There are a few essentials every inbound marketer should keep in their back pocket, like a new blog topic, a unique social media voice, an inviting homepage, and a passport.
You may have noticed that one of these things is not like the other.
We need to know the tips, tricks, and tools of our trade, and once we’ve mastered them, the world is our oyster. HubSpotting Around the World has shown us that inbound marketing isn’t confined by borders or distance because the World Wide Web is just that: worldwide.
We can create marketing people love from Tokyo, Moscow, Los Angeles, or Sydney. We used to move to new towns, cities, states, and countries for our jobs -- now our jobs and wanderlust can go hand-in-hand.
About 10 years ago, Julie was running a successful online marketing agency based in the San Francisco area that catered to the luxury travel industry. She realized digital marketing could be done from anywhere in the world and moved her business, Hoi Moon Marketing, a HubSpot Certified Partner Agency, to her dream city: Paris.
Though Julie was right about the dwindling importance of location, this was a bold move. She was surprised the clients she had brought on in San Francisco stayed with her considering the 9-hour time difference. Julie accredits this to inbound marketing being deeply rooted in relationship-building.
Inbound not only has the ability to travel the globe because of the fact that websites, blogs, email, and social media are accessible from anywhere, but also because it values the power of authentic relationships. If a company can provide you with valuable content, personalized interactions at every touch point, and around-the-clock support, it doesn’t matter if their office is 10 blocks away or 10,000 miles away.
This isn’t just true of the distance between companies and customers either -- hiring digital nomads is becoming more and more popular. It was interesting to hear that Julie works with a copywriter based in Toronto and a long-time designer for Hoi Moon Marketing worked from Bali, Indonesia.
Extending our companies' marketing assets that far and wide can be intimidating, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves to finding top talent because of location. Letting go of the reigns a little bit can be extremely rewarding for your business and customers if you hire the right talent who understand your culture and work ethic.
When talking with Julie about relocating her business to Paris, it sounded just like how you’d imagine a story from the most romantic city in the world to sound: whimsical and dream-like. There had to have been cultural challenges facing Hoi Moon Marketing and inbound marketing in France, right?
While there were stark differences between inbound marketing in the U.S. and France, the foundation of inbound never got lost in translation.
"People are equally burned out on interruption," says Julie, who works primarily with French companies trying to sell products back in the States. Regardless of where you live or which language you speak, aggressive outbound marketing tactics are falling flat and being tuned out worldwide.
"France is a relationship-driven culture," Julie adds. "You have to meet with people and gain their trust before they do business with you. I think that's why inbound took off -- because of the relationship aspect."
Crossing Borders Can Open Up a New World
Though inbound marketing’s approach and guiding principles are universal, it’s important for marketers looking to break into new markets and cross borders to dive into the mechanics of inbound in a foreign country.
For example, we’re all familiar with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but is your business on Viadeo? Julie noted that in France, people looking for jobs in the U.S. will focus their efforts on LinkedIn, while French natives looking for jobs at home will likely rely on Viadeo.
Similarly, inbound marketers everywhere follow influencers like David Meerman Scott and Guy Kawasaki. You may be less familiar with Stéphane Bureau, an inbound thought leader on social media in France, blogging about inbound at MercaTik, or Gabriel Szapiro, Director of Marketing at Saphir agency, who is writing a book titled Inbound Marketing with a French Touch. Always be on the lookout for cultural characteristics like this and think about how you can adapt.
Whether you blog in English, French, Arabic, or some other language, inbound marketers around the world have a shared commitment to offer their customers valuable information and a lovable experience.
Will we lose some of the references, tricks, and tips in translation? Probably. But the bottom line is that inbound marketing can be infused into any culture and any culture can be infused into inbound marketing because it is built on relationships and driven by humans.
Don’t shy away from breaking into foreign audiences, hiring outside your comfort zone, or moving to your dream city because, as Julie puts it, "lovable marketing resonates with you or it doesn’t, and that’s cross-cultural."
Where in the world do you HubSpot? Join our trip across the globe as we meet more inbound marketers across 56 countries like Julie through #HubSpotting Around the World. Follow the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and send us your photos, video clips, and stories to show us how you do inbound marketing around the world.
Originally published Dec 20, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017