Problem solver: International search campaigns

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Problem solver: International search campaigns
Problem solver: International search campaigns

While the international digital campaign experience can be positive, it can also be difficult to navigate if you're not prepared. As you begin an international search strategy, consider the following points.

n Cultural differences. Businesses relationships in Asia and Europe vary drastically from those in the US. Business etiquette is extremely important, especially in the Asia-Pacific Region. Research cultural business etiquette and customs before you go, including how to talk, sit, make eye contact and even how to present a business card. Make a point to visit and spend time with your clients face-to-face. Even with the most impressive credentials, a client will not work "with" you if they don't feel comfortable with you.

n Get ready to educate. Each client's location will have a different level of knowledge of pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Offer one-on-one "best practices of online acquisition" training sessions to local teams, so they can understand what it takes to build, track and optimize a digital program. While some local teams will understand how things really work already, other teams need more training on fundamentals such as keyword research, ad group design, ad copy relevancy and landing page optimization. 

n Beware of Google Translator. Yes, it is invaluable, and installing the Firefox browser add-on is a must, especially when using foreign search engines such as Baidu, Yandex or Naver. Although the translator can help manage, translate and understand foreign keywords, do not use it to generate keywords in a foreign language. As PPC advertisers, our goal is to find local phrases that local prospects would use. It's not important how you would translate "blue widgets" but how locals would search for it. Avoid the temptation to hire US-based foreigners for translations — it is essential to hire local copywriters.

Google AdWords has the lions' share in the US market, but not in Hong Kong, China, Russia or Korea. International keyword research in Google is limited. Use the keyword tools provided by foreign search engines to further assist you.

The other challenge you will face in keyword research is lack of penetration by second-party research tools such as KeywordSpy or AdGooroo in the international areas. While it is easy to show a client how they compare to competition in the US, providing the same level of research abroad is extremely difficult.

Use a bid management tool to create reports across countries. While the marketing team in China wants to know just about China, the global marketing team will need reports at global, regional and country levels. 

Be ready to get creative with your services in your international campaign as a whole. Even though it may not be in the original scope, be prepared to help with landing page design and development to improve overall campaign performance.


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