Digital Marketing for International Trade

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Digital marketing has been around for about fifteen years, but it seems to get much more complicated: online exchanges, demand-side platforms, real-time bidding, advert optimisation and re-targeting. The main question today is, what is digital marketing?

Is it a powerful tool, a mysterious beast, a total headache or a revolutionary medium? In the 1900s, department store owner John Wanamaker developed advertising as we know it today and it worked, business boomed. The 1990s came with the digital age yet some quarters dismissed the internet as a powerful marketing tool. In the early 2000s, Google emerged and digital marketing grew in bounds and leaps. In simple terms, digital marketing involves product marketing via various online platforms on the internet.

international-trade-2The Impact of Digital Marketing on International trade


Digital marketing has made the world a small place for the business community around the world, this draws from the availability of internet around the world. Customers can always keep in touch and see what companies are updating about their services and products every other time. Nowadays, companies in the Americas or Europe can effectively advertise their services and goods to potential clients/customers in Africa or Asia. Doing business has never been easier, digital marketing has made it easier to reach out to new markets, this promotes international trade by opening new markets that never existed.


“…digital marketing has made it easier to reach out to new markets…”


The current debate by most companies revolves around the effects of being in a constant interactive mode with potential customers and the cost of advertising via traditional modes. New innovations in this digital age have transformed the media environment, and this has led to a shift by sellers and companies to explore cheaper and more efficient methods of advertising compared to the traditional avenues. The constant interactive mode creates a conducive environment for better and increased personalization at low costs. This creates a platform for companies around the around the world to collect data about different markets. The result is that companies can make tailored services and products for certain markets.


Even as digital marketing and internet availability have transformed world trade, it is important to note it does not solve all export-related problems such as inadequate production capacity or poor quality. However, the information on the internet can be used as a remedial tool to improve and correct some of these problems. For example, an agricultural company in country X can use Information from the internet to improve coffee production and enhance processing. The company will then market a better product. To reach new markets the aspect of digital marketing comes in which is more efficient than traditional marketing strategies.

In the past few years, digital marketing has transformed the media environment, it has created innovative ways of advertising goods and services. This is just the beginning of what is coming in the years ahead. International trade between countries will become increasingly competitive as companies around the world will try to get more innovative marketing strategies through the internet.

5 vital aspects to carry out international shipments successfully

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When it comes to entering an international market it is essential to show consideration to the consumers of the country


Do you understand the customs of the country to which you are going to make international shipments? Do you know that the weather influences the type of packaging that your products will present? Do you know if the customers of the country with which you want to market do not consume certain products?

Controlling these details is essential if you want to successfully undertake your international business.

If, on the other hand, you ignore these aspects, you will bother your customers and with certainty, you will cause economic losses to your company.

At the time of entering an international market, it is essential to show consideration to the consumers of the country and know their language, local festivals, religion or climate, among other aspects.


How to successfully make international shipments: 5 vital aspects

1) Languages

In how many languages are the texts of your website translated?

If you have customers from different countries, you will have to adapt the contents of your website to their languages.

Also, keep in mind the dialects. The Spanish spoken in Spain is not the same as the one used in Argentina. Certain words or expressions can have a different meaning depending on the country in which you speak and ignoring it will cause mistakes.

2) The weather

Time is another essential factor to consider if you work in international markets. It is not the same to sell in hot countries than in colder places since the packaging will be different to protect the articles.
On the other hand, the packaging will go in the languages of the countries to which you export.

3) Local parties

Each country has different local festivals and knowing the holidays of the place you are going to export is essential to avoid delays in collection, transit or delivery and thus keep your customers satisfied.


4) Religion

The religion of the country is a sensitive issue with which much respect must be shown to avoid misunderstandings.
Keep in mind that in some countries some products are not consumed and Christmas is not celebrated either. For example, offering ham in Morocco would be wrong.

5) Tax aspects

Although to take the tax issues correctly is advisable to consult with an expert in international taxation, in general terms, you must know that:

In the treatment of VAT, it is necessary to differentiate between the operations that occur with countries of the European Union and those that occur with the rest. In particular, you will have to know if VAT is paid or not and if the shipment has to go through customs or not, among other matters.

