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How to Promote a B2C Business in the U.S.: Nuances of the Local Mindset and Market for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Many of you struggle to achieve the same success in the U.S. market that you had in your home countries. It is because American marketing and thinking is different.


One mistake is trying to sell what sold well at home the same way you did at home. Even people who have been in the U.S. for a while make this mistake.


In this guide, I will talk about:

- What is unique about doing business in the United States,

- How this affects your online marketing,

- What you should do.


These tips will help you create a smarter promotion strategy and spend your marketing money well.


10 aspects of the U.S. mindset and business that impact your sales


1. Conservatism


Americans are open to new ideas but tend to be conservative. In 2022, 81% said they believe in God, and 66% go to church at least once a year. For comparison, in Russia, 66% believed in God and 15% went to church in 2023.


A 2023 poll showed:


- 38% hold conservative views,

- 33% have moderate views,

- Only 29% are liberals.


What this means for your sales


Conservative customers often like older, less convenient but familiar offers that fit their expectations. You have to sell them on your product.


People new to the U.S. are often shocked by outdated government services, poor local business websites, checks as a common payment method, and terrible manicures. That is just how things are here.


What to do?


- Validate demand for your product before developing the business. With a tight marketing budget, you need a tight product-market fit. Even then, you need a good online presence and PR.

Most problems here already have solutions. For instance, the education market is full of free community programs and affordable online courses from big universities. Starting an online education business and expecting to dominate is not realistic.


- Know your buyers. Understand who they are, what they think, why they buy, how they buy, where they buy, when they buy, how they talk about products like yours, how much they would buy, how much they would pay, why they would buy again, why they would recommend you to others, how to reach them, what would get their attention. Launching a promotion without this knowledge is a waste. Do not assume people in different countries are the same.


2. Prevalence of Fraud


Entrepreneurs in the U.S. quickly learn about fraud and scams. Just sharing your contact details can invite scammers – from all over the world.


Most scams happen on social networks. In 2.5 years, Americans lost $2.7 billion to social media scams. 44% of fraud reports in early 2023 involved social networks, mainly Facebook and Instagram.



What this means for your sales


Relying too much on social networks for initial promotion can backfire. People could mistake you for a scammer.


Americans prefer local payment methods. As a seller you might not like PayPal’s fees, but customers like it because it offers easy refunds.


Given a choice between a remote expert and a less skilled local person, Americans choose the local. The reason is they can sue the local person easily if needed (more on that below).


Build a reputation to avoid being seen as a scammer. Advertising without a reputation is not effective.


Low prices do not always attract customers. Instead, people might suspect a scam.


Social networks do not bring customers without a solid strategy, reputation, time, and investment.


What to do?


- Focus on building your reputation first. While you are unknown and have no reviews, social media ads will not work. You can make great visuals and take courses on social media reels, but you will not get sales without a reputation.


- Make payments easy for Americans. Use familiar services like PayPal, Stripe, or local banks.


- Do not just rely on low prices. A low price is not always an advantage and might turn off customers.


- Build trust. Offer money-back guarantees. Post your insurance details on your website – customers will like that if you cannot cover damages, your insurance will.


3. Legal Complexities and Lawsuits


Outside the U.S., Americans are sometimes ridiculed as naive. Some ad disclaimers might make you think people here are so silly they do not understand that a bun is not as big as in the ad. But the issue is not naivety.



In the U.S., there are many laws – and suing over non-compliance is an undustry.


What this means for your sales


Not knowing the law is no excuse. If you break a law, someone will sue you.


Even if you follow all laws, you need insurance. Lawsuits can ruin you if you are uninsured. And most customers will not work with uninsured contractors because their own insurance will not cover potential damages.


What to do?


- Learn about federal and state laws before starting your business.


- Get the necessary licenses. Without licenses, you risk competitors or customers reporting you to regulators.


- Get insurance and show it on your website.


- Make sure your website and ads have all the information required by law.


- Be careful with partnerships. Working with the wrong people can cause problems. If dealing with foreigners, check if they are on any ban lists.


4. High Competition


The U.S. market attracts people looking for profit. The thinking goes, with a pie this big, everyone can get a piece. But competition is intense. You have to convince customers that your offer is most desirable.


What this means for your sales


American consumers expect great service. They are used to generous return policies, discounts, and loyalty programs. Your customers will expect the same.


Paid traffic is expensive, and organic traffic is extremely competitive. Getting 50–150 views on social media posts is normal as millions of creators target your audience.


What to do?


- Study your competition. Understand their positioning, product attributes, claims, pricing, service, how they advertise, buyers’ opinions of them, and what gaps you can fill. Use this to find your niche.


- Learn from successful competitors. Workshops or mentoring can save you time and prevent mistakes. Choose a mentor in your field. But do not buy courses from people who have not run a business in the U.S.


- Plan for a long promotion period. It might take a year or more to see results from platforms like Pinterest. Be realistic about the work needed to get customers.


5. Major Players


Besides intense competition, the U.S. market has big players with huge marketing budgets. You are competing with them too.


If you sell kids' products online, you are up against Amazon, Etsy, Target. Opening a psychology practice? Your competitors are apps and aggregator websites.


