5 Unique Growth Hacks for International Digital Marketing

If you are selling your product or service into international markets, you need to be equipped with consumer, technology and market insights to ensure your campaigns reach your target audience.  In this post, I will discuss five ideas that will help you achieve laser-focused digital marketing and deliver ROI for your campaigns.

Let’s get started.

1. Webmaster Tools

Did you know that most major search engines have released powerful Webmaster Tools for international targeting? Using Webmaster Tools will drive traffic, leads and sales to your website from your target market.

Here is a quick summary of the Webmaster Tools platforms available in Europe, the Americas, Australasia, Asia, Russia and China.

With 87% market share, you will be most familiar with Google. Google provides a suite of international targeting options through its Webmaster Tools feature. Setting your target market in Google Webmaster Tools will help your website reach your international target audience.

bing wmt

Bing has just launched a revamped Webmaster Tools. You can use Bing Webmaster Tools for international targeting alongside other SEO related features.

If your target audience is located in China, you will need to use Baidu Webmaster Tools alongside Google Webmaster Tools for targeting and SEO. Baidu is the most popular search engine in China with 66% market share, while Google only has 3% market share.

Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia. When targeting your website to a Russian audience, use Yandex Webmaster Tools.

2. Hreflang Attributes for Websites

The hreflang attribute is vital for your website to reach your target audience in the right country and language. The attributes help search engines display content to specific countries and languages.

The hreflang attribute can be placed in the on-page markup, the HTTP header, or the sitemap. Only use one of those locations.

An example of the Hreflang on page markup is below:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”es-es” /><link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/fr/” hreflang=”fr-fr” /><link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/pt/” hreflang=”pt-pt” />

3. Global Social Media Strategies

Today, social media is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing strategy. If you are looking to engage, connect and converse with your target market, social media is the ideal channel. While you may be most familiar with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, many international markets have social media platforms unique to their geography.


Did you know Facebook is banned in China? If you are considering social media as a marketing strategy in China, you need to consider using alternative social networks such as Sina Weibo, Renren, Douban or WeChat, Qzone.


Russia has the highest social media daily usage globally! If Russia is your target market, social media should be included in your communications strategy. Vkontakte and Odnoklassnik are two of the most popular social media platforms in Russia.


Twitter and Mixi are two of the most popular social media platforms in Japan. Both of these channels should be included in your social media strategy if your target market is located in Japan.

4. Personalisation

Online consumer behaviour has evolved over the years. Today, consumers expect digital experiences that are tailored to their needs, tastes and requirements. Here are some key personalisation strategies to improve user experience in global markets.

Location and Language

Different language versions of a website can be delivered depending on a user’s location. For example, a user that searches through Google Portugal, in Portuguese, can be delivered a Portuguese language version of a webpage. In this instance personalisation provides a smooth transition from search engine to onsite user experience.


Mobile devices have changed the way users consume content. Less is more on mobile while on desktop long form copy is still king. Personalisation allows you to deliver the appropriate length of content to users. Doing so improves mobile user’s engagement and experience.

Content Personalisation

A digital footprint can be described as a record of one’s activity online. In regard to user journeys; what pages users’ visit, how long they spend on the page and the pages that they convert on. This stored information can be particularly useful on e-commerce websites where you can display the products you know your customers are interested in buying.

5. Communities of Influence

sparktoro software

Gaining access to your target market through their community of influence will accelerate your route to market and help build long lasting relationships between your brand and customers. There are a number of tools which can help you identify communities and influencers. Here are three of the major tools:

  • Spark Toro – Spark Toro is a tool that identifies what your audience reads, watches, listens-to, and follows. You can check out my review of Spark Toro here.
  • Klear – Klear is a social media analytics and intelligence platform that provides social data services for brands, agencies and enterprises. Klear serves more than 2 million monthly visitors in three core areas: Social media monitoring, Influencer marketing and competitive intelligence.
  • Affinio – Affinio helps you identify communities of influence by leveraging its custom graph technology to understand the billions of connections across big data.

Are you using any of these strategies to access new global markets? Please leave your comments below.