The concept of localization is nothing new. Anyone who’s ever sold a product or a service to a different regional market will know the various stages of adaptation they have to go through to achieve acceptance. Back in college, they didn’t call it localization. It came under the umbrella of global marketing or product marketing. But the idea is the same – adapt your message to your audience and you’ll achieve better results. Here are the top 5 benefits of localization for your business:
1. Increase Market Share
If you have a website, then you have access to global markets. Buying and selling on an international level is no longer solely in the domain of the multinational super giants. If you have a popular app, video game, software or (insert your product here) at home, you have every chance of succeeding in a global market.
But not by breezing in and offering your product in English, blatantly ignoring the specific wants and needs of your potential overseas customers. Remember studying the case of IKEA in the US? When customers started using their vases as drinking glasses, the company realized they needed to adapt their products to their audience. Everything’s bigger in the States.
But what if you don’t offer physical products? What if you offer a service, such as software or insurance? What are the ramifications of localization for you? With just 26.3% of transactions on the internet taking place in English, there’s a pretty huge potential market out there ready to buy what you’re offering. But if they can’t understand what you’re saying, how are you going to convince them to buy?
It goes without saying that you’ll need to translate your website into the local language. And that’s a good start to gaining access to the other 73.4% of internet users and potential customers. But it doesn’t stop there.
2. Competitive Advantage
If we were looking back to 2010 maybe, localizing your website would probably give you a pretty sizable leg-up on your competition. But just as getting a college degree used to separate you from your peers, now it’s more the case that not getting one leaves you disadvantaged. The same is true with localization. If you’re not doing it yet, you can bet your life your competition are.
It’s been shown that as many as 75% of global consumers prefer to buy from websites that are in their own language. Even if they speak some English, or even good English. Reading content, seeing familiar imagery and messaging that is relevant to them, their country, and their beliefs increases trust and makes them more likely to buy. So if you’re still selling in English, or offering a poorly translated version of your site, your would-be customers are just one click away from the competition.
3. Improve Your Ranking
Localization of your website or mobile app not only delivers the right message to the right audience; it’s way better than that. It also optimizes your content for international search engines. We’re not talking adding a plug-in to your site and hoping for the best here.
When you localize your website to consider key factors, such as international site speeds, culturally appropriate images and locally searched for keywords, your ranking will increase.
How so? Let’s say you sell vacation packages, or some kind of tourist services. If you want to attract an international clientele, the first thing you’ll need to do is be is visible. If you don’t appear in their search results (high up in their search results) you can kiss their business goodbye.
But optimizing your site with popular keywords like “vacation rentals” isn’t going to get on the radar in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia. Why? Because Australians and Brits go on holiday, not vacation. And they’ll be searching for information differently.
Also, not every country uses Google or Bing for their searches. China’s largest search engine is Baidu, for example. Localization on an SEO level takes into account all these factors to improve your ranking and conversion rate.
4. Avoid Cultural Taboos
Epic fails in global branding abound. If you make a mistake when it comes to localizing your website or app, you won’t be the first. But, some countries are unforgiving. Blunder into the Middle East or parts of Asia with the wrong message or cultural taboo and you won’t get a second chance.
When you localize, you research what language your target markets speak and their regional dialects and vocabulary. Their national holidays, beliefs, hopes and fears. You need to know that white is associated with mourning in India, or that the thumbs up sign is offensive in some corners of the world. Correct localization will make sure you do.
5. Popularize Your Brand Globally
Apart from increasing your sales by making your product or service globally available, you’ll also popularize your brand through localization. Nelson Mandela said:
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart.”
He wasn’t wrong. If your customers feel as if you’ve taken the time to research their wants and needs and not just presented them with a one-size fits all translation; your brand will go to their hearts.