In addition, the taxes that are applied to the final consumer are those of the country of origin and the goods whose price is below 350 euros have customs tariffs that are more relaxed than those that exceed this cost.


Knowing the customs of the country you are going to export, your local parties, your religion or your climate is essential to successfully face your international shipments.

Information errors will make you lose customers and money, in addition to projecting a bad image of your business.
On the contrary, if you manage these aspects well, you will get happy customers, who are likely to repeat the purchase.

These aspects can mark both success and failure in your international shipments.

And if you want to know more about the right steps to internationalize your company, I recommend this post: How to internationalize your company with firm and agile step.

Now it will be a pleasure to know your opinion: does your company make international shipments? Have you faced any of these challenges?

Leave your opinion below and, if you liked the post, encourage yourself to share it.

What is an international tender and why should your company take the step

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Do you know how your company can access a new market more safely and transparently?


If you are going to take the international leap, look for safe and reliable channels and one of them is international tenders.

It is an alternative that assures you both the transparency in the awarding process and the collection during the execution of the project since the payers are international entities of great solvency.

But do you know what an international tender is and if your company is ready to apply for it?

What is an international tender?

An international tender is a competitive selection process carried out by a public body to contract a service, carry out a work or acquire goods.

International tenders are open to any company since the important thing is not the size, but the economic situation.
And is that despite the security and transparency that this alternative ensures you, its main drawback is that you will not begin to see the benefits until the medium-long term.

Therefore, if the economy of your company is not good, this alternative is not an acceptable option for you due to the time periods with which you would have to work.

Seek external advice

When it comes to internationalizing a company it is essential to gather the necessary information and look for competent sources, since one of the main drawbacks of today is the excess of unreliable information.

If you start from scratch, it is best to approach organizations such as Extenda,  the Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX) or private organizations such as Iberglobal to advise you.

It is also necessary that through experts perform a SWOT analysis (weaknesses-threats-strengths-opportunities) to know the real capacity of your company to launch into a new market and what aspects should improve. In this interview with Juan José Roca, Extenda Internationalization consultant you can know what kind of help this type of experts can offer you.

Types of tenders to which you can choose

According to the multilateral organisms that summon them, the contests can be of three types:

1) Construction contests
2) Real estate supply contests
3) Service contests

Who finances these projects?

These projects are financed by Multilateral Organizations or International Financial Institutions such as The World Bank Group and Development Banks, the United Nations or the European Union.

Other institutions that allocate aid are the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI) or the United States Agency for International Development (ASAID).

They are usually projects that contribute to the development of emerging and developing countries.

Throw yourself with a head

International tenders are a safe alternative to access an international market.

They are open to any company through a contest, however, it does not have to be convenient for your company. It is very important that your financial situation is healthy since the time periods and charges can be delayed in time.

If you want to internationalize your company, go to official sources, gather all the necessary information, study your options and then act accordingly.

Good luck on your journey!

How to internationalize your SME and scale your sales through the online channel

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The strategies can be very diverse depending on the nature of the company, its objectives and available resources


30% of the world’s population bought through the Internet in 2017 and this percentage will approach 50% in the next five years, according to ICEX Spain Exportación e Inversiones. This exponential growth highlights the dimension and enormous potential of this channel as a means of commercialization.

In addition, the countries of the European Union are among the preferred international destinations for 19% of the total number of companies that sell online.


internacionalize your SME

According to the AFI report published this past March, the strategies to internationalize your SME through the online channel can be very diverse, depending on the nature of the company, as well as its objectives and available resources. We can distinguish three main online business models:

1) Use of marketplace

E-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay or Alibaba act as meeting points between a large number of buyers and sellers. The latter have to pay a commission when they make a sale or a fee for their presence on the platform.

The main advantage offered by these platforms is that through them companies can access an extensive network of potential customers located in very diverse geographies and without the need to incur start-up costs or have the technical knowledge to do so.

Another advantage of marketplaces is that the seller manages his own brand, maintaining control of prices, the catalog, the purchasing process and the relationship with customers; without prejudice that you can receive advice from the platform.

2) Model of online retailers

The company sells its products through a platform that acts as a distributor. In this case, it is the platform that happens to have control of the brand, prices, catalog, etc.

