Curious About UK Versus US Marketing

33 replies
Hey Warriors!

After that awful rant yesterday I noticed a lot of my subscribers mentioning that even though they're in a UK spelling area, they usually target US spelling because the search volume is more.

Why is this? Or is it even correct?

Is it just for certain niches? These were broad like traveling (or travelling lol).

I have a lot of UK customers so I'd like to know more.

What do UK marketers target for UKers specifically versus US audience? Or do you just not even separate anything at all?

Tiff
#curious #marketing #versus
  • Profile picture of the author Chri5123
    Hi Tiff,

    Interesting one!

    If I can if I am promoting physical products that are on sale in the U.K and the U.S I will target both.

    A similar problem with one of my sites that is a game leveling guide but you can spell leveling or "levelling" so I tend to target both.

    I normally purchase .com's unless of course it is a UK product so I end up using the US version of spelling in most cases.

    Like color and center as oppose to colour and centre < it even throws up a spell check when I spell it the U.K way lol.

    Interesting post.

    Chris Jones
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    It depends on the niche.. for my marketing products I mainly target the US because the market is more receptive to digital products than the UK, at least in my experience.

    What gets me is the pronunciation of the word "niche" in my videos... having a British accent I don't pronounce it as "nitch", but as "neesh". Hopefully most Americans will still know what I'm talking about.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chri5123
      Originally Posted by Mick Meaney View Post

      It depends on the niche.. for my marketing products I mainly target the US because the market is more receptive to digital products than the UK, at least in my experience.

      What gets me is the pronunciation of the word "niche" in my videos... having a British accent I don't pronounce it as "nitch", but as "neesh".
      LOL - yes to us brits when I hear someone from the U.S say "niche" it sounds like something that needs to be scratched on your back!

      I have always thought when I say the word "niche" in videos I help that people from the U.S know what I am talking about.

      Also I say Ezine Articles like "Ezeen articles" as oppose to "Ezine articles" but that is just me pronouncing it wrong I think!

      Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Sorrell
      Originally Posted by Mick Meaney View Post

      It depends on the niche.. for my marketing products I mainly target the US because the market is more receptive to digital products than the UK, at least in my experience.

      What gets me is the pronunciation of the word "niche" in my videos... having a British accent I don't pronounce it as "nitch", but as "neesh". Hopefully most Americans will still know what I'm talking about.
      Yup, the whole 'nitch' issue really annoys me. New zealenders say 'nitch' as well. In the ENGLISH dictionary there is no such word as 'nitch'. Niche always has been and always should be pronounced 'neesh'.
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    • Profile picture of the author Britt Malka
      Originally Posted by Mick Meaney View Post

      What gets me is the pronunciation of the word "niche" in my videos... having a British accent I don't pronounce it as "nitch", but as "neesh". Hopefully most Americans will still know what I'm talking about.
      I pronounce it as "neesh", too, because that's how it's pronounced in French, where I've been living from 2000-2011 (June), and the word derives from French. This may not be the right way to pronounce it in English, but if I can choose between "nitch" and "neesh", the latter fall more natural to me. It's pronounced in almost the same way in Danish, by the way (neeshe).
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  • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
    Search volume numbers are directly related to population numbers. We have more folks over here is all. Our Brit friends would be amiss to ignore that in their marketing processes.
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinJ
    I think that its best to target both. If you don't target both then you loose out on the one. I personally target the UK market because it has more relevance to my market.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by TiffanyDow View Post

    I noticed a lot of my subscribers mentioning that even though they're in a UK spelling area, they usually target US spelling because the search volume is more.

    Why is this? Or is it even correct?
    Sometimes it's correct; other times not. It depends on the word, the context, the way it's commonly spelled in other countries (some are US-one-way, all the rest of the English-speaking world another way; others are UK-one-way, most of the rest of the English-speaking world another way - and this is a big factor determining search volumes). And so on.

    Originally Posted by TiffanyDow View Post

    I have a lot of UK customers so I'd like to know more.
    This is becoming less significant than it was, though, because of Google "correcting" spelling more than it used to. (And I think other search engines, too - or at least that they'll follow?).

    Originally Posted by TiffanyDow View Post

    What do UK marketers target for UKers specifically versus US audience? Or do you just not even separate anything at all?
    It depends what we're looking for, how sophisticated an internet user we are, and so on. Google.co.uk offers us more .co.uk domain-names and more UK-hosted sites than it offers you, anyway.

