Localizing your website delivers a whole range of benefits for your business. Companies that localize their digital properties boost their user base and increase sales. They strengthen brand awareness and garner greater profits. Yet the overwhelming effect you achieve when you localize is an enhanced user experience.
Localization allows companies to have a friendly conversation with users in their native tongue. They can communicate a story that resonates with their customers and provide a meaningful experience. To make sure you're making satisfying your foreign target audience, focus on these five key elements for localization. By doing so, you'll be creating a more captivating, positive and relevant online experience.
If your reputation in your own native market is a solid one, you may already be drawing international traffic. Offering these users localized content will allow them to connect with your brand in a more meaningful way.
They will understand your company values better. If impressed by the quality of the service you provide, they will turn into advocates of your brand. This can serve as important source for referrals.
According to AdWeek, Millennials spend more than $200 billion in products and services a year. They look to their family members and friends for referrals and recommendations before making a purchasing decision. In fact, only 3% of millennials turn to mainstream media, such as magazines, newspapers and TV, for help on what to buy.
Referrals have a direct positive relationship with ROI and localizing boosts engagement and trust in your company's services and products. Website localization, then, can help you secure more referrals for your business.
If you have a small budget and can't afford to localize every page of your website, just localize your main marketing pages. That is, the pages that best communicate the message of your brand. The pages where your key details about your service or product are found. If you own a self-service site that you're looking to localize, Google webmaster can help you identify which pages draw more traffic. This will help you understand which pages you should prioritize when localizing.
Website owners often don't know whether they should also localize their blog content. The answer to this question depends on your company's global expansion objectives and budget. But most businesses opt to translate their blog content at a later stage of their global expansion effort, when they can afford to do so. Using a translation management software will help keep your website localization project organized and your team connected at all times.
If your company enables payments through your site, localizing the currency denomination is vital. It's a great way to boost consumer trust in your products or services. Paul Farnell, Head of Litmus, recently stated that localizing currencies on their website raised profit. When they included Euro-denominated pricing along with dollar-based pricing, they saw higher sales. He commented: “three out of four of our target customers were in North America and when we made the change we saw a five-times increase in conversion – all by literally just changing the currency symbol.”
It's easy to deduce why consumers may be more likely to buy from a business in their local currency. Trust is better established, as users dislike paying for goods or services in an alternate currency. At the same time, it's more convenient for the end user. By automatically calculating the price of a product or service in the local currency, you save them the effort and time of having to do so themselves. This makes your website more functional in their eyes.
3. Units of Measurement
Just as localizing currency, localizing the time, dates and units of measurement of your website are also necessary. You can secure a smoother experience for your foreign target audience. Not localizing these elements may not keep a user from buying your service or product, but it can lead to user frustration.
Forcing users to calculate the date or time or unit of measurement may lead them to abandon your site. You've worked hard to attract eyeballs to your site, so driving them away over something as simple as the wrong date format isn't a smart move.
4. Images and Symbols
There's no doubt that photos, images and symbols impact the end user's experience and your website's conversion rate. Images lend to your website's branding personality while enforcing your company's marketing message. But these visual elements communicate different meanings across different societies and cultures.
Be careful about selecting the right images and symbols for the culture you're targeting. This will pay you tremendous dividends in the end. Big-name companies take care to use people in their staged pictures who have the same likeness and ethnicity as their target market. They also make sure cultural norms are respected. Ensuring all women in photos targeting the Middle East are not showing too much skin and are clothed appropriately, for example.
Using Scalable Vector Graphics (SVGs) for easier localization and better SEO purposes is recommended. It enables you to externalize textual content and control the scaling of the SVG image as you use a single graphical base asset. In return, you get highly responsive graphics that make the localization process easier.
Studies show that the specific color palette of your website can trigger certain emotions in your users. These vary depending on the culture the website targets. For example, all societies recognize the color red as a bold color that draws attention. Red typically stimulates vibrancy, action and excitement.
But in China, red is the color of good luck and fortune, while in the Middle East, it symbolizes evil, danger and violence. Green is the color of money, fortune and wealth in the West, but in China, it's the color of health and harmony.
A safe bet is to base your website on the color blue. Blue is the safest global color choice as it tends to symbolize positive associations. Most people associate blue with security, trust and authority, particularly in Western countries.
Because cultural interpretations of color vary depending on your target market, you may want to consider using different color palettes for each of your audiences. This may help make your customers feel more comfortable with your website. Greater comfort and trust will solidify your brand's authority in the minds of your users. It will also facilitate online product or service purchases.
By taking care of these five elements when you localize your website, you'll ensure optimal user experience globally. Your customers will have a seamless online experience when they visit your website. By accommodating the cultural norms of the society you are targeting, everybody wins. Particularly in regards to your bottom profit line.