Making Expat Websites Work for Your Business
By Andrea Martins, Director and Co-Founder of www.ExpatWomen.com
Expatriates love the internet: it provides essential information for those facing a daunting move abroad and it keeps those who already live a zillion miles from home, 'connected'.
It makes sense therefore that if you are in the business of servicing internationally-mobile employees and families, you need to be expat-website-savvy to best reach your target customers.
The Top 5 Ways to Tap Into Expat Websites
1. Links. Generally speaking, your business website should be trying to get its name linked on as many relevant websites as possible - expat or not. To get through the gatekeepers and be listed on the sites that you are targeting, make sure that your website is relevant and/or be aware that you might need to pay (usually a small amount) for the privilege. Paying for relevant links on quality websites is not a bad thing, because not only do you receive your presence and brand name on that site, but search engines tend to prefer one-way links into a site (rather than link exchanges) and this ultimately helps your own site's search engine listing and ability to more directly attract customers.
Word of caution: If you outsource the task of link requests to so-called 'link-masters', be very careful to check the exact text that they plan to send to your target websites, because many of these link request emails look the same to busy website owners and will be treated as spam unless they are customised for the recipient;
2. Articles. Most expat sites welcome voluntary article contributions. This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your company's expertise and earn audience trust, plus get a free link back to your company's website;
3. Discussion Groups. If you can genuinely add value to an expat website's forums, Yahoo group, LinkedIn network, Facebook group, blog or any other type of discussion group, the better your company looks and the more likely you are to gain new customers;
4. Advertise. Sometimes it pays dividends to invest in higher-profile website coverage, just choose your website exposure wisely; and
5. Develop Relationships. If you contribute articles, key business contacts and/or any other useful information to expat site editors, the better the chance that when they are writing a relocation industry article and/or contacted by the media, they might turn to you as an expert to quote or feature. It happens every day.
The Top 5 Reasons to Tap Into Expat Websites
1. Increase Your Audience: Reach out to new potential customers, rather than waiting for them to (maybe) find you;
2. Boost Your Credibility. The more your brand is seen in a good light in the 'right' places, the better chance you have of gaining new customers;
3. Improve Your Offering. The more involved you get, the better your knowledge of expat concerns and the more ideas you might generate to service the expatriate market;
4. Keeps Your Business On Its Toes. Adding quality content to online expatriate communities forces your business to keep producing useful content that can then be used for your own/other sites. Remember, the more of your content 'out there' that links back to your site, the more the search engines will love you; and
5. Save Your Money. Aligning your business with expatriate websites can be more cost-effective than some traditional marketing mediums.
Types of Expat Websites
With a plethora of expat websites out there, it is important to decide exactly which type of expatriates you wish to target, which will then help you define which types of expat websites to invest your time, energy and/or money in.
Global: These websites endeavour to appeal to people moving to countries all over the globe and have an ongoing attraction as people move from one place to another. Many of them also offer country-specific sections, to provide more localized content and/or forums.
Expat Exchange www.expatexchange.com
Transitions Abroad www.transitionsabroad.com
Allo Expat www.alloexpat.com
Location-Specific: Perfect for targeting expats in a specific location, these websites are usually more local-content-rich and have more active local forums. A downside is that when people move out of that location, they tend to lose allegiance to that website.
Asia Expat www.asiaexpat.com
Expat KL www.expatkl.com
Nationality-Specific: These are designed to service individual nationality niches. Well-known ones include:
American Citizens Abroad www.aca.ch
British Expats www.britishexpats.com
Advance (Global Australians) www.advance.org
Federation of American's Women's www.fawco.org
News-Based: These are more traditional news-based content sites, but they also accept general expat article contributions.
The Telegraph UK (Expat Section) www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/
The Guardian UK (Expat Section) www.guardianweekly.co.uk/expat
Expat Focus www.expatfocus.com
Gender-Specific: If you want to tap into the expatriate male genre, consider the news-based site category, which typically boasts a 70 percent male readership. If your business would prefer to target expatriate women, consider the following sites:
Expat Women (Global) www.expatwomen.com
Expat Woman (UAE) www.expatwoman.com
Company-Specific: These service internal networks of expatriate employees and families. The best three are:
Shell Outpost Network www.outpostexpat.nl
Schlumberger Spouses Association www.ssafara.net
US Government Family Liaison Office www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/
Blog and Blog Directories: If you find a blog with a strong following, you might like to think about how to align your business with that blog specifically. Alternatively, think about how to tap into the directories that list the expat blogs:
Expat Blog www.expat-blog.com
Expat Women Blog Directory www.expatwomen.com/expatblog/
Other: Any other expat sites would fit here. For example, expat social media sites, expat search engines, job sites, expat dating sites, interview sites, authors' sites and more.
Expat Expert www.expatexpert.com
Expat Network www.expatnetwork.com
Expat Interviews www.expatinterviews.com/
Expat Finder www.expatfinder.com
Expat Rollercoaster www.expatrollercoaster.com
Be Seen, Be Rewarded
As Juliette Powell says in 33 Million People in the Room (Financial Times Press, 2009):
"Visibility and reputation affect the decision-making process, and at the end of the day, they influence behaviour".
It's all about being seen, helping potential customers find your business and increasing revenue. Get your business seen more online... and watch your business be rewarded.
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