This is what you need to know.
Russia is a very lucrative online market:
- With more than 65 million online users, Russia currently ranks as one of the largest online population countries (counts more users than UK and just below Germany)
- Having steep growth rates, Russia is expected to rank among the first five countries worldwide with the largest online community in the next 5 years.
- Russians between the ages of 18-45 are very internet savvy.
- Interactive users are easily segmented as they are concentrated in two main Cities (Moscow and Saint Petersburg).
- Russia is being described as the first social media nation in the world (people spent most time on social networks)
- Most Russian companies use social networking as a fundamental marketing channel
While Russia appears to offer a very rewarding online community for business, most international companies find it very difficult generating business online. Let’s see some facts:
- Only a small percent of Russians speak English and those who do, feel more confident doing business using their mother language.
- Russians do not follow the rest of the world in terms of social networks and search engines- They prefer their own. VKontakte (equivalent of facebook) is by far more popular than its American rival Facebook and Yandex the predominant Russian Search engine has over 60% of market share with Google the global giant following with less than 25%
- Russia is a huge country. Thousands of different districts and demographics. One size does not fit all (A well though Strategy is imperative)
- Most Russian companies are used to do business only with Russian companies and most Russian Executives are used to interact with their Russian Peers. So interrnational (European or US )companies will face cultural barriers especially in the beginning of their business relationship with Russian companies
What do you need to do to start generating Russian leads?
Make your internet business model as “Russian as Possible”. Localization is the key if you want to start getting business form Russian online user. How?
Here are a few examples of localizing your online business model:
- Understand your audience and your competition as it appears on the internet.
- Create a Russian Version of your website. (language, design, text)
- Optimize to Russian Search Engines (especially to Yandex).
- Utilize Russian social networks. (mail.ru, livejournal.com Vkontakte.ru)
- Geo- target potential clients.
- Advertise in Russian (use “Russian landing pages & keywords” )
- Have Russian Contact Information and Russian Customer service (at least for the initial contact)
- Accept Russian methods of payment
- Get Listed in the right Russian catalogs
The Russian market is not easily accessible, but can be extremely rewarding. With the help of the right people ….you can!
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