Approaching international expansion during economic instability

Nicola Winters

Head of International


When an economy begins to struggle, it can quickly become a period of crisis management for businesses. Recessions can severely affect company performance and put increased pressure on their survival. However, if approached with care and creativity, recessions can be an unexpected source of opportunity.

While your local economy may be struggling. in certain territories, the economy may be thriving. What this does is give your business a chance to expand internationally, which not only grows the global scope of your business but can help recover the loss of potential or actual revenue.

In this article, we share tips on how with the right use of multilingual search engine marketing, website localisation and social media management, entering overseas territories and international expansion, can be highly successful for your business, during times of austerity.

How do I find the right international market to expand into?


Before considering international expansion, you need to conduct thorough research to ensure you are making the right decision for your organisation. This is to identify where there is demand for your products, whether launching in a new market will be profitable, and if there are any laws or restrictions that may prohibit any product or service sales.

Each international market comes with its own advantages and challenges. So, by carrying out this detailed research ahead of time, as we do for clients considering international expansion, such as Burton Snowboards, you can understand which country, or countries, your business will enjoy the most success in.

For example, during 2020 and the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while British businesses were struggling, the pandemic offered an opportunity for many companies to recover their reduced revenue in other parts of the world. Some of these included:





United Arab Emirates

So as these territories shifted towards online consumption, this allowed UK businesses to take advantage of international expansion and regain lost revenue.

What financial costs do I need to be aware of when expanding into new markets?


If business revenue is struggling during a period of financial crisis, you need to be careful that you are getting the most out of your marketing budget when launching your business overseas.

Expanding into new markets can be costly, so it is important to become more strategic about how you use your marketing budget. This is particularly important in countries where foreign businesses are heavily taxed. You need to ensure that your tax costs are covered with the prices you place on your global orders, otherwise, there is a possibility you risk even further economic loss.

Along with higher tax costs, you need to consider the charges, currency conversions, and possible logistical challenges surrounding product deliveries. Different regions may have contrasting delivery costs and restrictions, which can mean customers have to wait longer to receive their orders or the price of delivery is more expensive.

But, as noted earlier, by analysing your data, you can identify your potential customer base in a particular market, using tools such as Google Market Finder to discover available opportunities when expanding worldwide.

Are there cost-effective ways to approach international selling and expansion?


As previously mentioned, international expansion has always been an excellent way to grow your customer base and profits, especially during a time of economic instability.

But it is still essential during an economic downturn to get the most out of your business costs when taking your company international. Thankfully, there are cost-effective ways that make going global much more approachable for your business.


1. Use online marketplaces


Online marketplaces offer an amazing opportunity for businesses to sell their products overseas. As they require little time and resource to set up, compared with localising your complete website, they are a great way to test the reception to your brand in new international markets.

Plus, when it comes to selling products internationally, online marketplaces can be the preferred choice of online platform for customers, which means you can capitalise more effectively on customer demand.


2. Grow your brand presence organically through social media


Social media is used in nearly every country around the world, making it a fantastic platform to grow your brand presence. Unlike paid social media, which incurs costs, organic social media allows you to increase your brand awareness for free.

What this enables you to do is not only gain potential purchases, but also grow a loyal customer base that will increase the impression your brand makes against your competitors. Once you have gained a strong reception from your organic followers, it gives you an opportunity to approach paid channels for further reach.


3. Test localising key landing pages


Full-scale website translation can be very expensive, and a cost you may not be able to incur during a time of financial crisis. So, a more effective technique is to review your analytics data and see which of your key webpages are gaining the strongest results.

From there, you can utilise the services of our digital marketing experts to localise these specific webpages for you using localised keyword research.

The advantage of this approach is to avoid spending any high-upfront costs for a full-scale website translation. Plus, it lets you clearly assess and decide how successful your brand will be in potential new markets, against your current native customer base.

Although it may seem an unrealistic option during a financial crisis, expanding into international markets is a lot simpler than you may think. As having a physical shop or warehouse isn’t a requirement; localising your website, promoting paid ads, and using social platforms, are all sustainable methods you can use to attract international traffic and regain potential lost revenue.

To learn more about strategies to support international expansion, download our on-demand webinar, “Entering new markets and expanding for growth” which focuses on all the necessary elements to succeed in a new international territory.


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