There is increasing talk about how important it is for companies to use digital tools, especially in these months of postponed fairs. However, many business owners are not quite clear what this means. There is a belief that they are “things” meant for big businesses with large resources, both human and financial. What does digital export mean for a small-medium business? What are the most useful digital tools for developing exports?


Many companies believe that it is enough to be online with a website to get immediate feedback. Or that it is enough to create an e-store since e-commerce has exploded during the pandemic. They are certainly important parts of a digital strategy, but they are not enough.

These investments – and many others – must be framed within a strategy. This is the first step to take before charging ahead and investing in a website or an e-store. If you want to learn more about the meaning of strategy, I recommend my article on the subject. If, on the other hand, you want to do a check-up of your strategies – at a reasonable cost – check and see what the new Export Best Practice service offers.

Now I’ll explain why digital is an important field of action for developing exports; even for small and medium-sized enterprises. But to understand this, one fact needs to be clarified.


Most “first approach” sales actions with a foreign customer (emails, phone calls, etc.) are based on the ability to attract his attention by interrupting what he is doing. The customer is offered a solution even before he manifests an interest or a need for our products/services.

Today, however, the internet has radically changed the behaviour of our potential customers. In fact, before buying, they inquire online, comparing products and services. 80% of purchasing decisions today are born and developed online.

It is in this context that what is called inbound marketing is born. It is a commercial and marketing approach that is based on the production and promotion of valuable content to attract – online – those who are really interested in our products or services.

It is very important to keep this fact in mind!

It goes without saying that alongside this we must also continue to carry out our traditional sales activities (fairs, visits to customers, phone calls, emails, etc.). But today this approach must be accompanied by a digital strategy to intercept those who, at that moment, are looking for my products or services. This is what it means to export with digital tools.

In summary: first a strategy, then an evaluation of the digital tools that can help us intercept potential customers; in Italy as well as abroad. In my next articles I will address the various digital tools that even a small business has at its disposal to attract customers and thus increase their exports.

Pier Paolo Galbusera