In today’s digital, borderless economy, it’s easier than ever for a business of any size to grow globally. By simply listing their products or services on a marketplace like Amazon or Upwork, any business has the available channels at their fingertips to find customers around the world and reach new heights of success.
But while the opportunities have grown, so have the challenges. The prospect of a larger customer base, longer selling seasons and more diverse customers means that SMBs [small and medium-size business] are being forced to face up to the fact that they can’t do everything themselves. Thankfully, the same digital economy offers solutions to these challenges. Relying on an on-demand workforce can be an excellent way to find high-skilled resources who can meet a host of unique business needs and gain an advantage over sluggish competitors.
Here are five ways that your business can benefit from the global on-demand economy today.
1. Produce better content: Hire a freelancer
The importance of content creation is becoming crucial to businesses of all sizes. U.S. adults alone now consume more than 10 hours of media every day and the digitization of everything is only going to increase this insatiable thirst for information. The best way for any business to make their voice heard is to provide valuable content that educates the reader and establishes your brand as an authority in your niche.
Meaningful content builds relationships with existing and potential new customers. However, one of the biggest problems with in-house produced content is that it is often tagged onto someone’s role as an afterthought. These tasks are frequently relegated to the bottom of to-do lists when something deemed more important comes along.
Sites such as Envato, Fiverr, Freelancer.com and Upwork offer premium and economy methods of outsourcing content to a team of highly skilled professionals. By utilizing resources only when they are required, SMBs can obtain a premium quality of work at a reasonable price.
Why get bogged down with creating blog posts when a professional writer can create great content in a fraction of the time and cost?
2. Choose a designer to help build your logo, sales collateral, packaging, etc.
Many entrepreneurs will pride themselves in their newly found skills in applications such as Photoshop and could argue that it’s enough to finish the task at hand. But sometimes you need something a little more specialized. Finding a designer who can complete professional work that looks slick and aesthetically pleasing but is also affordable can be incredibly challenging.
The inconvenient truth for many SMBs is that their limited budgets do not stretch to the prices charged by trendy design agencies. However, the rise of crowdsourced design platforms like 99 Designs is dramatically lowering costs without sacrificing the quality of the work delivered.
Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of distinguishing your business from its competition, whether it’s a new logo, an infographic, or even an email design template. If you are looking for a way to lower costs while investing in your company, it is a good idea to crowdsource your new branding.
3. Hire a translator to localize your business
When launching a business into the global marketplace, many make the mistake of alienating their audience by not properly localizing their product or services. Failing to adapt your messaging, branding or web site to appeal to multiple cultures and local consumers will restrict your opportunities for growth. Ultimately, the modern consumer wants you to show you care about them and are not focused on a singular demographic.
It’s time for your business to broaden its horizons and understand the importance of localizing your product. Localization highlights that you care about all of your clients. Translating your material and showing a level of respect toward various cultures and traditions in the international community will go a long way.
There are several solutions such as Gengo, One Hour Translation and Text Master that allow SMBs to localize their business and help translate materials, packaging and advertising to reach global customers. These sites make adapting your offering to a global audience fast and cost-efficient.
4. Embrace affiliate marketing to promote your company
Affiliate marketing is often referred to as a hybrid advertising and referral channel that enables third parties to promote another company’s product or service and receive a commission for any sales generated. For SMBs, this presents an easy opportunity to increase brand awareness and sales.
There are several well-known ad networks such as CJ by Conversant, Shareasale and Trade Doubler that provide a platform for affiliates and advertisers to create online partnerships. SMBs can boost their customer base by working with affiliates who refer global shoppers to their product or service for an agreed fee.
If aligned with the right partner, this can be an excellent path to driving traffic to your online business, and spurring growth.
5. Utilize a stock-media company
When it comes to site design, high-quality imagery is crucial in capturing the attention of customers, as you will never get a second chance to make a first impression on a potential client. The use of professional and creative media to encourage readers to engage with your landing page, web site and other marketing channels, and to earn the trust of your audience is vital.
However, obtaining images or video content for your site is notoriously difficult. Helping yourself to content from Google images is more likely to bring an unwanted copyright lawsuit your way rather than new clients. Platforms such as Getty or Shutterstock offer an incredible selection of photography and digital images to meet all your creative needs.
Conclusion: Global growth, within reach
Entrepreneurs have torn down traditional geographical barriers that once limited choices to their local region. Now, you have access to a pool of almost unlimited resources that offers top global talent at an affordable price.
Startups are no longer building up to reaching an international audience; they are serving them from Day One. Understanding that you do not need to do everything yourself and that you should learn to lean on creatives or virtual assistants from the online community should be a top priority. This new-found level of skills, speed, and agility, could be the secret to securing a significant advantage over your competitor. So, what are you waiting for?
Scott Galit is chief executive officer of Payoneer.