Approaching International Growth During Economic Instability

Nicola Winters

Head of International


When an economy begins to struggle, businesses quickly enter a period of crisis management. Recessions can severely affect company performance and put increased pressure on their survival. However, recessions can be an unexpected source of opportunity if approached with care and creativity. It is very possible for international growth during times of economic instability.

While your local economy may struggle during a recession, other countries may have a thriving economy. Taking advantage of this not only grows the global scope of your business but also gives your company a lifeline when you are not finding success in your current market.

In this blog, our experts share tips on how international growth through digital marketing can create compelling opportunities for your business, even during times of austerity.

How do you identify the right international market worth your growth efforts?

Before considering international expansion for your organization, you must conduct thorough research. Your team needs to consider where demand lies for your products or services, whether launching in a new market will be profitable, and if any laws may prohibit the sale or promotion of your products or services.

Each international market comes with its advantages and disadvantages. By carrying out this detailed research ahead of time, using tools such as Google Market Finder, you can understand which global territories may be most lucrative for your business.

For example, to the surprise of many, the COVID-19 pandemic offered an opportunity for many companies to recover their reduced revenue in other parts of the world. Some regions that were ripe for new business included:

  • Indonesia
  • Mexico
  • China
  • Singapore
  • United Arab Emirates

As these territories shifted towards increased online consumption, many US businesses took advantage of this rise in online purchases and regained lost revenue in new countries.

What are the financial costs associated with expanding into new markets?

If your business revenue is struggling during a financial crisis, you need to ensure careful use of your marketing budget when launching your business overseas.

Expanding into new markets can be costly. You must be strategic about where you invest your resources, particularly in countries where businesses are heavily taxed. You need to ensure that your tax costs are covered by the prices you place on your global orders – otherwise, there is a possibility you risk even further economic loss.

Along with higher tax costs, your team must consider the charges, currency conversions, and possible logistical challenges surrounding product deliveries. Different regions may have varying delivery costs and restrictions, meaning customers must wait longer to receive their orders, or the delivery price is higher for your supply chain.

What are some cost-effective strategies when approaching international growth?

As previously mentioned, international expansion has always been an excellent way to grow your customer base and profits, especially when experiencing reduced sales in your domestic market.

But getting the most out of your business costs is essential when taking your company international. Fortunately, there are several ways to make going global more cost-effective and sustainable.


1. Use online marketplaces

Online marketplaces offer a fantastic opportunity for businesses to sell their products overseas. As they require little time and resources to set up, compared with localizing your entire website, they are a great way to test the reception of your brand in new markets.

Plus, when it comes to selling products internationally, online marketplaces can be the preferred platform for businesses, which means you can capitalize more effectively on consumer demand.


2. Grow your brand presence organically through social media

Social media is used in nearly every country worldwide, 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.

Social media enables your company to reach new prospective customers, growing a loyal fanbase that will increase brand awareness and weaken competitor strongholds in the new market. Once you have gained a strong reception from your organic followers, your team could take on paid channels for an even wider reach.


3. Test localizing key landing pages

Full-scale website translation can be costly and a project you may not be able to take on during an economic downturn. A more effective approach is to localize heavily trafficked web pages that lead to the most conversions in your local market.

From here, focus on localizing, not just translating, these pages with keyword research appropriate for the new region. Considering cultural norms and expectations is essential at this stage, as it can be hard to implement without native speakers within your team.

This piecemeal approach avoids spending high upfront costs for a complete website localization project. It also allows you to assess possible success in a much more targeted way.

From here, you can either refrain from entering your new international market (if your results are not as successful as you hoped) or begin outlining a full-scale website localization project (if the landing pages you have localized have delivered your desired results). Fortunately for you, Search Laboratory has a team of international marketing experts who can effectively localize your content to match and attract your target audience within any global market.

Although it may seem unrealistic to consider expanding into a new market during heavy economic fluctuation, the positives outweigh the negatives (and it’s simpler than you may think).

Without needing a physical shop or a warehouse in the region, your digital marketing team can focus on localizing your website and promoting ads through paid media and social platforms. These sustainable strategies that attract international traffic, regain lost revenue, and expand your business during an economic crisis.

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


Download International Marketing Webinar