Since the rise of the internet, it has become possible to connect with people from all over the world at the click of a few buttons.
This has proven monumental for companies and organizations as it increases opportunities for brand expansion and revenue generation by allowing them to break into new markets.
However, global expansion comes with its own set of challenges, such as cultural differences and language barriers.
To succeed on this front, businesses must figure out a way to reach and attract prospective customers in foreign markets, get them to engage with their products or services, and create a satisfying customer experience.
They can achieve that by tailoring their marketing and communication efforts to meet the needs of these markets.
This is where content localization comes in.
It is the process of adapting and fine-tuning your content so that it is appealing, sensitive, valuable to audiences belonging to different demographics and cultures.
The Value of Content Localization
According to a recent Statista report, global e-commerce is projected to see a $9.7% increase in revenue by 2022, amounting to sales figures of over six trillion dollars.
If your business hopes to cash in on this boom, you must successfully localize your efforts to reach foreign audiences.
Other benefits that you stand to gain include:
- A stronger connection with your intended audience
- Increased brand interaction, engagement, and conversion rate
- Effective communication of your brand’s identity and message
- It helps your brand appear consumer-focused
- Improved user-experience
- A wider and loyal customer base
How to Improve Content Localization to Reach International Audiences
Although it seems daunting, implementing an effective content localization strategy can be easily pulled off when you’re making the right moves to connect with prospective customers from different backgrounds.
Create culturally appropriate language translations
The simplest way to improve the global reach of your brand is to ensure you’re speaking the language of your customers.
A survey conducted by the CSA Research revealed that:
- 72.1% of consumers typically use websites in their native language.
- 72.4% they’re more inclined to patronize a brand with product details in their native language.
- 59% never or rarely buy from English-only websites.
- 56.2% consider getting information about a product in their native language to be more important than the price.
These statistics show that people’s purchasing behaviors are heavily influenced by language.
If your content is not speaking to consumers in a way they understand, they are less likely to spend their time or money on it.
To grab and sustain the attention of audiences on foreign markets, your website needs to be translated into their languages—be it textual or visual content.
Merely setting up Google Translate on your website will not suffice.
Context, nuance, colloquialisms, and meanings are often lost with literal or word-for-word translations, and such mistakes can lead to bad press and substantial financial losses for your business.
The best way is to employ a translator with expertise in the particular culture you’re localizing for. They can tweak or recreate your content to suit the locale.
To ensure your brand messaging is localized and relevant, your content should be:
- Sensitive to local issues and show respect for cultural values.
- Inoffensive and incapable of being easily misconstrued.
- Clear and effective in conveying your core message to the local audience.
- Mindful of local references, slang, symbols, taboos, restrictions, and units of measurement.
- Accurate and compelling to the local audience.
Perform in-depth keyword research
All your localization efforts will be wasted if your content doesn’t provide the information your target audience is looking for or if it’s not getting to them.
Carefully research the markets you want to expand into and compile a list of local keywords that people from each location search for.
When selecting target keywords, pay attention to the density, competitiveness, and search volume for each term or phrase in different locations.
Find out which search engines—aside from Google—are most popular in the target regions and perform keyword research on all of them.
Sprinkle the chosen keywords across all your localized content pages, including your metadata in a way that feels organic and natural.
This helps you rank better on search engines and makes it easier for international audiences to find you.
Produce and share locally relevant and appealing content
Using the data from your keyword and market research as inspiration, create content that is valuable and relevant to the needs of local audiences.
You need to become well-acquainted with various aspects of the new market: their economy, festivals, local events, culture, holidays, popular social topics, industries, and marketing trends.
Understand the things that make your target audience tick and use them to gain their attention, confidence, and trust.
Make yourself a part of the community by showing that you care about the things that interest or affect them.
Come up with creative ways to integrate their local culture with your product offerings or services, from branding to marketing.
Ensure that your website and content are optimized for various platforms and devices your audience may use to access them.
In some countries, mobile devices like phones, tablets, and iPads are dominating, and in others, computers and laptops are still the primary mediums used for viewing and consuming content.
You can use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and WebPage Test to check your content performs on various browsers, devices with different screen resolutions, operating systems, and even local scripts such as Arabic, Cyrillic, etc.
That way, you can determine whether some optimization can be done on the website, or if it depends on the configuration on the user’s side.
Certain operating issues or settings on a computer can also affect how content is displayed.
Make use of popular communication channels in local markets
If you’re serious about reaching international audiences, take your content to the channels they frequent most often.
For example, although Google is the most popular search engine in most countries, Baidu is the engine of choice in the Asia Pacific region.
If this is your target audience, marketing your brand through Google alone might not be the most effective way to get to them.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are not the best options for establishing a social presence in many countries.
Sina Weibo and WeChat are more popular in China, Hyves reigns supreme in the Netherlands, while VK and Odnodlassniki are topping the social media charts in Russia.
Study your target market, figure out where they like to hang out online, create pages and profiles in their languages, and use them to forge connections with the locals.
You will need to hire a native speaker to manage communication on your accounts, keep you in the loop, and execute effective strategies to boost brand visibility and engagement.
Optimize your product offerings
The point of content localization is to adapt to the demands and needs of specific markets. Don’t just copy and paste content from one market to another.
The pricing of your products should be in the local currency and align with the economic realities of the region. What one audience considers affordable might seem expensive to another in a different market.
You also have to take seasons and celebrations into consideration. It would be unwise to market winter clothes to consumers in regions that do not experience this season.
Some countries celebrate certain events like the New Year at different times.
Even consumer attitudes around discounts and promotional offers differ from place to place.
In African and South-East Asian markets, offering a 5% or 15% discount on your products is probably not going to get anyone buzzing because they’re used to receiving bigger discounts.
In contrast, consumers in the U.K. or the U.S. would be excited to jump on your offer.
Things like this should be factored into how and when you create and promote your content for different audiences.
More businesses are joining the content localization wagon. 94% of companies who are already part of the movement plan to increase their budget to improve their localization efforts in the coming years and win the patronage of the 80% of the world’s population that don’t speak English.
Consumers everywhere want the same things: a brand that understands them and can fulfill their needs.
By localizing your content for specific markets, you can expand your customer reach, generate more sales, and be that brand.
You’re on the right track. Keep monitoring how your target audience interacts with your localized content and improve upon your strategies and practices to build a seamless global consumer experience.