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.

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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?

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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.

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Facebook Forums
Facebook vs. forums for expat marketers.

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.

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Multilingual SEO
Multilingual SEO can drive new clients to your expat website.

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.

dameJOB - trabajo en Alemania
‘The situation in Spain has changed and it is difficult for them to look to the future and plan what to do.’

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.

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Felix Baumgartner
More than 8 million people watched Baumgartner’s descent to Earth. This is just the latest of Red Bull’s famous campaigns.

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.

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advertising expats christmas
Targeting expats at Christmas time can be tricky, here two British retailers have shared their tactics with us.

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.

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globe with crisis text
The crisis is hitting some expats markets hard, but in the meantime some Asian and South American destinations are booming.

As global recession looms, expat marketers are wondering which markets will be left after the storm.

While some traditional expat markets seem close to collapse, others attract more and more foreigners, offering new business opportunities for expat service providers.

Our team at ExpatMarketing.com has rated some of the largest local expat markets by attractiveness. The assigned market score, portrayed by up to four stars, reflects how important the given expat market will be in the near future.

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"We are up to date and communicate interactively with our younger target audience," Marco Dilenge

Social media, younger expats and an trend toward more individual buying power are a challenge for many relocation agencies. Marco Dilenge, regional marketing manager at Crown Worldwide Group, explains how their company targets young expats and what differs between European expatriates and Americans.

Marco, who contacts the relocation agency, companies or individual expats?

It depends. In the US for example, we are seeing an increasing trend in which individual expatriates will contact the relocation agency directly with a fixed budget provided by their company. Some companies have fixed contracts with our agency, so for every relocation process, the relocation manager will contact us, especially if the company is relocating more than a single employee.

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