of course, the normal problems apply – how to reach your audience or which media to use. But at Christmas, you find increased competition and a relatively shorter time period to capture your target group.
For most marketers, Christmas planning gets underway in September/October, or sometimes even earlier. John Lewis, a major British department store, has already launched its online Christmas shop, which allows expats to buy their gifts and decorations at an early stage.