    It's common for "UK" to be included in people's search-terms, though.

    One of my biggest and best niches is more or less UK only. I don't care where that site ranks on Google.com, only on Google.co.uk. (I have .co.uk/.uk.com domains and UK hosting for it, of course).

    With regard to the specific spelling matter you're asking about, I suspect that in America, there's a "widely held, unspoken belief" that the US spelling is the common one, and that the Brits have their quaint, old-fashioned, "own spelling" of the word ... whereas in fact it's pretty often the US only where the word's spelled differently, and all the rest of the English-speaking world actually spells it what some Americans perceive of as "the British way". And this can, indeed, be reflected in search volumes. In other words, sometimes the American spelling is actually the minority one.

    That said, internet penetration/availability is undoubtedly still far higher in America than in many English-speaking countries, and of course that's a factor, too.

    Originally Posted by Chri5123 View Post

    Also I say Ezine Articles like "Ezeen articles"
    There's another way of saying it?!
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  • Profile picture of the author TiffanyLambert
    Very neat insight for me - thanks y'all!

    Alexa, I wonder why it is, as you say, that the US has more infiltration of the 'net. More than the UK? I'd think they were equal? Why is there a discrepancy?

    I'm ignorant about this. I thought it would mirror our usage.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by TiffanyDow View Post

      Alexa, I wonder why it is, as you say, that the US has more infiltration of the 'net. More than the UK?
      I meant "more than many English-speaking countries"; I'd guess that the UK is about the same or even slightly higher, but I don't know.

      (Edited to add: UK government figures published on 31st August claim that 77% of UK households have internet access. I have no idea what the equivalent US figure is, though your population's about 5 times the size of ours, I think?).

      I'd think that measuring by "numbers of English-speaking people", America's probably the top country, India's probably second, and then there'll be two or three other countries before you get to the UK? (I'm guessing this - I may be wrong!). There are countries such as Canada, Australia, South Africa (Ireland and New Zealand are much smaller?) and so on ... lots of the world is "English-speaking" and in many countries in which English-speakers are small minorities (India? Parts of Africa?? Russia???) they tend to be the very similar, overlapping, small minorities as those with internet connections and credit-cards or PayPal accounts? Potential customers, in other words? And although they may be small minorities when compared with their countries' overall populations, they're still huge numbers of people?

      English is spoken and written throughout the Caribbean (typically with "British" spellings, I believe) and quite a bit in Central America too (typically with "US" spellings, probably?).
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      • Profile picture of the author ShayB
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post


        (Edited to add: UK government figures published on 31st August claim that 77% of UK households have internet access. I have no idea what the equivalent US figure is, though your population's about 5 times the size of ours, I think?).
        It depends on the area, I'm sure, but locally here (in my South Carolina town), it's estimated that less than 40% of the residents have Internet access, and of those, a good percentage only have it at work or school.
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        • Profile picture of the author TiffanyLambert
          Originally Posted by Chris Sorrell View Post

          Yup, the whole 'nitch' issue really annoys me. New zealenders say 'nitch' as well. In the ENGLISH dictionary there is no such word as 'nitch'. Niche always has been and always should be pronounced 'neesh'.
          But look how it's spelled! LOL! I say nitch but I feel so self conscious doing it I always add "or neesh however you prefer."

          Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

          It depends on the area, I'm sure, but locally here (in my South Carolina town), it's estimated that less than 40% of the residents have Internet access, and of those, a good percentage only have it at work or school.
          Shay what area are you in? I lived in SC (Columbia) during my last few years of college - loved it there.
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          • Profile picture of the author ShayB
            Originally Posted by TiffanyDow View Post


            Shay what area are you in? I lived in SC (Columbia) during my last few years of college - loved it there.
            A dinky town in between Edisto Beach and Charleston.
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            • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
              Banned
              Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

              A dinky town in between Edisto Beach and Charleston.
              That's a long way from the Delta quadrant: you must have found a very well-placed wormhole.
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              • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

                That's a long way from the Delta quadrant: you must have found a very well-placed wormhole.


                It's amazing the range that Transporters have these days...
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  • Profile picture of the author Mickyf
    Hi Tiffany I am from the UK "Liverpool which has its own unique lanquage" but mostly I market to the US .
    I always try and be myself and the majority of people in the US know that our UK spellingsand pronunciations are different, however the good people of the US are inteligent enough to understand and accept it, just like we understand yours
    It's AWESOME aint it la
    cheers Mick
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    This is a funny subject as one of the things that annoys me is hearing British IMers pronouncing Americanised versions of the words. It's just wrong..
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  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    I always write using American spellings - or at least the ones I know of - because most of my domains aren't really specific to a country and I anticipate getting more traffic from the US.

