As 2018 stretches out before us, it is a good idea to settle your website localization plans and goals. When you have defined your objectives, you'll be more confident of achieving success.
It does not matter if you are enhancing your local marketing campaigns or targeting new overseas markets; your objective for 2018 is to localize, as diverse markets are thriving in the United States.
Smartling.com published results of the 2016 research they conducted, showing that various companies' investments in website localization and translation in 2015 amounted to $38 billion, a $12 billion increase from the 2010 figures. Localization is big business and getting bigger. Let's take a closer look.
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Why Is Website Localization Becoming So Important?
Simply put, website localization means adapting content or a product to a specific market or location. It's a process that many companies now realize can boost their success overseas.
Maintaining success in the global business market means personalizing, tailoring and enhancing the customer experience.
Localization allows brands to communicate more effectively with their target markets in their own language, compared to other products that can be accessed but remain foreign to global audiences.
More companies are now aware that providing content in the local language and conforming to the cultural patterns of their target audience can help them gain more shares in the international market.
Global audiences respond positively to content that is available in the language they use and understand, thus companies must keep this in mind if they want to venture to international territories.
Website localization involves several processes. Beyond content translation, it includes:
- Adapting content and design to the current tastes and consumption habits of target markets
- Modifying graphics to conform to preferences of target audiences
- Changing layout and design of website pages to properly display translated texts
- Converting elements to local requirements, such as units of measure and currencies
- Employing local formats, such as phone numbers, addresses, time and dates properly
- Following local laws and regulations.
Looking Ahead for 2018
Another report by the same company showed the trends for website localization and translation in 2018, based on the responses provided by decision makers from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
On average, many companies have footprints in seven different international markets, and their content is available in seven distinct languages.
Large markets being explored by international companies include the emerging markets in Africa and Asia as well as the multilingual markets In Europe. To do this successfully, they localize their content that directly touches the global markets they want to develop.
The companies that participated in the study said that they plan to win an average of seven new international markets in the coming 12 months. Some even plan to double the size of their international market in 2018, with 88 percent of them requiring localization of their website content.
This also means that translation services must keep up with the projected increase in the demand for website localization.
Language service providers must streamline the localization process. Some of the developments they envision include the provision of data to optimize the translated content's marketing strategy, centralizing the localization projects and using modern technology to automate common and repetitive parts of the localization process.
These companies find that the process of localization is too manual and they suggest that at least part of the process should be automated. They believe that by doing so, the translation service providers would be able to cope easier with the increase in demand for localization.
Content localization requires investment. When done right, this translates into sales increase and growth in their target localities. Companies now see that good website localization strategies have a direct impact on their bottom line.
In the same token, target customers show appreciation for the localization investment of many companies and support it by trusting them and buying their products.
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Strategies to Win Customers
Website localization offers many benefits, but top ranked ones include the increase in sales in the targeted markets, growth in lead generation and an improvement in customers' digital experience.
Currently, many companies find that localized content is still slow to reach target markets thus affecting their ROI. What they see is that localization of content is not done in a timely manner.
They want their go-to-market time to be faster, for example, making localized content available in 10 minutes instead of two days. This is the reason why they are calling for automation.
Nearly 95 percent of companies plan to increase their investment in localization and they have included website localization in their budgets for 2018 to support their global marketing expansions. Right now, investing in localization equates to investments in international marketing.
2018 will see a variety of localized content, from technical to video, digital, social media and website content. It is predicted that localization efforts would focus on these digital channels of marketing in order to lure buyers to their company websites.
What is happening right now is that while many companies know the different benefits website localization provides, they are not able to understand how to properly utilize the highly effective international marketing tool that could give their competition a run for their money.
Localization Resolutions for 2018
Marketers should keep in mind the quoted statistics in order for them to formulate new location objectives for the coming year. Likewise, it is important to look at how their company's localization efforts fared in 2017.
Review and Evaluate Localization Efforts in 2017
Before planning for the coming year, it is critical to review the past year's efforts to identify the initiatives your company has done and how they fit into the overall plan to localize. This will help you to continue the efforts you have already established and pinpoint news activities so you can come up with a budget.
Look at what localization activities were successful and where it needs improvement. Identify which tasks cost more or took longer to accomplish so you can adjust your expectations.
Check What Changes are Happening in your Niche Locally and Internationally
Success in planning depends on a good review of what happened in the past and identifying what works and what doesn't. It also makes sense to monitor local and international business trends as well as the movements your competitors are making. Internally, you should find out if your localization plans work together with new market expansions or releases of new products.
Website localization takes time and it is a continuing effort because of market movements. You should also keep in stride with the evolution of your target markets. See to it that your localization is ready before you launch a new product.
Identify What You Want to Achieve in 2018
Your goals and objectives for the coming year are critical to your success. Set success metrics that you can easily measure. For each objective, identify the specific milestones and how many points you should reach before calling it a success.
Likewise, you should identify the methods you are going to use to achieve your goals. You could consider any or all of the following:
- Increasing market share by a given percentage
- Expanding the business into a number of new markets
- Growing site conversion of a certain percentage
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Build a Detailed Guideline and Make Sure Everyone Follows
When localizing, it is important that all key players know their roles to achieve success. Each one should stick to the localization deadline.
For better management of the website localization process, you can break down the tasks per season, promotional period or by month or quarter. Breaking them into manageable chunks makes it easier to monitor the progress and pinpoint areas or opportunities that were missed.
Working with localization experts will help you to find the best solution for your particular localization needs. Within the dynamics of international marketing, website localization is no longer a corporate choice but a very important necessity.
Conquering new markets is challenging, thus marketers have to utilize the best digital tool to reach new clients. Website localization means knowing what's happening across the globe and adapting one's business to local business demands.
For example, interaction through social media will likely be greater as active users of social media platforms continue to increase and post messages, comments, short videos, photos and live event coverage. Moreover, calls-to-action (CTA) will be more visible.
In order to survive the cutthroat environment in the international market, see to it that you have the specific and detailed information, including statistics, data and market analyses, needs analyses and cultural knowledge about the markets you are going to explore.
Work with a professional localization and translation company while still in the planning stage so that your website localization efforts, from the planning stage up to its launch will be seamless.