UK export advice: how to sell more abroad

Great news for both the UK economy and those of us who spend our days providing translation – or, more loftily, helping global communication. Britain’s trade gap with the rest of the world narrowed more than expected in July, driven by record exports to countries outside the European Union, reports the Telegraph (Good News Britain: UK trade deficit narrows in July)

In fact, July is the third month in a row that exports to countries outside the EU has been higher than exports to eurozone countries.

“The change in export share may represent an important shift in the focus of UK exporters, as emerging economies become a more attractive proposition than struggling European economies,” said Colin Edwards, chief economist at economic consultancy the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

All sounds great. But if you are involved in a UK business, where do you join the party?

Why, where and how to export

UK government’s UK Trade & Investment has produced an introductory guide to the Why’s, Where’s and How’s of starting exporting: Your export opportunity. Our insight. [PDF]

The guide contains a good overview, tips on getting started and case studies as well as sources of further help and advice.

If you are thinking about taking the plunge, UKTI has also created an excellent guide: “Preparing to export: ten key steps”

Preparing to export key steps

It makes the point that there are several routes to explore to enter a foreign market

“Choosing a sales presence in an overseas market can be quite complex. There are a number of options:
– Agent, distributor, internet, license or franchise
– Direct sales to retail, direct business to business sales, joint venture, subsidiary or via UK contacts”

One option some clients are taking up is to produce a translated (or bilingual) brochure about their existing expertise, services and products. This can then be used to approach potential local partners, either electronically or as a focal point in a face-to-face meeting.

For more direct sales, some opt for a catalogue or website translation. Here it is vital to get a well-considered, professional translation. Which languages are top of the list to translate into will vary from business to business, but I will be giving an overview of the best options in a further blog article next week. If you have a low profile internationally, it is also worth considering how to ensure the content reaches a wide audience through targeted distribution, multilingual SEO or PPC, or other marketing methods. Conversely if your website statistics show you already get a high volume of visitors from a particular country then a translation into the corresponding language may help to secure orders.

If you decide to focus on a particular market, there are several ways you can use your internet presence. Again, this advice produced by the UKTI covers some good points about localising your website for specific foreign target markets:

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