by Christina Comben
If your company does business on a global scale and you compete in international markets, you’ve probably heard a lot about localization. While you almost certainly already adapt your products or services to meet the requirements of local markets, local legislation, tastes and habits; have you asked yourself how to localize your marketing message to appeal to clients in different cultures across a varied demographic?
Capture More Clients
Regardless of what industry you’re in, from education to entertainment, if you compete globally, then you need to do more than simply translating your website, software, video game, or marketing campaign. You need to create an engaging, target-driven localized message that reaches out and actually resonates with your customers at a local level; not one that they merely (or hardly) understand. Make your customers believe you’ve done your research and your conversion rate will soar.
Avoid Costly Errors
There’s plenty of room for error in translation. And not just in translation; if I told you that my colleague was as crook as a Rockwood, would you know what I was saying? It’s knackering contemplating all the regional language variations, slang, nuances, beliefs and idioms. So how do you make sure your company’s marketing message, website, newsletter or image hasn’t become the local joke in the UK, or worse, an unthinkable insult in Iran?
Get Your Message Right
Cultural taboos exist in all societies. Find out what they are where you do business. Be sensible. Work with the budget that you have. If you can visit the places your consumers live, then great. If you can hire local experts; perfect. If you don’t have the means to do either of these, then have your team research your buyer personas as thoroughly as possible. Some universally accepted symbols, such as the “thumbs up” sign, might not be as universal as you think; in some parts of the Middle East, this is actually one of the most vulgar insults you can make.
Optimize Your Online Marketing Spend
Make sure that your marketing manager or SEO firm understands the importance of the different regional search terms and keywords your customers use. Remember that Canadians wear “touques” and that Australians and Brits go on “holiday” not “vacation”. Also, while Google may be your go-to search engine, some local markets prefer local search engines. Find out what they are and make sure you get the most out of your digital marketing budget.
Avoid International Lawsuits
If you deal in products, especially pharmaceuticals, then you’ll already know the local legislation and requirements for ensuring compliance. But make sure you research the same when it comes to advertising and promotion. Localization? You got it. While the US is comfortable and used to seeing comparative advertising, in certain parts of Europe, not only is it seen as distasteful, but it’s actually illegal.
The thing about respect is, you have to earn it. Building up alliances, link building, getting articles written about your company and recommendations from respected sources takes time but there’s nothing like an endorsement from a reputable source to make your product or service fly. Find out who the movers and shakers are in your local markets, approach popular blogs and sites that complement – but not compete with – your product or service. You’ll build respect and increase traffic at the same time. Two birds with one stone.
Christina Comben is a freelance copywriter specializing in B2B website content, marketing materials, article writing, and blogging. Multilingual and qualified to MBA level, Christina has produced investor guides and economic reports in developing countries for Spanish newspaper ABC and currently works as Head of Content at Day Translations. Motivated by challenge, change, and continued learning, Christina has lived and worked her way around the world, garnering in-depth knowledge of diverse office environments and varying industries, from media and entertainment to education, health, and information technology.