    If it was aimed at the UK market I'd definitely spell it properly using the UK version.

    I once read in the Copywriting section that people in the UK were better at getting along with US spelling than the US are with UK spellings. I think that's probably true from surfing the net, watching US films and TV shows and, of course, music.
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      Hi Tiffany,

      When I started out writing my newsletter, Kickstart, way back in 2001 (goodness, where did all those years go to?) I used UK spelling because that's where I'm from. It didn't occur to me that it would be an issue.

      But as my list grew, and more and more Americans subscribed, my inbox became swamped with emails - some trying to be helpful and some just angry - from people in the US who genuinely thought that I was just a sloppy writer.

      It seemed that many Americans - or at least the subsection who had subscribed to my newsletter - had no idea that 'other' spellings exist and took exception to someone (me) sending them emails with what they perceived to be so many mistakes in them.

      I was very surprised that people felt so strongly about it and started asking why.

      The general response was that Americans are brought up to value spelling very highly. Spelling Bee competitions drum into US kids from an early age that good spelling is a measure of education. I don't know if that is true - spelling bees seem to be a mainly US thing.

      Also, if the standard of spelling (from either side of the Atlantic) on forums is anything to go by this may no longer be the case.

      In addition, it was pointed out to me (by my many US friends) that a lot of Americans have an ingrained attitude that 'if it is American it is good, if it from anywhere else it is suspect.'

      So to reduce the flood of complaints I started to spellcheck my newsletters in US English, and gradually became so used to writing the US way that it is now second nature.

      From several dozen complaints a week it dropped to zero. Oddly, although I used US spelling, I continued to use UK idiom - and didn't bother to replace words like 'tap' with 'faucet'. This didn't pose a problem. In fact, I started getting emails from Americans saying how they enjoyed reading English phrases.

      So it seems that spelling is the big issue and not the specific words used.

      So for the last 1200 or so editions of Kickstart - around 2 million words I guess - US spelling has predominated.

      And guess how many complaints I've had from UK readers about my 'misspelling' of words?

      One. And that was sent in tongue in cheek!

      I think the reason is that readers from the rest of the world are well aware of American spelling and have, in general, become almost blind to them.

      If I were to write a book aimed purely at the UK market, of course I would make more use of the u and s keys (odd that the US has so much issue with those letters!) and double up on the odd consonant where necessary. But for an International audience, US spelling is the best bet - if only to keep the number of complaints to a minimum.

      Martin

      P.S. Pronounciation is another thing completely. Nitch, like the word it rhymes with, is just plain irritating!
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  • Profile picture of the author Flyingpig7
    I agree wholeheartly with Alexa and thanks for some great insights there, that I've not thought of.

    As a Brit this bit about spellings does sometimes confuse me do I use american spellings or not?

    After reading this thread I should just remind myself the to state that I'm British therefore not get accused of misspelling should the occasion arise.

    In addition to the comments made by Alexa I would like to point out that in most countries in Europe (nay even the world) English is a second language and usually taught by TEFL teachers in the English spellings (as I understand it).

    The most notable exception is French (that would be another topic for those who want to know why).
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  • I use mostly American spellings despite being English. I may be wrong but I'm not certain that the British are as open to digital products and sales techniques as I perceive the US market to be. There is natural reservedness about us as a whole that sometimes translates into scepticism. I know a lot of people who think everything sold on the internet that isn't physical is a scam if it doesn't come from a mainstream site.

    Another one of the assumptions I work to (and it is an assumption) is that the global market often reaches into western world stuff through the US and is more used to .com and American english.

    All that said, I'm certain there are warriors on here who are making a tidy little sum purely from the UK market.
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  • Profile picture of the author Flyingpig7
    Oh I've a question for you warriors how would I know if I've written something wrong in American spelling that I'm unaware of .

    Am I expected to look at the American Dictionary or should I just trust that spell checker has an American version.


    Perhaps I'm overly worrying now ;-]
    I only aware of a few words like colour, favourite .
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  • Profile picture of the author Kronom
    For me, and most of others that promote physical product the US is of course better.... Would you prefer to target the audience with a population of 60 mln or 250 mln...no brainer her. For the e-products - it does not matter really.


