5 common marketing mistakes made by foreign entrepreneurs

Marketing in Taiwan-5 common mistakes foreign entrepreneurs make

Starting a business in Taiwan and trying to sell your products or services to local customers? 

When you are entering a new market, understanding the local culture and consumer behaviour is an essential first step for setting up an effective promotion strategy that will help your brand get exposure, and drive sales to your business.  

As a digital marketer who works often with foreign entrepreneurs in Taiwan, here are 5 common marketing mistakes which I observed among them, which hinder their success of promoting in the local market. 

1. Not having Chinese marketing content 

It’s not uncommon to see foreign businesses starting out in Taiwan having their websites and social media pages only in English. While this might work in markets such as Hong Kong or Singapore, this will not work in the Taiwan market-especially if you are aiming to sell to the local customers. Most Taiwanese customers would only consume information in Chinese, if you are not providing a Chinese version of your business information and promotional content, you’ll probably miss out on the chance of selling to most of the local consumers. 

Further reading: How to use content marketing to build trust and authority in Taiwan.

2. Providing a Chinese translation using translation software

Another common mistake among foreign entrepreneurs is relying on translation softwares to generate Chinese promotion content from the English original, because it’s fast and cheap. I often see Chinese social posts which are apparently generated from a machine translation of English text, or a Chinese version of a website generated from a translation plugin. 

Because translation softwares can’t interpret emotion and context, especially in complex situations, and it is further complicated by the intricacy of Chinese language when you are translating content from English to Chinese, this often results in an incorrect translation causing misunderstanding to customers. Nothing is more off putting to customers when they see business information full of mistranslations.  

3. Not localizing the marketing message

Providing an accurate Chinese translation is the essential first step for getting your local customers to know about your business. But if you want your customer to truly appreciate the benefit of your offers and convince them to purchase your product or use your service, you should localize your marketing message to fit the context and needs of your local customers.

Because of the differences in cultural background and living environment, Taiwanese customers may have very different needs and preferences from the customers of your home country. They also have their unique way of describing their problems and expressing their wants.

Understanding the cultural differences, the buying behavior and the unique life challenges faced by your local clients, think about how your products or services can address their problems and improve their lives, then convey it using local vocabulary and expression is the key for building rapport with your customers, show them you really understand their problem, and convince them that you are offering the solution that they need. 

Hiring a local copywriter who understands Taiwanese culture, consumer behavior and customer needs, and has the ability to communicate the benefits of your offer in local wordings will be a game changer for your promotion. 

4. Not optimizing Google Map listing

Many foreign entrepreneurs who are new to the Taiwan market might have underestimated the importance of Google map listing. A good google map profile can bring a lot of exposure to a business, especially brick-and-mortar such as a restaurant, or a business that relies a lot on reviews and social proof, such as an education center or a gym. 

Why is having a good Google Map listing important? Because it’s often the first place where Taiwanese customers look for a business to cater their needs. For instance, if they want to look for a place to have a coffee, or a school to take an English class, they would often look it up on Google maps. They’d also take the time to read through the reviews from previous customers before deciding whether they’d want to use the service.  

Optimizing your Google Map listing by adding detailed information, such as photos of your business, your product or service to your profile, and trying to get as many Google reviews as possible from your customers will go a long way toward gaining visibility and driving sales to your business. 

Read this article to understand further why Google Map listing is so important to your business, and 3 recent updates.

5. Not putting enough effort in social media promotion

The final critical problem I see from many businesses I’ve worked with in Taiwan is they haven’t been putting enough effort on social media promotion. Many business owners still hold the belief that offering a good product or service would naturally bring them good business. However, even if you have the best offer in the world, the offer won’t sell itself, and you’ll still need to do the promotion to put it in front of your customers, so that they’d know the offer exists and buy from you.

In Taiwan, social media is a major channel for businesses to gain visibility and build their customer base. According to the most recent survey on social media usage in Taiwan by We are social and KEPIOS, 26.2% Taiwanese internet users say they’re on social media platforms to “look for things to do or buy”, 26% of them even say they go online to “find products to purchase”. 

In fact, some of my clients say they get as much as 90% of their sales through Facebook.  Therefore if you are aiming to sell to the Taiwan market, but not putting effort on your social media promotion, you are missing out on a crowd of potential customers from the online space. 

So how can you improve on your social media promotion? You can start simply by posting regularly on your social media account. In Taiwan, when a customer is deciding whether they’d want to try a new brand, very often they’d look the brand up on social media. If they see an inactive social media page, they’d wonder if the company is still in business. On the other hand, a brand social media page which is well-maintained and frequently updated would help building trust with the customers as this creates an impression that there’s a dedicated team working hard behind the brand. 

Read this article for 3 online promotion strategies that will help boost your visibility.

I hope this article will help you to promote your business more effectively in Taiwan. 

Need help in promoting your business in Taiwan? We have an amazing team of local copywriters and designers, who have been helping many foreign entrepreneurs in crafting effective Chinese promotion materials that drive sales to their business, and assisting them in running social media promotion which boosts their visibility and brand awareness in Taiwan. Fill in the form below to schedule a consultation with us to see how we can help you with your marketing!