3) Vent through own website or online store

In this case, it is the company that acts as a direct seller. The main disadvantage for companies of reduced size is the limitation of the ability to reach potential customers.

The development of an online store is not complicated, however, the deployment of an effective marketing strategy, which generates enough traffic to the web and a satisfactory conversion rates, can be much more complex.

The online channel, an alternative way to internationalize your SME


The main obstacles that companies usually find when using the online channel to go abroad refer fundamentally to the challenge of cultural change and the way of doing things. For companies that are not digital natives, the entry into the online sales channel involves a transformation of the business model and the need to acquire new capabilities.

However, the digital environment and e-commerce platforms offer an alternative way to internationalize your SME.


internacionalize your SME 2

On the other hand, if you are going to take the international leap, you must also look for safe and reliable channels and one of them are international tenders. Know what they are and how to take the step.

And now I would like to know your opinion: Did you know these strategies to sell abroad through the online channel?

Internationalization courses to successfully tackle a foreign market

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internation alization courses 2


If you plan to internationalize your company, you have the opportunity to train your workers to approach this project with the necessary knowledge. Institutions such as Extenda or Iberglobal offer internationalization courses for companies interested in training their technicians and directors.

In the case of Extenda, an instrument dependent on the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge of the Junta de Andalucía, it makes available to interested entrepreneurs:

1) Internationalization courses offered by highly specialized institutions: in Andalusia, in different countries and with training support service to institutions.

2) Customized internationalization courses, proposed by the companies themselves.

In addition, your company will have access to Specialized Human Resources, with international work experience, through the Scholarship service.

Another option offered by these organizations is the possibility of hiring an internationalization expert who will offer tailor-made consulting services. In particular, he will provide you with an individualized advice to help your company initiate and consolidate its international positioning in an integral way. A support that you can count on throughout your internationalization process. If you are interested in this service, know in this article what an Extenda consultant can do for your company: “Competent information is essential to internationalize your company”.


internation alization courses 1

Other private entities such as Iberglobal also offer consulting services in support of the companies’ internationalization activities.

Some of the services offered by Iberglobal are:

– Design of internationalization strategies and design of export plans.

– Advice and management in financing issues of international operations: both for export and for investment operations.

– Advice and management on issues of export credit insurance.

– Advice and management of public aid for internationalization.

– Access to markets: advice and support for business development in international markets.

– Design and execution of training programs, online and face-to-face, aimed at training the company’s personnel.


Learn more

Information is a fundamental tool in the process of internationalization of a company since it reduces risks and encourages action. Get studies and sector catalogs to address the internationalization process with the most complete information of your sector and form through internationalization courses to the right people of your company to undertake this project successfully.

Discover how to internationalize your company with a firm and agile step

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The best way to promote your business and contact international clients


Do you want to internationalize your company but do not know how to start and the steps to take?

Do you want to establish yourself in a certain market, but you do not know their customs and lack reliable contacts to support you to begin with?

To undertake a task of such magnitude is complicated and without the right advice, it can be even dangerous for your business.

On the contrary, if you take the steps at the right time and form and you rely on trusted people you will direct your business closer to success.

If you are interested in setting up your company abroad, in this post I explain to you the most effective and safe way to get it. Do you want to know it?


Internationalize your company through trade missions

The commercial missions are, together with the fairs and promotions at the point of sale, key actions to carry out a direct promotion of the companies abroad and encourage direct contact with potential clients, whether the firms are in the process of starting to export, as if they are already in more advanced phases of internationalization.

internacionalize your company


There are 3 types of commercial missions from which you can benefit according to your needs:

1) Direct missions are visits to foreign markets with the greatest potential for the offer of the company interested in becoming international.

2) The reverse missions are visits to the own facilities of the companies of your country by importers, distributors and specialized foreign journalists, and that takes place on the occasion of the celebration of fairs, tastings, seminars or professional meetings. These are missions of great general interest because they reinforce the image abroad.

3) The study missions are exploration visits offered to sectoral associations and individual companies in order to know how a new market works.


What results will you get from these commercial missions?

