Localization. It’s a word that’s becoming increasingly relevant for the modern day marketer. When entering new markets you need to: “think global, but act local” to achieve success as a business.
Finding the right balance between standardizing your marketing strategy or making it more locally targeted is something many companies struggle with. But, speaking to your new audience in a way that resonates with them is undoubtedly going to harness a better connection.
As most marketers know one size doesn’t fit all. But that doesn’t mean we don’t make these common mistakes – even big brands aren’t exempt from that!
Setting up a country-by-country localization strategy ensures your new customers receive the same attention as if they were using a local service.
To help you avoid potential pitfalls, we’re taking a look at how to improve your localization strategy and make it adaptable on a local level.
What is the definition of localization
You might actually be wondering what localization means. The official dictionary definition looks like this:
“The process of making something local in character or restricting it to a particular place.”
When we look at it from a marketing perspective, it’s essentially the process of addressing cultural differences within each market you operate in.
By adapting your marketing strategy to meet the needs country-by-country – you’re able to give the same quality of service to everyone.
Benefits of a localization strategy
Put simply, a well put in place localization strategy enhancers customer experience and allows you to communicate your message to global audiences, whilst keeping your brand identity. Working on your localization strategy makes your content more appealing and can help increase your overall market share.
It demonstrates your commitment to doing business in different countries and shows you’re staying long-term (building that trust factor). And, it ensures there are no miscommunication mishaps.
An effective localization strategy is one of the easiest ways to increase revenue. But where to start?
Planning your localization strategy
To start with, every business should consider the following aspects:
- Learn from your local audience
- Translation and localization
- Stand out from the competition
- Cater content to each market
Let’s take a look at each aspect in further detail.
1. Learn from your local audience
So, here’s the deal, you can’t produce a localization strategy without understanding the market you’re about to enter.
Marketing to new audiences can be dangerous if you don’t take into consideration localization strategies. It can potentially damage your brand reputation and even offend your new target audience if you get it wrong.
So, what’s the first step. Consumer focused research.
And how do you decide what markets to enter? We’ve spoken about this before. But, to summarize – a good place to start is to look at your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from.
Once you’ve decided on the markets you want to enter, you’ll need to determine how strong the market opportunity actually is.
And, the best way to do this, would be working with a local partner to really understand the needs and values of your new markets.
Working with local partners is essential. This way, you can be assured you’ll be getting accurate, localized experience and feedback.
They’ll be able to determine whether there’s a demand for your product, your main competition, how people purchase within that country, cultural differences etc.
There are a number of simple things that might not mean anything in your home country, but can have a big impact in a new one. Even down to your brand colours – do they mean the same thing in your new market?
This information will structure your strategy and is essentially the most important part. Fail to do this, then prepare to move into your new market blind.
2. Translation and localization
We’re specifically talking about website translation here, as, after all you can’t speak to new markets if you’re not offering your products or services in the target language.
At Weglot, automated translation is something we’re passionate about.
It has allowed companies to fast track their website translation and grow into new markets – without having to wait months for human translation and the creation of a new website. Not to mention, the high cost implications both of those options create.
Here’s the deal: there are differences between translation and localization…
What we’ve always been a big advocate of here at Weglot is using a mix of automation and human translation to fine-tune your translation and optimize it for localization.
Automated translation provides a fast first layer of translation – saving time (and money) for the translator, who can easily go in and perfect anything, should it be required.
The benefits of human translation when you’re looking at your localization strategy, is that it will iron out any language nuances and colloquialisms in your new language. It builds trust (that word again) with your new potential customers.
But, it’s not just words that should be ‘translated’ to give a better sense of localization. Don’t forget about imagery. For example, you wouldn’t have a snowy wintery scene to depict the Christmas period in Australia – it’s these types localization strategies that win you favour in your local markets and help you ‘fit in’.
Once you’ve sorted out the content side of things – don’t forget about SEO. There’s no point having all this translated content if you’re not going to be found in your new markets.
That’s why we recommend using a website translation solution that takes this into consideration. At Weglot, multilingual SEO is key to what we do.
You’ll get translated metadata, translated images, video captions etc – bringing together your multilingual localization strategy. It will ensure consumers don’t experience clumsy translations.
And, most importantly, you’ll be found by new potential consumers.
3. Stand out from the competition
You might be tempted to look at an oversaturated market and think there’s no room for you. But, don’t allow this to put you off.
A competitive market can equal a strong market.
But, it means you’ll need to stand out. Consider enhancing your offering with features your competitors don’t have.
And by this, we don’t necessarily mean product wise. But, easy wins such as value-added services, including customer support and reliability (and build that all important trust element again).
Customer experience is a key aspect to a customer choosing to buy from your brand and what might be the difference between you and a local competitor which has become complacent.
Emphasise your brand values. And adapt them to your new market. Audiences that connect with your views and values are more likely to stay engaged and approach your company with interest.
Essentially, authenticity sells. And, this is clear in all global markets.
It’s important that your business finds its own brand authenticity and style of customer engagement that makes it stand out from the crowd.
4. Cater content to each market
When looking at the content marketing side of things, different markets will need different approaches. This can even come down to small things like tone and language of your brand messaging, which might need to be dramatically adjusted for new markets.
It sounds like a lot of work – but in the long run, it will pay off.
Use what you have learnt from your consumer research to determine whether there are any cultural taboos and cultural events that you need to take into consideration, or add into your localization strategy.
Successful marketing campaigns use the correct channels to target the right audience. Take social media – an area companies are increasingly using to talk to their customers.
Around 70% of marketers worldwide produce social media content to engage with customers and promote their brand. It’s one of the most used inbound marketing strategies.
But, having just one social media account for your brand won’t be enough. You’ll need to consider having a specific one for each country to actively get involved in the local community (if you have the resources).
Take China – it doesn’t have the same social media channels as Western Europe. Weibo is the social media of choice here, so again having that local partner who understands this platform will be hugely beneficial.
To be successful on social media, requires more than just creating an online presence. You need to engage with customers and share information relevant to their needs (not just promotional content).
Final thought: most importantly, test your localization strategy and what you’re doing in each market.
You’ve done the research, you’ve understood your new consumers. Now get out there and put it into practice.
Remember building trust with new audiences takes time. So don’t expect your localization strategy to create an overnight success.
- Focus on understanding your new market with consumer focused research – teaming with a local partner is key
- Look to localize some of your website content with additional human translations
- Stand out from your competition by offering value-added services
- Produce authentic local content that’s targeted to your audience – the right social media channels, the right offline spaces