What this means for your sales


If you sell common products or services, you will not rank high in search results. Big firms, retail giants, and aggregators dominate the top spots.


Paid ads are expensive because you are bidding against big brands.


Big players run sales and discounts. You cannot beat them on price.


What to do?


- Pick a narrow niche. It is hard and can take you a long time to find a niche. But it is easier to rank in search and get affordable clicks. Most of your competitors have done this. They either serve a specific area or specialize. Engagement ring shops are easier to rank than general jewelry shops. A kitchen furniture maker is easier to rank than one that makes all sorts of furniture.


- Find your unique selling point. You cannot beat big players on price or service, but you can be different.


- Focus on organic traffic. It takes time but is worth it. For example, a paid click can cost our agency $250. I am writing this helpful article to get free traffic.


- Use niche-specific advertising tools. For local services, for instance, consider Google Local Services Ads. They are cheaper than Google Ads. Get listed on niche aggregators that your target audience uses.


6. The Importance of Reputation


As you can tell, marketing in the U.S. is costly and complex. Building a good reputation is key for referrals and higher rankings.


What this means for your sales


Partner programs and partnerships work well.


Customers choose based on reviews and mentions. Local media coverage can bring in more leads than a month of social media posts.


Bad reviews on aggregators and Google can harm your search ranking and sales.


If you don't have reviews, online ads are usually a waste of money.


What to do?


- Network. Share your story and mission with as many people as possible – online and offline.


- Manage reviews. Create a rewards system for positive reviews. Offer refunds, exchanges, or service upgrades for taking down bad reviews.


- Develop a partner program. Share profits from sales through an affiliate program. Pay for referrals offline. It is one of the best ways to promote.


- Use PR. Coverage in local papers or blogs can be more effective than ads.


7. Community Loyalty


People like to buy from those who share their beliefs, origins, or has something else in common with them. Say, players of golf will like you more if you too play golf.


What this means for your sales


Customers trust local businesses more. Even if an outsider is more skilled, people often choose someone local.


Your competitors use this. Religious people, for example, openly share their faith on social media. Do not be surprised if you see realtors with Bibles as their Facebook avatars.


What to do?


- Get involved in the community. Attend local events, libraries, book clubs, and volunteer. Join local professional associations. Meet entrepreneurs in your area.


- Build your own community. Keep in touch with your regular customers via email newsletters.


- Use online networking. Connect with people who share your interests or are in your field – including your competitors – on platforms like Lunchclub or LinkedIn.


- Emphasize your unique qualities. If you are a woman, mention that your business is woman-owned. Your religious background can help you connect with clients.


- Promote on online communities. Use platforms like Facebook Groups or Nextdoor to reach neighbors and like-minded people.


8. Internal Conflicts


Each country has its unspoken rules and underlying conflicts. A 2021 study found the U.S. has the most internal conflicts among developed countries, including racial and ethnic discrimination, politics, and women's rights.


What this means for your sales


What you say publicly can gain or lose you customers – or can lead to boycotts.


On one hand, brands play with complex topics, like baby food brands featuring diverse families.


On the other hand, it is best to stay away from sensitive topics. Search "cancel culture business" and you will see how PR has changed to manage the impacts of consumer boycotts on brands.



What to do?


- Be careful with what you say or do.


- Plan your promotion strategy carefully. Besides promotion tactics and tools, define guidelines for tone of voice and topics to avoid or include. Your staff should know these guidelines to avoid mistakes.


9. Language Diversity


The U.S. does not have an official language, and English proficiency varies. This means you do not have to use trendy words from language bloggers. Part of your audience will not understand them.


21.7% speak a language other than English at home. 13.3% speak Spanish at home. 8.2% have limited English skills.



What this means for your sales


You can promote in any language. No one judges you for not speaking good English.


Ad text should be simple and clear. Your audience might include many non-native English speakers. No need to write "I got ya" instead of "I understand" or ask GPT to find 10 synonyms for "beautiful."


Your accent does not matter if your message is important. People will listen. Mind you: important for your audience.


Right now, vertical talk videos are the best for organic traffic. You can get thousands of views on YouTube Shorts – even with no subscribers. Do not miss out on this opportunity because of worries about your accent.


What to do?


- Set language norms in your promotion strategy. Define your target audience, how to communicate with them, and what tone of voice to use.


- Make short videos. Videos are better than no videos, even if you have a strong accent.


10. Communication Styles


In the U.S., being too direct can be seen as rude. Selling involves unspoken rules of communication. The American love for litigation and cancel culture explains why.


It is not okay in the U.S. to answer "Where can I buy tomatoes?" with "Why do you need tomatoes in winter? Buy apples instead". Passive aggression is a red flag. A long, negative response to "How are you?" is unacceptable.


A potential customer will leave, cancel, or sue you. They may not tell you directly, but they will stop buying from you.


What this means for your sales


Buyers want to know who is behind a brand or business. That is why we hear what Jeff Bezos did and how much someone gave to charity. People do not buy from those they think are bad or unpleasant.


What to do?


- Work on being charming. Charming people sell more.


- Hire good communicators. It takes years to build a reputation, but one rude comment can ruin it.



 

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