If you participate in direct missions, you will get a customized interview schedule and documentation about the target market.

If your company intervenes in reverse missions, you will establish quality contacts and encourage your company to be known in depth by importers and opinion makers.


internacionalize your company with meetings

On the other hand, thanks to the study missions you will establish contact with a new market, through the analysis of its offer, the potential clientele, the distribution channels and the identification of business opportunities.


Examples of commercial missions in Andalusia

In Andalusia, companies interested in internationalizing and foreign companies that want to establish contacts there can go to the Andalusian Agency for Foreign Promotion, Extenda.

This agency supported 778 Andalusian companies in 2017 through 83 commercial missions, 54 direct and 29 reverse.

The markets that attracted the most interest for companies in the commercial missions of 2017 were the United States, Canada, Norway, Germany, Denmark, and Morocco.


“The industry sector, the agri-food sector and the service sector are the ones that accumulate the most.”


On the other hand, according to data from Extenda itself, most of the participants are framed in the industry sector, followed by those dedicated to the agri-food sector, the services sector and the consumer sector.

On the other hand, the provinces that concentrated the most participation were Seville, followed by Almería, Cádiz, and Córdoba.



Internationalizing your company is a complex task, but you can see that you are not alone. There are agencies such as Extenda that facilitate the way to enter the foreign markets with firm steps.

If you are interested in setting up your company abroad, do not hesitate to use commercial missions to establish a contact agenda and know in advance the new market in which you want to venture.

You will start your journey with more security and be knowing the steps to take and that translates into greater speed and success in undertaking your task.

If you have found this post interesting, you will be interested in reading the 3 most frequent mistakes that companies make in digital marketing when they start in new markets to export.

Do you want to internationalize your company? Have you participated in any commercial mission?

It will be a pleasure to know your experience in the comments below.

Digital marketing for importing

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What you shouldn´t do in Digital Marketing for exporting

For an enterprise to go global with its products there are a series of important decisions that can either give you a great launch or land you a mediocre place in a new market. The first out-front dilemma that a business gets into when going global is getting into the paperwork of introducing its products to a new foreign export market. This includes negotiating distribution contracts with local businesses, fulfilling governmental and customary requirements etc.
This is a step-by-step on a guide of what NOT to do while developing a new export market.



Getting nose-deep into legal requirements and missing out the attention that your new customers require:

It is easily overlooked the amount of work that is required to introduce a foreign product to a customer who might have never heard of it before. The first pitfall they tumble into is not putting a team together to target the new customers with all the information they need about the new product. After all your ultimate goal is to reach your customers whether individuals or business-to-business and failing to do so wastes everything else invested in the process of export. Try to learn the needs of your clients.


Failure to adapt your sales and marketing channels to fit the nature and demographics of the new market:

Entering a new export market by the same playbook that brought successful profits to the local market is another common pitfall that businesses get into. Some markets may favor direct one-on-one marketing to drive sales while others are significantly affected by digital marketing patterns. This usually occurs in a marketplace where more digitalization and automation is already in place.

Adapting the appropriate digital marketing channel is also pivotal at this point. Let aside the fact that some markets restrict the use of social media to online users which renders social media marketing neutral in this case, some communities may tend to use one social media channel more extensively than others, for example, using Facebook more than Twitter or vice versa. This kind of information can be achieved by paying attention to Analytics and traffic information on these websites and conducting detailed market research that relies heavily on local, in-country experts in advance.



Not paying attention to your Analytics and failure to test your campaign often:

Scrutinizing your website visitors metrics and analyzing your traffic data is inevitable to identify worthy traffic that brings on potential customers and poor traffic that only yields low-quality leads. Testing and monitoring campaign analytics on an ongoing basis, you’ll be perfectly positioned to optimize the marketing campaign.
Only dead fish go with the flow.
In digital marketing, there’s always a delicate balance between staying current and going on override mode when it comes to new trends in the marketplace. Staying on top of the trends in the industry is an absolute requirement and catching up with the latest technologies and strategies minimizes your risk of falling behind competitors in the new marketplace. However, it is equally important not to just go with the flow when it comes to digital marketing strategies and to be selective towards which marketing trend fits into place with the nature and type of your products or services.