Few companies hit the ground running with a global marketing strategy in place. Usually the process of going international is incremental, a gradual entry into new markets and regions driven by overseas opportunities and new partnerships, rather than a strategic international marketing plan. But even without a formal plan, you can enjoy immediate benefits by translating your website and collateral into several key languages.
Focus on the languages of those countries where you currently do business or are trying to do business. The potential ROI from providing a more customized customer experience far outweighs the actual costs of localization, and this is where you come into the picture: by advocating the global localization of a company’s collateral, a marketing department can make a profound contribution to the bottom line. Here’s how to get started:
The research into online buying behaviors tells a compelling story. A Common Sense Advisory survey of 3,000 consumers in 10 non-Anglophone countries found that 75% prefer to buy products in their native language and 60% rarely or never buy from English-language websites. In China alone, 95% of online business is conducted on Chinese-language websites, according to Forrester Research, yet the online presence of U.S. companies in China is almost entirely (99%) English-only. That’s just one example of a massive missed opportunity!
Pro Tip: If your business website is currently in English-only and you want to expand your business in non-Anglophone countries, at the very least you should translate your website into the local language of every country where you currently have customers. You can also go a step further by adapting your content (including colors and imagery) to appeal to local tastes and attitudes. This is called transcreation.
To remain competitive, your company and products should be optimized for search engine exposure in each of the markets you serve. In China, for example, over 70% of the population uses a search engine called Baidu – while less than 2% use Google. In Russia, over half the population uses a search engine called Yandex. If you’re trying to expand into those or other countries, you need to make sure customers there can find you online, regardless of the language in which they search. This requires consistent and accurate keyword translations as part of a multilingual approach to search engine optimization (SEO).
Pro Tip: Proper keyword targeting is just as critical to achieving high search engine rankings overseas as it is in the United States!
Localized marketing collateral
Your message and brand can easily get lost in translation if your marketing and advertising collateral isn’t localized correctly. This can have a direct impact on your team’s bottom line. Working with an experienced language solutions provider (LSP) can help you accurately and skillfully communicate with your target markets and achieve strong results like:
- more effective email blasts to potential customers in different countries
- more persuasive sales presentations with localized slides, displays, banners, brochures, and scripts optimized for different audiences
- more lead generation through subtitled or dubbed video outreach
- increased impact from local-language print ads.
Pro Tip: We recommend staying in touch with customers via company newsletters that help generate excitement about your product and keep you on your customer’s radar. Whether you include product updates, company news or previews of what’s coming next, creating localized versions of these publications in your key markets is a great way to connect and show that you are focused and invested in that country/region.
If your product requires a demo, you should consider the added value of localized online eLearning modules. Localized training modules can help you to ensure your product is promoted in its best light by every sales rep every time.
Embrace the opportunity
Conquering foreign markets is a prodigious task, but you don’t need to make huge investments in time or money to achieve new opportunities and revenue right away. Translating and localizing your existing collateral is a relatively inexpensive way to reach new customers and, over time, the successful execution of a marketing localization strategy can position your company for dramatic growth in markets around the world. Consider the possibilities.