There are over 3 billion internet users around the world. That is a huge market of people who are likely looking for your products or services. These individuals need to be attracted with marketing strategies that use a language they understand and share a message that relates to them. In this blog, I will cover 5 factors you should consider when creating a localization strategy for attracting a global audience.
Understand Your Target Market
If you are marketing to multiple countries, a significant amount of research into those target markets must be conducted. The way your message is delivered to each market should be different to suit the needs of your audiences. Your research could include elements such as buying habits, demographics, internet usage, languages, locale and cultural nuances. It’s important to be very specific, defining your buyer personas can help identify key features of your market.
For example, if you are marketing to audiences in Spain, France, the United States and Canada for your eCommerce website that sells high end yoga gear, create personas for each market to make these audiences come to life. Your personas may look something like this:
- France: Vinyasa Valerie, female, 25-40 years old, married, no children, college educated, makes $80K+ USD annually, attends 2-3 vinyasa yoga classes per week, pays $100+ USD month for yoga membership, places high value on brand recognition, speaks French, Spanish, and Italian, lives in Paris, prefers to buy online on her mobile device.
- Canada: Restorative Robyn, female, 50-65 years old, married, retired professional, attends 1 or 2 weekly restorative yoga classes, travels often to visit grown children, wants functional yoga clothes, prefers to buy on sale, speaks English and French (Canadian), retired to Vancouver, B.C., originally from Quebec. Prefers to buy in stores, but does check email for coupons to her favorite stores.
- Spain: Ashtanga Annika, female, 20-30, single, offers yoga retreats on island of Ibiza, practices daily, originally from Germany, doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on yoga clothes, prefers to purchase a few, quality pieces she can wear for a long time, could be an excellent brand ambassador with her exposure to people coming to her yoga retreats. Speaks German, Spanish, English and Italian. Prefers to buy online, but doesn’t like paying high shipping costs
The personas for each of your target markets won’t apply to all of the people in those markets, but it will give you a better understanding of exactly who you are trying to market to and how to tailor your message and content to best suit them.
Introduce SEO to Your Content
A search engine optimized website will aid in your brand being found online, regardless of which country you are targeting. Having localized keyword lists for each of your target languages will help you optimize content, titles, Meta descriptions, image alt tags, URLs, etc.
Optimizing for Google is a great place to start, but depending on your target locale, you may need to pay attention to some other search engines. Baidu, Yandex and Naver dominate search in China, Russia and South Korea, respectively. Optimizing for these search engines will have some differences than Google, but if you want to be found in any of these locales you will have to optimize your website for these search engines.
Once you decide the international markets to expand into and whether you are targeting by language or country, you need to decide which domain structure is most appropriate for you: subdirectories, subdomains or country code top-level domain (ccTLDs).
- A ccTLD is a domain reserved for a specific country or territory.
- A subdirectory, or subfolder, is a directory stored inside another directory. They are helpful to create separate pages for each of your targeted languages.
- Subdomains are separate sites affiliated with your primary URL. Subdomains can either be language or country specific. They can be hosted separately, but exist within a generic top-level domain (gTLD.)
For more information on each domain structure, please see: Subdomains, Subdirectories or ccTLDs for Global Audiences
Create a Multilingual Content Strategy
One of the components of a content strategy is a content audit. Before you can create a multilingual content strategy, you first need to know what content you have and what gaps exist.
You can generate content from many resources and produce it in many formats including: web content, case studies, blogs, emails, ads, social posts, etc. Each piece of content needs to be localized for each target audience to make sure the integrity of the message is kept. Consider the context, images and colors that are most appropriate for each audience.
Without developing and executing a multilingual content strategy, your content may appear fragmented and it may even conflict. Having a strategy with your target audiences in mind will ensure that your brand is consistent and your audience is receiving the intended message.
Use Professional Translators
Selecting a translation services agency for your website localization project is probably your best bet. Professional translation agencies will facilitate the project, saving you a lot of time. The people doing the translation will be in-country, native speakers and subject matter tested for your specific needs. Typically, project managers will handle the logistics of the translation process and there will be QA steps in place to ensure correct translation and localization is performed.
Another benefit of using a translation services agency is the use of Translation Memory (TM). TM is a database of previously translated content which can be leveraged to reduce cost, increase consistency within the translation and can reduce the overall time required to complete the translation.
If attracting global audiences is your goal, then website localization is required. The process will take time and resources, but if properly executed, will widen your brand’s reach to targeted audiences around the globe. Following the 5 tips mentioned in this blog will help you create a successful website localization strategy.