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Customer Experience

Marketing to culturally diverse customers

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Marketing to culturally diverse audiences can be challenging - Even if your customers are based in Australia. Discover tools to communicate to your audience considerately.

Understanding your customers at the outset of developing a business and communications strategy is generally best practice — so you’re not riding the horse while the road is still being built, so to speak.

However, small businesses rarely have the budget for expensive market research and strategic planning to understand their audience, particularly from diverse backgrounds. That’s where simple technological tools can help — to measure and analyse customer engagement, and to minimise dollar spend.

a collection of computer parts lined up on a table.

Speak their language

The phrase ‘lost in translation’ doesn’t just apply to metaphors and allegory. Understanding how your products and messages look in another cultural light could save you a headache or embarrassment down the road.

For example, if you have a significant Chinese audience, consider that the colour white can have negative connotations in their culture.

Another case in point when considering the cultural nuances of your audience with regard to your product is yoga. If you told someone in India that you do yoga they may assume you mean meditation, whereas in Australia the perception of yoga is closer to contortion.

Looking at how your message could be received in another culture can save you confusion when you take your products to a diverse market - both domestically and internationally.

Digital tools of success

Small business owner, Mark O'Brien of Qi Health and Yoga has built a loyal customer base by embracing the cultural diversity in Sydney’s northern beaches. He discussed some of the tools that have helped him understand his diverse and growing audience.

“Qi invites people to join our community to find better health and balance in a busy world. Although we are local, the numerous overseas customers reflect Sydney’s cultural mix.

“Qi also offers products that attract a global audience; thanks to the beauty of the Internet, people from all corners of the world book onto our training programs and retreats.

“The digital tools we use are brilliant for analysing customer demographics and behaviour. One of the joys for a small business is the availability of low-cost technological tools to support and [help] enhance your marketing.”

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Qi’s tools of the trade

  1. Automated marketing - Qi uses an automated CRM called Mind Body Online. Popular in the health industry, this system enables customers to book classes and treatments online and reach markets from a variety of backgrounds. Mind Body Online also clarifies the primary audience, providing snippets of personal information such as birthdays, which customers have children and the treatments they book
  2. Email marketing - Using the customer demographic analytics from Mind Body Online, Qi can communicate by email in a relevant and personalised way. A couple of thousand people open their e-newsletter each week — testament to the success of this particular marketing tool, and to Qi’s success in targeting a diverse customer base with suitable content
  3. Website - A website rebuild has helped to elevate the brand, improve usability, drive traffic, and increase online bookings by a staggering 45 per cent in nine months. If you need a little help, Telstra Business Website Services have a number of website plans to help you ensure your website is well designed and written.
  4. Qi yoga app - The personalised, free app is the quickest way for customers to interact with Qi and it facilitates a two-way communication, allowing the cross-promotion of other products
  5. Facebook - This easy-to-use social media tool creates significant engagement for Qi. It establishes the brand’s personality, analyses reach, identifies what interests people and promotes their local and international events
  6. Blog - Identifying content on Facebook has helped Qi to develop a blog that attracts an international presence. The blog, accessible on the website, is proving successful in growing their reputation as an international yoga school of merit with highly qualified and internationally renowned teachers and practitioners

These simple marketing tools have helped retention to remain high and for Qi to grow its following year-on-year, locally and internationally, in an increasingly competitive health industry. With an active customer base of 6000, and 7000 visitors to the two centres each month, the future looks bright — and healthy. 

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