It’s becoming harder and harder for businesses to stand out in the American market. In 2013, 476,000 new businesses launched in the U.S. each month. That’s not even counting already-established companies in other countries that are launching in the U.S. for the first time.
Even though it’s becoming harder to attract attention, PR and marketing efforts can go a long way to gain the exposure and recognition needed for a successful launch.
At my PR firm, March Communications, we specialize in helping international companies gain a foothold in the U.S. through proven B2B tech PR strategies, including highly targeted influencer relations, content creation and engagement.
With many successful U.S. launches over the past decade, we’ve helped take startups and public companies through to funding, acquisition or IPO, and have distilled some of our top tips for helping international companies launch stateside.
1. Get Local: It’s crucial to have ground support in the U.S. that knows the PR landscape, nuances of pitching techniques and who the industry influencers are for media, analysts and bloggers. Without this, an international company may not know that most media appreciate a heads up on launch news and will honor embargoes, if accurately specified. This gives them time to adequately research the company, take an interview and write up a timely article, whereas if they only find out about the launch on the day it happens, they’ll already think it’s old news. Such is the nature of today’s 24-hour news cycle… never ending and constantly changing, so you have to get ahead of it in the States to stay relevant!
2. Research Competitors: Just as product developers and sales teams do regularly, PR efforts must also research local competitors – especially for new markets. This not only shows what online publications and blogs are interested in the space and would be worth reaching out to, but it also shows what kind of events, awards, social platforms and collateral will be important to participate in or develop to be seen and heard in the U.S. by the right audiences. For instance, if you’re use to using XING in Germany, that’s great. But, now, consider Twitter for the U.S.
3. Secure a Credible Reference: So many industries, especially in the tech field, are becoming over-saturated with new vendors popping up every other day… or, so it seems. To avoid being seen as just another “me too” company, it’s important to secure a reference that is both credible and local. An industry analyst can be a great resource to satisfy this success factor – not only are they considered experts in their field with a holistic market view, but they are often willing to contribute a press release quote and are familiar sources for media, too. Offering an analyst to journalists in pitching efforts can often set your company apart because it shows a third party is willing to discuss the benefits of the company’s product or service and its position in the U.S. market.
4. Consider Customers: Similar to a third-party analyst reference, customer endorsements can speak volumes for an international company launching in the States. And, while any current customer could work, taking a closer look at those who may also be hoping to expand into the U.S. can be that much more beneficial, as they could speak to how the company’s move will also benefit them and how they’re confident in their relationship/partnership. These kinds of customer endorsements go a long way in press releases, media interviews or on social media networks. The more people talking about your company amid a U.S. launch, the better!
5. Be Present: So, you’re launching in the U.S., but you’re not actually here yet? This can pose a big problem or even knock your company’s credibility, so the more present you can be, the better. Even if the company’s office or new U.S. headquarters aren’t established yet, getting key executives to attend industry events or even host local meetups or happy hours can be a great boost to any launch. It also offers an in-person element for PR pitching and industry influencer relationship building.