As a business grows, it's natural to want to expand its customer base beyond certain geographic boundaries. This can include marketing to customers across the country, reaching out to a consumer base that might not have access to products like yours. For startups, reaching out to a global customer base can make a big difference in its overall growth.

Moving into a new market isn't without its challenges, however, including language barriers and cultural customs. If a business is willing to do its research and find the best way to market to a specific customer base, international marketing can pay off. As a business prepares a global marketing strategy, here are 10 areas of the world to market your startup.

China

As the largest world economy, China has a large customer base with spending money and an eagerness to spend. The country's 1.3 billion consumers are eager to spend on everything from cars to trinkets to clothing and jewelry. The trick is to reach those customers over all of the noise. To be competitive, it's important to first understand how they prefer to receive messages. According to B2B International Magazine, conferences and exhibits are the most popular way for brands to connect with companies, while digital marketing is the best way to reach consumers. With more customers creating content than consuming it in China, influencers may be a great way to reach consumers, with local video bloggers and social media users using a business's product in exchange for a review on their various high-profile channels.

Canada

Our northern neighbor is a natural fit for many businesses, since travel is easy and most residents speak English. Direct mail is a very effective way to reach Canadians, according to Canada Post. Realizing this, you can deploy a direct mail marketing effort directly from your American offices, combining it with online marketing through Google and 411.ca, Canada's local search engine. These tips from successful Canadian business owners can also help with insight into marketing efforts that speak to the country's consumers.

England

England is another natural fit for an American business, with less of a communication barrier than in countries without English as a first language. The country also has a supportive technology infrastructure and a gradually improving economy. Social media is a great way to reach UK customers, with Facebook and Twitter still remaining popular. Search engine marketing efforts should target Google, which holds more than 88 percent market share, while keeping in mind the differences in UK and US spelling.

Australia

Australia may be a sizable distance from the U.S., but the country has one of the largest capital economies in the world, with a total wealth of $6.4 trillion dollars. This thriving economy makes the country a great market for an innovative startup. Content marketing is extremely popular in Australia and, surprisingly, most marketers report that LinkedIn is the preferred platform for reaching customers. Analytics are extremely popular with Australian businesses and marketers, as the country turns its attention to the importance of gaining information and using that information to make decisions.

Ireland

Ireland has earned a name for itself because of its pro-business environment, which attracts investments from some of the top companies in the world. Like America, Irish marketers are focusing their efforts on digital marking, with many marketers reporting they use social media engagement to foster brand loyalty. Facebook is by far the most popular social media site, with Twitter following at a distant second.

New Zealand

While New Zealand has a relatively small economy, the country has an environment that encourages business and entrepreneurship. These benefits make the country an ideal choice for American businesses interested in expanding into a welcoming environment. Digital marketing is now mainstream in New Zealand, with social media and email marketing to existing databases being the most popular among marketers. To reach customers through search engines, businesses should market to New Zealand-specific versions of popular search engines, including Google New Zealand and Yahoo! New Zealand.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong's free market economy is dependent on international trade and commerce, leaving an open door to businesses that want to reach out to customers. Before beginning marketing efforts in the area, startups should get to know the many cultures and traditions to impress rather than offend. Trust is very important to Hong Kong's residents, with many businesses working through digital media to build that trust. Facebook is the country's most popular social media site, but Sina Weibo is popular locally.

Italy

Italy's economy is still struggling, but this has also meant that in recent years, startups have often met with failure. This has resulted in a drought of innovative products that could appeal to the area's consumers. In fact, in recent months, the country has become an ideal place for online retailers interested in expanding to new markets, with a large online consumer base that helps fuel the nation's economy. Many brands are focusing on online ads and digital marketing to reach Italy's growing Internet user base. While the country's online purchases are lower in comparison to other countries, this is expected to grow in the next few years, which could leave an opening for businesses interested in reaching those new online shoppers.

Switzerland

Having been named, "entrepreneur friendly," Switzerland isn't just a great place to start a business. For American startups, it's a great market. Google is by far the most popular search engine and, as with most countries, Facebook is the most popular social media site. Switzerland is also similar to many countries in that digital media has become marketers' focus, as marketing experts realize that consumers are now spending more time online than reading magazines or watching TV. Customers are also very savvy to eCommerce and willing to purchase things online.

South Korea

One of Asia's fastest-growing economies is South Korea, having experienced significant growth in recent years. The market remains largely untapped, however, as businesses overlook it in favor for more high-profile Asian consumer markets. Mobile use has overwhelmed the South Korean market, with a 110 percent penetration rate in 2013. Kakao Talk is the area's most popular social network, but recent political issues have led many in the area to leave in favor of German social network Telegram Messenger, which is an encrypted messaging service. Facebook may be a better way to reach South Korean customers, since the social media site holds the largest share of the social media market. Before moving into the South Korean market, however, businesses should study the country's restrictions and market challenges and decide if it's the best solution for their products.

Across the globe, consumers are using the internet to purchase items from other countries. By reaching out to that customer base, a new startup or growing small business can quickly connect with a large number of buyers who can become loyal shoppers. Before reaching out to those areas, though, it's important that a business fully understands the customs of the area and buying habits of those who live there, paying special attention to the type of marketing that gets the best response. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all is in marketing to an unfamiliar customer base that may not respond the same way American customers do to ads, online social media posts, or blogs. Companies can easily spend time searching social media sites of brands that have a presence in the country of choice and note the posts that get the best responses.

Published on: Dec 17, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.