educational

Selling Beyond the States

Ayrora

You are never so big – nor so small – that you can afford to ignore the profit potential of selling to the “foreign” markets; a lesson that I learned early in my adult career, when it became obvious that Italian men love sexy ‘Gypsy Girls’ like me – since they actually provided the second biggest market for my homemade amateur porno videos!

While I can’t say that I realized the same level of success selling memberships to my amateur Web site to Italian (and other European) men, I would have been remiss to not have tried. While I never really took it seriously enough to have a bunch of professionally translated tour or join pages made, I did construct a few different single-page “teaser” ads that offered a special Web site membership to surfers in their own “native language” – courtesy of Alta Vista’s “Babel Fish” translation service.

While hardly an optimal solution, this automated translation service provides quick, free results, that are “better than nothing” – and since my site’s visitors realized that I’m an American girl who doesn’t speak their native language, they appreciated the fact that I had tried to reach out to “them” – something that is easier for an “amateur site” to successfully pull off: Since my prospects don’t expect me to be “professional,” I can get away with being “cute” and “thoughtful” – something a non-amateur site may not get away with…

Show Me the Money
Being able to communicate with your site’s visitors is only half the battle, however. You also need to be able to accept their payment, if and when they decide to join your Web site, and / or purchase one of your “personal” items or products. While it is a simple enough matter if they have (and are willing to use) a MasterCard or VISA, various complications arise when they don’t have one of these ‘not-quite universal’ credit cards.

Fortunately, PayPal (my processor of choice) offers surfers the option of paying for recurring Web site memberships in U.S. Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling, and Yen – while most other popular processors offer multiple currency payment options as well; making the task of selling to foreign markets that much easier.

(Re)Directing Foreign Traffic
Once you have made the decision to reach out to the wide world around you, and take your sales to the next level, you will undoubtedly start running into a few areas that can easily cause confusion; the most obvious of which is “How can I send non-English speaking visitors to the appropriate page?”

While the simplest solution by far is to use “Click Here” text links (translated via Babel Fish – of course!) in your various chosen languages, or small flag icons, across the top of your home page – each leading to the appropriate ‘Join’ page, this approach may not be the best, as it causes the surfer to take action (click on a link), and he could either miss it, or not understand that he is supposed to click that link (perhaps the translation is *so* bad, or his dialect so regionally-specific, or he is *such* a ‘newbie’ – or plain drunk!) that you unnecessarily miss out on another opportunity to make a sale! Is there a better solution?

Of course there is! I’ve often admired some of my husband Stephen’s “gateway” pages, where he uses bits of JavaScript and PHP snippets to send different types of users to different URLs based on their browser type, or where they came from previously, etc., and so I asked him if he had a piece of code in his library that would help. “How about a PHP snippet that’ll discriminate your users based upon their browser language?” Sure, it isn’t technically directing people according to where they live, but it’s their language, and being able to communicate with them, that we’re interested in, right? Stephen dug around in his ‘toolbox,’ and gave me this little beauty, which I’ll share with you all:

A Helpful Bit of Code
<?php

// LANGUAGE REDIRECT

$language = $HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE;
if($language =='de') {
$goto = "http://www.domain.com/german/";
} elseif($language =='it') {
$goto = "http://www.domain.com/italian/";
} else {
$goto = "http://www.domain.com/main.php";
}
header("Location: $goto");
exit;

?>

To use the code in the example above, place it at the beginning of your home page (be aware, this will only work if you have a PHP enabled server, and your homepage is named “index.php“ not “index.html.“

The code uses a variable, $language which is initially set to the value delivered by the surfer’s browser. Comparisons are then made to (first German and then Italian, in the code example above) the visitor’s browser language settings, with different URLs being specified based on the result. All traffic that is not sent to a different Web page based on this test is directed to the final “main page” URL at the bottom – just be sure that this is not the same page as this script is on, or you’ll have an endless loop!

You can specify as many language redirects as you wish by repeating the code lines below, changing the value of the language code (properly known as ISO 639 codes), as well as the redirect URL:

if($language =='language code') {
$goto = "redirect URL";
}

You can find a complete list of these country-specific ISO 639 codes here.

Not every surfer that you send to your custom, language-specific ‘Join’ pages will actually purchase a membership, but at least you tried, and you stand a much better chance of making that sale than if you hadn’t tried at all! And what do you do with all that traffic that hits your ‘Join’ page and then doesn’t? (Regardless of what language they speak!) Well, that’s a story for another day! ~ Ayrora

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