Localization is vital in global marketing if you want to increase sales, broaden brand awareness and boost your SEO. But, while you may have heard the term used a lot, can you say with absolute confidence what it actually means? Many people get confused between translation and localization, and it’s not hard to see why. But, while translation takes care of the words and maybe even uses a little creative license with the copy, localization goes way deeper.
Your global marketing strategy should be thought out beyond getting your website translated into different site versions and locales. After all, you want a marketing message that speaks to the heart, not a diluted version of your company values that barely makes sense. Your website is the very cornerstone of your global marketing strategy. Failure to localize it for different regions and your global marketing will have little success.
Capturing your target audience
The Common Sense Advisory found that as much as 87% of consumers who can't read English won't buy products from an English website. Hardly surprising really. Just think about it. Would you buy a product from a Polish website that you couldn’t understand? In a currency you don’t use and with unfamiliar processes? It’s one of the biggest myths in the world that everyone speaks English. In fact, only 9% of the world’s population speaks English. Which means, if you’ve got global marketing in your sites, localization of your materials is essential.
It’s true that global tastes are merging. But, you’ll still need to break through that language barrier if you want capture your target audience. When you invest in quality localization of your website, mobile app and marketing materials, you’re investing in extra sales and increased adoption of your brand. What works well for one country won’t necessarily catch on in another. Each new market you enter will need careful research. Images of a happy blond family playing at a beach won’t be appreciated in China or the Middle East.
Some countries display dates and times differently and weight in grams and kilos, instead of pounds and ounces. You’ll need to make sure that your shopping cart and quote forms display in the local currency. You'll need your content optimized for SEO. Spanish may be widely spoken throughout 22 countries, but that doesn’t mean they all use the same vocabulary or colloquialisms. Your local marketing campaigns need to vary from region to region. People celebrate different holidays and share different calendars and seasons.
Enhancing your SEO
If you haven’t heard about it yet, search engines are becoming increasingly local. This means that no matter how great your SEO is at home, if you aren’t localizing your content, your SERP ranking will fall. And that’s a pretty good thing, really. Users used to have trawl through pages of search results that were totally irrelevant to them. Now, major search engines like Google understand that customers want access to local businesses. You know, ones that they actually have a chance of going to. If you’re selling your clothing line in France and your website is still in English, you may as well say “au revior.”
It can be hard to compete when you don’t have local presence, a local office or phone number. But, you can still boost your SEO through content localization. And here’s where marketing localization gets really cool. Instead of just translating your website and marketing promotions from one language to another, you’ll work with carefully studied local keywords and search terms. You’ll collaborate with a team of local experts who can advise you on the right tone and how to optimize your on-page content and marketing copy. You’ll pepper your site with local words and get noticed in search engines. Better yet, you'll craft a message that resonates with your audience and target your promotions to the right people in the right places.
Gaining a competitive edge
With over 7.5 billion people in the world and more than 3.7 billion internet connections, that’s a lot of potential clients for your business. But that also means that there’s a lot of competition. It’s hard competing in foreign markets when you don’t speak the language and aren’t in the know about purchasing preferences and cultural norms. Localizing your communications as well as your global marketing efforts will give you a competitive edge like no other. Not only will you be top-of-mind compared to that "other" international company that isn’t localizing. But, you’ll get a leg up on the local competition as well.
If you do your job well in each new market you enter, you’ll start winning customers’ trust, repeat purchases and generating good reviews. Which means you’ll also start seeing conversions soar and ROI coming back in spades.
Globalizing your brand appeal
When you start taking your brand to the masses, your brand awareness will increase – provided that you do it well. You already know by now that you’ll need to adapt your content to different local audiences. But, you have to figure out how to do it just right so that you appeal to local preferences without diluting your global brand. Different countries have different connotations from colors, images and icons. While white in the west is associated with cleanliness and purity, in India it’s the color of mourning.
One awesome example of a worldwide brand that’s instantly recognizable is Coca Cola. Those trademark colors don’t change for anything! But, they still changed their name for the Chinese market and adapt their local marketing campaigns. In 2016, they tailored their Olympics campaign to a Chinese audience to increase brand adoption and awareness (without diluting their brand.) Evernote also adapts its name according to market, although that instantly recognizable elephant doesn’t change for anyone!
Improving the User Experience
Localized content improves user experience. When local audiences can navigate your website and receive targeted offers and deals, their satisfaction level goes up. When they read a message that strikes a chord, see colors that evoke positivity and action, and find a site that doesn’t feel translated or foreign to them, you’ll get repeat visits. Remember that you’re up against a lot of competition, only a few clicks away. If you’re users meet with a partially translated website, or error messages that don’t make sense, they’ll quit on your site and won’t return again.
Aim for success in your global marketing strategy and aim for researched, accurate localization. Make sure that you keep your brand name and values intact, while appealing to a wider audience. Know that simple translation is not enough, you need to go deeper and think and feel like a local. For more information on localization of your website, marketing materials, mobile app, or anything else, be sure to give us a call!