    Originally Posted by TiffanyDow View Post

    Hey Warriors!

    After that awful rant yesterday I noticed a lot of my subscribers mentioning that even though they're in a UK spelling area, they usually target US spelling because the search volume is more.

    Why is this? Or is it even correct?

    Is it just for certain niches? These were broad like traveling (or travelling lol).

    I have a lot of UK customers so I'd like to know more.

    What do UK marketers target for UKers specifically versus US audience? Or do you just not even separate anything at all?

    Tiff
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  • Profile picture of the author louie6925
    This is an interesting subject all round but my biggest question would be to all you guys who promote digital products to both UK and the US, when your using your buy now buttons do you price the product in dollars or pounds or do you do both?
    Only asking as I personally use dollars and in the sales page I do put pounds in brackets using the current exchange rate! Is there a better way anyone can suggest!
    Good post by the OP, something very rarely discussed!

    Louie6925
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  • Profile picture of the author louie6925
    This is an interesting subject all round but my biggest question would be to all you guys who promote digital products to both UK and the US, when your using your buy now buttons do you price the product in dollars or pounds or do you do both?
    Only asking as I personally use dollars and in the sales page I do put pounds in brackets using the current exchange rate! Is there a better way anyone can suggest!
    Good post by the OP, something very rarely discussed!

    Louie6925
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by louie6925 View Post

      This is an interesting subject all round but my biggest question would be to all you guys who promote digital products to both UK and the US, when your using your buy now buttons do you price the product in dollars or pounds or do you do both?
      US Dollars are the currency of the internet.

      Even in my "UK-only" niche, all prices of all products are given in dollars only, and British people have absolutely no problem with at, at all: British people buying anything digital online (unless perhaps from a UK-only retailer such as UK-Amazon) expect the prices to be in dollars. We know it'll typically cost us a fraction more on conversion-rates when we pay by credit-card or PayPal.

      As discussed here in quite some detail only a couple of weeks ago ....
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      • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
        Totally agree with Alexa.

        Always price online products in Dollars. However you measure it, the US is likely to be one of your biggest markets and American buyers are uncomfortable buying in currencies other than their own.

        But it goes beyond that. The Internet is truly international and so if you, for example, show both the US and UK prices you will be alienating Australians, Indian, New Zealanders, Canadians, Europeans and everyone else.

        Unless you are aiming purely at a one-country market (I find it hard to imagine why you'd waste teh rest of the world's potential, but some people do) in which case the local currency is probably okay.

        Martin
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  • Profile picture of the author Flyingpig7
    Wow thanks Martin there's a lot of food for thought in your post.

    Seems to be that it all depends on your niche, is it mainly American or other country where your readers are based in.

    I'm already used to converting everything in dollars so that's a no brainer.

    Mmm so to find an american spellchecker on my editor. I normally use a spellchecker just never occurred to me to use it in American.

    Thanks for the tips they're great.
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  • Profile picture of the author Willie Murray
    I have UK & US Clients for my IT Company based in the UK and I will change from US-english to UK-english depending on which client I am communicating with via email....
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      Originally Posted by william1872 View Post

      I have UK & US Clients for my IT Company based in the UK and I will change from US-english to UK-english depending on which client I am communicating with via email....
      Now that's a different matter. When communicating one on one it would be silly to write in American to someone from the UK - if nothing else out of common courtesy.

      So if I know for sure that a subscriber who has written to me personally is from the UK I will also use British English in my reply.

      But you can't take that thinking too far. For example, I have a lot of Aussies who write to me and Australian English - at least from an idiom point of view - is a whole different ballgame. I wouldn't presume to try to 'become' Aussie in my writing if I was replying and think I'd look rather silly if I did try!

      Martin
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        Australian English - at least from an idiom point of view - is a whole different ballgame. I wouldn't presume to try to 'become' Aussie in my writing if I was replying and think I'd look rather silly if I did try!
        Indeed ... no point trying to come the raw prawn with those cobbers ...
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      • Profile picture of the author AlisonM
        Once I started reading this, I immediately thought of currency, as did Louie.

        However wherever it is possible to TARGET specific geographical areas - and exclude others - e.g as on FACEBOOK, I will send my message to just one area.

        I have a Facebook fan page (despite the silly title that may show, it is a genuine link) Welcome to Facebook - Log In, Sign Up or Learn More and can target posts to specific countries, so depending how you log in, you will now only see posts relevant to your country. Powerful stuff!!

        Regards
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