We are business consultants who decided to focus on international business development for companies with $3m-$10m annual revenue. The problem of course is that Linkedin for example won't have data on who might need help BEFORE they need it. Content marketing on linkedin/medium (for example) is perhaps the only way forward? We could retarget those who self-qualify through their interest in the material?
I would absolutely suggest a content-focused marketing strategy. development of white papers, blogs and other SEO-rich materials which are actively managed and cultivated will pay dividends over the long haul along with any offline or other activities you want to consider. A lot of people hesitate to go down the content marketing route because of cost, but there are several "accessible" options as far as rates out there. Start first with having a technology partner do research into your competitive space, make suggestions on phrases/keywords to target, then create a framework and timeline for rolling out this content and how best to deliver it. My firm launches these quick sprint portal/framework engagements all the time and they dont have to break the bank in my experience.
FWIW I would avoid Medium and stick with your own custom branded theme. establish your brand as the expert and have your own portal to engage potential clients (plus you can control your conversion funnel much easier that way with cool add-ons like IM chat, email submissions, newsletter signups etc.)
There are a few other intermediary strategies likely worth considering as well (targeting connectors or people who are also targeting this group but are not directly competing, like say attorneys who specialize in international corporation formations, or accountants perhaps.) There are opportunities like that which would certainly be good to look into.
I agree that Content Marketing should definitely be part of the mix. Content topics that offer valuable information on how to expand internationally would be key. Highlighting the biggest challenges and how to solve them.
I would use LinkedIn and Medium (and other social platforms) to push the content out but I'd utilize your website as "home base" for the content. You have more options and flexibility with efforts on acquiring opt-ins - which gives you an idea who is expanding internationally.
Publishing search engine optimized content on a blog is a good place to start. Have a place to draw people in to get a newsletter opt-in with an email address and more expansive offer downloads requiring more contact info. Plus, you can set remarketing tags so when someone does hit your site, they'll see ads from you on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites after they leave. Offering your content for download in those ads would be a good idea until they convert.
Are you considering Facebook/LinkedIn ads to try to hit targeted personas. I'm sure you have a good idea of what titles and functions in a company would be charged with executing international expansion. Some nicely targeted ads at those people would be good. The targeting on both platforms should help you narrow in on a good sized audience.
Google or Bing PPC might be a good option as well. A quick look shows a bunch of international business keywords that get traffic. Companies looking to start expanding internationally will for sure be searching on best practices and how-tos.
Those are just a couple thoughts. Let me know if you'd like to brainstorm further.
I'm assuming you know, what industry you would like to focus in, if not find one and narrow it down to a specific industry, this makes it a little easier for you to focus and find who you need. Then you can use tools like www.crunchbase.com, after expand! Just remember not to grow broke.
Call me for more help!