Click-Click to Knock-Knock with Cross-Border Advertising

Here are five tips for more effective cross-border search engine advertising.

When a product isn't immediately available or when consumer demands are not fulfilled-in terms of price, quality or, perhaps, prestige-more people are turning to global markets for satisfaction.

Of course, flying to the country of origin just to get a certain product isn't cost efficient, unless you intend to do so as part of your current travel plans. But you still might need to bring an extra suitcase.

Consumers are beginning to find a better way.

This is where cross-border advertising comes in: it's all about placing orders and making payments online (click-click) and having items delivered to customers' doorsteps by suppliers (knock-knock)-even when the buyer and seller are in different countries.

Nowadays, any business that can meet high consumer expectations can build a new global empire. Internet access and worldwide delivery have opened opportunities for businesses of all sizes to go international.

A Pitney Bowes study states that the U.S. has a relatively mature e-commerce market, and its online retailers cover up to 70 percent market share globally for online purchasing. The most-visited online stores are Amazon, Apple Inc., and Wal-Mart in the US; T-Mall and Taobao are popular in China. Other countries, like Hong Kong, Malaysia, The Netherlands, South Korea, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan, U.K., and Sweden, also stand to benefit. The most sought-after items are cosmetics and skin-care products, apparel, perfume, toys, and health supplements.

PayPal suggests that by 2018, up to 130 million online shoppers will buy $307 billion worth of merchandise over the Internet. China leads in cross-border sales according to PayPal's survey. The most-cited reason in this survey for buying from a foreign e-commerce site was to save money and find goods not available locally. Already, established platforms like Amazon or Alibaba (among others) are viewed as reliable and trustworthy for both e-retailers and end-users.

So how does a business optimize cross-border advertising? The key is to identify what works and what doesn't. Here are five tips for more effective cross-border search engine advertising:

1. Think global, but create local support.

Provide local customer service through live chats or local telephone numbers. This allows access to immediate help when needed to complete the purchase. Display a phone number in ads so customers can call directly from search results.

Locate web hosting close to the user's country of origin for the best access to target markets. With so many options just a click away, a site that doesn't load immediately will only help your competitor get the business instead. Site speed is just as important for completing the purchase as it is for giving a good first impression.

2. Focus your targeting.

Target your audience based on geographic location, or interest and intention, and you'll boost the conversion rate and achieve a better ROI. This is useful for having a test run in only one country. For example, a company may want to serve the ads to U.S. searchers who are looking for apparel manufacturers in China.

3. Simplify search routes.

When it takes too many clicks to reach the intended page for product information and purchase, you risk losing the customer. Most people will click on simple-to-understand links, rather than ones without a relevant description. Identify commonly used keywords and include them in the site URL and content. Then every click-through will be redirected to the intended landing page. Use unique title tags and descriptions for images on your website, as they also generate traffic.

4. Create complementary cross-marketing opportunities.

Identify other products that complement yours and offer to promote another company's products while promoting yours simultaneously. For example, if you're selling a book, work with a popular local bookstore with a target market similar to yours. Chances are both businesses can expand their current customer base with collaborative cross-marketing efforts.

5. Track and monitor your performance

Build your campaign with targeted concepts and focus on strategies that directly generate sales. Use Bing Ads or Google Ads marketing tools to fine-tune your campaign. Include highlights of current trends and upcoming promotional activities to engage new and return customers. Continue to research demand for your products. Search engine platforms have research and management tools to help you to identify your weaknesses and benefit from your competitive advantages. Review your performance and adjust as necessary.

It appears certain that global click-click to knock-knock will evolve from being a choice to a habit for consumers. It's all part of our obsession with technological convenience. And why not? It's so easy now that we have access to the Internet on our smart phones, and we can skip all the hassle.