You don’t need to be Coca-Cola to have a multilingual website. If you want your business to boost sales abroad, you can gain an overnight advantage through smart localization.
After all, of the 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide, how many speak your language?
And of those who do, how many would buy from you without a multilingual website? A recent study in the EU revealed that only 18 percent of Internet users felt comfortable buying a product online in a language that was not their own. Nearly half stated they would never do so.
Which countries or languages should you target?
Okay, so you want a multilingual website, and you’ve done due diligence.
- You’ve researched the countries and/or languages with the most potential for your product or service, checked your website analytics, and done the math.
- You’ve analyzed the traffic sources, search habits, and conversion rates of users from different regions.
- You’ve considered whether it’s more fruitful to pursue a particular country (e.g. Mexico) or language (e.g. the Spanish-speaking world).
- You’ve checked out competitors in these markets.
- You’ve used keyword tools to identify popular searches.
- You’ve set goals and Key Performance Indicators.
- You have the technical side of things lined up – your website can switch to international versions, and these versions are easily visible and crawlable.*
So far, so good. Now comes the important part: localizing your website to appeal to your target global markets.
Translating for local markets
This is where multicultural content marketing reveals its true value. It sets itself apart from blind, word-for-word translation – or worse, auto translation by Google Translate or BabelFish.
Multicultural content marketing is about understanding what makes local cultures tick and creating cool content to tap into that, says Eric Ingrand in a recent article in Marketing Week, Big ideas, local insights: multicultural content marketing made easy. Read it; he will help you navigate the minefield of website localization for global brands, big and small.
Eric explains how to combine a global content strategy and brand image with local ideas – in other words, how to develop a consistent marketing message with a twist that appeals to each local culture you are targeting.
Culturally sensitive localization is particularly essential in countries whose social norms differ from your own. Marketing your hotel in Saudi Arabia? You’d better cut those mentions of vodka cocktails by the pool.
Big data and localization
Eric also briefly touches upon the potential of “big data” to inform your localization strategy while recognizing that quantitative data is never enough.
Although it’s important to analyze and track conversion rates and keywords, it’s vital to pair insights gleaned from data analysis with insights from real people – people who understand local culture, local search habits and social media.
For Eric’s insights and a quick-reference on the “Five truths about multicultural content marketing,” see the full article on Marketing Week.
Want to know more? Check out EnVeritas Group’s range of localization services, based on many years of experience localizing digital marketing content for big-name brands.
*If you’re still stuck at section 2, here’s a good resource.
Monica G. – Content Strategist