With research and development grants scaled back significantly in this year’s federal budget, many Australian app developers are turning to the EMDG (Export Market Development Grant) as their main source of government funding.

Businesses that successfully claim the EMDG will be reimbursed up to 50 per cent of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000, provided that the total costs are at least $15,000.

However to qualify for the EMDG, businesses must be able to successfully export their app to international markets – something that’s easier said than done. But by following these steps, you have a much better chance of gaining an international following for your app.

1) Do your research

Entering any new market, no matter its location, requires a large amount of research. However when targeting a foreign country, you need to explore more than just market gaps and demographics. Cultural differences, linguistics, internet access and mobile phone usage (both current and potential) are all essential aspects to include in your market research.

China has nearly 0.7 million smartphone users in 2018.

China has nearly 0.7 million smartphone users in 2018, and that number is set to grow significantly, reaching 0.8 billion by 2022, according to Statista. However, tapping into the Chinese market requires a lot more time and effort than if you were to export into an English-speaking country with a broadly similar culture.

In China, some images or symbols may be considered offensive, where they are perfectly acceptable in Australia. Pointing the index finger, for example, is thought to be extremely rude in China. The Google Play store is also unavailable in China, so you will need to choose an alternative, such as the Baidu App store.

You need to take into account all of these things before choosing a market that you believe will work well for your application.

China is a great export market in terms of mobile phone users, but there are some cultural differences to be aware of.

2) Localise the app and translate everything

It’s not enough just to translate words in the app itself. You also need to change the language of (among other things):

  • Your app description.
  • Meta data.
  • Launch and help tips.
  • Privacy policies.
  • End user agreement.
  • Keywords (which may need to alter slightly depending on the language).
  • Any content marketing material you’ve been using.

A good way of testing the waters for your app is by changing the app description language. If you see a significant spike in downloads from that country, you’ve probably chosen the right location.

Remember you can’t just use Google Translate. You need to have someone who is a native speaker of the language carry out the translation, and make sure you research any word restrictions or other factors that may mean you can’t simply translate directly.

It’s also important to consider how text length will change. Translating a string of text into German, for example, can expand the length by up to 30 per cent, while it would contract up to 15 per cent when translated into Korean (according to translation agency Kwintessential).

Likewise you need to localise other aspects of the app – numbers, currencies, particular colours, and graphics will need to change, to suit the new target audience.

Remember to change basic things like currency in order to localise your app as completely as possible.

3) Engage in pre-launch activities

Create a website featuring teaser and sample content of what the app will include.

To create a buzz around your app, it’s important to engage in pre-launch marketing activities in the new country. Create a website featuring teaser and sample content of what the app will include. Write articles and create videos and social media posts that give your target audience information about the app.

On the website, include an email sign up form for those who are interested in finding out more and receiving exclusive teaser videos and games. You can then send this email list targeted content, and by using analytics, engage in some early market research by finding out how many clicks throughs you’re getting for specific content or emails.

4) Seek advice from the experts at Techwitty

As you can see, there’s heaps to consider when marketing to a new country. But, if done well, not only will you be able to claim the EMDG, you could also make millions in additional profit.

One way to improve your chances of this is partnering with the expert team at Techwitty. We’ve got years of experience helping companies out with app development, claiming government grants and creating marketing strategies. Contact us today for more information.