Every business begins at home with a known market and target audience. Localizing your website is great for entering foreign markets with the same community familiarity you experience in your local region. Business expansion is not just a process of content translation, but an approach to engaging new customers through language and content to optimize consumer appeal and increase sales. By applying localization strategies, you can increase conversion rates in your new target markets.
Here are some tips to improve your appeal globally.
One of the best parts of your home office is the ease in which you communicate with your staff. You know they are not only knowledgeable in their field, but that they speak the same language as you do--down to local colloquialisms and memes. This is the basis of effective localization. It’s that level of communication beyond words where intended meanings based on community definition are understood.
As you implement market entry strategies in new territories, the best way to ensure accurate translation of your message is to hire locally--from within the community. These staff members not only act as key SMEs (subject matter experts) in your industry ensuring that website offerings are delivered accurately and meet the specifications and expectations of your audience, but also ensure appropriate corporate messaging is expressed through your content.
Even in situations where countries or regions share the same language, each market is different and therefore should be kept in mind. Southern and Northern Spain, for example, may speak different variations of Spanish and have different expectations about how website design should look. It is useful to have a member of staff from each location to ensure that the correct information is being delivered to the target market. Other examples include French for France and French for Switzerland. While the language itself is almost identical, expression, phrasing and the aesthetic preferences may differ from country to country and therefore may affect your market entry strategies.
Translation Requires Cultural Context
Computer-aided translation tools (CAT) and TermBases are great when it comes to creating a glossary and codex to implement consistent translation for website content. Hiring locally can ensure that your product positioning makes sense in the local language and matches your corporate objectives. But that still leaves you with the problem of applying cultural context to your brand. When approaching a website launch in your home market, you’ve discovered a need in the community and sought to fill that need. You contextually understand why your community needs that product. And you need to do the same when launching abroad.
Translation is bigger than just changing words or language; it’s figuring out why the new community will need that product or service and aiming your message at their pain points. You need to focus your localized advertising campaign to approach a personalized application of your product.
Global Marketing Validation
When we go to a website there are certain key pieces of content and imagery that our eyes search for and track, which serves as a validation of your company. Consumers want to know that you are trustworthy. Almost subconsciously, the site visitor will follow the navigation to see that you’re using a verified payment system and that the site security is up-to-date.
Community validation has become a regular and important part of marketing. As you expand into global markets you need to include content and imagery that supports your global market. Even though each localized page may be content, and context focused to a specific region, having that global validation in the background of your site--for example, in a footer--will instill in consumers the feeling that they are not alone in trusting in your product.
Optimizing for a Mobile Audience
As part of your market entry strategies, it’s also wildly important in today's economy to make sure your digital assets are smartphone (mobile) friendly. “According to GSMA real-time intelligence data, there are now over 11 billion mobile connections worldwide, which surpasses the current world population of 8.06 billion implied by UN digital analyst estimates.”
Your website needs to be accessible for mobile viewing, translate accurately, and support clear navigation. Your global target audience has the potential to be much larger than your expectations if only because cell phone access means that an idea can implement instant search engine access.
People love social media, and the millennial generation is very much into community-verified referrals disseminated through social media. It’s important, in that case, to recognize that different locales may use one form of social media more than another, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
It may be worthwhile to create specific social media targeted marketing strategy to address each platform for overall expansion. An ad for SnapChat is going to be very different than an ad for Facebook or Twitter. Each platform functions under a different dialect, and by marketing to all of them, you can gain greater consumer access.