Expanding into new markets can be tricky, costly and risky for telecom companies—especially if they’re tasked with launching entirely new online endeavors in those global markets.
But when it comes to e-commerce, these businesses need not start from “zero” in their international expansion efforts. Many online strategies that work in a telecom company’s primary market can be smartly and affordably re-purposed for consumers in new markets.
MotionPoint works closely with major wireless carriers in the United States, localizing their English-language websites for Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics. We also have expertise in helping other technology companies and service providers reach new global customers with translated online and offline content. We’ve learned a lot along the way, including how savvy telecom companies can save time and money by cleverly leveraging existing online content and best practices.
Here are several tips to consider as your company enters new markets. We’ll start with some compelling findings from the U.S. Hispanic market, and then wrap up with several globally-minded insights.
Emphasize Low Prices
Everyone likes to save money, but we’ve found that it’s a huge priority for U.S. Hispanics—especially when they’re choosing a telecom company. Low rates, affordable phones, and competitively-priced international calling plans are particularly important to these consumers While a fancy smartphone can be a status symbol in the States, the U.S. Hispanic telecom customer base generally cares less about this. A sizable part of this market is represented by young people in big cities who don’t want to blow the budget on their phones—or their phone bills.
Promote International Calling Plans
After price, we’ve found that telecom companies that showcase their international calling plans really resonates with the market. U.S. Hispanics care more about this than service coverage, which many companies boast as their primary selling point. Since most U.S. Spanish-speakers live in big cities, coverage isn’t an issue as it in many rural communities. Since their day-to-day call and data needs are covered, it’s far more important for these consumers to communicate with overseas relatives.
U.S. Hispanics may have larger than average extended families, which makes conventional telecom “family plans” (often limited to four phone lines) an underwhelming offer. By presenting customers with the option to add as many lines as they want to a family plan—permitting parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins to benefit from the perks and savings—attracts customers looking to reap those benefits. More options means more customers. It’s a win-win situation.
We’ve found that tapping into timely trends for website design, marketing and messaging, and customer engagement tells the key market of young U.S. Hispanics, “We’re paying attention to you.” Speaking their language not only in a literal sense but in a cultural sense captures the attention of the target audience.
Once your organization has their attention, however, it must continue this engagement.
Maintain a Strong Social Media Presence
With services like Netflix and Hulu, who watches commercial TV these days? While TV and radio ads remain an important means to reach certain demographics, social media marketing has quickly become one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to connect with new customers.
Most Americans, including Spanish speakers, spend a great deal of time on their smartphones, often using some kind of social media. Companies—especially telecom—should be using these channels to provide compelling news and promotions, new phones and plan options, and more. It’s also a great tool for interacting with customers.
Friendly Customer Service
In our post-Twitter world, customer service is no longer about companies talking and their customers listening. Now more than ever, customers are empowered to ask questions about services and offerings, or express when they aren’t satisfied, in ways that can be easily amplified and shared online. This can be a liability for companies that are asleep at the wheel when it comes to customer service.
We’ve found that telecoms that do well with U.S. Hispanic customers often have friendly and helpful in-language customer service. This ties into social media, as it is a platform where the company and its customers can interact in real-time.
These Tactics Really Work
Companies win big when they leverage these best practices while engaging new markets. We recently examined the Spanish website performance for two telecom companies: one that followed the guidelines above and created authentic, compelling experiences and offers for U.S. Hispanic consumers, and one that didn’t.
The results are jaw-dropping:
|Company A||Company B|
|Website Visits||273% higher than benchmark||15% higher than benchmark|
|Unique Visitors||273% higher than benchmark||16% higher than benchmark|
|Page Views||296% higher than benchmark||39% higher than benchmark|
|Mobile Visits||280% higher than benchmark||35% lower than benchmark|
|Bounce Rate||8% lower than benchmark||7% higher than benchmark|
Taking This Knowledge Global
For telecom companies keen to engage global markets, there’s plenty to glean from our research and experience. Building off what we’ve shared above, also be mindful of these recommendations:
Be aware of what your target market values. The primary feature of your offerings in your flagship market may not be something your next target market cares much about. Instead of pushing what you think is valuable, conduct market research to determine what these new consumers want—and make it clear you offer it.
Be flexible. If you can localize your service in a new market by adding options or modifying offerings to cater to your new audience, be sure to. It will benefit your telecom endeavors, and it’ll benefits customers, too.
Engage your new market using an authentic, relatable voice. Branding with local flavor catches more attention than something that might seem obviously foreign, crafted by overseas copywriters. Utilize social media and customer service in ways that tells your new customer base, “You’re important, and we’re listening.”