Today, many online businesses have more marketing reach than ever before. But this great power comes with a new set of challenges.
One of them is interacting with customers who speak different languages and come from unique cultural backgrounds. The right solution requires a comprehensive approach to helping businesses thrive on this global stage.
Reports show that 68% of consumers prefer to communicate with brands in their native languages. And localized marketing makes it possible for companies to do so.
Yet, only a few businesses truly grasp how to implement localization successfully. If that’s you, then stick around. This article will delve into what it takes to create a multilingual marketing strategy that works.
What Is Localization Marketing, and Do You Really Need It?
Every e-commerce site has had its share of visitors from around the globe. This is natural as more than half of all Google searches are in non-English languages.
If you get users from different countries, their needs will likely vary. For example, customers in the U.S. might respond to other ads and content than those in Germany.
You could buy German backlinks to solve this issue. While it will drive more traffic to your landing pages, you need more than that.
Localization marketing helps improve search ranking across different countries, making it easier for the target audience to find your products.
A localized marketing strategy equips you with the data needed to reach your potential clients while being sensitive to their unique cultural nuances.
This allows you to conduct successful research on each region. As a result, you gain more sales, an engagement boost, and better content performance. Also, you get to maintain a vibrant and competitive edge.
The Main Challenges of Multilingual Marketing You Must Consider
The truth is that multilingual marketing is complex, and there are many challenges you should be aware of:
Cultural barriers can be a complication that reduces the effectiveness of one’s marketing campaigns. What works in one culture may not match another.
And you should learn about those things, as they affect how you can market in that region. For example, red is the color of romance and love in the U.S. and most parts of the Western world.
In China, it symbolizes luck and happiness. But in many African cultures, it means violence, death, and grief.
Ads like the Geico owl commercial or those featuring a cat might have less impact in cultures where owls and cats symbolize bad luck. So, you need to understand the cultural differences and mold your marketing to fit these practices.
More Time and Money
Localizing business assets such as content or advertisements can cost a lot. Do you have the time and resources to learn a new language each time you travel abroad? The same happens when you want to expand your brand into a new country.
Finding employees proficient in both the local language and English can be challenging. And even when you get bilingual content writers, you still have to spend more.
Besides, training your team for a market you wish to target can require a large budget. The best option is often to hire locals directly, but some locations might lack the specialists you need.
You might as well use professional translation software. Yet, you still have to pay for it to get good results. And these tools aren’t always accurate.
It is often quite common for brand voices to clash with social norms, especially if you didn’t carry out proper research beforehand.
For instance, when companies attempt to translate text from one language to another directly, the context and nuance of the brand’s message can get lost. This may lead to confusion or misinterpretation, damaging the company’s image.
This happened when the Italian battery company, Powergen Italia, targeted English-speaking customers. They chose the domain name powergenitalia.com (coined from their name).
The reactions that followed caused them to change it to www.batterychargerpowergen.it. These stories highlight what can happen when businesses fail to invest in local experts as part of their multilingual marketing strategies.
Key Steps to Localized Marketing Strategy
A localized business approach is essential for all types of businesses. Here are some crucial steps to consider when implementing a localized marketing strategy.
Do Additional Research for Multilingual Content Marketing
You must up your research game to play in the multilingual content marketing arena. The consumers are from different parts of the world, so your strategy must transcend borders.
But if you’re a small business owner, it might be harder to compete with giants on the market. Yet, it is possible when you have a strategy with a variety of specific tactics. According to smallbizclub.com, SEM, in addition to your regular SEO, can be a game-changer for small businesses.
But you have to go further than that for a successful localization process. You need multilingual or international SEO to craft content that appeals to the audience in each country.
Don’t know where to start? You can use heatmaps to understand where most of your customers come from.
Then carry out keyword research for each location. This gives you insights into what trends are relevant to the potential customers. Besides, remember to include search engines that are popular for each country.
Consistent, Inclusive, and Culturally-Sensitive Content
Traditional SEO practices are still necessary even when dealing with a new market. The data from the keyword research should be the blueprint for your content plan.
Use it to draft posts that appeal to the target audience. Then, work on other aspects of search engine optimization, like adding authority links, leveraging guest posting, and mastering technical SEO.
While at it, pay attention to regional differences when translating into other languages. This is where website localization comes into play. Check with local experts to ensure your messages are consistent across the board.
As a global marketer, your brand should champion inclusivity. For example, use locally known figures and concepts the audience can relate to.
Also, respecting cultural differences helps you avoid misunderstandings. The Puma sneaker ad is a perfect example of why this is important.
In it, Puma tried to pay homage to the UAE by designing costume shoes with the UAE flag. But this backfired because the culture views shoes and anything that came in contact with the floor as unclean.
Prioritize Mobile Usability
Mobile usability can quickly become an issue when maintaining a blog in two or more languages. Some languages use special symbols and characters that require more space than others.
Your site must be responsive enough to handle the expansion or contraction needed for different languages. Remember that most of the internet traffic generated worldwide comes from mobile devices.
Besides, you can further optimize your site for a seamless shopping and payment experience.
A company’s success worldwide depends on the effort put into its multilingual marketing strategy. It can make your brand more attractive, broaden market reach, and improve the customer experience. Implement the steps outlined in this blog to ensure your business practice aligns with the best global standards.
My name is Arslan Hussain and I am co-founder of The Different Languages blog. Have years of experience in digital marketing, My best hobby is blogging and feel awesome to spend time in it.