Localization is a big, bold and exciting step for any entrepreneur. The potential rewards on offer are massive, enough to make even the coolest of customers go giddy at the thought. Let’s face it, no matter where you live and what audience you are selling to, there’s a vastly bigger audience out there.
Yet selling to the rest of the world is no easy proposition. The standard method for marketing any product or service overseas is localization, but localization is a rocky road even for the most reckless of entrepreneurs. You can’t just pack up your products in a fancy foreign-language package and hope for the best – it takes effort and understanding of the local culture to make things stand out.
What follows are some helpful tips for anyone starting out on the road to global dominance, and it all starts with an online presence.
When it’s time to go global, website localization is the single most important step that any company can take. Quite simply, having one website for an international audience doesn’t cut it these days. Reaching out to the masses entails sending out a message that’s relevant to local audiences, in a language and context that only they can relate to.
Website localization isn’t that daunting, it just takes time to achieve. Solid groundwork is the order of the day. It’s necessary to take the time to research specific target markets and local competitors to achieve a wider picture of what’s going on. For instance, what language do the people actually speak on a day-to-day basis? In India, the official language is actually English, but the vast majority of people don’t understand a lick of English, so anyone targeting that country is going to need to identify which language is most appropriate.
Translating a website’s content is one thing, but how about its overall appearance? Successful global corporations understand that different cultures appreciate different features.
Edward Hall, a famous cultural theorist, came up with something known as the High Context (HC) vs. Low Context (LC) theory to help marketers understand the requirements of different cultures. His theory goes that HC cultures (like most Asian cultures), are more responsive to socially orientated, interactive content, with lots of background information and videos. On the other hand, LC cultures (Europe, North America), prefer content to be simpler, focused more on the individual.
Therefore, it might be necessary to change the layout, style and feel of the website completely. Even minor things, such using the wrong color (which might be considered negative) could result in an epic fail when your company bursts onto the local scene.
A useful tip here is to research the approach taken by famous brands in the target country, such as Nike, Apple, Coca Cola etc, to see how they do things.
Social Media Localization
Fixing up a website for a foreign audience is no longer enough. Let’s face it, the website is but one tool in your online marketing armory. Just as important is social media – along with SEO, a well executed social media campaign is the best way to drive traffic to your website, establish your brand’s reputation and engage with your audience.
It may be that you already run a successful social media campaign, have thousands of followers and an active community you engage with on a daily basis. But this doesn’t mean squat when you go global.
Let’s not forget, the overwhelming majority of social media users do not speak English. These people are connected, but only with people in their country. To connect with a French-speaking target market for example, you’re going to need to establish a brand new community and talk to these people in their own language
But does this mean running entirely separate social media campaigns for each group? Maybe it used to, but not anymore. A new product from ComTranslations, SociaLingo, has changed all that.
Before, many businesses and entrepreneurs used to simply make do with machine translation tools like Google Translate, or else they would run different social media campaigns in each country they targeted. Neither method is desirable. Google Translate is littered with grammatical errors and smacks of unprofessionalism, while running separate social media campaigns is hardly cost-effective.
SociaLingo appears to be the ideal solution to the problem of social media localization, providing almost real-time translations to all of your social media content. Truly a one-of-a-kind service, SociaLingo provides almost instant translation of content shared on platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media channels.
What’s more, there are no machine translations involved – all the translating is done by human experts from ComTranslation’s global community of more than 3,000 professional translators. Entrepreneurs can simply tweet whatever it is they have to tweet, or add a new post on Facebook, and these actions will immediately be translated into the appropriate language and reposted on specific community pages for your target markets.
Conclusive & Inconclusive – All At Once
While a great many businesses have engaged and crossed the language barrier to become global, many more have not, as of yet. Part of the reason is cost, as translating websites or any extensive set of content costs resource. And too, the more dynamic business becomes, the more it becomes necessary for entrepreneurs and their teams to think about keeping abreast, updating, maintaining and moving forward with engagements in the social-business sphere. But, however expensive or time consuming, competition and need drive the necessity to localize abroad.
Social media translation, website localization and normalization, the need to reach targets far afield, this is the last horizon for the entrepreneurial set. Whether or not they like it, going global is really a forgone conclusion. Business needs to be understood, everywhere, to thrive.