By Pedro Dias Marques, Product Marketing Analyst
When McDonalds opened its first restaurant in India, the world shook. How could a company that sells beef operate in a country where a cow is viewed as a sacred animal? Well, the answer is simple. They adapted their menu, making localization a priority. Most companies start with a business approach (corporate website, product, marketing, and so on) focused on one language or product, which means that they are limiting their expansion potential by overlooking the customers that can´t understand their message.
But if only sell online, how can you apply this principle? You adapt and create content in multiple languages. By supporting more than one language, you will be able to open your business to new audiences and build an international reputation. But if you opt for a straight translation of your communication, you will just end up with a literal conversion of the text. For all the sensible reasons, this should be viewed as a very risky strategic decision.
But if a mere translation isn’t the answer, then what is?
Making the message clear through localization
Lyena Solomon (Director of Localization at ServiceNow) states that localization “involves making a product linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold”.
By localizing their content, companies will be able to communicate their message in ways that make sense for global audiences while staying true to the brand´s identity. In order to guarantee an effective reproduction of the source material, the company must hire a native speaker of its target language to review and approve the output. This can be done through a localization agency or with the help of someone within the company.
Why does localization matter?
According to Matt Harris (CEO of Sendwithus), the goal of localization is always to ensure the best customer experience. By investing time and effort in this process, the company will be able to ensure that its message is relevant to its global audience, which in turn can yield huge dividends.
Businesses with the most international success are those that adapt content for customer culture, language and etiquette. Let´s look at some numbers:
- There are nearly 4 billion global daily internet users, but just 25% are English speakers. And over half of all Google searches are in a language other than English (Internet World Stats, 2017);
- Globally, 72% of customers are more likely to buy products or services if the information is in their language. And 56% say that finding brand information in their language is more important than price (Common Sense Advisory).
Because of these impressive figures, applying the right SEO and boosting your marketing efforts in new languages – with localized paid campaigns – can make a real commercial impact. A good starting point is also a mixture of localized marketing and making sure that your main non-English audience can interact with the product in their primary language.
Localization can increase your brand exposure and help you reach a larger number of potential clients. With a localized marketing strategy, your company will be able to convert more foreign users into clients and consequentially increase its revenue, as well as have a marketable edge over your competitors that are exploring the same markets.
Likewise, your company should also offer local payment methods to expand markets. By following the motto “thinking locally, acting globally”, you should take into consideration that customer payment preferences are different in each market and that you should diversify your monetization system. Having said that, local payments do make the difference in Latin America and BoaCompra´s payment portfolio allows you to connect your business to 350 million potential online customers, thus boosting your sales.
Foutz, Colt. “Why Localize Your Website?”. Copyright 2017. July 20, 2018. <http://www.transperfect.com/blog/why-localize-your-website>
Harris, Matt. “4 Pitfalls of Localization Every Marketer Should Avoid Read”. Copyright 2018. July 20, 2018. <https://www.business2community.com/digital-marketing/4-pitfalls-localization-every-marketer-avoid-02041419>
Newton, Tom. “A marketer’s guide to localization”. Online. Copyright 2017. July 20, 2018. <https://www.intercom.com/blog/marketers-guide-to-localization/>
Solomon, Lyena. “How To Plan Website Globalization & Localization”. Copyright 2017. July 20, 2018. <https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/plan-website-globalization-localization.html>
“A Closer Look: How Does Website Localization Work?”. Copyright 2017. July 20, 2018. <http://clearwordstranslations.com/how-website-localization-works/>
“What Localization for Business Really Means”. Copyright 2018. July 20, 2018. <https://www.smartling.com/blog/localization-what-it-really-means-for-your-business/>