Going global means having a clear business plan in mind and clear objectives. But going global also implies going local in many countries.
To do so, you have to know the specific markets and the characteristics of every country you want to reach, and you have to focus on building a multilingual marketing strategy that is suitable for every country listed in your business plan.
In fact, being multilingual does not simply mean using the English language just because it is the lingua franca of today's commerce. Many people do not speak English at all, and other countries have just a superficial knowledge of it and would prefer to buy or have business relationships in their own language.
Would you buy any product from a website written in a language you do not understand?
We do not think so.
So, here are some tips to build a multilingual marketing strategy that actually works.
It is obvious that before doing anything, you need to spend some time researching. In this case, first of all, you have to identify your target market, then figure out how to reach it.
Identify your target market
Start answering simple questions like: what am I selling? Who would use my products the most? Who do I want to reach? Then analyze the online behavior of your current international customers and find out which countries they come from, what products they buy the most, and the like. Google Analytics is a great instrument in doing so.
Go Beyond Google
Once you identify your target market, think of the ways you can reach them better. A dedicated newsletter? Regular blog posts? Social networks? Your website? In any case, you need to SEO optimize your website by choosing the right keywords so that it will pop up in customers' researches. But, in doing so, you need to consider that there are other search engines besides Google. If you are trying to enter the Chinese market, for instance, you must be aware that Chinese people mostly use Baidu for their online searches.
Design a Great Website
"You don't have a second chance to make a first impression."
If someone finds your website through their online queries but your website requires a long time to load or has poor graphics, be sure that this person will leave the website before seeing any of its content. In fact, there are a variety of things to calculate when building a website, and speed and graphics are some of them.
Another thing to pay attention to is that your website has an XLM sitemap; this is very important for search engines. So, when you ask your webmaster to create your website, make sure he also creates a sitemap.
Speak Your Customers' Language
According to research by Common Sense Advisory:
- 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.
- 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
- 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.
This means that if you speak your customers' language, you have more chances to succeed and increase your sales.
So, when it comes to your website, make sure it is correctly translated in the language spoken in the country you want to expand into. This work should be done by a professional translator—a poor translation can cost you more than a professional one.
Invest in Transcreation
At this point, simple translations might not be enough. You have to localize your website pages according to the countries you are interested in. This can imply, for instance, changing the colors, images, and even some content. This requires collaboration between your marketing department that researches about the various markets you want to enter and a translator specialized in marketing translation—transcreation—and localization.
Differentiate Your Blog Content
A blog can be a useful way to let people know you and your products. It is like they have the possibility to come closer to you and know you better through the way you introduce yourself and write about topics that might be of interest for your customers. However, this does not imply that you only talk about your products, because that will make potential customers run away.
In fact, writing on a company's blog is not as simple as you might think. In fact, besides knowing at least some SEO writing rules, you need to localize content. If you write a multilingual blog, for example, find out what people who speak that specific language are interested in the most.
Evaluate what is best for you and your company.
For instance, at Athena Parthenos, we have an English and an Italian blog, but we don't publish the same content on both. In Italian, we write mostly about translation curiosities or the study of foreign languages because we have found that most of our Italian readers are either translators, students, or people interested in foreign languages. Conversely, on the English blog, we talk about marketing, business, or translation tips that might be helpful to our foreign customers. Consequently, we share different content through different social networks.
Speaking of social networks, we must acknowledge the fact that they are a great way to promote your products and engage with your potential customers.
Use Different Social Networks
There are different ways to engage with people depending on the country they come from. There are some countries that prefer to use social networks other than Facebook or Twitter. In China, for instance, they use Weibo a lot, but in Germany, they prefer Xing.
So when you plan your multilingual marketing strategy, consider these differences and how you can approach people in different countries without losing the uniqueness of your brand.
Be Active on Social Media
When using social media, do not just post whatever you like whenever you like. Look at the insight data of your social networks, and understand when people are more active and what topics bring them to interact, and work on these things without being monotonous.
Questions usually make people interact more than simple statements, images work better than simple text, and sharing a fun fact about some products or topic usually captures attention more than a simple sales advertisement.
Also, be quick when your followers ask you questions under your post or through private messages. Social networks can be very good allies to increase your sales and improve customers’ experience. In fact, satisfied customers are more likely to return, and giving them a great first impression can turn them into loyal customers.
Attend Field Events
Social networks are a powerful means to reach potential customers, but real experience and word of mouth are still a powerful way to get people to know you. So, do not forget to attend events where you can meet influencers in your field and your potential customers. Having an informal chat with you and asking you some questions about your products can make them remember you better than a post online because they will remember the experience.
And, in the end, all customers want to buy the experience before the actual product.
And you—what do you do to build a multilingual marketing strategy?
If you are interested in marketing translation, localization, or multi-language consultancy, check out our dedicated page here.
Written by Marcella Sartore, Marketing & Communication Assistant @ Athena Parthenos
Photo credits: cover photo taken from sheownsit.com