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Three common mistakes that international founders should avoid

Very often founders tend to forget some crucial points when it comes to entering the American market. Ross is here to make sure that you do not stumble upon common pitfalls and that you will be able to recognize them before making your next strategic move.

Here are 3 common mistakes that international founders should avoid: 

  • Failing to Understand Your Marketing Channels
A lot of international founders come to the US to launch products, or start a company, without knowing how to market to local clients and partners. One of the most important steps to starting a venture in the States is understanding the marketing channels and how they work. It’s easy to think that Facebook or Instagram is the place for everyone. Some US platforms are, after all, incredibly large and have immense user bases. However, international founders will find the most success with a targeted marketing strategy that focuses on those channels that will have the greatest impact. Finding the best channel for your product or service needs testing to generate conversion rate data, cost per acquisition, LTV, and other critical data. Now, more than ever, online businesses are putting additional resources into inbound marketing channels versus traditional outbound marketing efforts. SEO, SEM, content marketing, and email marketing are targeted and efficient, and many founders are seeing results. Every founder should prioritize email marketing because it’s affordable and even cold email outreach is an effective path to client acquisition.

  • Not Knowing Your Competitors
The amount of data publicly available in the US makes learning about your competitors easier than ever. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are alone in your field. Chances are you have multiple competitors before you even begin. Learning how they operate can help you drive your success and avoid their mistakes. Online search engines like Google are very useful, especially when used with targeted keyword searches related to your business. You can see which competitors are ranked high on the search engine and analyze what they’re doing to stay there.
Knowing your competitors is key. Don’t overlook the importance of this type of market research. Do what you can to find out what they offer, how much they charge, and how they market themselves to existing and potential clients. You’ll be better able to design a successful marketing strategy based on their successes and pitfalls.

  • Overlooking US Privacy Laws
A lot of international founders find out the hard way that there are stark differences between American and international privacy laws. This can cost you a lot of money and significantly impact your organization's reputation. For example, there is a big difference between the USA and European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. The biggest difference is the existence of comprehensive legislation in Europe vs the complex and sometimes confusing regulations in the States. US privacy laws are based on a variety of federal and state policies that change based on where your organization is located or offers its products and services. While many international founders want to find a single location to find the information to ensure they are compliant, the simple answer is there is no such place. Every founder needs to do the work to understand how federal and state laws apply to them and adjust their marketing efforts accordingly. In some ways, international founders will find that compliance is easier in the US, even though understanding the law may take more work. For instance, what Europe classifies as “personal data” is much broader compared to “personally identifiable information (PII)” in the US. Founders will need to know what PII covers to avoid any privacy breach or overreach.

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