The Dot Academy

Entering a new market with an unknown brand

Looking for international opportunities but don’t know where to start? The Dot Society guides its clients to look for international opportunities based on data of the client and smart testing. 

10 years ago, if you wanted to conquer a new market, it was quite expensive to do so. You needed to invest in a local sales team, attend fairs or invest in local offline/online marketing without knowing if your money invested was well spent. Times have changed and with a clear analysis and smart testing with social media advertisement, you can quickly learn a lot about the potential in a certain market. 

Before investing in PR, offline marketing & sales teams in a new market, you can start by testing in cities that already showed some traction. Check your analytics data and see if your conversion rate in a certain market is high enough and move toward your average conversion rates overall. Of course, you can’t make decisions based on 1-2 orders, so make sure this market is already big enough, worth tapping into.

We prefer to invest in a 360* marketing strategy, but in today’s article we take one step closer and before investing your time in a new website, pr, … let’s test this market with your top campaigns and see if there is some transaction. 

Why do you want to enter a new market? 

Entering a new market is the first step to expanding your cross border business model. While individual regions present unique challenges, there are many strategies that can help a brand successfully launch in a new market. This article addresses some of these strategies and works as a checklist of do’s and don’t when looking at international expansion.

Grow your business

  • A market opportunity abroad: you saw in research and trends that the product that you are selling has a high demand in a certain market 
  • Diversify your revenue streams & target new audiences 

Strategic decision

  • The new market is a strategically important market. You can use it to test your products and this market is a good test market for expanding into new markets. 

Which markets are right for you? 

Here at The Dot Society, we don’t just trust our gut feeling. We want to stack things up with clear data and therefore we deep-dive into your analytics to spot opportunities abroad, before investing. 

  • Look at google trends and see for which market there is a high demand for your products 
  • Fast followers advantage: is there a competitor with a successful case abroad? Start investigating this market and test it with your campaigns 
  • Look at organic traffic and social media engagement from markets you are not targeting. Some brands don’t pay attention to secondary data as the quantity is low compared to their target markets. However, if you don’t advertise and still get significant activity, this is a strong indicator that you have a good product/market fit.
  • Language barrier: is your communication already in English? It can be smart to look for English-speaking markets first. Because when entering a new market, your communication should be adapted to that market to get the best results
  • Facebook offers both Worldwide and Regional ad targeting, so you can see how your ad performs in additional countries. This is especially useful for online-based services and third-party sellers. Use this ad product to test, then use international lookalike audiences to further narrow down the audience.

How to approach a new market? 

Use a data-driven approach to identify new markets for your products and services with these key Facebook tools. Coupled with other available data, you can pinpoint which regions your products and services will resonate the most.

There are two main pillars that need to be checked before launching: marketing & technology. We will deep-dive into the marketing needs before entering into the new market: 


  • Creative
    • Use language that is not only local but also takes cultural nuances into consideration. Translation services are needed. Provide a style and brand guide and have translations checked. [Use DLO for your ad creative, and translation services for your website and blogs etc..] 
    • Images and fonts should be personalised to show local culture and lifestyle differences. Collateral which is successful in your home country had been designed with a particular target audience in mind and may not be relatable in other regions. 
  • Community
    • Do you already have a small community in a certain market? This will gain the trust of new customers in this market. Spread the word on your social media that you sell worldwide and use the reviews of people from different countries to gain this trust. You can also work with micro-influencers and use them in your marketing campaigns to get local traction. Make sure that this local ambassador really reflects your values. 
  • Targeting
    • Brand positioning; Local demographics, culture and tastes may mean your target audience is different to that of your home market. Use your Social Media & Website demographics to craft a highly focused target audience. A tightly focused campaign reaching 50%-70% of your target twice per week should help drive conversion among your target audience

How can Facebook business help us in reaching this goal? 

  • Create a Lookalike audience: you can use data from your best customers and create a LAL audience based on this source, to test similar audiences in this country. 
  • From your first-party data: withdraw a list of your top 25% clients, based on value for the past year. Create a LAL audience in your new market 
  • Regional targeting: Look at competitor brands in a certain market and test your targeting based on interests close to your products. On Facebook, you can target a regional & country base. If you see for instance that France can be an important market, but current data just shows interest from region Paris, start to focus on this narrow region first. 
  • Use Dynamic advertisement and dynamic remarketing to showcase your catalogue to the right audience based on machine learning. 
  • There is a tool in Facebook to automatically translate your ads, but we never recommend this! Ask a local if the tone of voice of your communication is tuned with them. 

Looking to go abroad with your business? Ask The Dot Society for help! 

This post is also available in: Dutch